Free Urban Entertainment II – Chicago

Recently I wrote about my favourite experiences with free urban entertainment, namely the mime in Florence, the kids in Cusco, and bushman in San Francisco.  Now, these are all awesome, but I have to write a follow-up post, because I completely forgot one!  I’m rather mad at myself for missing out on one of the greatest, and most unexpected, urban surprises I’ve found on my travels.


Some of you who’ve been to Chicago will know exactly what I’m talking about.  Puppet Bike is mobile street theatre, and is literally comprised of a tricycle and a stage box, painted in wacky colours and designs.  The performers cycle around the city, stop at street corners, and then climb into the box and use animal puppets to perform choreographed dances to fun music.  The puppets dance together, flip each other, do moves in unison, and collect tips that are placed in the tip box at the bottom of the cart.

We came across Puppet Bike on the corner just south of the Chicago Cultural Center, and were totally confused as to what it was.  We almost kept walking, but thankfully we decided to stop and watch, because the Puppet Bike performance was a riot!  Mum and I were killing ourselves laughing, and easily would’ve stood there all day if we could.  The synchronicity, comic timing, music selection, and overall performance gave Puppet Bike top marks in our Chicago experience.

Puppet Bike has its own Facebook page, and there are videos of some of their shows on YouTube and Vimeo, but in order to fully understand the amazingness that is Puppet Bike, you have to run into it yourself.  As someone on Facebook said, “There’s nothing like walking out of the bar and into the world of Puppet Bike”.  So true, my friend, so true.

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