Would we drink coffee with Karl Wallenda?
Kristy: Yes. Now, I might have some explaining to do before we can sit down and enjoy our coffee. I’m a slack rope walker (slacker) and I might have mentioned a time or two that anyone can walk on a tightrope, it’s walking on a slack rope that takes skill. I’m not willing to retract that statement entirely, I do want to make it clear that I don’t think just anyone could do the things on a wire Karl Wallenda used to do. But I would love to ask that man what life was like in an early twentieth-century circus. I’d like to know more about his family history–every source I’ve read indicates his family had been doing circus for centuries, but they aren’t clear what they did at the circus. He seems to have learned rope walking elsewhere, so what field was his family in and how did they feel when he went elsewhere? I’m sure he has more than a few great stories about raising a family on the road with the circus. I’d like to know what he thinks it was that drove him to stunt wire walking rather than the typical big-top style performance. It’s a delicate question, but part of me wants to know about his final walk. When his great-grandson Nik was getting ready to walk across Niagra Falls, I was horrified that the channel kept showing footage of Karl’s final walk (they didn’t show his death, just the fall). For me, that’s something that people don’t need to see, but I wonder if Karl would agree with me. He was a lifelong showman, you kind of have to think that if he died giving a performance, he would want people to see it. I’d also like to know his opinion of the more modern style cirque shows. I know a lot of old school circus types that hate them because they say the “show” takes away from the actual acts, but I know there are also many who love them. What does he think?
Cammy: Once again, I had not a single clue who this guy was until Kristy mentioned him above. While I’m kind of interested in hearing about his family background (circus family for generations? Now that’s kinda awesome), I’m a little leary of hearing about his actual high-wire daredevil stunts–I find the idea terrifying. So I might be at the table for part of the conversation, and then retreat to far side of the bar over by the jukebox so my imagination doesn’t kick in with paralyzingly horrifying images as he describes any of his stunts.