The Stories

Robert Says…

Ever hit a little boy in the face with a machete? Ever had a gun pulled on you by a heckler? Ever been propositioned by a beautiful woman while juggling fire? Well, we’ve got those stories to share… and many more.

After 30 years as a street performer, there’s one thing I’ve learned… it’s all about the story.

Sure, we make more money than heart surgeons, sure, we have better sex lives than NBA athletes and sure, we travel to more locations than Vasco de Gama but the real joy is found in the unbelievable stories we get to tell… and hear!

The legends, the veterans, even the new kid on the block; each one of them has a story to tell. How it all started for them, what made them do it to begin with and when and where they did what they did. Each one gives us a glimpse into their history with their own words and in their own voice. Each one tells us a story!

Maybe you’ll learn something in the process. Maybe you’ll learn something about busking; maybe you’ll learn a little about the world, maybe you’ll even learn about yourself… who knows? Just listen, it’s all inside the story!

This idea was inspired by the comedy podcast WTF with Marc Maron and was conceived by The Checkerboard Guy and myself with the intent to share the plethora of busking stories we’ve heard over the years. We hope to give everyone listening an “insider’s look” into the magical world of busking that we share with so many others.

A good story is everything,

Robert Nelson
The Butterfly Man

David Says…

I like to organize stuff… I always have. I get some weird sense of satisfaction out of having each thing in it’s place and knowing how to put my hand on that thing again should some future occasion call for it.

OCD? Yeah…you could say that and I’m well aware that this personality trait can grate on people’s nerves, but I’ve tried, in my own weird way, to take this aspect of my natural wiring and use it for good, contributing to the world of street performing the best I know how over the years.

Around the time that Jim set up I created a now defunked database for performers and festivals because I thought that people should have an easy way to find each other. In 1999 I launched the Super Star Performer Cards website because I wanted to share my love of the goofy idea of performer trading cards with others. Between 2005 and 2010 while acting as the point man for the Pacific National Exhibition’s Street Star Program I videoed the acts and produced digest videos of the program.

So why Podcast?

I wanted to capture some of the greatest stories told from this world and saw The Butterfly Man as the natural host because he was so often at the heart of some of the most memorable mythology from our world. I visited Robert in Pahoa, Hawaii on October 17 and 18, 2011 I tried to convince him it was his idea, and I think I almost succeeded…

Here’s to a growing library of our shared narrative.

David Aiken
The Checkerboard Guy

4 Responses to The Stories

  1. Brian Foley says:

    Just found you guys. What a hoot. I remember seeing the Butterfly Man in the 70’s. Also remember him handling a heckler in a way that I still consider the best ever.

    I busked for a stint at Mallory Pier in Key Weird in the mid 70’s, when the LocoMotion Circus was still together.

    Then I busked Europe from 1980 to about 91. I’m pretty tame these days, but still have amazing stories. If you care to check some out, you can find three of them at

    Keep up the great work!


    • checkerhead says:

      Thanks for chiming in Brian hope you continue to enjoy the content we’re posting! Do sign up for the mailing list and you’ll get regular updates! Sign-up is on the right hand side of the page!

  2. Eric Letts says:

    Great stuff!! This site brings back lots of great memories!!

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