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Old 01-03-03, 10:38 AM   #1
The Renaissance Man
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Post Sharing a stage with acts who run long

So ok...most of my performances are not busking/hat shows, so this has never been a pressing issue before. But two days out of the year I play a festival at which busking is the main source of income; and this year an act is coming who, I'm given to understand, has a penchant for running into the next act's showtime.

Clearly the best way for this to be addressed is for mgmt to make a blanket announcements to all stage acts about the importance of sharing politely; but I thought I'd canvas the group for other strategies for handling the disappearance of your allotted time.

Thanks!

cd

[ 01-03-2003: Message edited by: The Renaissance Man ]

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Old 01-03-03, 12:36 PM   #2
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Sadly theres not much you can do . Its a personality disorder. They will look you in the eye and nod and say 'yeah sure' but once their show has started then nothing short of a foghorn will cut them short before their self defined attention feeding cycle is complete. Various justifications like, "my show is just this long, its paced, I can't cut anything "etc are simply that... justifications.
Its a combination of having a show that worked really well a decade ago and being too scared to mess with it reductively but at the same time coming up with new material that gets bolted on to the structure.
IMHO theres also a scary parallel between an infant who's been weaned prematurely and carried that loss and dissapointment through life until they're first successful street show. They then wallow in that warm milk, nipple sucking ,center of the universe heaven until they are sated. (I recommend burping them after their shows)
If that takes 70 mins rather that the 40 they have been given then so be it but you have to recognise that its a subconcious thing, they have no control over their impulses, they are basicly automations trying to compensate for the tragic withdrawl of a tit in their formative years.
The fact that they have to act like a tit themselves is lost on them.
These people cannot be reasoned with or controlled, they are beyond help and should be pitied. They should have their own festival and they should be tortured by giving them audiences with reduced attention spans.
They should be incouraged to switch addictions and drink themselves to death as that way we can get on with our lives without being subjected to their pathetic transparent attempts to gain back the impossible at our expense.
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Old 01-03-03, 03:01 PM   #3
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Hey Martin!

Although I fully agree with you that performers who take more time than they are granted are not acting in a very considerate way, I still would like to suggest that you don't bother us with all the agression you appearently built up by letting those people run all over you over the years. Considering your overly frustrated post, you have got a problem, mate. Get over it. <img src="graemlins/haha.gif" border="0" alt="[ha ha]" />

Yes, it's annoying when a performer runs terribly late and I have to wait for him. But as soon as I start my show, it's not my problem anymore. If I am granted 30 minuits, I'll play 30 minuits. It's not my task to make up for other people's behaviour in this particular case. And as an added bonus, I'll start my show with more adrenaline in my veins than usual, because I am slightly pissed off. It always works and usually just makes me work better...
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Old 01-03-03, 03:07 PM   #4
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Ditto, but they should also be bare-bottom spanked in public.


This is one of my Favorite pet peeves. Martin is right in the brain-free blindness some of these acts achieve around time. Blithe. Precious.

It is pathetic, yes, but also it takes money away from other acts, which makes it a pathos we all quietly finance. I shouldn't name names, but consistent offenders include The Mullet, Pie Face, and, oh hell, the Calypso Tumblers. I've told 'em all to their face that they are out of line on that score. Johnny Fox and I shared a pitch with the Tumblers in Denver, were in no mood for their intimidation tactics, (scary but transparent) and made it perfectly clear that if they ran long, we would. Suddenly, the were done on time, every show, all day.

If time queens knew they would skip a show if they went long, they would not run long. Talk to your producer.

Is there a way for festivals to clean this up without turning into temporal fascists? I'm beyond curious. I looked at it in this Waterlooo review: http://www.performers.net/cgi-bin/ul...c&f=5&t=000056
"How could they improve it? I don't know. Waterloo has a homey touch that makes you comfortable, and the greenroom is now on the ground floor: whew. I didn't even mind the dorm housing this year. They might take a page out of Denver's book, and have daily cast meetings, where they could put in some accountability around show lengths. (One hour and twenty-two minutes on main pitch is wrong, no matter how you slice it, and knowing blatant transgressions would be announced and/or penalized with a skip in rotation would stop them cold.) Thatís it, and all the fests could use that template, actually. Down with time queens who overeat from the fest bowl. Enough of the soapbox."

This is a valuable conversation, because when you are waiting around for some ass to finally wrap it and get off your scheduled pitch, your mindset deteriorates, and often, your ability to perform well diminishes.

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Old 01-03-03, 03:51 PM   #5
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Pyro
'As soon as I start my show, its not my problem anymore."
Sounds suspiciously close to the problem being addressed.
In the real world, these things sort themselves out fairly swiftly.
Its only really an issue at festivals and as such is really the casting directors or event organisers responsibility.
I think my aggression is fairly well placed, sorry if you don't, because as you know your opinion means a great deal to me.
I'm a superior fuck its true and part of the reason is that on my travels I would usually check out the queue of juggling drones with their bikes and their flames and their straightjackets and their poached personalities (some of them are my friends, tragic really)
and go off and make my own pitch and be done and in the bar before the line was anywhere near finished.
Nothing 'over the years' has added to the frustration I initially exploited in entertaining strangers at their own expense to combat my own inexpicable dissapointment with reality.
Ask around...If anything I'm getting kinder as I age.
Never liked selfish people much. which is what this threads about.
The every man for himself thing sort of conflicts humorously with 'I wait on the pitch all day for my turn cos I'm celebrating my independant lifestyle.'
If you can't adapt, to suit the consensus, then work elsewhere, where there is none.
And as an administrator, if you cant get any adaptation from a performer, ie 30 mins, 40 mins, 10 min pieces, then employ someone who can.
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Old 01-03-03, 07:26 PM   #6
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[quote]Originally posted by martin ewen:
<strong>Pyro
'As soon as I start my show, its not my problem anymore."
Sounds suspiciously close to the problem being addressed.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I was afraid you could conceive it this way, so I should have known you would...
I like being flexible and I am likely to be, but in a festival atmosphere the main concern should be with the organizers. And yes, I have had worse shows because someone takes his time a little too long, but also because someone a little further ahead stupidly decides it's 'his turn' now and ruins a good hat just minuits before I was about to end anyway.
Somewhere I wonder wether you, with a 'I'll just find a spot of my own' attitude might create your own problem by stepping on the toes of other performers. But that depends on your distance from the 'usual pitch'.
Once I start my show, I'll hunt for the best one for this opportunity, although it will as good as never run longer than the time I am designated - actually I don't think I ever did until now. But I won't rush myself either, to make up for the time that others took without thinking about other people.
It's all a matter of flexibility and being considerate. I don't like it if people are inconsiderate, but I don't like myself if I get overly agressive about it. And during a festival, I think one of the main concerns should be not only to make our money, but also to have a good time together and do our best to make it happen together.
Running late doesn't fit very well in this line of behaviour, but sometimes it just happens. Just as schedule changes and other little annoyances...
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Old 01-03-03, 07:32 PM   #7
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There's two ways to handle this problem - proactively and brushfire.

If the producer knowingly books an artist who runs long shows (ie - 1) they've asked, and/or 2) the artist has informed them), then they know what they're presenting and can accommodate such in a schedule. And even if when an adjusted schedule is kept, there will still be small amounts of whining about X act holding the pitch for so long.

More often, an artist keeps hold of a pitch without having schedule say-so, increasing the ire of fellow cast members, and sometimes wearing out their welcome back.

I've dealt with persistent offenders thrice, twice forearmed, and once a bit blindsided. In the former case, the schedule was the schedule, but it was hard to manage the breaks on a multi-pitch site once one performance threw the historical rhythm of the show off. It became a "go when you get the nod" situtation, which always feels a bit seat-of-yer-pants. One of the known situations involed a gear-heavy installation that needed extra strike time to clear the pitch. Their show was still within standard range, and didn't seem to provoke the ire of fellow artists as much as the one who was knowingly booked for a longer performance time, even though both were known in advance.

The latter case was a situation where an artist I'd previously known to be responsive and cooperative kept continually going over time, despite repeated requests to keep to the times respected by others. I've never come so close to breaking a circle (save once when I actually did, in a dire emergency) as I did with that artist. I've rarely been so hot under the collar as I was in that situation. I unfortunately pulled the "do you want to continue working this festival" card, and hope not to have to do so gain. And ultimately, I will be *extremely* reluctant to work with this artist again.

I don't think the best way for mngt to deal with this is by making "share nicely" announcements. I think mngt needs to make plans that work, ahead of time. Failing that, you need to notify (again and again, singly or as a group) mngt of the problem and that you expect something to be done (adjust the schedule, change the rotation, edit part of a show -gasp). It's unforgiveable when management goes on blithely ignoring the increasing antagonism that happens in these situations. It's their job to keep things flowing - both the scheduled shows and the peace among artists.

Utimately, I think Martin's right about it being some kind of hereditary disease. Folks who do this repeatedly, even in the face of pleadings, warnings and consequences, have absolutely no concept of time or of sharing the space with others once they enter that circle. My solution? Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. I no longer hire them. Simple.

[ 01-03-2003: Message edited by: Lynneski ]</p>
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Old 01-03-03, 08:27 PM   #8
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Yah Bravo, Lynne. We've sat outside a circle together and rolled our eyes, haven't we?

Time queens are not stupid. Look, unless they're presenting pure drivel by punter standards, (rare, that.) they get more money for a longer show. The overhead is in place, they've moved all their gear, thousands in adverts have brought these huge crouds, and well gee, why not linger, and look, there's the peel off from Another circle! Look mom, no ethical roadblocks! Its unfair and listen, it is neither unconscious nor unintentional. Nothing complicated: longer show, more money. Our money.


And as for you, tall, dark, and superior,

[quote]Originally posted by martin ewen:
<strong> juggling drones with their bikes and their flames and their straightjackets and their poached personalities (some of them are my friends, tragic really)
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yeah, it is. If only you had a wider circle of superior types to choose from, if only their baser, common natures weren't offset by their potential as resources, or if only cynicism paid. Tragic, all around. Mimey pain in my ass.

Pyro, you are right in that Martin can draw people from any circle. (Including the Dutchmen, let the record show.) But he doesn't. He's a moveable feast,
if you like that sort of thing, and creates a circle by his very being.
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Old 01-03-03, 10:05 PM   #9
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Heh, heh. Mail from Martin and a post from Trix-i, all within the hour. Hard to tell its a snowy midwinter night here in the Northeast, eh lads?

Ooooh, all this has gotten me thinking of testier times. Karl, I second your notion to slightly edit yer previous post. No need to name names, though the right combination of letters hardly keeps anyone who knows the tale from identifying the culprits. Suffice to say I've heard the wide-eyed statement "But my show has *always* been 45 minutes long" enuf to last my next kharmic turn.

Pyro, I gotta take exception to one of yer points. Martin's agression doesn't stem from "letting those people run all over you over the years", rather, from a series of importunate incidents stemming from the night he got inadvertently left behind in the primates zone of the zoo as a young lad. I've seen him peel focus from circles, more often than the opposite, and he can hold his own against most - including drunken louts and roving bands of over-caffeinated brash near-teens. (Sorry, Celia, I had to do it again.)

No, those who play the "hah, hah, I'm in the circle and you can't stop me" game are not only stealing the bread from the performer slated next, but are buggering up *everyone's* income by backing up the whole schedule and messing with the flow of the breaks. It can take a half a day to recover from one overly long show. And it almost always means someone else has lost the break the timepig took.

I would ask "Is it really worth the extra $50 to piss off all your colleagues and the people you're working for?" I guess, their answer can only be "Who cares."

Oh, and Pyro, I'd prefer that performers don't have to start their show with an extra measure of anger-driven aggression. It may work for you or your character, but it won't work for most and can be off-putting to an audience.

[ 01-03-2003: Message edited by: Lynneski ]</p>
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Old 01-03-03, 10:43 PM   #10
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Let it be said that I find people who make me wait just as annoying as all of you and that I do agree with you all... It's just that I read Martin's message on my bear stomach and that I had to reply. At least I want to give it a go to see everything from the sunny side...

I can tell you: when people let me wait, I am not happy and I hate it if people just turn a blind I to others and I don't like letting people wait and... etc. etc. etc.

[quote]Originally posted by Lynneski:
<strong>Pyro, I gotta take exception to one of yer points. Martin's agression doesn't stem from "letting those people run all over you over the years"
</strong>

Hey, what else could I do after reading that message on my bear stomach than playing a smartass? [img]wink.gif[/img]

<strong>Oh, and Pyro, I'd prefer that performers don't have to start their show with an extra measure of anger-driven aggression. It may work for you or your character, but it won't work for most and can be off-putting to an audience.</strong>

When I start, it's not the anger anymore that drives me, but the adrenaline it left... <img src="graemlins/haha.gif" border="0" alt="[ha ha]" />
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Old 01-04-03, 01:07 AM   #11
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Well, alright, now the kissing and making up is over...
I've been following the thread for the last few hours, and it wasn't until Lynneski's last post that I realized that these alleged performers you speak of are only 45-minute acts. Pardon my ignorance (at least in this case), but I don't do festivals. Well I did one, and it was a total wash-out (I won't mention which one because the organizers do deserve a second chance), but part of the problem was that they had scheduled each and every one of us for 30 minute time slots, which, in my opinion, was idiotic. So, basically, I'm just curious, do these festivals only do 30 minute slots, or are you just referring to certain pitches and/or scheduling situations?
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Old 01-04-03, 03:56 AM   #12
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I say have a giant ticking clock on each pitch in plain view for the performer. Once the show begins, the clock starts ticking. After the performer goes over their alloted time, the clock keeps track of "negative time." This "negative time" is then added to their next show. So if the performer is given 45 minutes per show and they go for an hour (15 minutes over), the next show they are only given 30 minutes. If they go for an hour again, they lose a show. This would give every performer equal "performing minutes" during the festival.

If a performer like Pie Face chooses to do an hour and 30 minutes, that counts for two 45 minute slots. He could actually have his two night shows rolled into one. He would just request that his 90 minutes of "night time" be used at once.

Obviously, there are circumstance where people are forced to take more time on the crowd building end (slow traffic times, rain, etc.) but there is no reason to milk a festival crowd for over an hour once you have two or three rows sitting down. Just get on with the damn show and entertain them... and leave them wanting MORE.

Jim

P.S. Part of the problem may be with the crowds themselves... Canadians are so darn PATIENT! They'll actually sit and watch a guy with a mullet do every line in the book for over an hour... and then PAY! Try that in the states; you'd go through three separate crowds in that time.
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Old 01-04-03, 09:16 AM   #13
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Amen. It doesn't even need to be a huge clock. Jim, are you obsessed with huge clocks? As long as the queens know the consequence. Eric, we are talking festivals of 45 mins, 30 mins, either one will do. We are discussing some acts which normally consider the first 45 minutes to be a good solid build, and go from there into another 45. really. OK, off to the barmitzvah. sigh.


Lynne, you were right, and Martin concurred, but the edit of that post really came from the promise of checks, in Canadian funds, unfortunately, as representative of a small token of the hat money I've lost to their time psychosis. I wish.

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Old 01-04-03, 06:20 PM   #14
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Ah, forget the technology. I say we just go back to the hook. Immediate, visceral, requires only one operator, and incredibly effective. 'Course, we could just step another few eras back, and reach for the guillotine.

Trix, I think your envelope will arrive about the same time as my big bag 'o "I wanna throw a fest anywhen anywhere" cash arrives. Off-season is for dreaming.
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Old 01-04-03, 10:28 PM   #15
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All names have been changed to protect me from cries of "innocent".

Lynne, you make an excellent point, and I seem to recall an act in Windsor getting the hook on mainstage. Was this your baleful influence? The hook itself could have used an upgrade, but at least it got the cheezy bastard off the pitch. I was relieved. Its one solution...

We could make them do shows in groups of five in venues much to small: that would be wright. Or make them give their hats to charity, but that would be wong.

I do love the timing idea, but it does raise the impossible question of when does a show begin. Those lull times will nip you in the ass on this one. When does gathering end?

Also, how deep into overtime until it becomes legally permissable to shoot a performer?
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Old 01-05-03, 11:25 AM   #16
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Oh the perils of the street shows! I've only been in this game for a few years but have been part of quite a few festivals. I think that everyone has valid points. As an organiser, I have been put in that position of backing the promoters and the performers at the same time (Taxi - you know what I mean!). It's a tough call when you have promoters who have sponsored the event cursing you because they decide to give you 30min slots (when you as the organiser know damn well that none of the acts you hired do a 30min show) and the performers who lose shows at the end of the night because of this situation. My festival in Halifax runs on 1 hr slots now - this was something that I implemented about a year ago to try and clear up these hassles.

If I hire an act, my first questions are on the time of their show. I make it clear to them that all pitches run 1 hr and no longer. As Jim had stated, when an act runs over their allotted time the next act has to make up for the "queen". This is true in Halifax. I have a meeting the day before the festival and on the day of the site walk and make it clear that I do not tolerate acts run over their allotted time slot. This way, all acts are clear on the situation.
I'm not saying that it doesn't occasionally still happen, but as Lynne stated (in so many words) burning bridges doesn't fly well.

My beliefs are that of each performer is a professional. I have hired you as a professional - why not act like it?
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Old 01-05-03, 02:58 PM   #17
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Yup, 1 hour spots are the way we worked things when I was at Waterloo, and also at Dundas. Time to set, draw, perform, hat and clear the pitch. Likely it's the case for you too, Kelly, but the start times and number of shows at any one given time at the fests I've worked have been based on a schedule that's been tweaked over history so as to be quite accurate at predicting where and when crowds will appear. Messing with the timeslot, then, messes with the whole she-bang.

But every fest has it's esthetic and it's own chi. Before I worked with Ken at Windsor last year, I had a hard time grasping his explanations of how Windsor flows different, how he expects closer to 30 minute shows, schedules closer to 45's, and why that works there. Having been there, now I get it. It's some wierd thing about the combination of the black asphalt site, the pitch arrangement, and the crowds that virtually requires it to operate in the way it does. But part of the reason why it works is because most of the time the circles are hand-delivered to you - there's little need to do much of a build. Wait five minutes after the pitch next to you goes down, and you're good to go. *When* that next-door pitch goes down is then the question.

Chicago, I understand, tried to work their schdule on 30's in their first year. That's gotta be very difficult to do when there's no crowd flow established, long builds required - how in the heck do you pull off a 15-20 minute build and then a show and still stay on time? There's gotta be some transitioning built in, and some allowance for vagaries of attendance.


Sometimes the sites themselves determine what the time structure looks like. At both Edmonton and Windsor, one can see nearly all, if not all, the pitches from almost any location on the square. So it doesn't matter so much where the next show goes up, as folks can see the circle forming. In Waterloo and Dundas, pitches are aligned in a row along the street. One can't see anything but the very next pitch, so timing what goes up in the next space has to closely relate to the space in use.

Ok, maybe this is all getting a little too noodly, even for me.

To summarize for the original query: timehogs are cutting your grass. Be the squeaky wheel to mngt until something is resolved. Vow not to be a timehog. Don't book timehogs.

Oh, and Taxi - I've now added a version 2.0 hook to my roadkit. Let that be a warning to all faceless comics.
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Old 01-07-03, 01:07 PM   #18
em
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My go my go!
Ok, god, sometimes Peewee and i struggle to get past 31 minutes let alone bloody 80 minutes! thats because we are oldish, well 30ish and we dance, well not dance exactly. well i dance, peewee rabbits on till i slap him.
so, tell them they HAVE to dance for at least half the show then they'll bloody well keep it short in 40 degree temps.
secondly, send them to The Shizouaka street competition. If you go over 20 minutes, even by a minute, you lose "points". You become one of the acts that stands at the back of the stage shuffling with humiliation as a 5 hour prize giving ceremony is painfully drawn out.And you get nothing. absolutely nothing.
Tax them. If doing REALLY long shows REALLY earns you more money(?) (MONEY MONEY MONEY)then every minute they go over they have to pay $10/$20/£100 depending on the person in charge of taxing at the time.
Then the taxed money goes to acts that aren't very good at busking. Like dancers that have to give shows away because its too hot and their makeup is dripping off and one of them was in the bar till 5AM with Hot Nuts and Pop Corn, Martin, Nick etc.And it could be either one of them.
I like the taxing idea.. the more i think about it...
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Old 06-03-03, 04:33 PM   #19
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I've never been to a place where it ran on time. But I've been lucky, I haven't had a real problem with time queens. If I'm given 30 minutes and I start late I use my 30 mins.

In comedy clubs I've known a problem with aspiring comics though and their is a physical law that says the more mediocre the comic, the longer he will over run by.

In comedy mediocrity is worse than being utterly bad. But the utterly bad ones are normally heckled off before their time anyway.
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Old 02-24-04, 04:28 AM   #20
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Granted that the performer has done this many times before and is aware of the fact that he is going over time, try this:

Make sure you have your crate turned up loud and start your show beside him using his last row as your first. Best time to do this is during his hat line - yeah they love that. "FREE Show here ..." Go crazy!!! Finish with his front row being your last.

The tumblers and I had our differences, so I did the "COOL Tumbler show" Strapped on my hard helmet and did my summersalts - left a nice blood stain on the pier, but it was worth it. (FYI I don't do a tumbler show, let a lone a summersalt)

Don't let other performers walk over you, unless you play the bagpipes.

Cool!
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