Rich Howells

Bazaar of the Bizarre gathers horror, punk, and tattoo culture at Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 24

Bazaar of the Bizarre gathers horror, punk, and tattoo culture at Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 24
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Strange… dark… odd… unusual… and now bizarre.

A Bazaar of the Bizarre will haunt the F.M. Kirby Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, Oct. 24, “bringing together the style of horror, punk rock, oddities, and tattoo culture.”

No one in Northeastern Pennsylvania may be more qualified to do that than Josh Balz, the owner of The Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor in Kingston and Noir Dark Spirits in Scranton who is presenting this brand new event with Jeremy Pauley, the executive director and curator of the Memento Mori Museum, tattoo artist Nick Frenchko of South Main Street Tattoo in Wilkes-Barre, and Amy Frenchko, national sales director of the Northeast Wine Company.

According to the Facebook event page, “Local and national artists will be featuring their handmade goods, vintage collectibles, one-of-a-kind obscurities, art, punk rock memorabilia, and a tattoo flash day by South Main Street Tattoo. Enjoy live entertainment, guest horror celebrities, gourmet food, classic horror films, and imported boutique wines.”

The event runs from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre). Tickets, which are $15 in advance, are on sale now via Eventbrite.

Bazaar of the Bizarre was set to kick off its inaugural year in 2020, but COVID-19 changed those plans. Instead, Balz focused on turning his popular Noir Nights parties at Stage West in Scranton into a gothic bar and restaurant, Noir Dark Spirits, that opened earlier this year. He also transformed Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville into a haunted attraction and teamed up with three other local entrepreneurs to launch a craft soda brand called Parlor Beverages – four-packs of root beer, butterscotch root beer, and birch beer are now available in stores and online.

After spending years collecting weird and creepy things as he toured the world as the keyboardist of Scranton metal band Motionless In White, Balz founded The Strange and Unusual in 2013 using pieces from his own collection before expanding into a bigger building in Kingston and opening a second location in Philadelphia in 2015. While the Philly branch has since closed due to the pandemic, the Kingston store has its own Steamy Hallows Coffee Shop inside that was inspired by Harry Potter.

Balz played on MIW’s first three albums on Fearless Records and their 2017 Roadrunner Records debut, “Graveyard Shift,” before leaving the group in early 2017. He continues to make music with his solo project, Strange Kids, when he’s not creating yet another business venture.

See NEPA Scene’s photos of Balz performing with MIW at the 2016 Vans Warped Tour in Scranton here. Listen to him talk about The Strange and Unusual, Noir Nights, 10 years of playing all over the world with MIW, his private oddities collection, Strange Kids, and more in Episode 81 of the NEPA Scene Podcast:

Artwork by Nate Kaschak