The Working Artist



Whenever I get insecure or scared or overwhelmed or simply tired in my newfound role as a creative entrepreneur I think about my brother. Donny (aka Donny Vomit) cut his teeth as a professional sideshow performer on the boardwalk of Coney Island. He was in his mid-20s when my parents encouraged him to give it a shot – to leave Oklahoma and make something of himself (and his unusual talents) in New York City. If I’m being completely honest, I’ll admit that I thought he’d be crawling back home within a year.

But 8 years later Donny continues to work hard every day to make a sustainable living (in NYC no less) hammering nails into his head, swallowing swords, juggling chainsaws and eating glass. He makes it looks so easy – because that’s his job. To make it look easy. We’re not privy to the artist blocks and anxiety that washes over him prior to an important show.

So yeah. When I start to feel exhausted by the hustle that comes with being an artistpreneur I find a little strength in thinking about the non-stop work and energy that Donny puts into his job. I feel a little bit like we’re in it together.

Lately Donny has been touring with The Pretty Things Peepshow. If you’re lucky enough to be in a city along the tour route you’ll see how easy this troupe makes it look. Every night they show up and they do the work – after long days of getting from here to there in a deteriorating RV, on broken toes, and sore bones – but you would never know it. All you see is a really great show full of really talented performers. Their endurance and professionalism is admirable.

I don’t usually do this but if you have a few minutes please check out and support their Kickstarter project. My favorite is pen pal postcard package for $75. Jeremy and I will be donating an additional $1 for each blog reader that supports The Pretty Things Peep Show Tour Bus or Bust Kickstarter project. Just comment below or shoot me an email to jeremyandkathleen [at] gmail [dot] com to let me know you donated. Thanks in advance for your support!

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  1. Wow could you ever ask for a cooler brother?! When I was younger I had dreams of running away with the circus and going to Cooney Island (I still hope to go there one day!). My partner doesn’t hammer nails into his nose, but he does some other pretty impressive tricks like hanging from the roof with hooks in his back… ha ha it took me a while to get used to but he is a very experienced body piercer so I trust that he knows what he is doing!

  2. P.S I love that you parents encouraged him to go and do it.

  3. Your brother is so awesome. And I’m totally supporting his kickstarter project (side note: if I had some sideshow talent, I’d want to be part of the act too). AAHHH! And I just missed Amy’s Pinup modeling class here in DC. Bummer! Okay, going to stalk their site now and figure out where I can see them.

  4. Dashfield – My parents are the best! And hey – my brother has taught sideshow school – you should attend a class sometime! Donny has also done suspensions and I’ve checked them out in person – I don’t think I would be brave enough to do it myself though.

    Brandi – Thanks, friend! You would make the BEST pinup model! Also – mark your calendar for May 5th. In fact, I’m just emailing you now.

  5. Um… who could resist handmade pasties?! Dave & I contributed to their worthy cause to keep fun and oddballism alive. Right on!

  6. Donated!:) Then I fell into the Kickstarter Abyss…there are so many lovely projects!

  7. StephT

    I donated! I hope they get to $10,000.

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