Supercrawl: 10 artists and performers to watch for

Here are the art installations and performances you shouldn't miss at Supercrawl 2013.
Circus Orange dazzled crowds at Supercrawl last year, and they're back this year with an even bigger show. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Supercrawl's not just about the music — a descendent of the James Street North Art Crawl needs to have a heavy artistic side, too.

With that in mind, here's a look at ten different art installations and performances that will be lining James Street North this weekend that you shouldn't miss.

Circus Orange

Circus Orange was one of the highlights of Supercrawl 2012. The aerial performance troupe's show at the corner of James Street and York Boulevard captivated a huge audience — being suspended 40 feet in the air from a crane while twirling fire and then raining confetti on a crowd will do that.

But to jack it up a notch, this year's performance is set to include: a pedal-powered flying "pyrocopter," a flying opera singer with a pyro waterfall, a flamethrower trampoline act, a crane-based aerial silks performance (with fire) and an animated hydraulic lift stage.

If that sounds boring, you're dead inside. The main performance is happening at 8:05 p.m. Saturday at the corner of James and Wilson, with a smaller opening performance on Friday night in the same spot.


Québécois art collective BGL has molded a full-scale working carousel out of crowd barriers and shopping carts. Here's a sneak peek:

People can actually sit in the shopping carts and spin around — making it part interactive art-exhibit, part unconventional fair ride.


The Hammer City Roller Girls are holding their annual outdoor bout during Supercrawl on the skatepad at Hamilton Waterfront Trust's Pier 8, as part of the new Waterfront stage.

Garage punk band TV Freaks and folk singer Jacob Moon are playing on the stage behind the skatepad before and after the game.

The game will take place on Saturday at 2 p.m. Admission is free, but non-perishable food items will be collected for local charities. Your best bet to get to the game is by taking the free shuttle from the corner of James St. North and Barton St. to get to the pier.

Jason Krugman and Patrick Paine's light show

Jason Krugman invents new and experimental applications for LED lighting technology as art.

Organizers say his work can be "kind of spooky" — the Supercrawl installation will likely be based on a previous one where spirals of hung LED lights react to your movements. That creates a moving light sculpture that moves as you do.

Zacada Circus School

Stoney Creek's Zacada Circus School will be down at the Green For Life Waterfront stage at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Expect aerial silks, juggling, balancing acts, hooping, acrobatics, and other circus craziness.

Have a look at what you're in for:

Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka's mural

Artists Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka are creating a mural that will unfold over Friday at James Street and Barton.

Much like the mural done last year at Dr. Disc, the art will be painted directly onto an outdoor wall or surface and survive after the festival is over.

Festival-goers get to see what goes into painting a massive outdoor mural, and Hamilton inherits a colourful and playful transformation of a public space.

Blackbird Studios Fashion Show

For the well dressed among us, Blackbird Studios will be launching their fall/winter 2014 collection called La Belle Epoque during Supercrawl.

The Blackbird models will be appearing on the catwalk in front their shop at 161 James Street North with musical guest Sonya Jezebel Cote.

Sarah Beck and Shlomi Greenspan's open stage

Comedians and artists Sarah Beck and Shlomi Greenspan call this installation "an environment where comedy becomes art, and art becomes one big joke."

All we know is there is an open stage with a spotlight and a mic and just north of Mulberry Street on James. The space is there for people to use — if you build a space for standup comedy, will they come?

Elinor Whidden's 'Canadian Shield: Colour Field'

"Canadian Shield: Colour Field" is made from two large light boxes. Each backlit photo is a close-up of a truck's taillight, but reads like an enormous Rothko colour field painting. These two "paintings" are rigged to pulse periodically with red light, winking like break lights on a dark night.

The two boxes will be powered from the car battery of a truck that can be revved up periodically throughout the night to keep the battery charged and the light boxes glowing.

Erika James' barriers

Erika James works with text, sculpture and inflatables to create playful and interactive installations. For Supercrawl, she has made a pile of wooden fences with lettering attached.

They'll be mounted on to crowd barriers around the festival. Look out for them:

Tips on politeness by Erika James. (Courtesy Erika James)