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masquerade on Las Ramblas

Many visitors that come to Barcelona will see Las Ramblas as a unique tourist attraction, a colossal vitality of all the senses culminated into things and people on one open boulevard.  For Las Vegas-based performers like myself and Apollo, it’s a polychromatic funhouse filled with the ineffaceable imagination of street artists.  These are the half-masked lives that haunt you long after your feet leave Barca, plunged like weights into your journey’s remembrance.   
 


The vast and indomitable flow of crowds on Las Ramblas herd you, without patterns or fate, from eats to flowers to caged birds and 3-card-monte scam artists.  Nevertheless, you find yourselves stopped in front of these painted performers and their props, all executed to the wildest elaboration and commitment, in a raw vigor that was at once so alive yet so perishable.   


 
The street artists often acknowledge you, 
by a gaze, a gesture, a whisper, even a startling embrace = 
a sharing of human secrecy that sears through you 
and traps you, momentarily, in the blessing and curse of their talent.  
You comprehend, for a second, 
in the fading twilight of Catalonia, 
how they feel, 
altogether, 
imprisoned and free!