Buskers : 1

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2009 at 12:00 am

Downtown 013

I love theatre. And I love interacting with people. But not at the same time.

“Busking” is the industry term for street performance. They come in all varieties: Jugglers, musicians, illusionists, fire-throwers, sword-swallowers. The first busker I remember seeing was in San Francisco — a skinny African-American man standing on a box, whose arms and torso moved like a robot. Each time his body jolted into a new position, there was a zoom sound, like machines whirring. Since I was only 11, it took me a second to realize that he had stuffed a kazoo in his mouth. Even at this age, I liked the buskers because he (a) didn’t interact with anybody, (b) didn’t ask for money, (c) had a clever, inimitable shtick, and (d) made me ponder the mechanization of man.

Pondering the mechanization of man was what I did instead of collecting baseball cards. Which is why I had no friends.

My favorite busker was the Gold Elvis of Duvall Street. My Key West experience is inextricably linked to this silent Elvis impersonator, who was layered head-to-toe with gold paint and make-up. Again, this Elvis did nothing to interact with passersby; if people felt like it, they could wave him over and take a picture. When I was visiting Key West, it was both Spring Break and Bike Week; as if the Harleys and drunk sorority girls weren’t enough, Duvall Street is a kind of omnisexual mecca, where sex shops abound. Jeb Bush may have frowned on Key West behavior, but anything goes on Duvall.


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