1. The Human Statue
Is there a school that offers advanced training in body paint, classical costuming and not moving for long periods of time? If so, that would be the only logical reason why this creepy and confusing novelty act continues to pervade the world’s tourist centers.
2. The Peruvian Pan Pipe Band
I’m not sure why or how every city square in the world is a performance space for a group individuals dressed as North American Indians playing South American instruments to a backing CD in a sort of pseudo-karaoke style. I wonder how many requests they get to play happy birthday.
3. The Hippie Guitarist
They may or not have lived through the 1960s, but they are playing the greatest hits thereof. While there is the potential for this individual to be a quality musician, they usually need to expand their operation to include a dedicated guitarist, singer or someone else to fill both positions.
4. The Juggling MacGyver
Balls, pins, knives, torches? That’s been done, man. These guys just grab the first three things they see and go to where the tourists are.
5. The Conservatory Dropout
Armed with a high-priced classical instrument, these virtuosos left their music education behind and now perform for quarters, which may or may not have been a good decision.
6. The Obscure Instrumentalist
Shamisen, koto, sitar, zither, didgeridoo or something perhapes even less recognizable, these performers take you on a trip within your trip.
7. The Children’s TV Reinactor
There you are minding your own business, you take your picture with Elmo… because why not and then you are accosted for large sums of cash. Buyer beware.
8. The One Man Band
Hacked together drums and cowbells, a harmonica, maybe a ukulele, banjo or guitar… they are all there plus some individual with way too much free time trying to impress you with his or her abilities in engineering and music.
9. The Accordionist
When performed properly, the accordion is one of the most interesting instruments out there. There is something romantic about the lone accordion player playing on the sidewalk.
10. The Balancing Act
Bowls, cups, chairs, people and many more things propped on a stick or a chin or a head, sometimes performed on a unicycle or another imbalanced item. These guys live dangerously.
11. The Impersonator
Want to have your picture taken with an ex-president, celebrity, movie character or Roman centurion? These guys have you covered for the low, low price of put some money in my bag.
12. The Improvisor
This busker may or may not be auditioning for a spot in the cast of Stomp. Grab yourself some trash cans, pans, pots and a pair of drum sticks and you are good to go.
13. The Magician
Before I volunteer, I need to know that you do have insurance. You do, right?