by Andrew Potter
One last Rogue performer article came in and here it is! Watch for a bunch of Rogue show reviews starting this weekend. To learn more about this year’s event check out our Rogue 2015 preview article, and check out our Rogue Performer event page to learn about more of the performers this year. You can find all of the Rogue articles as they go up in our Arts & Entertainment section.
I perform a multimedia show, The Road to High Street, combining live storytelling, song and music with projected images and video on a big screen. It is based on my career as a juggler and street performer with partner Wheeler Cole in an act we called the High Street Circus.
Wheeler and I moved from RI to San Francisco to try and become street performers. The street performing scene in San Francisco was very active at the time, with 20 – 30 stage acts working on stages, and many more street acts working the sidewalks. After about two years, our show and career took off, with us winning the annual street performing competition at Pier 39, and then traveling and performing in adventures all over the state and country, as well as many gigs in Japan, and winning an international competition in Italy.
The High Street Circus gig lasted for about 15 years. We never quite got completely off street performing, and I knew it was not a career to grow old with. So I quit, cold turkey.
After several years of taking odd jobs, I gravitated to video production. There was a public access TV station that let me use all their equipment for free. So I started producing documentaries. I immediately knew I was good at it; I could apply all kinds of lessons from street performing, from timing and joke writing, to entertainment and making a pitch. I could also use my visual skills from photography, and my audio skills and music making. I could also vary the tone of my message; everything didn’t have to be huge and hilarious. I received a grant to produce a video on seatbelt safety for kids; it used many things I had learned as a street performer. The video Johnny Seatbelt sez… went on to win a nation award for a student production.
When I was in San Francisco, I had seen a show by a performer who told stories about his life, and rolled in short video segments to augment his performance. It was the most amazing performance I had ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot). When I was a street performer, I knew the most fun moments of the show was when we were crowd-gathering, and got to speak and banter with the audience. We would often delve into storytelling. I decided I would stage a storytelling show about my street performing career, and roll in video sequences on a large screen. Thus, The Road to High Street (the journey of the High Street Circus…) was born. My first versions were very clunky. It took a long time to master the production skills to mount the show. But over the years, I’ve learned to successfully combine all the elements that I love: Live storytelling, my guitar playing, a crazy storyline, music, images, comedy, and some sort of message (always a work in progress) to try and draw it all together and make it relevant to people.
Where: The Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 East Olive Ave, Fresno, CA
When: Saturday, February 28 @ 3 p.m.
Sunday, March 1 @ 7 p.m.
Friday, March 6 @ 10:15 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 @ 1:45 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online at: roguefestival.ticketleap.com/highstreet