We were able to catch up with one of the favorite street performers from the Lawrence Busker Festival favorites, Linsey Lindberg – better known around here as Mama Lou American Strong Woman. We asked her a few questions about her experience in the busking world, as well as her experiences in Lawrence. We learned quite a lot, and we’re thrilled to share it with you!
1. Linsey is a Kansas girl. Linsey grew up in Kansas City, Kansas before taking off for New York City and joining a clown troupe.
2. She was an aerialist in Montreal. Linsey left New York to become an aerialist in Montreal. As a professional aerialist Linsey became rather strong rather quickly. This is where her strong woman act idea was birthed.
3. She started busking as a way to practice her strong woman act. Linsey started meeting street performers in Montreal. She used the opportunity of street performing to practice her feats of strength.
4. Busking turned into her career after realizing how impactful her act was. Audience members began thanking her for being a strong woman. That’s one thing that inspired her to take her act all over the world.
5. She has been performing at the Lawrence Busker Festival annually since its second year. Busking has taken Linsey to all parts of the world, but she has made sure to perform on the streets of Lawrence every year since 2008.
6. She and Richard Renner – the mastermind behind the Lawrence Busker Festival – have become great friends. In fact, Linsey has helped Richard to understand how female buskers haven’t exactly been treated equally to their male counterparts in the world of busking. She has helped inspire the world’s first all-female busker festival.
7. She thinks the audiences in Lawrence are the best in the world. When asked what makes Lawrence special to Linsey, her answer is the open-minded, welcoming to the weird, enthusiastic audiences.
8. She’s also pretty fond of the food and drink in Lawrence too. When she’s in Lawrence, she never misses an opportunity for a burger at The Burger Stand, a beer at the Free State Brewery, or “George Michael’s Dirty Banana” – the perfect coffee pick-me-up – at Henry’s.
9. Not only is she out to inspire girls, but boys as well. She knew early on that she wanted to be a role model to young ladies with her strong woman act, but quickly learned that she can be an inspiration to young men as well. She shows boys that they never have to wonder if girls can be strong, and helps them realize that girls don’t have to look like “she-hulks” in order to be strong.
10. Linsey owns her own business in Texas. Linsey is the owner of Artisan Oddities and Entertainment, a unique one-stop shop to find and book exciting and out of the ordinary talent for events.
Don’t miss Mama Lou, American Strong Woman, and other amazing street performers at the Lawrence Busker Festival, May 24-26 in Downtown Lawrence.