performers' library

Boulder, Colorado (2000)
Martin Ewen

Boulder... For the most part, a sleepy little university town frequented by students and tourists with a mall 4 blocks long and two or three workable pitches. Boulder is home to about 4 resident acts and during the summer months a lot more arrive, mostly for the tourist dollar and the associated easygoing lifestyle.

It's a bit sleepy for my liking. I'm left wondering why so many performers turn up here. It's got a whiff of desperation to it when people travel miles just to perform to groups of twenty for half an hour to make a mere 15 bucks. $15-$50 with hundreds on offer if you're a hard-arse on a unicycle. It puzzles me. I must have arrived at a slow time but I just hold off and wait for my next paid gig rather than join the relentlessly cheerful.

There's something cloying and facile about a tourist town, really, as a street performance venue it seems to celebrate nothing more than people can be manipulated for profit. Retailers and street performers alike in this cozy little town do nothing more than impart an experience akin to a t-shirt with Boulder written on it.

I do not wish to take part and have stayed here a week observing the downtown atmosphere, aghast, agog and apathetic. I will leave here for the comforting bosom of paid work. I will leave behind the pragmatic desperation of performers who line up daily for their chance at a wage while living in trailer parks or their own vans and seemingly celebrating their freedom while locking themselves into perpetually killing time in the mall between shows for 8 or more hours a day- every day.

They, to me, are as powerless and drone-like as the suburban husks scuttling about with sugar saturated offspring desperately trying to balance their leisure time with their disposable incomes. I go for long walks.

Martin Ewen

Martin Ewen and his 3-meter-tall stilt character 'Lurk' have been traversing the globe for the past ten years observing the world from a slightly different perspective than the rest of us.

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