Thursday, July 7, 2011

A good night

A good night

Last week I went downtown because I knew Chicago was playing at an open-air concert. Chicago was the first big pop band I ever heard live. That was in Williamsburg in 1980! Camera in hand - as always - I walked around the Schlossplatz and listened to the music for a while before being drawn over to the Königstrasse, Stuttgart's busiest shopping street. There's always something going on there.

A man was air-brushing tattoos on young people, allowing them to choose among the hundreds of stencils he has on display.

There were about eight bachelor and bachelorette parties cruising the main drag, looking for action. The tradition in Germany looks something like this: the person who is to be married the following day goes out with his or her friends, who are all dressed up to be as conspicuous as possible. I saw everything from policewomen to men in pink T-shirts. The betrothed usually has a vendor's tray (Bauchladen) with little things like condoms, chocolate bars and little bottles of schnapps. The people ask passers-by if they'd like to purchase something from them to help offset the cost of the wedding/the first therapy session/the honeymoon, etc. The groups are always in a good mood and not too pushy, so it's fun to talk to them. 

A very nice surprise on this particular evening was hearing the first piano player I've ever seen out on the street in Stuttgart. I listened to him for a while, donated what I could and moved on. Then came the main attraction of the evening for me.

An American was dressed up in Oriental garb and juggling with fire. It was just dark enough to make the shots interesting.

He had quite a large captive audience which was listening to the concert from a distance and watching him from up close.

Yes, he really extinguished the fire in his mouth!

Just before the grande finalé when he threw the flaming skewers high up in the air and then caught them, he made large circles with his arms as he danced to the music of drums. 

It was already an hour after sundown, so I decided to call it a night. This man retired before me, though he forgot to put away his wallet before nodding off.

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