sorry this has taken so long, friends. as expected, the wedding took over my life for a bit, but it’s done! we did the thing! now i’m dealing with other life changes [actual changes, because getting married wasn’t really a change for me, it was just the event that brought chaos to my world]. i quit my job at ten31 productions, and now i’m teaming up with other performers to start doing bigger and better things with my art. we’ll talk more about that later.
for now, let’s talk about the last waterfire. once again, i was nervous about the forecast. rightfully so this time, since it was actually raining pretty heavily as we were driving to providence. when we drove into a wall of water i said to justin “nope, i’ve got makeup on my face, so i’m going, damnit!” and i successfully resisted every temptation to turn around and go home, fortunately, by the time we arrived in the city the rain had passed and it didn’t come back. the pavement was wet when i arrived at my pitch, so justin had some challenges getting my tape down [to mark out my personal space], but that was the extent of the weather woes. i still brought my teeny umbrella, just in case, and i’m happy to say i didn’t actually need it.
overall, it was a pretty good night. there were a few wary children who i managed to win over with some gentle persistence. an unusually high number of boys/young men turn their head and point to their cheek as i leaned down to blow them a kiss. i was visited by a fan from plymouth [hi, kim!] and my littlest big fan of this season, as well as my busker friends andrew and carl. i was also visited by more police officers than the last five years combined, which i don’t mind at all, as i miss the days when they were regular fixtures in my crowd.
i talk about this a lot, but i feel like i can’t stress it enough. in the last few seasons, i’ve really started to embrace silliness in my performances. i love stealing peoples’ hats, sunglasses, glow necklaces, scarves, whatever i can grab, and wearing them for photos. i love “leaning” on people for photos, and if they stand too far away for me to do that, i grab them and pull them in closer. the reactions are always great, even if they’re not overly positive [i do scare the shit out of some people when i reach out to grab their shirt/arm]. but, usually, the response is overwhelmingly positive. these quirks make the statue more approachable. i really want my characters to appeal to a wide range of ages, cultures, socioeconomic statuses… and this is one of the ways i can do that. playfulness is a pretty universal language. and when the stoic living statue does something unexpectedly silly, like pulling someone in to pose for a close-up selfie, it catches people off guard in the best ways.
i did have a particularly disheartening experience with a mother and daughter. this little girl was so intrigued by the living statue. all she wanted to do was watch me, and maybe give me a dollar to make the statue come to life. her mother was very dismissive and redirected the girl’s attention to a tri-color newfoundland nearby [but the mother called it a bernese, which is a big dog pet peeve of mine, no puns intended]. the whole time i was thinking… why? why can’t you let her be interested in me for a minute? you’re clearly not in a hurry to go anywhere else, yet it seems you can’t get away from me fast enough. i see this frequently, and it’s depressing every time. i don’t care if you like me, but if your kids are interested, please just let them be interested. please don’t make me watch you quash their excitement, their curiosity, and their imagination.
i often encounter the opposite problem, which is just as painful to watch. kids who are totally creeped out by this whole living statue thing, shying away from me, then being dragged closer because the parents think forcing it is a good idea. when a parent is really persistent about that, i do what i can to be less scary; i kneel down, i wave, i blow extra kisses, maybe i reach out so they can touch my hand if they seem like they’re warming up to me. sometimes the interaction ends up being okay, but the kid still isn’t exactly thrilled about me. usually, though, the kid just gets more freaked and now they’re legitimately scared.
i’d much rather see this:
that moment, right there. a kid is curious, his/her parents step back and allow him/her to come up and check me out. no pushing or forcing one way or another. just letting kids follow their guts and explore the world on their own terms. that’s my favorite.