Confessions of an Impersonator


July 4th weekend, the official non-official start of the summer. Bar-B-Que’s a burning, kids screaming mainly because school is out for the summer, and old people come out into the sunlight.

CARNIVAL THRILLS This July 4th weekend I took my gal out to the Meadowlands Carnival. It’s the state fair and I try to go every year. I had called some college friends to come and join us and they met us at the gate. Although we didn’t hang out for long, they wanted to eat and with oh so much stuff to do at the carnival I wasn’t about to wait.

I remember one summer in high school I had a friend whose family were carnival folk and to avoid paying for rides I graciously volunteered myself to “help out” around the carnival so to speak. I was put in charge of the kiddy swing ride, not having any experience in the carnival arts whatsoever I thought starting out in charge of running a machine that propels little kids in a circle at high speeds was the perfect choice. After several hours of frolicking around the fair grounds I decided to give up rides. Not because I’ve had my fill but from witnessing the put together and taken apart of these rides. All I remember is thinking, “I was this close to death on this ride and that close to amputation on that ride.”

But this is the STATE fair after all, not a crumby town fair. Surely its inhabitants take better care of the rides. We went on one ride….once. The pirate ship. After that it was all the games you could afford. We played shooting games, tossing games, getting conned for 5 bucks games, it was great!

Around 10pm, after the pig races, don’t ask, we made our way over to the Hypnotist show. I love this show, I see it every year, well I get on stage almost every year and this year was no different. The hypnotist asked for a bunch of volunteer’s from the audience but I did not get picked so on to plan B. I pretended to get hypnotized in the audience, I hate to say pretended but there is no other word I can use. After he was dissatisfied with a few he had originally picked he had them sit back down, took one glance at me and called me up. I followed his instructions like a seasoned pro and soon it was a back and forth between myself and the hypnotist. I don’t know if he remembers me from all the years I’ve been on stage with him but even so, it feels like we have this unspoken relationship, consciously or subconsciously. The audience was about 1000 strong and I could feel their energy thru their laughter. At the finally the hypnotist posed one more challenge, “To the one I am touching right now, when I say the word tickets, you will run back up on stage and become the R&B star R. Kelly, and you will dance and perform to his song Yea-Yea”.

I went back to my seat and upon hearing my queue word; I was running on stage again and gave what felt like 5 minutes of dancing in front of a packed crowd, outside on a carnival summer night. It was invigorating. The rest of the night I felt like a celebrity as people approached me to ask me if that was real, if I remembered, and most importantly to tell me they had pissed in their pants watching me.

For me it was a temporary feeling of once again accomplishing something. Just listening to people scream and cheer with laughter reenergized me, even if it was out of context of my regular performances. Who cares, I still performed. How I long to have my own show with a crowd like that, then people would be yelling LAZ – LAZ!, instead of R.KELLY - R. KELLY!

Another one for the memories.

Happy 4th of July 05 Twice77