Wealthy amateur criminologist Richard Wentworth beat down the bad guys as The Spider. He didn't sling webs but instead dealt righteous vengeance using his fists and a .45, and along with his gorgeous love and equal, Nita van Sloan, he even battled giant robots. Richmonder Norvell Wordsworth Page (1904-1961) wrote fast-paced, gunslinging, noir-horror-sci-fi adventures for Wentworth/The Spider in a long series of 1930s magazine stories before giving up pulp for good and going into government service in 1943.
Page's spirit permeates this month during events at Gallery5 and Wonderland featuring his great-niece and -nephew, Elizabeth and Russell Page Bissette, respectively.
Opening on Oct. 2 at Gallery5 in conjunction with the annual Carnival of 5 Fires will be Lonesome Liz's Mojo Sideshow, produced by Elizabeth Bissette. (Another presentation will be held on Oct. 31.) Featured performers include J.B. Beverly, frontman for the Wayward Drifters, Richmond musician and filmmaker Ron Smith, and actors Amy Berlin, Kristen Swanson and Jen Meharg. Admission is $5. On the same day, an art exhibit based on carnival and sideshow characters from the play will also open, featuring contributions by New Yorkers Molly Crabapple, Katelan Foisy and Richmond's Wes Freed, who's well known for album art he's produced for the Drive By-Truckers.
Then on Oct. 29, Russell Bissette's Mr. Grindhouse Presents: Crimson Celluloid Spectacular offers up a live horror show performed alongside a showing of Vincent Price's The Tingler and featuring burlesquers Deanna Danger and Lilly Vaudeville, at Wonderland, 1727 E. Main St. Admission is $5.
Finally, on Nov. 1, Elizabeth Bissette's Mojo Ghost Show presents a kind of haunted dinner theater, with a seance and gumbo, for $15 admission. Her great-uncle's creation, The Spider, is a character in the piece.
For more information, call 644-0005 or visit gallery5arts.org for the Gallery 5 events, or call 643-9233 or visit wonderlandrva.com for Mr. Grindhouse details.