The young woman is convulsed with laughter. Her boyfriend's arms are held by his sides in a long overcoat worn backwards and he is wearing an absurd plastic apron in the shape of a buxom bathing beauty. He has reached his moment of truth. Standing behind him, arms round his torso and through the sleeves of the coat, Alex Elixer is holding three grim looking double-bladed axes. "Should I juggle them?" he calls to her. "Sure," she says breaking up, "Just don't injure any important parts!" Even Elixer cracks up, momentarily. I am laughing because I've see the routine before and realize what's in store for this unsuspecting young lady, one of two hundred or so people packed onto a Halifax street. She doesn't yet know it, but soon she will be the star of this show.
An ex-patriate Nova Scotian Alex Elixer grew up in the south shore town of Chester before hitching a ride to San Fransisco -- a trip that changed his life. "I was completely blown away," he says late one evening as we perch on his trunk in the middle of Argyle St. waiting for another performer's show to end. "I saw people doing things I never thought were even humanly possible." There was no looking back and for the last ten years Elixer (who now makes Vancouver his home) has been honing his skills and polishing his performance technique. A consummate juggler Elixer does an impressive torch routine in his show. Sophisticated variations with three torches and a flawless performance with five lift his act a significant notch beyond the run-of-the-mill juggler's. But most importantly he is a masterly entertainer, unstintingly full of praise for his fellow performers, kind and gracious towards his audience and 'volunteers.'
Get in touch with Alex at Alex_Urquhart@bc.sympatico.