This is a mildly fictionialized account of our circus & burlesque troupe traveling to Tuscon, Arizona.

All photos have been given consent to share by the people in the photographs. We are performers and the more we get our name out there the better.

The fun & fantastic travels of the terrific troupe Cirque des Bêtes continue in Arizona at the 43rd TusCon science fiction & literature convention! I bet you can guess where... Tucson, Arizona.

See what they did there?

The fantastic voyage consisted Animal Wrangler Nikolai, the bendy & delirious Selia Something, Igor the Magister of Spheres, deadly-bladed Crocodile Tears, Sultry Stormy Merryweather, & led by Ringleader Eve Riot. The trail of smiles, glitter, glee & seduction-destruction was so marvelous that they’ll write stories, like this one!


The zeppelin made contact on Thursday evening after visiting the tin-terrors of Gila Bend. For those who haven’t been, it is a fun little stop along a bypass highway to Tucson, the monsters stand tall & mighty in the waning twilight, the sentinels of the former rulers of the earth. So we go to say high & take fun photographs!

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Spies in Eve’s ranks reported allegations that legend George R.R. Martin himself was in attendance… the troupe considered the only option, he needs to attend. An early reconnaissance mission to local circus school aptly named Cirque Roots was happy to provide space for the merry mischief makers to warm up & learn some new things to get a good flow going. After working up a sweat & getting a good lay of the land it was time to go from high in the sky & face to face with the ground to go underwater.

Cirque Roots a local Arizona circus school!

Selia & Eve emerged from the chrysalis of the “hotel room” (they’re giving us walls now guys!) complimentary sirens known as mermaids. The gills & glamor was intensified by Stormy & Croc were tributes to the sea as Ariel & Vanessa (the human form of Ursula) from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Nikolai & Igor joined the mermaids at the oasis & announced for a short time only that the pool would have more mermaids than any other pool in the world adding to the wonder & whimsy of CDB. After the opening ceremony of TusCon 43 had concluded & time drew near to the Friday night fracas to begin!

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Mermaids! 

The troupe was warming up & clowning around Nikolai charged the crowd to move in & get the best seat. Eve finalized the finishing touches, the players took their places as 9pm struck & the show was underway. Nikolai & Stormy punned the crowd senseless as they introduced the opening number “Swimming” featuring Eve, Selia, Crocodile, & Stormy with a “fan”-tastic display of grace & synchronization. Following them was Igor, wielding 5 weighted wobbly balls tossing them with poise & panache. Crocodile Tears followed wielding one of her prized blades & sliced into the wonder of the audience. Selia took the stage & contorted her skeleton to the limit all the while smiling with her “delirium glee” leaving the crowd in disbelief.

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Fan Flow 
Contact Juggling

The second half begun as Crocodile Tears returned to the scene with an amazing saber balancing act. Selia’s best friend, her hoop, stole the stage with Selia & they spun circles through the air illuminating the crowd with the LED hoop. Igor graced the stage with his flowing & hypnotic contact juggling. The *Pun*-ishment culminated at the end of the show with the visceral efforts & emotion of Eve, Selia, & Crocodile flinging fans in every direction. The show concluded & the troupe prepared for the following night after meeting new fans who eagerly asked questions & took photos.

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Fan Flow

The next day was just as charged as the first! After stomachs were filled with waffles & confidence (coffee) the Mischievous Six assembled for a very charged panel concerning sexuality & objectification in nerd culture. The topics included: comic artist representation, Cosplay Limits, Social Standards, & just fun in science fiction. Our two representatives helped contribute to a nuanced conversation. The day continued as the crew split for time to pursue their own adventures. A bulk of the performers decided to swim a little more & enjoy the fair weather. Eve Riot changed tactics & joined up with Madam Askew & the Captain of the Lemon pirates to help run the Iron Tailor Competition. It was a 2-hour crafting extravaganza to make a costume for mourning their favorite Game of Thrones character. As night fell over the dry desert city of Tucson the shenanigans began anew.

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Selia and Madame Askew hosting

Madam Askew hosted a fantastic comedy review that the Cirque Des Bêtes troupe attended & participated. The seats in the main hall filled as the promised 11pm show time for the heralded Burlesque show. Selia brought her brand of sassy delirium along with Madams cheeky comments presented Stormy out first with a devilishly delightful number to “Sympathy for The Devil”. The crowd agree they weren’t using that pesky soul anyway and signed her contract.. Nikolai followed up with a cheeky Geek-Chic self-expression to “White & Nerdy.” After the applause ebbed Madam & Selia announced it was time to play a game. 2 participants needed to remove a glove in the most “burlesque-y” way possible & the audience would cheer for their favorite. A lovely fairy took the glove off in a sultry way that the crowd chose to win the coveted signed parasol.

Nickolai De La Muerte

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The clothes began flying again as Crocodile Tears wrapped her tentacles into the audience by balancing a saber while removing her clothes striking big shapes & splits to “Hey There Cthulhu.” Eve Riot was next in her post-apocalyptic blast where she survived the bomb & then dropped it on the audience, then left them smoldering & wanting more. Shenanigans were shook up again as a new game was presented; a clown vs clown burlesque off to r&omly chosen music, clothing, & dance move. Nikolai squared off against Croc. Nikolai went first & needed to remove a necktie to “Anarchy in the UK” while incorporating the “YMCA” dance move. Hilarity ensued. Crocodile Tears took center stage as she needed to negotiate her way out of a corset while doing “The Robot” to the song “Buffalo Soldier.”Despite having never done the robot or corset removal she won the challenge!

Crocodile Tears in Hey There Cthullu

For our final acts, Stormy took the stage dressed as Zatanna & performed magic tricks as she removed her clothes & took our hearts through her large feathery fan manipulation. Once the crowd subsided Nikolai picked up the mess & presented the finale; Eve Riot, Selia Something, Crocodile Tears & Igor did a group hip hop number dedicated to Game of Thrones & George R. R. Martin to “Run the World” by Beyoncé as Daneerys and her dragons. The author was so pleased with the show he stayed afterwards to take a photo with our troupe!

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The troupe with George RR Martin

Who run the world? Dragons

Who ran the convention? Cirque des Bêtes. 

Written & Editted by Eve Riot/Nikolai de la Meurte

Photos by Eve Riot and Radian Helix Media