Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The freaks come out at night

At least at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach, they do. Every night, two hours before and two hours after sunset, the pier becomes a cross between a flea market and showcase for street performers. I've never had a chance to go to Key West (and it looks like I never will) but I guess this kind of thing is common down there and that's the vibe they're going for here.

Oh look, a banner that basically states everything I wasted a paragraph on up above. Great.

Here are the merchants plying their wares.

This is, uh, one of the...performers? I guess? As far as I can tell, he's known as The Alien Guy. I guess because the tip bucket attached to that apparatus has a picture of Paula White a space alien on it and says "Tip The Alien". I can't really describe what he does, so I'll just show you in this video...

Still don't get it? Me neither. My friends think it's cool. I find it creepy.

When you need a charcoal rendering of Barbra Streisand from the '60s or Elvis Presley or your own grumpy baby, who are you going to turn to? That's right, your friendly neighborhood sketch artist.

But if you're looking for something a little trippier, well, cross the sidewalk, man...

Can you, like, imagine how much cooler his art would be if he, like, didn't wear the oxygen mask, man?

Let's see what's for sale further down the pier. Trinkety trinkets, baubley baubles, spangly, dangly. Yes, yes, very pretty, very...hold the phone, Louise!

Look. At. That! Do you see it?!? Look closer!!

Ahhhhhhhh!!! It says Clark!! It says Clark!! Don't you understand? Since I was born, there has been a Holy Grail-esque quest to find some sort of novelty item with the name Clark emblazoned on it. My own family looked and looked but to no avail. They'd tell friends and relatives who couldn't believe such a thing to be true but their pursuits were for naught as well. Those people, baffled (and I suspect, bemused) at the notion, told their friends and family to keep an eye out during their own travels hither and yon. It became an exercise in mass futility with an ever-expanding circle of treasure hunters eventually fanning out across the globe in search of that one special thing just for that one special boy. But alas, no such item could be found. No bicycle license plates at Six Flags, no keychains at the Brookfield Zoo, no coffee cups at the Magic Kingdom. Until last Thursday, when I saw with my own two weary eyes, that for which I'd been searching my entire lifetime; a shell from a clam or a turtle or something. I nearly wept as I held it in my hand...and then put it down and walked away. Because while no price tag can be placed on the culmination of a lifetime's quest, I wasn't payin' $5 for some turtle shell nightlight.

If every artistic expression is just some form of imitation at this point, there are worse gimmicks to copy than this one:


Denise said...

"The Alien Guy" has been there at least since I was a teenager. I never knew what to refer to him as so thanks! I always called him the red-haired guy.

Jessie said...

This DMB video is one of my favorite music videos of all time! Thanks for posting it!!