For a little home-brewed, laid-back conversational, and oh-so compelling storyteller’s journey as a street performer, Andrew Potter juggles the art of sharing home movies or what we used to call “Pictures-on-the-Wall,” giving it all a 21st century shine. The show combines music, video production, story telling, and “nostalgic” digital scrapbooking in a most entertaining way.
Potter was a young juggling fool who caught the bug after seeing a performance of the zany Flying Karamazov Brothers and took off after college with his pal Wheeler Cole, taking their own show on the road. This amazing duo survived ten years as a pair of successful buskers, hawking their own performances, forging their own adventures, and learning along the way what makes people connect.
Potter warned any reviewer in the audience not to explain the term “busker” so I won’t. (He says there’s no need.) But I was attracted to this show thinking I was going to get a road map to “the road to the High Street,” which is the steep street leading up the hill to the castle at Edinburgh, the high seat and grand daddy of all Fringe Festivals, and has been pretty much for me the Everest I’ve dreamed to climb. It’s where every August-September you will find dozens if not hundreds of clowns, mimes, jugglers, fire-eaters and “screamers” of various costumes and callings trying to snag an audience for their shows.
It turns out there are as many “high streets” as there are cities – and the task is to go out and just find an open space and follow one’s life passions. Potter is an inspiration: just do it.
Potter even demonstrates how, in his street show, he found the recipe for standout success. All I’ll say is it involves eating a raw egg. For those internationally inclined one should also be prepared to scrawl foreign phrases on one’s hairy leg. Who knew?
The truth is that the video footage captures Potter in those days looking goofily handsome in his tuxedo and flashing a winning smile. (Though now leaner and bearing a few facial lines, the man still has the grin and charismatic appeal.) But even more than that, he and Cole in those snapshots and videos just seem to be having so much fun. To hear Potter tell it, they were always inventing, always learning how to make their performance a little bit better, and always staying open to the next adventure.
by Andrew Potter and Wheeler Cole
645 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Details and tickets
My favorite section of the show is “Living in a Beer Tank.” Maybe it’s the extreme image of our two rock n’rollers arriving in San Francisco and this is where they land. Potter and Cole took up abode in Tank 306 of an abandoned brewery (a Motel 6 would just not have had the glam) and lived there for a year having vat neighbors with names like Big Dick, Joey the Teenage Elf, and The Vat Rats. You can’t make up stuff like this, and Potter has the pictures and video clips to prove it.
Throughout the show, Potter accompanies himself, sometimes on acoustic guitar and sometimes on electric bass. He has an easy-to-listen-to voice and gets in some pretty good licks on the bass. The songs are mostly short and serve as punctuating jingles or segues between sections like sherbet breaks in a wine tasting.
For now, Potter has hung up his seven-foot unicycle and his juggling clubs. He’s garnered a Masters degree, formed his own video production company, and raised a beautiful daughter. Maybe street performing is a young person’s game. But I swear I saw a twinkle in his eye, and wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a call from buddy Cole and we get wind of them heading out on the road again.
What’s in your blood? Come on down to the Warehouse next to Fringe Central on New York Avenue, and get some inspiration from Andrew Potter. He really delivers a road (map) to everyone’s High Street.