Puppet Bike, Downtown Chicago
On my way in to work yesterday, I was walking up Jackson and spotted the Puppet Bike parked on the corner of Jackson and Wabash. At the time, there were a few people lingering around.
I’ve seen the Puppet Bike a few times in the area, but for whatever reason never got around to taking some photos for the blog. I was in a hurry to get to the office, and initially just walked on past the show.
But I got this sensation (which I’ve had in the past) that I should really slow myself down a bit. That work could wait and that I needed to go back. And I’m really glad I did.
In fact, writing this now… I’m really glad I have this blog. Normally, I would have just put my head down, and continued on in to the office. But the blog serves as a good excuse for me, a good way to ensure that I note and record the things that I might otherwise dismiss or simply take for granted.
After heading back to watch more of the show, in a matter of moments I ended up feeling like a kid again. And on a dreary Thursday morning, it was a surprise to find myself on a street corner, experiencing a kind of child-like wonder that I haven’t had in quite some time.
Two (of many) puppets, dancing to the music.
A view of the full stage.
I took this photo a few moments before dropping in a dollar. The box in the center has a hole at the top. And if you drop money in, there’s an access area where the puppeteer can get to the donations.
Shortly after I put my dollar in, the two puppets grabbed it and started dancing around with it (which was awesome). As a sign of gratitude, at the end of the routine the puppets did a little bow. They waved to me.
Closeup of my one dollar, and two happy puppets.
Side view of the Puppet Bike.
As I was packing up, a few more people gathered to watch. The times I’ve seen the Puppet Bike around, I’ve seen a good mixture of crowds gathered (they seem to ebb and flow). There was a whole other bit of delight, watching the crowd watch the show. I was definitely reminded of the Postcard Machine, from the Renegade Craft Fair a few years back.
In doing a bit of research after the fact, I found out that the Puppet Bike was built by brothers Jason and Eric Trusty. In addition to Jason, there are also a lot of other artist who use the bike to perform in shifts. Here’s an excerpt from a Time Out Chicago article on the bike:
In watching the puppeteer interact with the people crowded around the bike, I was fascinated with how the puppets could influence the crowd’s reactons. By using nothing more than his hands, the puppeteer could cause a ripple of laughter. A slight flick of the wrist or tilt of the palm could incite a round of applause.
It was surprising to see how much pleasure can be derived, simply from one person waving to another.