Market Insider

Local’s Guide to the Pike Place Market: Pike Place Performers

Four entertainers who embody the weird and wonderful tradition of performing in the Market.

By Jessica Voelker June 1, 2011

Image: Young Lee

The Castaways at Can Can
Can Can owner Chris Snell says his in-house performers are: “like Cirque de Soleil, only the hip, modern version.” The professional dancing troupe sprinkles kung fu moves along with modern dance, flamenco, and cabaret into its acts. And while Snell blanches at the term burlesque, citing connotations of amateurishness, there is no denying the peep-show factor is in full effect.

Squirrel Butter
Charlie Beck and Charmaine Slaven (from Indiana and Montana, respectively) play soul-stimulating old-time Appalachian music—punctuated by percussive clogging by Slaven—at busker spots around the Market.

Tamara the Trapeze Lady
Flaxen-haired Tamara shows up 
every Sunday night from 6:30 to 9pm at the Pink Door ( to entertain the dining room with four five—minute “ambient aerial” sets on the trapeze. It’s fun and casual and goes great with the restaurant’s fizzy cocktails and straightforward pasta dishes, but expect the occasional A/V snafu. “The bartender controls the music, and sometimes he gets really busy and plays the wrong song,” says Tamara.

Vince Mira
Famous for his eerie ability to channel Johnny Cash (a talent that won him spots on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Good Morning America), this singer-songwriter started busking in the market at age 14. He now brings his act to venues across the country, but still tests out new material monthly 
at the Can Can. Catch him while you can.

Show Comments