Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Fountain

One of the things I enjoy the most doing what I do is meeting people. I have met the rich, the famous, the not so famous. The good, the bad and yes even the ugly. But what keeps me comin' back for more are the people that make me laugh and bring laughter to those around them.

This week Brent and I found such a person at the PNE. He's a performance artist that has daily shows as part of the Fair. His act, one of the most unusual and unique busker performances I have ever seen. The faces that look upon him when he performs are a testament to that.

Brent found this guy on a search of the grounds after our original story went sideways. He went on a recon of the grounds while I was on another assignment. I was actually shooting an 'Olsen on Your Side" taste test at our PNE Broadcast Center.

Anyway, Brent comes back to me and has that excited look on his face. I had seen that look before while we had been on assignment at the Olympics in Turin. That look that said, he had found something better than our original story. I was to soon find out what a gem it really was.

We had arrived at the performance location I set up my sticks and waited. All at once a fellow with what looked like a over sized business suit and an odd hair style, lumbers up to the stage area. Hooks himself up to a hose and climbs up onto a seat at a work station.

Now this wasn't just any work station, this was a station that was elevated a couple of feet above a large children's wading pool. That's right a wading pool. He sat down and went lifeless.

Lifeless, our performer waits for someone to get on the bike

He sat motionless for a couple of moments. All at once a child sat up on a stationary bicycle that powered a pump. That pump was attached to a hose. That hose was attached to him.

All at once as the kid began to peddle, our performer came to life. Water spouting in every direction. He began to bark out some orders on a phone, his arms flailing about, water everywhere.

With a spray of water the performance begins

People looking on, taking in the spectacle. Laughter filled the air. Then suddenly as fast as it began, our spouting man loses energy. He slows and goes lifeless. The kid on the bike has worn himself out and is winded. Another takes his place and the performance continues. This cycle repeats itself. The crowd gathers, now there is a line up of children and even some adults at the bike.

One of the adults tries his luck at the bike/pump

The water continues to flow, our performer bangs away on his computer terminal, answers his phone and drinks from his spouting coffee cup. It is like a cartoon character from by-gone days. A poor schlep at his office, water flying, people laughing. It was the oddest performance I maybe have ever seen. Certainly one not to be forgotten.

Water spouting from everywhere including his work station

Now the genius is in the design of this as we were to find out in a post performance interview. He got the idea sitting on his couch watching TV. All of the equipment used is from Home Depot and IKEA. The office character is based on his very own father, a business man working in an office somewhere in Edmonton. It certainly is an odd way to make a living, spraying liquid laughter where ever he goes. His name- "The Human Fountain"

The Human Fountain


turdpolisher said...

Truly bizzarre.

John Ullyatt said...

Thanks for this great page of stuff. I am honoured. It wasn't actually my dad, but the idea is right. I would love to get copies of some of your photos for promotional purposes. contact me at