Monday, August 29, 2011

Cheers to a Man in a Mullet

Saturday we enjoyed an evening with friends in downtown Waterloo at the Busker Carnival, an annual festival of street performance art. I love the atmosphere, beyond the carnival lights and scents of deep fried fare and caramel corn there is something magical about spending time in the company of people brave enough to follow their dreams every morning rather than societal pressure. (If I weren't so afraid of hurling 4 other people into an abyss of instability, I would do it myself, abandoning the have toos for a food/personality/writing gig)

For me, the best part of any street theatre performance is the submersion of the audience. Spectators converge on an artist, surround him or her with a stage and become integral to the act. The audience becomes the supporting cast. My very favourite part, is the addition of the 'volun-selected' cast members from the audience. (as long as it's not me.) This element has the potential of turning a good show into a great show and if the 'volun-selected' audience member happens to be your husband... well, a great show turns into a fabulous show!

This happened for me when Ernest the Magnifico pointed to the guy in the red sweater (aka Mike) and asked him to hold his arm up to assist with an upcoming stunt. The upcoming stunt happened to be a backhanded way of getting Mike to volunteer himself for the act by raising his hand in a "pick me!" fashion. (yes, I am going to use this trick at home.) There must have been a kizmetic bond between mullet haired Ernest with his r/c car that drew his selection to Mike for I was instantly reminded of Mike's formative teen years when he sported a mullet and built r/c cars.

Setting up the stunt
Within 3 minutes of being lured from the crowd Mike found himself laying on the pavement, snuggling up with a complete 'volun-selected' stranger, surrounded by lighter fluid and waiting for a flaming remote controlled car to jump over him 'Evil Kanevil' style; while I and the rest of our party howled with laughter! (except E-man, he had a hint of genuine concern for Dad's safety.)

The show was a smashing success and I am pleased to announce that no one was injured beyond personal humiliation during the performance.

The 'hold your breath moment' before the big stunt
Street performance is a reciprocal art. Performers like Ernest give it their all and the audience demonstrates their appreciation for being entertained by monetary tokens of gratitude. The idea is that, the value of the token should be proportionate to your enjoyment of the performance. Ernest's show came to an end and I sent E-man into the pitch with our payment, which was anemic in comparison to our enjoyment. My sincerest gratitude to Ernest today for a performance above measure and to my husband for taking 20 minutes completely out of his comfort zone in great stride and good humor.
Thanks to my incredible ineptitude with a camera
Mike can always explain the video footage with 'enibriation'
(not true but completely believable given the look)

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


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