curbside stage

Will Macdonald

Pike Place Market exercises all senses. It's constantly buzzing with activity and life. In the span of two minutes you might see flying fish, dropping donuts, performers balancing chairs on chins while juggling bowling pins. You might hear seven different languages, heated bartering, or the strumming of a beat-up acoustic guitar. The market seems to be complete chaos - a place where everything is improvised and raw. For the most part it is, the people, the food, and the smells are changing all the time. The musicians and performers seem to be the definition of improvised. Surprisingly not. The places and hours they perform are programmed. The all must join the 'Pike Place Performers Guild', which costs $30 annually. The 'stages' are defined by red music notes painted on the concrete, there are twelve notes total. Within the notes are numbers between 1 and 7, this is how many performers are allowed at a time. At the top of every hour performers must move to a different note if they wish to continue. This keeps things fresh and even fair. A heavily worn red painted note means high traffic, a hotspot of people and money.

The audience becomes the aggregate, they gather and disperse, shrink and swell, they create the space that defines the market.

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