While at Six Flags (an amusement/theme park in New Jersey) today my daughter and I ran into none other than David Kaplan aka UniDak. David was working the park on stilts. And I must say that a) it was nice to see someone I know (even if only in passing) earning some money as a performer in the area of (dare I say it) the circus arts and b) my hat off to him for braving what is one of the hottest days so far.
Since my kid had pretty much succumbed to the heat and we were on our way out, I can’t say I got to see David doing much besides walking around, but thought you’d all like to know of his exploits. I guess the (not so secret) message here is that having long ago made my career choices, I wish that at his age I had tried something like this too. Cheers, David.
Yeah, today was brutal! To give you an idea of how hot it was, when I got into my car at 6:00 pm, the outdoor thermometer read 102 degrees farenheit. I suppose that if it was 102b at 6:00 in the evening, during noon, it must have been at least 105 degrees… it certaintly felt like it!
As the atmosphere wasn’t all too unicycle friendly, and it was too hot to juggle, all of my time there was spent on stilts.
It really was a great day (minus the heat). The only thing that really bothered me was that I dont know how to twist baloons. I know what all of you are thinking. “Eww baloons” but If I were to charge even a buck per animal or $3 per baloon hat, I would have walked away with A LOT of cash. eh, maybe next year.
To all who have an opportunity to perform, or do strolling entertainment (which is what I did) take it! The looks on peoples faces were great, and in an amusement park, you never get those negative comments that you sometimes get out on the street. In parks, parades, and fairs, people expect and enjoy this stuff.
Basic balloon sculpture is a cinch. You need only 3 things - 1) some qualtex 260Q balloons 2) a pump 3) Marvin Hardy’s book, Balloon Magic. I do my daughters and many of her friends birthday parties and they never fail (although I have yet to collect my fee from any of them). In a day or so you can do a few types of dogs, a giraffe and similarly structured animals. A few extra days and you’ve got bunnies, parrots, and swans and a week or so gets you teddy bears (on unicycles if you like), bicycles and motorcycles. And at a place like Six Flags if you can make swords (one of the easier things to shape) and some basic hats you’ve got 90% of your clientele taken care of.
In my experience at places like IHOP, the Court Jester or other cheesy restaurants that occassionally have balloon artistes a buck is the going rate for just about any single sculpture. At Six Flags, where a bottle of coke costs $3, $1 for a balloon animal is just about the best deal in the place. For that they should have to contribute to your social security fund, too.