Saturday I worked as a Phantom at the Phantom Gourmet Food Festival. We phantoms received t-shirts, capes, hats, sequined bow-ties, and masks–all purple of course. It looked like I had killed and skinned Barney, used all the parts to the fullest extent, and then disguised myself as a Zorro with a flair for redecorating. I should have pictures soon.
My job involved handing out purple bead necklaces for two hours, and then taking photos with patrons and generally entertaining people while they waited 10 minutes in line for an once of frozen yogurt. We were also allowed to cut the lines freely, as “quality control.” Tickets cost $40 bucks, so I was paid $100 to have more food access than everyone else. Phantoms walked around in pairs, and I was paired with a girl who had just graduated from college and was performing improv as well.
On two occasions we got bored. The first time we wandered into a bar and sat with random people who possibly didn’t know we were employees. We were just a crazy couple who enjoyed sporting purple capes in our free time. For the second stint of boredom, we went to the dance floor at the beer garden. It was less of a garden, and more of a parking lot with a Budweiser truck in it, but there was also a (purple) dance floor. We improvised a dance number to “Sexyback,” followed by a river-dancing encore to “Shipping Up to Boston.” I did my best Papelbon. Our audience filmed us with cellphones and cameras, and even applauded when we ended by grabbing our capes with both hands like the Batman before he jumps off a building, and “flying away” into the crowd. Again, I don’t know if they realized we were “working.”
It was a triumphant day for the poor comedic actor that I am. I got paid to eat, got to keep a t-shirt and some necklaces, and even made off with a display potato from the baked fries stand (wouldn’t they be bakes?) for later. It was awkward riding the T wearing multiple purple necklaces while grasping a potato, but definitely worth it. Also, the girl is in an improv performance group that pays $50 per show. She invited me to join, so I gave her my email. Hopefully I’ll have more on that in the future.