Suitcase and World: Artistas callejeros.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Artistas callejeros.

One of the most enjoyable things that we got to do on this trip was watch the street performers. A lot of entertainment for just a small tip!

Our first encounter was in Puebla. It was close to the end of the day. We were just returning from the street fair and as we neared the Cathedral, we could a small crowd gathered in the plaza adjoining the cathedral. There were a pair of clowns performing for the crowd. They were speaking in Spanish so I didn't catch anything of what they were saying but the crowd would break out in laughter every now and again so they must have been an entertaining pair. I was amused by their acrobatic moves.

We hung around and watched the clowns for while but not getting the jokes didn't make it quite as fun so we walked on.

We didn't have to walk far though.  In another area of the same plaza, there was man dressed in a black tee shirt and black jeans twirling rods that had been lit on fire.  Four drummers provided a thumping beat.  I took out my webcam and started to video record!

It got even more entertaining as the rod got longer and the flames larger!

I couldn't believe it.  There I was, standing in the shadows of the Cathedral watching what could have been a couple of circus acts.  Now, that's what I call entertainment!

The next day, another drumming and twirling act set up their stage just in front of the Palacio Municpal which is directly across the zócalo from the Cathedral.  She was good but I prefer the fire twirler.

There was the street dancers in San Cristóbal de las Casas dressed in Indian costumes. The crowd was so huge I couldn't get much of view.   I caught as much of the performance as I could but there were so many people crammed into a small space that I couldn't even get enough space to take out my camcorder and video record the act.

Then, there was the coolest of performers....the person that was dressed up like the Grim Reaper - head to toe and hands in black. You can't see the face at all so you can't tell if it's a man or a woman.  He/she appeared in the zócalo, in Puebla, after darkness had fallen.

Through out our day in Puebla, we had seen performers like this scattered about Calle Cinco de Mayo.  For some reason, Ayşe was unnerved by them, probably cause they were all dressed up to look like death figures.

Most performed solo but some in pairs.  All were dressed in black though the costumes and makeup would vary.  When we saw a similar performer in Oaxaca, Francisco called them "Living Statues".  Basically, they're performance artists.   It took us some watching to figure out the act.

Each Living Statue stands on a podium of sorts.  I'm guessing either a stool or a box.  The idea is to tower over you.

At their feet is a box or some other container.  So, it goes like this.

You put your donation into the box at their feet.  The Living Statue opens up the box that he/she is holding.  Inside, there are tightly wrapped scrolls of paper.  You reach in and take a scroll.  The Living Statue closes up the box.  That's it.

I walked away with my scroll and when I unrolled it, I found my surprise.  Imprinted on the paper was a quote from Voltaire.  Translated into English, it reads:

"Love is the strongest of all passions for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, the senses."

It was bit of memorable fun and it cost me just 3 pesos....less than 30 cents!

Street performers.  Inexpensive entertainment.  I love them!