I work in the Gateway Center downtown. It’s an outdoor mall with office buildings, and is home to the Olympic fountain that was built for the 2002 Olympics.. Right now it’s THE mall for Salt Lake City so there’s lots of people there – a great place to meet interesting people.
David is one of those interesting people (he spoke so quietly I’m not sure of his name). David is a gold man for a living. There are four street corners in the mall, each one generally has some street music act, or a person begging. On Thursday I found a golden statue! There’s something I don’t see everyday!
He rode up on a skateboard holding a golden crate of stuff. Overturned the crate, put out a container to receive tips, sat down and struck a pose. You don’t see things like this on the streets of Salt Lake City much, so soon a crowd gathers – staring unashamedly at the “statue”. Finally someone starts to leave and drops some money in the golden tip can and gold man springs into action.
He goes into a very fluid/mechanical kind of motion and pulls a slip of paper from his pocket and offers it to the person who gave him the tip. On the paper it is clear there is printing, and the person and his friends walk off laughing about the experience. Gold man then goes through another motion to strike a new pose and there he sits.
The effect this has on the viewers is very interesting. All of a sudden everybody wants to know what’s on the paper. So then the tips just start pouring in so they can read their paper – many around me wondered what the “fortune” was. Like he was some kind of giant fortune cookie or something. Isn’t that great!
I spoke to David for a few minutes. He barely moved his mouth and spoke very very quietly so as not to ruin the illusion for the crowd that was ever present.
He’s been doing this full-time, well, as his only means of income for two years now. He started in New Orleans where you see people like this all over the city. I heard several people in the crowd mention they had seen acts like this in Vegas too. He was traveling, noticed there wasn’t anybody doing this kind of act in Salt Lake City, and he moved here about a year ago.
As I put my dollar into his container, I had to kind of push to get my money in there. He had done very well in the hour that he had been there. There was always a crowd around him loving the show. Always those willing to part with a little money to show their appreciation and receive their “fortune”.
I love the fact that guys like this are out there, adding their uniqueness to the energy of the city.
Oh, and here’s a quick blurry snapshot of the fortune he handed me. I love it. He made an impression on me, and gave me something to think about.