“The Bushes” is the brain child of my lovely and talented friend, Laura DiVilio (the original bush). When Laura told me about her idea to create cartoonish bush costumes and perform spontaneously around the city I said, “Bud, of course.” The Bushes were born in the early 1990’s as part of a performance art class at the Ontario College of Art. The idea was simple: the bushes were not meant to look particularly real - think Wile E. Coyote in shrub drag. When we crouch under them we appear to be “rooted”. When we stand up our feet and legs are clearly visible. We are bushes on the move.
The inaugural performance took place on the grounds of the old University of Toronto greenhouse at University Avenue and Queen’s Park Circle (the greenhouse has since been moved to Allan Gardens). Perplexed passersby stopped to watch two haystack shaped bushes “escape” from the greenhouse, dance around the lawn and eventually encounter a Brinks armoured truck (which could have ended tragically, but gladly did not).
Since then The Bushes have morphed into more comfortable shapes and sizes and have performed at Queen’s Park, Honest Ed’s, the Toronto Dominion Centre (which involved a brush with security and a rallying crowd of bush supporters), Queen Street West and all 4 of Toronto’s Figment Festivals on Olympic Island.
P. W. J. Hare
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