Better late than never? A Transformer reveals himself in Ann Arbor

May 21, 2014

Car or human? This "transformer" street performer wants to reassure the kids he's human.
Car or human? This "transformer" street performer wants to reassure the kids he's human.
Credit Mark Brush

We in the media world go crazy for anything that might get shared by thousands... nay millions of people around the Internet. 

Entire sites like Gawker, Buzzfeed, and ViralNova are dedicated to getting these shares. The New York Times gazed at its navel and didn't like what it saw. "More shareable content!" they said.

We here at Michigan Radio follow a lot of news that isn't exactly heart-melty or cat friendly, but we do get a kick out of posting something fun now and again.

I saw something on the streets of Ann Arbor last month that I thought was totally unique and would be fun to share with our audience.

I shot the video on my phone, but there it sat as I spent my work hours trying to explain school funding in Michigan.

In the meantime a similar video has gotten close to 3 million views after Gawker, the Detroit Free Press, and MLive shared it.

Dang.

Oh well. So is this a case of better late than never? I guess you can be the judge.

Watch this transformer reveal himself on Main Street in Ann Arbor:

To kids, he could be a little scary, but he's sweet with them - giving them high fives after he opens up.

My colleague's 3-year-old kid saw him and said, "I want one of those for my birthday." (He meant the suit, not the guy himself.)

The guy is Joslyn Paige, a 28-year-old street performer from New Orleans. 

Jim Schaefer of the Detroit Free Press caught up with him and got some details. Here's bit of that Q and A:

Tips? Can you tell me what your best day ever was?

$700.

Wow. That’s a pretty good day! What’s your worst day?

Today. I don’t know (looks at tips bucket), what do I got in here, about $1.50? Well, no, no. This lady gave me a five! Today is not my worst day.

You can go get lunch.

I started out on the streets in 2007. I moved to New Orleans, and then I ended up homeless. So I spent like two years trying to get out of that. Ended up with a job at Margaritaville, and I always aspired to do street performance. ... So I spent, I guess, the whole time I was there trying to figure out the streets. Because I saw the street performers and said, that’s what I want to do.

What is it about it that you like?

The freedom.

Ok. Now on to explaining road funding in Michigan.