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America, Balloons, florida, less food-related, out and about

Culture of Hijinks

02.16.11 | 4 Comments

Marrying a balloon artist is a bit like navigating a whole new country, a country that smells vaguely of latex, where one finds balloons of various degrees of inflation in pockets, cars, suitcases, and on the ground or floor. The sudden, unexpected ear-splitting pops are not warring gunfire but balloons breaking. And the natives are fellow balloon artists, Ringling-trained clowns, magicians, jugglers, and ventriloquists who do various things with fire.

There is no ring leader, president, prime minister; it’s every man for himself, but friends pass work to their friends. Entertainment is the livelihood and the lifestyle, and Chinese buffets play a frequent role in socialization. Creativity is the commodity and jokes are the currency.

The Entertainment culture has been a complete joy to join. Having the requisite sense of humor and somewhat creative side, I blend right in with the customs.

My initiation into this culture began with Mr. A and his Time Trike, a steam punk trike he rigged and outfitted himself. He can blow steam and even made a holster for his iPod to play steam engine sound effects. He also has a whole wardrobe to go with it, and so the Steam Punk event we went to a few weeks ago was the perfect arena to strut his costume.

There’s a bar in the downtown with a sushi counter in the back. On a somewhat regular basis, local artists who come to show their wares and hobnob with the non-mainstream crowd circulate to pulsing music around someone who is at least partially naked for one reason or another.

Mr. A came in his full steam punk regalia, ray gun included, and managed to be a huge draw for attention. I guess ray guns are good conversation pieces.

We later wandered into the courtyard in the back. When Mr. A felt that a lull in the action had befallen the evening, he decided it was time to swallow some fire.

Oh, he meant that literally.

He’s the only person I’ve ever met who can spontaneously spit fire. Insert your evil boss/ In-Law/ mother joke here.

He can also speak without moving his mouth. Did I mention he’s the one officiating our wedding?

I get to tag along as photographer to some events, which is especially convenient since I’m unemployed. Where are all the jobs? Oh yeah, China. At least I have plenty of time to photograph people juggling fire.

And rubber chickens. It’s all highbrow over here!

They’re great entertainers—the kids love ‘em, so that gives me plenty of opportunity to steal pictures when they aren’t paying attention.

Or when they are.

Or when they’re sleeping.

This was at the Jupiter Jubilee, and community event in Jupiter. See, entertainers work every event from birthdays and carnivals to bachelor(ette) parties and bar mitzvahs. Being in the culture of entertainment means being adaptable enough to transcend other cultures.

Entertainers also move into circles of unfathomable wealth and opulence. Last month I accompanied John to Mar-a-Lago, the exclusive resort owned by Donald Trump, as he and fellow entertainer Karl, the lad in the blue suit juggling fire above, installed a ballerina piece.

People, this was a child’s birthday party.

There were Barbie cakes for each girl and a ballet troupe to dance around them as they dined. My dad once made a whole obstacle course in our backyard for my birthday when I was young. That was probably more financially savvy and way more fun, but the little girl inside me swooned just a little bit. I kind of wanted a Barbie cake.

I also tailed John to a backyard birthday party where he was commissioned to install a circus-themed sculpture. This was half of their backyard.

There was a tiger in a cage in the driveway, along with a carousel and some other carnival ride. The amount of wealth in Florida, and its cloying obviousness, is rather sickening. But working for devastatingly rich people guarantees good stories and jokes, which makes an entertainer a wealthy person indeed.

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