Monday, November 28, 2011
Street Performer, Lee Ross.
Lee Ross started in NY, then wandered round the planet playing on the street then got two principle roles at once for Cirque's first Asian tour and now lives in LA.
I first saw him in NZ, he was doing the audience participation hero/villian/ damsel railway rescue module. Or the cowboy gunfight audience participation, or maybe both were integrated. Old stuff, he was slick but he was an american, slick came with the territory, how else could they maintain their entitled overconfidence. [gotta remember I was a provincial NZ bloke with a precious arrogance]
But he innovated and he was the first to do what has now been used as a foundation of many peoples shows. He would do what he calls 'verbal following' he would stand, watching people pass with a mike in his hand and he would vocalize the thoughts in their heads.[ My character Lurk does something similar using mime, it's a different more abstract beast] It was quicksilver and inventive and really risky and funny. I remember three suited businessmen walked past, talking among themselves in what appeared to be a defensive, self important way. [because they knew they were going through his stage, anyone who passed by was going through his stage and the size of it was defined by who he included in his improvised remarks, he could send it out long or keep in in close, there had to be a border because that would be where his audience formed]...anyway these stiff and suited guys went past conversing and I remember Lee getting in close to the mike and muttering, "Bullshit bullshit bullshit, yes bullshit bullshit bullshit, oh really bullshit bullshit bullshit."
He won me over. He took risks, he invented.
Very rarely he still gets out and visits street festivals, I saw him at some small canadian fest 5/6 years ago.
interview 26 mins,