This Week in the Mercury

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Re: David Eckard; Fine Art Meets the Real World

Posted by Alison Hallett on Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 12:40 PM

The estimable Anne Adams over at Culturephile reports on one of the most unintentionally funny moments of TBA so far: When performer David Eckard's side-show barker schtick was interrupted by a drunk guy who handily stole the show, to the chagrin of a well-heeled crowd:

A slight woman in a beige dress steeled her nerves, got up, and approached the man, who was now standing. “Come over here,” she murmured sweetly, moving to the outskirts of the crowd. When he stood firm and loudly refused, she looked stunned, as though she had spent her entire life up to this moment luring any person to any place, simply by asking nicely.

“You’re spoiling the show for everyone!” shouted a plucky Englishwoman.

“Why?” screamed the drunk. “Why can he talk and I can’t?”

“He’s performing,” said several.

“I’m PERFORMING!” yelled the drunk (in all fairness, making a bloody good point).

Adams points out, correctly, that if you're going to pose as a snake-oil salesman, you need to be able to manage the crowd—even when the crowd gets disruptive. Especially then, maybe. Not only that, but it was disheartening to see PICA staffers call security because their own performer couldn't live up to the promise of his act. Art seemed pretty ineffectual compared to an angry drunk guy.

In fairness to Eckard, apparently when his show works, it's great.

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