Angel the Balloon Man makes an awesome octopus

Angel the Balloon Man, with friend.
.If you’ve been near Pack Square on any tourist-heavy day, odds are you’ve seen a swarm of enraptured children and bemused adults watching Angel the Balloon Guy at work. With deft, well-practiced movements and an artist’s detachment, he warps, twists, deforms and inflates globs of inflated rubber into an attention-grabbing hat, a surrogate puppy or pet dragon, and a monster-slaying/sister-hitting sword. Raised by his first-generation-American immigrant family who had ties to the circus, and eventually trained by Ringling, Angel has spent decades working on his craft. Continue reading Angel the Balloon Man makes an awesome octopus

Sparrow performs “Power Ballad”

Accordion-playing busker Sparrow performs her original song “Power Ballad” near Woolworth Walk 2011.
It had been the better part of a year since I’d encountered Asheville-based busker Sparrow, and I was glad to run into her again. Her video had been one of the most popular from the first year of Busk Break, and I genuinely enjoyed listening to her perform. Although she’d seen the video from Halloween the year before, she said she couldn’t recall which song she performed for me. I remembered the tune, but couldn’t remember the name of it. So, after a moment, she decided to go with a song she was almost certain she hadn’t performed for me.

Unfortunately, she couldn’t quite recall how the song she wanted to play went. So, right in front of me, she worked the entire thing out. Continue reading Sparrow performs “Power Ballad”

Sparrow performs “Walt’s Waltz”

Accordion-playing busker Sparrow performs in front of the Woolworth Walk on Halloween weekend in 2010.
I met Sparrow the weekend of the first MoogFest in downtown Asheville. Even on an average weekend, the city could be mistaken for a costume party that had somehow spilled out onto the streets, but add Halloween weekend and a major, national-level electronic music festival to the mix, and the experience began to border on the hallucinatory. Continue reading Sparrow performs “Walt’s Waltz”