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Friday, July 1, 2011

Behind the backflip: The story of a street-performing family


The Sardine family flips up the meaning of familial trust on Pier 39

PHOTO BY SEAN HURD

06.30.11

by Sean Hurd

San Francisco--You can’t miss the acrobatic stylings of Orion, Alex, and Meisje Griffiths -- also known as the Sardine Family -- on a sunny day on the corner of Jefferson and Powell Streets. If the bold, baggy, crimson-colored pants don’t catch your eye, there's something about the energetic English accents pumping out of the subwoofer that have a way of pulling you in.
Pier 39 rarely disappoints when it comes to street performers at this time of year. Cloudy days be damned, if it's technically summer, a big heart with any kind of creative curiosity won’t be able to pass through tourist town without being reeled in by one of the different acts along the congested sidewalks. But who are these performers? How'd they wind up performing on city street corners? Who did I just give my money to?
Three second generation acrobats, along with longtime friend Kevin, make up the Sardine Family, a traditional circus act which weaves in plenty of comedic punch lines, showmanship, and charisma. And they deliver one hell of a street show. I was able to sit down with Orion Griffiths and get the story of how the Sardine Family set their clown shoes on the streets of San Francisco.

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