I’ve been moving a lot lately, and a few days have slipped past without an update. It would be much easier for me to just go about the adventure, but since this blog has taken off I’ve felt a responsibility to continue bring my friends and family along with me. The blog started as a way for me to document the lessons I’ve learned, and also to let my family know I hadn’t fallen off a mountain somewhere. The feedback I’ve received is really what’s kept me honest with it, ensuring I sit down every few days to recap and muse over my experiences.
Denver was a wonderful introduction to Colorado, a large city with a lot of culture. It’s always a trip setting up in a new town, not knowing the specifics of how street performing is accepted there. I did one show for two wonderful people, mostly just chatting with them since the crowd never built, but it broke the ice nonetheless. I asked around and discovered I was in the wrong part of town for busking, and walked up 16th Street Mall a bit to the Pavillions where traffic increased exponentially. I set up and began to draw a crowd, conducting the social orchestra of transforming a sidewalk into a theater. There were around 20 spectators halfway through the show when three bicycle cops rolled up and posted up across the street behind me. I was pretty sure there weren’t any permit requirements, but the way the audiences’ eyes kept bouncing over my shoulder had me questioning it again. The cops never approached me after the show, and it turned out I was correct in there being no permit required, but in the moment it was a pretty big question mark.
I chose street theater as my primary introductory venue not to make a million bucks, but to sharpen my skills as a performer. There are circumstances that arise in street performing that would never happen in any other venue. Keeping my cool and finishing a show while potentially hostile authorities stared at my back is the type of valuable experience that will undoubtedly help me in my career down the line. The streets have many more hecklers than any private gig, many more interruptions, and a whole lot more of the unexpected. After just a year of rounding up crowds outdoors, now when I get a captive audience indoors it’s usually a piece of cake.
I left Denver late Friday night after being shown around by a wonderful local. I arrived in Boulder around 5:30AM on Saturday, after having slept a few hours on a little ranch road along Highway 93. I explored the hills outside the college town, looking for a vantage point to capture the sunrise from. I ended up returning without the shot, my hands becoming numb from the dramatically cooler mountain air. I kicked around town a bit, seeing what Pearl Street was about.
It was past 11 before any other performers came out, and I asked a kind older magician named Kendall about the busking norms in the town. I got around to setting up, and had immediate success. I’m realizing it’s so important to perform for your type of people when you can; the people that you relate to. Being in a mountain town, a lot of these people are respectful of nature, open minded, and laid back. It reminds me a lot of the Pacific NW.
I did great in Boulder, and will definitely be returning there, maybe even this summer. I’ve been taking this cross-country tour to explore what the country has to offer in terms of towns, and I’d always had a hunch about Colorado. We’ll see what the future holds, but me moving here wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.
I’m now in a little town next to Telluride, and it looks like a storybook. Snow-capped mountains on every side, green trees, flowing streams grey and red rocks. I’m being put up in a small apartment for the week while I perform, and though I haven’t done any shows yet, I do have a really great feeling about it.
In Boulder I met up with my buddy Nate, a fellow KLR rider I’ve mentioned once or twice before. It’s been a relief riding with others, knowing I’m a little safer with someone to watch my back. He’s more experienced with these bikes, and has already helped me with a handful of troubleshooting. I also now have someone that can film me. This shot is the first time I’ve seen myself riding on my bike.
We’ll be exploring the trails around Telluride when I’m not performing. I’ve tried to get these experiences into words while they’re still fresh, but now that I’m stationary for a week, I’ll be catching up on my writings. Stay tuned!