Monday, September 26, 2011


I am participating in Jim's Magnificent Monday and this week the theme is Street Entertainers. After you read my blog, drop by Jim's and check out all the other bloggers participating. It should be an interesting and fun theme!

Performances can be just about anything that people find entertaining. Performers can do animal tricks, acrobatics, comedy, escapes, dancing, singing, fortune telling, juggling, mime variations (where the artist performs as a statue) plus many other forms of entertainment.

Street performers, buskers, minstrels or troubadours are all names for the same profession: entertainers who perform in the streets for  gratuities. This art form, which can be found in virtually every culture, was the most common means for people to bring their talent to the public before the invention of recording devices and mediums like TV or radio. Prior to that, a person who wanted to produce music would carry an organ, music box, and a piano on wheels. 

I remember as a very young child seeing organ grinders with their performing monkeys at parades and fairs. The person would play the organ and the monkey would have a cup and would collect coins from an appreciative audience. 

In the early 1980s in a small Charlevoix village near Quebec City, Canada there was a band of colorful street entertainers who would juggle, dance, play music, breathe fire and walk on stilts. The troupe was founded by Gilles Ste-Crois. In 1984 member Guy Laiberte proposed a show called Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun) for Quebec City's celebration of the 450th anniversary of Canada's discovery by Jacques Cartier. That small troupe of street performers has evolved into ten shows in North and South America, Asia and Europe. 

In the United States there has been a rebirth of this art form. Street entertainers are found at many locations throughout the country in places like New Orleans, in New York around Central Park, Washington Park, in Venice Beach, Los Angeles and Mallory Square in Key West.

We have just come back from a visit to Key West and can attest that the street performers are many and most are excellent. Some are singers who play a guitar, like this gentlemen. Notice the red pail in front of him. That is where the gratuities are placed in appreciation for his singing.
A singer with a steel drum found his own spot away from most of the other entertainers.

This performer was what I will generously call 'different'. His act seemed to consist of him trying to get his cats to perform. Trying is the key word here. When I first stopped by, he attempted to take a cat out of it's cage. The cat had other ideas and after a few attempts, he moved on to another cat.

This was a cute cat whose only talent seemed to be that he had no tail (which was pointed out two or three times by the gentleman) and he would climb up on the entertainer's shoulder.

We have two cats and if we decide to stop our photography, I think I can top this act.

        I moved on after this so maybe I missed his big finish!!

We all have seen jugglers before and even jugglers who work with fire.

 But this young guy also balanced his twelve foot cycle on his chin.

And balancing the fire while riding the cycle, this young man also had a really good sense of humor that drew people into seeing him and away from his competition.

This gentlemen started out juggling fire sticks then moved on to other items.

     He took out this conch shell and used it as a horn to grab the        
     attention of passers bye.

He then picked up a crystal ball and started juggling it. Against the setting sun it was really impressive.

When I took this fortune teller's picture the first time, I thought it was an accident that his hand was in front of his face. Then I realized he did not want his face photographed. I'm not sure why, maybe he was shy or he 'saw' the law in his future if his face was on the internet!!

We saw this mime acting like a statue and going as far as to paint himself with a grey metallic looking paint.

When Phyllis put a gratuity into his pail, he called her back and posed with her!!

Of all the singers there, this gentleman had the best voice, in my opinion. He sang many hits from the fifties and sixties.

While not a street entertainer, this bar out on the boardwalk helped people enjoy the performers !!! I'm not sure how many drinks you would need to be entertained by the cat man?????

She was not a street entertainer but this young woman on a balcony was yelling to people passing by. She did provide some entertainment with her yelling and dancing around!!!

The next few images were taken during the Art Deco weekend on South Beach in Miami, Florida earlier this year. This performer was a fire eater!!

His son was a part of the act as an escape artist. He was in a straight jacket and had two members of the audience tie a rope around the jacket. He was pretty good!!!

                            A stilt walker was very popular.

He would pose with people while their friends would take pictures. Some of the poses were umm awkward!!! A lesson to be learned: when posing with a stilt walker, be aware of where your head is!!

                    WC Fields and May West were represented!!

        The real piano man. Billy Joel eat your heart out!!!

I really enjoy street entertainers! Most of them put on a good show for a small gratuity!! Many of them really work hard in  uncomforatble weather to put on a show and entertain us. What more could you ask for??


Roy Durham said...

great post her Jim and i like the street entertainer. i like the mimes in the candlestick park San Francisco. miss seeing them here in Utah. thank you for this post god bless

Corinne Rodrigues said...

These pictures were so vivid, I felt I was watching the performances, Jim!

Tameka said...

LOL! I loved the cat man and your commentary. I take it he was NOT the cat's meow. Point taken regarding head placement when posing with a person stilts! Loved all of these pics. I could tell you and Phyllis were having a grand time. I really loved the pic of the man with the fire sticks. The backdrop was so beautiful.

Nelieta said...

Wow you have a lot of entertainment there! I could sit there all day and photograph them :)

My contribution:

BlogNostics said...

I'm getting me a pan a shoe lace a dog and a ice cream container right now...
what am I?


Martha J. M. Orlando said...

Just awesome photos of some, shall we say, very unique individuals! You certainly captured some priceless faces and moments, Jim.

Alpana Jaiswal said...

Feels like I have taken this trip myself....Beautiful pictures..You rock Jim..always coming up with something out of the ordinary...keep it going.

Colleen said...

Oh absolutely fabulous!!:) I love street performers and actually once when I was younger and far prettier than I am now, I was chosen to be an assistant in a performance in Copenhagen where I had to lay on the ground and someone stood on a tightrope and juggled flaming torches over me! LOL! Great memory!:)

AJ said...

This beats paying astronomical prices for concert or circus tickets. Your juggler-against-the-sunset photos are absolutely stunning, Jim!

We have a lot of beggars in my country, but I usually give money to street performers rather than them. The singers and musicians are mostly very talented, except perhaps they never got a good break. And to think they are exposed to pollution and crime in my city, I get to appreciate their art more.

I'm all for the support these street artists!

JIM said...

Thank You Roy never been to Utah but would love to one day
Corinne the light at Key west is wonderful to work with

Tameka lol that cat guy was really strange like I mentioned I left and maybe I missed a big middle and ending !!!
Nelieta it is fun photographing them isn't it !!
Blog lol I have no idea lol

Martha unique is a great way to categorize them lol

JIM said...

Thank you Alpana we keep trying lol

AJ they really do try and put on a good show for your donation.. I really have a lot of respect for them!!
Thank you for your nice comment on the juggler that was one of those times that in the camera I thought I had something different and kept working the image. I took more then I showed and really was happy with them again Thank you

JIM said...

Colleen your a braver person then me lol Thank You for your comment and unless your images is very old you could still be part of a show !!!

Jim said...

Great street performance JIM> I had 3 beers at the bar watching all that was going on in this post!

sukanya said...

as always, your pictures bring everything to life. i felt like i was watching them live!

Anonymous said...

I love street entertainers. Such raw talent and of course some who make you laugh because their is no talent. lol Lucille Ball and Ricky Ricardo had a traveling street act right before they were contracted to CBS with the I Love Lucy show.

Fire juggling acts and fire-eaters look so good when it's dark outside. The photo of the fire juggler/crystal ball juggler was magnificent in front of the sunset. Absolutely stunning.

When it comes to tarot readers and psychics it's probably a good idea to not show their faces. Someone somewhere is probably looking for them for a wrong reading. lol

Leah Griffith said...

This was a really fun set of photos Jim. My favorite was the man balancing the crystal ball in front of him. He has a look on his face as if the entire world is in his shaky hands;) Well done!

Portia said...

What a great service these street entertainers do by bringing smiles to our faces!
thanks,Jim,you bring that sunny world right in our drawing rooms!

Larry Lewis said...

What a marvellous post today. So much going on. You really don't miss a thing do you. Your blog is an entertainment in its own right, and your photography is just awesome. Got to go cant keep being this mr nicey nice guy.

Mani said...

Vow jim m thorughly entertained. Variety fr ur fans!


Chintan said...

I liked the fire juggler the most :) All the photographs are amazing. Thank you for sharing such marvel!


Dangerous Linda said...

Jim -- That was GREAT! I had to call my boyfriend over a couple of times to show him "the cat man" and "the stilt walker" -- haha! My favorite photo was the first one of the guy "juggling" the crystal ball against the sunset -- NICE! Thank you so much for sharing!

lakwatsera de primera said...

Too bad I missed joining Jim's Magnificent Monday, I have a few in my collections as well but not as captivating as yours. I like the guy riding on a cycle while balancing the fire. Great shots as always :)

TigerEyes2001 said...

Great pics! New follower from the Exposure 99 blog hop! Please follow back! Thanks! :)
Through the Eyes of a Tiger

Pam said...

WOW, love the pictures. My husband and I were from FL.
New follower from Exposure blog hop

Rachel Hoyt said...

Wow. You catch a lot of shows! :) I like it. Great shots.

mmbear said...

Stopping by from the blog hop and now a new follower of your blog thru GFC. I would love a follow back when you get the chance. Thanks so much and have a wonderful day!