StevenPaananenProfile (PDF)

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Title: guycollins
Author: Steven Paananen

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Nov 11, 2012


About the Author:
Steven Paananen is a
street performer
himself. He knows how
to juggle, unicycle,
tightrope walk, and
twist balloon animals.
He has performed all of
these skills for crowds
on the street.

Street Performer: Guy Collins
“The Groovy Guy”
By Steven Paananen


ver one hundred people
crowd around one
daring man. The whole
crowd claps in unison,
cheering him on as he jumps
on a tightrope while juggling
knives. Oh, he’s also been
blindfolded the whole time.

His name is Guy
Collins, but he goes by “The
Groovy Guy” when he’s
performing. The blindfolded
juggling tightrope walk is only
one of his tricks. Collin juggles
fire, balances objects on his
head, and rides a six foot
unicycle. Stephen Smoot,
artistic producer of The


Ravinia Festival in Illinois, head and pretending it’s been
says, “His bigger-than-life used.
p e r s o n a l i t y w h i l e h e i s Collins has been performing
performing and the
since 1987. He
variety of ‘stunts’ “It’s a good feeling lives in Vermont,
when you make
that he does is
but still manages
people happy”
nothing short of
to perfor m in
amazing.  Toss in his
Faneuil hall about
h u m o r a n d a b i l i t y t o 6 times a month. When asked
c o m p l e t e l y c o n s u m e h i s why he does it, he replies “It’s
audience and you have a true a very good feeling when you
recipe for success.” Collins make people happy.” Collins
makes his shows funny by also likes the freedom this job
throwing a prop finger into the gives him to be his own boss
audience that he pretends is and to do what he likes when
the aftermath of an accident he likes. He says some other
with his knives, or getting a benefits of his job are the good
toilet plunger stuck to his bald exercise and being outdoors.

GUYCOLLINS November 11, 2012

Top 10 Tourist Cites
In America
1.Times Square,New
York City:
37.6 million
2. The Las Vegas
Strip, Nev.:
30 Million
3. National Mall and
Memorial Parks,
Washington, D.C.
25 million
4. Faneuil Hall
Marketplace, Boston:
20 Million
5. Disney World's
Magic Kingdom, Lake
Buena Vista, Fla.:
17.1 million
6. Disneyland Park,
Anaheim, Calif.:
14.9 million
7. Fisherman's Wharf/
Golden Gate National
Recreation Area, San
14.1 million
8. Niagara Falls, N.Y.:
12 million
9. Great Smoky
Mountains National
Park, Tenn./N.C.:
9.04 million
10. Navy Pier,
8.6 million


Street Performer: Guy Collins
“The Groovy Guy”
Street performing sounds like a fun and easy
job, but it might not be as simple as you think.
In order to perform at Faneuil hall, Collins
explains, “You need insurance. You need to
audition for the market management and that
needs to be done in April. If you pass the
audition, and they don't let a lot of people on
every year because there's a lot of people
already here, then you get on to the program.”
It’s a very difficult program to get into, and
only the best of the best get in.

Faneuil Hall does not pay any of its
street performers. The performers rely entirely
on donations from the audience for their salary.
That being said, it’s shocking how many people
enjoy the street performer’s show, then walk
away without donating anything.

“I would say that you have to account
that at least 50% of people watching me will
leave without giving me anything,” says Collins.
“You can't feel bad about it though. If you feel
bad about it then you shouldn't do this job.“
Some people are poor, but other people have
money and don’t give just because they think
‘everyone else is giving, so I shouldn’t need to.’
They probably don’t know that half of the
crowd is thinking the same way. Walking away
from a street performer you have enjoyed
without paying is like telling the performer you
didn’t think their show was worth anything.

“You have to account that at least 50%
of people watching you will leave
without giving you anything. You can’t
feel bad about it though. If you feel bad
about it then you shouldn’t do this job.”

When asked why they do not pay their
street performers, the management of Faneuil
Hall did not care to respond. Today, Faneuil
Hall is the 4th most visited tourist cite in
America, only preceded by Times Square, the
Las Vegas Strip, and Washington D.C.’s
Memorial Parks. Faneuil Hall definitely has is
amazing street performers to attribute to its
national popularity. When asked how Faneuil
Hall would be different if it had no street
performers, Guy Collins immediately answered,
“It would suck. People come here to see the
street performers.” The ongoing performances
make the marketplace the fun, lively, successful,
and exciting community it is today.

Collins doesn’t think it’s necessary for
Faneuil Hall to pay their performers in the
summer, but he says, “If Faneuil hall wants
people here in the winter, then they should
obviously pay the street performers.” Collins
usually has to travel to warmer places in the
winter in order to keep performing his show.
He says the seasonal traveling is difficult since
he has a family.

GUYCOLLINS November 11, 2012

“You used to be able
to go pretty much
anywhere and just do
your show. Things
have changed a bit.”
Guy Collins

Street Performer: Guy Collins
“The Groovy Guy”
There haven’t always been so many regulations and
restrictions on street performers. Collins says, “You
used to be able to go pretty much anywhere and just
do your show. Things have changed a bit.” Faneuil
Hall doesn’t let just anybody perform in their area
because they want to maintain a professional image
and a safe environment for everyone, but are these
regulations really necessary? According to Collins,
the mandatory insurance one needs to perform is
very expensive.

The restrictions limit what kinds of stunts
performers can do. Collins can do excellent tricks
with fire, but Faneuil hall doesn’t allow him to do


any of them. Banning certain tricks is not necessarily
a bad thing, but it means some shows have to be
modified. Collins doesn’t have any trouble attracting
large crowds even without his fire tricks. He says, “I
learn from every show. It takes training, practice,
practice and doing it again and again to get where I
am.” Through the 25 years of experience, Guy
Collins has put together a wonderful show that
audiences enjoy year after year.

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