“I want to tell you all about my new shop Sideshow” an excited Harry Anderson tells me over the phone. This story started when I received an e-mail from Harry Anderson’s number one fan, Ellen Kotzin, saying that he is about to open a new retail store in New Orleans. I visit her website (harryandersonfan.com) for some more details and decide to phone Harry to see if I can get some scoops for a MagicTimes news item.
I say, “Hey Harry, I heard some news about you.” He tells me, “What, that I am going to be in New York this weekend? Hey let’s get together. What are you doing Sunday? …I want to tell you all about my new shop Sideshow.” So the next day we setup a convenient time and place to meet in midtown Manhattan.
Unlike magicians, most of Harry’s fans know him for his roll as judge Stone on “Night Court” or as Dave Barry on “Dave’s World” but Harry always commented that magic was his profession and acting was his hobby. Luckily his hobby generated enough income to subsidize anything he wanted to do in magic.
He loves to perform and for the past several years has been doing sporadic, very high paying shows at corporate events. His current show features some of his classic routines like “Cuff Links,” “Three Card Monarch” and his new routines with a straightjacket, “Monte Gras,” and a closer that consistently gets him standing ovations.
Since many corporate events are seasonal, he decided that he wanted to perform more often, so this year he has also agreed to be featured at select comedy clubs with current plans having him on the road around 3-days per month.
Using the money from these shows he decided to open a new retail store in New Orleans that features all of his interests and passions.
On Monday July 14 (Bastille Day) “Sideshow” will open across from his current, by appointment only, shop Spade & Archer. The store is decorated using the sets from his 1987 television special “Sideshow” and from the long running “Night Court,” or as Harry put it, “the store looks amazing. It looks like we spent half a million dollars on the decorations but is was all done with what I had in storage.”
As you walk into the store you will pass sections about the occult, an exclusive line of jewelry and souvenirs, gaming, games, magic, and even a section for shoplifters with postcards and slum magic for them to steal. The main part of the shop will be dedicated to sideshow art and products. Anderson managed to contact several artisans who specialize in producing authentic one-of a kind items, “that are available by the dozen,” and are guaranteed to become the talk of the town. Expect to see Poncho Villas’ mummified trigger finger, Edgar Allan Poe’s skulls both as a child and as an adult, Ganesha: The Elephant-God, two headed chicks, a Vampire Child’s Heart with a steak through it, and other odd items that will make you stop in your tracks.
There will also be a fortune telling booth, a collection of shrunken heads, wild animal displays, tattoo art, original sideshow prints, posters, sculptures and many custom pieces that will be produced for the shop. Harry has also invented a board game that he plans on producing as well as publishing his “Geek Love” screenplay that Tim Burton optioned to produce as a feature film.
It sounds like a lot of work but Harry is merely the visionary behind the venture. His wife Elizabeth will actually run the day-to-day operations that will keep the shop open, organized and most likely successful. She will also make the exclusive line of products available through the mail with an upcoming website and eventual catalog. Elizabeth also designed the custom jewelry and souvenirs.
Harry plans on being at the store regularly at first and then work behind the counters daily from 2-4pm. He will continue to run Spade & Archer, opening by appointment only. In his spare time he will be producing some new routines and possibly write a book.
901 Chartres Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
Hours: Thursday through Monday at 10am to 5:30pm and occasionally on Wednesdays.