I’ve got an amalgam of fairs in my head, exotic and local. The ‘Ex’ (Canadian National Exhibition) looms especially large – but Centreville on the Island (an old-time town, full of antique-themed rides) was always cheaper and ran a far longer season (remains hilarious for silly adults).  Plus, we’ve all got far more association-content in our minds than our direct experience – for me, Bradbury adds hugely to the poetic romance of carnivals – and news clips, docs and movies have also left their mark. (Rollercoaster – in SENSURROUND!) ;o)   The curious thing is – despite the age of these impressions, and the often depressing onrush of modernity – the carnival is a remarkably vital and resilient beast to this day.  (the Ferris Wheel I showed recently was at an apple festival, the very next week).  Some carnival folks travel with the attractions, some are on-call for local gigs, and some show up independently to help add colour on a busking-basis, whenever a large event is staged.

Tickets, please (top photo)

Nothing would happen without this first, all-important impulse, naturally. Can’t help remembering all the stressful calculations of childhood – how many tickets per ride? And how many rides could I afford, and still have money left over for a bag of hot fresh tiny cinnamon donuts, or perhaps a Belgian waffle?

Yeah, best get the big strip of tickets for the discount – or you’ll only be back again in another fifteen minutes.

A fan of waves

I mentioned the busking contingent adding much colour to local events – this wonderful and charming mermaid reminded me of Duckman – the drummer I ran into at Fan Expo. Independent contractor, to be sure (as both of their tip-jars attested) and yet a show in their own right, in both cases. When we caught up with the mermaid on our return trip, she was balancing on one leg with a sword on her head (better trick, but you’d miss her fantastic smile).

No jokes, buster

This carnival worker reminded me of two things, right away – my friend E Anthony DeMorizi, and Catherine, working at the Exhibition as a teenager. Plenty of teens do this on summer break to pick up a few bucks – and it is at least outdoors work, and colourful too. She was also very nice to the kids.

All the same, you really get the feeling that she can’t wait for the day to be over, so she can get her money for the shift and meet her friends for some well-earned real-fun!

They keep buying it, I’ll keep making it

Lately, I’ve been trying hard to figure out what makes a street-shot great. Seeing an exhibition of the work of Danny Winograd (along with Arbus and others) was a revelation for me – because there were hundreds of examples of getting it WOW-right, for me to study and think about. I’ve also caught documentaries showing the work of Cartier-Bresson and other famous early 35mm guys, and quoting them as they ran it (sublime and profound).  I am still a total idiot technically – but their examples and my own attempts all seem to be teaching me the same important thing – that every bit of preparation makes a difference, but what really makes the individual shot grand, is all the stuff you don’t control. In this case, the expressions make me laugh, all the way around the frame.

Dude is SOOO happy with his giant funnel-cake! The guy who just served it to him still can’t figure out why they go for the stuff (but as long as they do) and the worker beside him (almost certainly an obligated relative) is dreading the idea that absolutely anybody from class might come-by while she’s working. Seriously déclassé.

Listen to my hands

I just loved these two – working hard to clean-up the street festival, even as the messing-up was still going on – and carrying-on a most passionate argument as they worked. Not just about what a bunch of boneheads litterbugs are (and how many otherwise decent people are jerks, when it comes to that), but also just how life ought best to be lived, on a far more fundamental (and at times, somewhat strident) level.

A great coworker is like that – they’ll get your grade-A material, every time.

(They may not always want it, mind you – but they’ll get it!)

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