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Weekend, July 16, 2005


SUMMER in the CITY : the Revenge of the Mimes

Like most Metropolitan Zones, Chicago’s shopping districts are enhanced during the summer months by Colorful and sometimes Talented Street Performers.

None turn the head, or empty the wallet faster than,
drumroll please, the Mimes…

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you’ve heard me speak of this species with WONDER and Warm Regard over the seasons I’ve been writing. Mimes hold a Special Place in my Heart reserved for none other.

I regard them so highly that for the most part, I NEVER photograph them. Even though I always have my camera with me, even though I long with the deepest part of my soul to capture their enterprising spirit forever on film, I’ve resisted my primal urges, gawked and gathered their ministrations, then moved along…

Everything changed last Friday…

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On Fridays after work, I ususally stroll a few blocks past my regular bus stop and window shop on the Miracle Mile.

I go to the Book Store, the Shisheido lipstick counter at SAKS (loving to arrive really messy looking after a day of shooting) or maybe I just get a Teriyaki Bowl at WoW BAO in the lobby of Water Tower.

YES! I’m a Low Rent kindof Local who just might be getting their jollies alongside some visitiors in the Tourist Zone that runs along Michigan Ave. What’s good for the Goose, etc. etc. etc.

Here’s where the story gets SCARY so get a glass of spirits of your choice and SIT DOWN.

On my regular Friday Romp, I found some new Pals over in front of Water Tower Place.

Now this is a habitual haunt for the legion of Street Mimes working the Miracle Mile, so I was not surprised by their presence.

I was surprised by the crowd around one in particular who really appeared to be doing nothing at all.

And Here it was I broke my Rule…

I Took A Picture…

I took several Pictures…

Then I did something else I’ve never done. I put money in the Mime Bucket. Then I took money out of the Mime’s Bucket. Why Oho Why? Because all I had was a fiver and I wanted CHANGE from my donation ($2).

This caused a fellow Mime Lover beside me who was adding to the haul to exclaim loudly "THAT’s Just WRONG!"

Of couse, she was referring to my change making and by her tone was implying I was doing some-other-slight-of-hand in the Bucket. (NAY! THAT would make me a Magician and for chrissakes, I am NOT going to become a Street Performer myself, even for the lovely Tourists…)

As she joined her companions, I asked her where she was from and she muttered “Small Anywhere USA.” I replied, "AHA" (mentally scribing the fact she was Not From Here) – adding – “Well, what I did was fine. I asked the MIME!" She replied loudly and sarcastically, "You should’ve went somewhere and gotten change!"

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Of course, this made me laugh, because NOBODY gives change in a Big City.

Of course, this made me cry, because NOBODY gives change in a Big City.

I replied,
   "What’s that, Page 5, Miss Manners Book of Mimes?"

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I really said this.

And I said, "Can say, just did. And maybe your cousin should’nt have whacked me up at the bucket!"

I knew our esteemed visitors would never understand that Big City People BICKER 24/7 and it really is Friendly.

Quite possibly, it’s the only human equivalent of dog-sniffing-tail I’ve ever encountered. You establish your comfort level then proceed.

This made her HUGE cousin say, "You can’t talk to my cousin like that"

Needless to say, Reason Reared its Ugly Head at this point and I realized We had become just what the Tourists Wanted/Needed Most: a Spectacle…



Reluctantly, I left the area…



Yesterday morning I tried to upload my pictures. THEY WERE GONE! POOF! Files all scrambled like expresso eggs…

My spirit almost flattened by this revenge, I was going to leave you with a psuedo-version of said Mime because really, it’s not all that much more than this:

but NO.

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I am a GeekTard and must, must save my files.

I tried to load up in Windows.

But the volume mounted on the Mac so I ran Disk Repair.

This might ruin my weekend with frivolous time wasting.

I failed.

Then I dropped some $$$ and used FileRescue to grab those files!


and here, My Friends, is what started it all…


Scary, isn’t she…

NEXT: Happy Fountains and MORE!

10 responses to “Weekend, July 16, 2005”

  1. stephanie says:

    I really should have taken your advice and put down my drink… miss manners book of mimes! I have to wipe off my monitor, now.

  2. Vickie says:

    Excellent bit of reading. I truly enjoyed this.

    Thanks for a glimpse into the big city, a world as foreign to me as the deep sea.

  3. laurie says:

    enjoy your blog and enjoyed your story. i live in the suburbs and am in the city a lot. i NEVER put any $ in those buckets either. i am sometimes as interested by watching the tourists filling those buckets as i am watching the performers!!! you know what has shocked me in the last few years is that “tin man” who will no longer MOVE until someone puts something in his bucket. i can remember when he used to put on quite a good show. and now he seems to have all these new, little, young, tin, men working for him.
    maybe some of my suburban knitters can meet up and knit with some of your city knitters sometime!! just cast on scoop… this week in peace fleece, love it. :)

  4. Michelle says:

    I saw that mime last night!!

    It’s odd – there’s a whole array of solid-colored mime-like people. I’m sure you’ve seen Blue Guy, Yellow Guy, and Silver Guy on your travels…I wonder if they’re affilliated – or maybe even the same person with lots of paint?

  5. gale (she shoots sheep shots) says:

    File it under: Mama said there’d be days like this.

    Loved the story, I spluttered my coffee. Tourists!

  6. Bonne Marie says:

    Michelle – You saw this MIME! WOOT! Did you drop any dinero? And Laurie – I agree totally on the Tin Man. I would think he’d want to just keep on movin’ coinage or no… Can you imagine the joints after a day of standing almost STOCK STILL? My feet hurt just thinking about it.

    I also saw another Golden Goddess Statuette outside of Tiffany’s. She was posturing right next to a depressed looking Ballon-Tying Guy. He was sitting by himself whilst GG was drawing quite a crowd.

    The Ballon Guy creeps me out too – I guess his sign reading “Moms! Just say YES!” was too weird…

  7. Rob says:

    Don’t let Beulah Backwater ruin your support of the arts. Seriously–who the f#*@ is she to tell you what is and is not acceptable. Especially on your turf, baby.

    Power to the Bonne!

  8. freecia says:

    I always think of the non-traditional mimes who stick to a pose as statue people. The title of Mime is forever reserved for the white-faced stereotype.

    Miss Manners Book of Mimes indeed. I think statue people and mimes have a creedo, indeed, and there’s definitely a few unofficial rules (like don’t donate your litter). But not making change? In a big city? Hey, if it were me standing up there, I’d be okay with that, because getting $2 is better than nothing. And carrying a fat stack of dollar bills is annoying.

  9. claire says:

    Miss Manners Book of Mimes!! I love it!! Although he’s a street performer, not a mime, I hope you track down The Naked Cowboy the next time you visit the Big Apple, he’s a Times Square regular…..and I doubt he’d mind if you made change!!

  10. Gina says:

    I lived in New Orleans for roughly six months, and it deepened my fear and loathing of clowns and mines. Ugh!

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