as far as living statue street performers go, i’ve been pretty blessed. i’ve always had a friend in the crowd when i needed one. i’ve always had someone to help me carry things and hold my bag of essentials while i was performing, and to talk to when i took a break or wanted to take a moment at the end of the night to unwind before heading home. well, almost always. i was forced to go to waterfire alone last saturday. i can’t remember the last time i had to do that.
before getting ready, i ran out to michaels, bought a round box and a strip of suede for a handle, then spraypainted it a nice blend-into-the-darkness black. i now have a place to put things like my makeup bag and bottle of water and snacks when i don’t use my base. this alleviated one source of stress.
a generally nice crowd alleviated my other source of stress. there were a few grabby people, but nothing i haven’t been dealing with for the last six years. it is unfortunate that people see a living statue and think “i can do anything i want, and they can’t do anything about it ’cause they can’t move!” well, we can move. and i will move if you do not treat me with the same respect you would if you just saw me walking down the street in everyday attire.
– this one kid touched my hand multiple times, and it was toward the end of the night so i was about at that point of being fed up with grabby people. i stepped down from my ledge. my foot hit the ground and i was in his face, glaring down at him. this is where my ability to communicate without words can come in handy. i didn’t need to speak. he got the message.
+ one of the other grabby people was a teenage girl who casually touched the back of my leg as she walked by. but once she made contact, she realized that she wasn’t touching an inanimate object. she screamed. she looked back, and i pointed at her in attempt to communicate a “this is why you shouldn’t go around touching every damn thing you see” message. she screamed again and ran away. i think maybe she got the message, too.
+ during my first set, this little boy, who was quite fascinated by what i was doing, decided he wanted to be a living statue, too. he climbed up onto my ledge and stood next to me. i reached out my hand, and he grabbed it, then stood still. he did exceptionally well for a four year old! he even blew kisses when someone tipped me. everyone thought it was the most adorable thing on the planet. and it was, for the first five minutes.
– then i started to realize his father was nowhere to be seen. what the fuck? you seriously left your four year old child with a total stranger on a busy sidewalk? the great thing is, he eventually came back… THEN LEFT AGAIN. dude, i’m a street performer, not your babysitter. eventually the kid got bored and left. all i could do was hope he’d find his family safely.
+ i generally don’t associate with other buskers. andrew anselmo [http://flappingbird.com/] is the big exception. not only does he create wonderful origami, folding and creating beautiful pieces of art for hours in front of a crowd, but he’s also got my back. he helps me protect my pitch. if a freelance statue comes in and sets up too close to my pitch [which usually also means they’re someplace we freelancers are not supposed to be], he gets the waterfire officials involved. we’re completely on the same page with our desire to maintain a certain level of awesomeness at waterfire. the last couple of waterfires, he dropped $2 bill origami into my tip jar. and this time, he also held a sign up to the crowd, stating i am the best statue at waterfire. aww. andrew, if you’re trying to make my cold jaded heart melt, it’s working!
+ while a group of people were talking about how “freaky” i was, i heard a very soft and kind voice say “i don’t think you’re freaky. i think you’re beautiful.” i’m not bothered by comments like the former. in fact, i’m quite amused by such sentiments. but, the latter… my heart continues to melt. thank you, sir. i think you’re beautiful too.
– i couldn’t perform as long as i wanted to. i had a ten31 gig the next day and couldn’t completely destroy myself like i might have done if i had sunday off. i would’ve loved to stay another hour. but i’ll make up for it at the next waterfire. i have to. it’s my last waterfire this year. none scheduled for september, and october is just too damn cold to be standing still outdoors after sunset. where did this season go? it went by so fast. i’m not ready for it to be over.