Friday, July 03, 2009


Street performers in the cities we visit are great places for the kids to stop and take a break. We have the obligatory pictures of certain children standing next to a silver man, a gold woman, the giant bubble blowers, dancing in front of a guy with a violin and a marionette . . . We've even had students perform while they were here on study abroad, so we know that in Vienna you have to go and sign up and get a permit for a specific place and time. When Will was a year and a half, we remember setting him loose in the pedestrian section in Vienna and following him by watching the heads turn as he ran from one to another. Back then our kids could often draw a crowd to the performer by dancing to their music. The kids also get a kick out of putting money in their hat/violin case/monkey's paw. Sebastian was so excited to give money to two guys playing strings in Parc Guell that he ran up while they were still tuning.
We saw this guy on the Graben on Saturday night, and he is one of the best I've ever seen. Not only does he have a formidable talent playing three dozen water glasses, he also has a great rapport with the audiences. You can see him above tuning up with a big plastic syringe. In addition to filling and emptying the glasses with it, he uses it to squirt at people and draw pictures on the ground. He squirted it in a big circle all the way around him and said "move on in!" and we all did. On Saturday night he was flirting with the college girls who were giggling in the front row, drawing hearts and smiley faces on the ground in front of them.
Then on Wednesday night I was taking the Isaaks back to their home via the Kaertnerstrasse and the Stefansdom, and I saw him again! We stopped to watch, and this time he was playing to some little kids in the front. He played "alle meine Entchen" did a waltz, Brahms Hungarian Dances, and some Mozart, which thankfully Curtis caught with his camera and you can listen to by clicking here. He would blow kisses to people who dropped in money, or squirt them (as he did Sebi, again trying to pay up even before the tuning was done). He'd squeak his wet hands down the store front window. He would wiggle the table with his foot which made it sound seasick. This is the one guy I would get a CD of this summer -- only I'd want a DVD.
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