I can sense the end of a life-chapter approaching, the end of my beginnings as a traveling performer. When I’m old I’ll tell stories about how my post-college career began by taking two years to ride my first motorcycle ~30,000 miles coast-to-coast while learning to perform street magic. I took a leap of faith and learned how to fly before I hit the ground. Now that I’ve earned my wings, there’s only one thing left to do.
At the end of June I will load the bike up for the fourth tour across the country. The New Orleans street performing season has come to a close as thunderstorms, sweltering heat, and suffocating humidity descends upon the French Quarter. I bid my busker friends good bye as they travel off to distant lands to flee from the heat and find greener pastures until next Mardi Gras season. It was a new feeling for me, being amongst a band of busking brothers saying farewells, knowing we’d all share pitches again someday somewhere in the world. Since I am locked in a lease through the end of June, I decided to take a few weeks to fly back to Seattle for the 44th annual Northwest Folklife Festival.
When I began street performing in 2012, Folklife was my very first time performing in a festival setting. It proved to be an invaluable lesson about the peripheral environmental factors that affect the mood / predisposition of foot traffic. At a festival, the people there have the intent to be festive — they are already looking to have fun, to be entertained, and to spend money. On a normal weekend in Jackson Square back in New Orleans, we must work with a grab-bag of locals on the way to work or church, mixed in with tourists on set schedules. At festivals it is infinitely easier to build crowds and elicit enthusiasm, and it seems to be the most direct translation of the skills I’ve learned street performing. In the future I hope to have a circuit of them planned out across the U.S. (world?).
It was such a pleasure performing for my home-state. The more of the country I see, the more I notice what makes Washingtonians different. They are an intelligent down-to-earth bunch, and since it was my third Folklife, many people mentioned having enjoyed my performances in the past. It really made me feel at home to be told at the end of a show that the person tipping me has been following my adventures online. The Northwesterners are also much, much more weather-hardy. In other regions pedestrians scatter at the slightest sign of rain, but in Seattle I did several shows in a steady drizzle for crowds of raincoats.
Instead of flying straight back to N.O., I decided to stop in New York City for a week to visit friends and check out Central Park. The east coast is one of the few regions of the country I haven’t seen yet, and since my route for the upcoming tour is still undecided I thought I’d do some scouting. I continue to learn how to maximize the freedoms and opportunities presented by this lifestyle, and for me, flexibility of movement is right there at the top of the perks.
Part of why I took to the road was to see where I wanted to plant my roots next. So far, the two places I like the most have been the beginning and the end, Seattle and New Orleans. I now know what the time-window is for each location’s tourist season, and it looks like I very well may be able to split my year cleanly in half between NW summers and SE winters, attaining the retiree’s snow-birding lifestyle at the ripe old age of 25.
As for my next move, I will film this upcoming NO2SEA tour before hiding away for the fall to edit and produce a DVD documenting my experience as a magician on a motorcycle. I aim to have that project wrapped up by the end of winter, giving me an extra product to pitch as part of the show next season in New Orleans. After that, I hope to spend next summer riding about Europe on another motorcycle.
There’s so much left to write about, and if I hope to have a book done by my five-year anniversary then I better get back on track with my posts. As the tour picks up you can count on new stuff coming out much more frequently. As always thank you very much for reading, stay tuned <3