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Old 08-27-02, 10:46 PM   #1
Mr.Taxi Trix
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Arrow Waterloo Buskers Carnival 2002: the Zen Year.

Never been to Waterloo? If you are lucky enough to get invited, jump on it with both big ones. There were record hats all over the pitch this year. (And by the way, the producers care about that, and kept tract of it.) Waterloo gets hoards of people to the pitch, and they are appreciative, educated types, ready to laugh. Itís a treat to perform in that fest.

Who was there...

Andy Zap
Flaming Butterflies
Silly People
Daisy and Derek
Flying Bob
Jim Show
Chef Marko
Jeff Collins
Connie Leaverton
Taxi Trix
Toby Whittington
Kinetic Theater
Seams Like Magic
Marie Claude

What went down...

Rain on Thursday failed to stop us. *

Friday was uncanny in crowd size, and Saturday kept steamrolling it up, right to...

Late Night Madness. This year was seamless. The Silly People MC'd, with an over-the-fence combo of international savvy, hometown, inside joke appeal, and callbacks to last year's show. I opened with standup. Producer Jeff Collins took it hard on the chin for his mullet, with Toby (aka Humanoid gone mad) doing a Phil-inspired correspondent role, combing the crowd, complete with follow spot, hunting "the elusive she mullet". Toby, as it turns out, is one funny cat, and Colin, impeccable and bald as a billiard ball, fed him tasty tangents. Brilliant piece, and if you've spent the hours I have waiting for Jeff on the pitch, it was a pound of flesh, at least. He pulled up sweet, though, supplying his Jeff Collins tattoo giveaways and a poster, and killing 'em with adult balloons, including a man taking a piss, complete with water. Nice one. Marie Claude and Andy Zap did an impromptu dance piece (bodies painted by herself), which could easily pass for well-rehearsed, and moved one lady we all know and love to tears. Combined with Sublimit, they gave weight and substance to the show, which contrasted and added to the powerhouse tomfoolery. Flying Bob slingshotted the entire world up into the air, finishing with glitter. You should have seen him firing bran muffins at our full whiteface clown, in a second story carpark window behind the stage. It was otherworldly stuff. Stitch killed us with very simple but perfectly timed single word appearances... more than that I dare not say, and Jim escaped from 2 wet paper bags. Enter Flaming Butterflies, and its over. What more could you ask? The hat broke all records.

Sunday fizzled, as it will, but you still pulled a fat hat.

Waterloo itself is one of the warm festivals, with open fridge and tasty vibe well described by Martin last year. They are kind to performers, and yes, they offer to move your stuff for you. (I'm always uncomfortable with that, as are most of us, but it rocks to have the offer, and help when you need it.) Cheryl had big shoes to fill, and by God she pulled it off, adding to a whiz-bang festival and making it, who knew it could be done, better.

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.

Three stars. Go, and go again.

* Here's the rain storypoem...

The rain fell down in sheets of gray on Flying Bob's first show.
We huddled into grabba java, wishing it would go,
and rain on some southoffish city far from our festive pitch
where poleaxed buskers just fresh landed briskly began to bitch,
and watch and wonder what the wind would welcome to our street,
as punters pushed, umbrellas propped, and shuffling on their feet.

A brazen lass then got one off in mistriddled twilight gray:
we smelled the cash, it wasn't bad, it might just do to play.
The coin and paper tumbling in whitewashed our dreary mood,
Bob climbed back up and sang a wiry solo for his food.

The Silly's jumped, the crowd was pumped, and laughter sprang to fix,
to echo through the alleyways, the businesses, the bricks,
Oh Danny boy slipped up his ladder, filled his hat to rim
and I was next to get one off, my crowd supplied by him,
and handed off in turn to fiery Human Butterfly,
they danced it damn near wordless to a skillgifted lullabye.

As crickets chirped, a croaking toad moaned, an owl heard the sound,
of rain, incessant raining spilling certain to the ground,
away from yellow lights in Waterloo, far from our spellbinding trance,
fifteen companion clouds completed steps in communal dance
which was observed by satellites, which were observed by stars,
which dance uninterrupted in patterns not quite unlike ours,

With swirling motion, silent singing lifesong straight to space
which whirling pulling planets round them, spins them, face to face,
to circle, dancing silently like raindrops in a glass,
propelled by sunlight gravity which they cannot surpass
they do not stop to wonder from their lofty fiery lives,
if I could have got two less toonies, and a few more fives.


[ 08-28-2002: Message edited by: Mr.Taxi Trix ]</p>
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Old 08-28-02, 11:19 PM   #2
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Oh yeah, and the PR work was minimal, and took place on the pitch before your shows. Great touch, that.
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Old 08-29-02, 10:02 AM   #3
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Wonderful re-cap Taxi. Outstanding memories for me are The Sillys, Stitch and the late night show. And yes, the hats were big.

Another huge thanks to Cheryl for making it happen, and to the rest of the crew... Jennifer, Tracey, Colleen, Randy, Suzanne, Irene and anyone else I forgot off the top of my head.

Remember; the big difference between Waterloo and other festivals is that the committee is made up of VOLUNTEERS. They do it because they love it and the performers feel the love.

There's just something different about Waterloo.

I'm always happy to return there.
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Old 09-06-02, 10:40 PM   #4
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I just want to thank everyone, and I mean everyone, at Waterloo and Windsor (see note under subject 'Windsor') for what was one of the best experiences I've had as a busker thus far. It was as though I had not a worry but to prepare for my next show. You put in a big effort to give me that liberty.
When I was soaked from a downpoor in Windsor Ken called for Jason to golf-cart me to my hotel room so that I could change and be back in time for a waiting audience. After crashing out from a big show in Waterloo (I admit it, I was counting cash) Suzanne and Cheryl came looking for me and cleared a path on jam-packed King St. so I could get to my pitch.
You see, I was so happy I forgot what little job I had.
Many moments like these made my experience priceless.
It was a pleasure, all.
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