Monday, August 08, 2005

Buskers' Festival 1

I'm taking my children camping, so I'll be away from my computer until Thursday or Friday. Since I won't be around to respond to comments, I'll offer some photos for your mindless amusement instead of my usual fare.

From our local buskers' festival, 2005, I bring you …

The Amazing Unicyclist

Meet Jean-Michel Paré, from Quebec. I've been to a few buskers' festivals and I can tell you:  this guy is good.

An essential part of the busker's art is to draw a large crowd. Fewer people means less money! So the good buskers know how to stall for time. Offer a few amusing tricks and some banter — just enough to keep people engaged while you wait for a crowd to gather. Get the crowd to make some noise so people will think they're missing a really good show.

M. Paré used a diablo to do the trick. He asked the crowd to say "Ooooooh" when the diablo was ascending, and "Ahhhhhh" when the diablo was returning to earth. Did it work? You be the judge:

Then he enlisted this volunteer from the crowd:

… and he couldn't have made a better choice. The kid's name was Jared. After he got Jared to perform a few tricks, M. Paré invited the audience to throw money — not for him, but for Jared to keep. And that might have been the highlight of the show. Jared was thrilled, trying to run in every direction simultaneously, switching direction every time he heard a coin fall.

It was so entertaining that it went on and on — the crowd kept throwing money just to watch Jared do his thing. And M. Paré started making jokes: "You don't have to go to school any more, kid." "Wait! save some of your money for me!" (which may not have been entirely a joke). "You know he's just going to spend it on crack."

Here's Jared trying to pick up one last quarter, but every time he reaches for it M. Paré scoots forward on the unicycle as if to run over the kid's fingers:

Timing is everything with this trick. Your career as a busker comes to an ignominious end if the kid loses a finger. But note the laughter on the faces.

M. Paré rode three unicycles during the show. This is the mid-sized one, and he skipped rope on it. Note the compression of the wheel:

And here he is airborne:

… with the crowd offering some well-deserved applause.

Finally, M. Paré got up on the biggest unicycle (you can see all three in this 2004 photo; the eight-foot one is in the background), and he juggled torches for us.

"Now I'm going to do a trick for you," he said.

pause while the crowd waits expectantly for something to happen

"That was a joke. This is a trick:  I'm juggling flaming torches while riding an eight-foot unicycle."

And now, for my next trick, I will disappear to Sandbanks Provincial Park. Mary P. has promised to keep an eye on my blog while I'm away, so don't get up to any mischief. She cracks a mean whip.


At 8:38 AM, August 08, 2005, Blogger Mary P. said...

"Crack a whip". Oh, yeah. Dominatrix, that's me, uh-huh... That's why my nom du plume is Mary Poppins. Which I suppose only makes it kinkier.

This was a great show. One of the best bits was when he removed his hat - and that scraggly red hair with it!! - to reveal very nicely coiffed dark blond hair and a pair of beautifully chiselled cheekbones. Oh, la, la!

At 9:24 AM, August 08, 2005, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

You're not fooling my readers, they're too smart for that. The full title of your blog is, "It's not all Mary Poppins" — an oblique reference to your whip-cracking alter ego.

Note the visceral response to M. Paré's entirely ordinary cheekbones. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.

At 12:21 PM, August 08, 2005, Blogger The Misanthrope said...

Have a good vacation.

At 12:09 AM, August 09, 2005, Blogger The Misanthrope said...

Regarding voting irregularities we were talking about in your previous post, check out the site BitchPhd. You can get to it from our site. Look for the post "Voting Rights."

At 8:32 AM, August 12, 2005, Blogger Mary P. said...

The unicyclist was the best act we saw. He was very good at entertaining his audience while it gathered, and then put on a great, interactive show. Lots of value for your donation - or for free is you're broke or a cheapskate. Last year my favourite were the highwire guys, even though their startup was slow.

I LOVE this city!!

At 2:20 PM, November 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is site , where you can watch a video from 1990 with Jean Michel Pare

At 2:42 PM, August 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello again,

here is an article of the Reunion Show of the Flying Dutchmen with Michiel Hesseling & Jean Michel Pare !


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