Every time Lisa Polinori takes the open-air stage at Harborplace, she wonders. Will she draw a decent crowd? Will spectators stick around to watch her juggle and joke atop a 6-foot unicycle? Will some drunk guy heckle her?
And, not least: Who out there has some money? Because these days, she says, people all too often walk around with plenty of plastic in their wallets but not so much cash for tipping. “I need to start taking credit cards,” she says.
Tuesday evening, Polinori — aka Unicycle Lady — ventured once again into the unpredictable world of street performing. She’s one of 32 acts deemed worthy by Harborplace management to show their stuff at the high-traffic Inner Harbor amphitheater.
This year’s roster includes two escape artists, two pan flutists, several magicians, an aerialist, a dance troupe, a guitar duo, a sword swallower called “Thomsellectomy” and a handful of variety acts. Harborplace doesn’t pay any of them a dime. They earn whatever spectators think they’re worth.