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Archive for Saturday, August 25, 2012

Street performers transform downtown into a ‘circus’


Mike Mena, left, and Mike Hughes of the Pogo Dudes perform back flips off of pogo sticks as a large crowd watches during the annual Buskerfest held in downtown Lawrence, Friday, August 24, 2012. The performances continue tomorrow.

Mike Mena, left, and Mike Hughes of the Pogo Dudes perform back flips off of pogo sticks as a large crowd watches during the annual Buskerfest held in downtown Lawrence, Friday, August 24, 2012. The performances continue tomorrow.

August 25, 2012

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Kids help Jason Divad, Kansas City, Mo., blow out a flame that he used in his performance during the annual Buskerfest held in downtown Lawrence, Friday, August 24, 2012. The performances continue tomorrow.

Kids help Jason Divad, Kansas City, Mo., blow out a flame that he used in his performance during the annual Buskerfest held in downtown Lawrence, Friday, August 24, 2012. The performances continue tomorrow.

Flaming Hula-Hoops, sleight of tongue card tricks, Japanese didgeridoo/guitar music — nothing is too strange or random for the Lawrence Busker Festival.

As night fell Friday, downtown Lawrence filled with people watching buskers, or street performers, who came from across the country to show off their talents and trades as part of the three-day festival that ends Sunday.

Music filled the air as event-goers munched on funnel cakes, turkey legs or hot dogs and were entertained by acts both beautiful and bizarre.

Jonathan Burns shoved his entire body through a tennis racket. Thom Sellectomy swallowed swords. Luna Breeze danced through flaming hula hoops.

Perhaps Jack Franks, owner of Jack’s Franks, described the atmosphere most concisely.

“It’s a circus downtown,” he said.

Franks had stocked up on supplies for his hot dog stand that operates downtown just for this occasion. When the streets get crowded, business goes up.

“Who doesn’t like a circus?” he said after selling three hot dogs.

Besides helping out downtown businesses, the event also painted Lawrence as a welcoming community, said John Archibold of Denver. Archibold, accompanied by a grandson he was visiting, took a lawn chair from act to act, enjoying the scene.

“It’s fun,” he said. “It says (Lawrence) is kind of a friendly and enthusiastic place.”

Meet the buskers

Producing a deck of cards from his mouth Daniel Jackson, of Kansas City Kan., was one of the early acts during Friday's Buskerfest in downtown Lawrence.

Producing a deck of cards from his mouth Daniel Jackson, of Kansas City Kan., was one of the early acts during Friday's Buskerfest in downtown Lawrence.

Name: Mr. Mooncalf

Skill: Street magic

From: Kansas City, Kan.

Mr. Mooncalf, dressed in an orange shirt and pants and wooden clogs, preformed magic tricks with cards, rope, cups, a bowling ball and a kiwi.

During the performance, Mooncalf summoned a card picked out by an audience member from a card deck — with his tongue.

This trick came pretty easy for Mooncalf. He said the hardest part about his job isn’t the magic.

“Stopping the first group is the hard part,” he said. “When one person stops, it’s a lot easier.”

Name: Tommee Sherwood of the band Zydeco Tougeau

Tommee Sherwood of Overbrook, plays an accordion and the "boogalator" during Friday night's performances in downtown Lawrence during Buskerfrest.

Tommee Sherwood of Overbrook, plays an accordion and the "boogalator" during Friday night's performances in downtown Lawrence during Buskerfrest.

Skill: Playing the accordion and the “boogalator”

From: Overbrook

Sherwood and the band Zydeco Tougeau filled the streets with the accordion and washboard rhythms that Sherwood calls the “heartbeat” of Cajun music.

But the show had a twist. Sherwood plays a homemade instrument he calls the “boogalator”during performances. The boogalator consists of multiple ropes and pulleys that cause cookie tins to clank or a tambourine to jingle. Made out of hedge, walnut, Christmas lights and a bamboo man with a face, Sherwood said the instrument came from a moment of inspiration.

“It’s a middle-of-the-night sort of invention.”

Name: Debra Jennings of the Braidin’ Maidens

Skill: Complex hair braiding

From: Lawrence

Jennings spends much of her time traveling across the Midwest braiding hair, but for the Busker Festival she had to only walk a few blocks from her house.

Name a braid and she does it: French braid, no problem. Five strands, easy. “The most we do is 13 (strands),” she said.

Jennings said she was using the festival to do a little advertising. Plus, she said, it’s good for the city.

“It adds a charm to Lawrence,” she said.

Schedule

Lawrence Busker Festival is going on through Sunday at various locations throughout downtown. Acts are planned 3 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. today and 1 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Sunday.

For a complete schedule, go to lawrencebuskerfest.com.

Comments

Ragingbear 2 years ago

Awful lot of people blocking traffic on sidewalks. I wonder how many tickets were given? Hmmm, none? I guess that's because they were all desirables and not homeless people.

2

Deb Engstrom 2 years ago

Absolutely!!! I saw a lady sitting in a chair in front of Milton's in the middle of the sidewalk. HEr friend was sitting on the sidewalk beside her. A cart with a cooler and some other bags were there and her empty power wheelchair was there as well. I know this lady and her friend well and I don't begrudge them the opportunity to enjoy the weather outdoors or their spot on the sidewalk, but I couldn't help but think of the same thing. If that had been Simon.......

1

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

At least the streets aren't blocked by scores of portapotties and tens of thousands of screaming drunks as happens when KU wins a big basketball game.

3

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

My pathetic life? You know nothing about my life.

Regardless, I have no problem with either the basketball celebrations or the busker fest.

How about you?

0

tomatogrower 2 years ago

It's beautiful to see the enjoyment on the children's faces, instead of the glow from a stupid computer monitor or TV while they are playing video games.

1

Heisenberg 2 years ago

Step into the real world. Video games aren't some evil entity and most children don't spend all of their time on them. Stop demonizing them. Don't get me wrong, I do agree it is nice to see them out and about instead of cooped up. But I don't agree with the specific attack on gaming.

1

Leslie Swearingen 2 years ago

Well, I throughly enjoyed it. Good food, happy people, and incredible performances. That's entertainment. Someone blocked the sidewalk? Pshaw! Ain't no big thing.

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Keith 2 years ago

It's different, usually in Downtown Lawrence it's the developers with their hands out.

2

Irenaku 2 years ago

I was so disappointed to see that Mama Lou would not be at the Busker Festival this year...she is pretty amazing!!

1

Kat Christian 2 years ago

Oh but Shibaten is AMAZING with is Didgeridoo music. Only wish I had the money to buy one of his CDs. Danggggg!! Really enjoyed him. Letterman needs to put him on his show.

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