Friday, June 09, 2006

Chaos in the streets

Where can you find tattooed people and pyromaniacs welcome in a quiant village type setting? Where is loud music, throngs of people and dark humour welcomed with open arms? This weekend saw Dundas invaded by a troupe of varied people with many a skill, from mystifying to horrifying. No I'm not talking about another movie filming, they've had plenty already. I'm talking about the Buskerfest. Every year Dundas takes a stretch of the main drag in town and turns it into a festival full of local merchants and entrancing foods. The smells and the crowds form an almost hypnotic aura. Children run around, fuelled by cotton candy and ice cream while parents, pets and the elderly all take in the sights. The merchandise and the cuisine are simply there to support the crowds and keep them fuelled up for the real events....the buskers.

Busking, for those that haven't heard the term before, is the art of performing in public for donations. No paycheque or set fee schedule is there, the crowd just simply gives what they feel they can in receipt of the performances. This year there were many performers ranging from acrobats to juggling and even yo-yo tricks from "Fast Eddy" McDonald. There was truly something for everyone. I was far busier than I like to be so I could only catch the last part of the fest on Sunday afternoon but I caught a pile of stuff in those few hours alone.

Is this your card?Wandering around I took in some magic at the hands of Magic Mike Doyle, a local guy who's card tricks can melt the mind. Master of the sleight of hand he mystified people as they wandered around with his mastery of cards and other gadgets. Shredding and restoring playing cards at will, he kept mouths agape and eyebrows raised.

After being wowed by his close up magic I turned my attention to the mental Australian Al Millar. Okay so he's not a mentalist, but if you see him perform you'll agree he's not only not right in the head, but his body's not quite right either. With his tattoos he'd be the perfect date for a girl with an angry dad though. If Dad came storming out to flip out, Al could hide in the glove compartment of the car. His feats of flexibility and juggling are something to be experienced. I thought balancing our budget took serious creativity and flexibility, but the Rainy bank account has nothing on this guy.

My next stop was the Montreal troupe of the Walkyries. These women were a fusion of theatrics, acrobatics, swordplay and fire. Certain to wow anyone who was watching they showed flexibility that would have the guys line up at any bar to buy them a beer. This is probably why they learned the swordplay aspect of their act. The swords probably didn't get past the bouncers which forced them to become proficient with fire. Twirling and spinning their flames together and individually they amazed people while dancing and climbing on one another. After being inducted into Valhalla I was off to wander the rest of the fest.

It was then that I bumped into Andy Blau. Andy showed us his knack for escapism before he moved on to hygiene with balloons. Thanks Andy, I never realized you could floss your sinuses with a toy balloon. Whether driving nails into his orifices or eating fire, Andy's act grabbed you by the eyeballs and made sure you weren't going anywhere. The crowd lapped it up like cats at a saucer of milk and cheered for more after each trick. His stuff's edgy but lots of fun.

Geronimo!My final stop of the day was at a massive tripod of steel pipe. What could have been going on here? Well it turns out that this is where the Aerial Angels perform their act. Their mastery on the aerial hoop and silk are only offset by their comedy and fire eating. After twirling and spinning in the air on the hoop they proceeded to play with fire in a way that most parents would never want their children doing. Standard fire extinguish was augmented with their tongue to tongue to tongue transfer as well as setting an audience member ablaze. Once the crowd was sufficiently riveted to the spot they proceeded to amaze everyone with their twirlings and plunging on the aerial silk.

All in all it was a great afternoon and it gives hope to those of us that are proficient at being weird. Whether you are educated, over educated or undereducated you can possibly find a way to make money using your unique talents to amaze or disgust people. Either way the people seemed to pay well when the hats got passed.

Check out more pics from the Buskerfest in my Flickr gallery


Blogger Rae Ann said...

That looks like fun!

10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Cuppojoe said...

Great blog! I really dig your writing style...

Be forewarned, though... I have now subscribed to your feed and will be expecting gold every, single, freaking day!

(Just kidding... You can take Tuesdays off.)

10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous happy and blue 2 said...

It really does sound like a fun time. We call our buskers panhandlers. They don't do tricks but they do ask for money..

10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Hick said...

What a weird and wonderful place. I would love to have seen all this in one fine place...I don't know about the guy with the balloon, though. He should have a sign that says, "Kids, don't try this at home".

10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Rainypete said...

What the hell?? I have feed? I should get a cow now!

10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Xerraire said...

Looks like a very interesting event to say the least!


11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Perpetual Chocoholic said...

mmmm....cotton candy.

Did you wear your nose?

11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

This is just wild. I saw the Flickr pics too. Bet it was fun :)

2:42:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

What a fun time.

Take Care

6:22:00 PM  
Blogger dan said...

damn, i wish i was there!

10:18:00 PM  
Blogger angela marie said...

I don't think I could watch the guys sticking things where only darkness resides...or whatever. How very interesting though!

How much money did you dish out? One of the kids' college education funds? :)

10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Chana said...

i second Cuppojoe, you write amazingly..and take superb pictures..

1:38:00 AM  
Blogger wondy woman said...

I want Pete feed too!! How do I get that then?

What a fab idea for a day out - I wanna go!!

I want, I want, that's all you ever get from Wondy!

6:16:00 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

That looks awesome and so much fun. I wish I had a buskable talent. Is "buskable" a word?

Hey, after long last, I have posted the results of the the 'guess Oscar's weight" contest.

9:57:00 AM  
Blogger Celti said...

WooT! Looks like freak heaven to me! :)

12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

i didn't go this year :(
seems like I missed out

2:51:00 PM  

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