>> Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The only performer who specializes in blowing bubbles using only his hands, Sterling Johnson was trained as an engineer and a lawyer. His bubble blowing to entertain friends over 30 years ago has developed into a full stage show.
Sterling is the only person to ever put a bubble inside a bubble inside a bubble on stage without any straws or tubes, and the first person to walk completely through a bubble film. He explains it this way, "When a hand is soapy, you can slide it right into a bubble because the bubbles respond as if your hand is part of them. I had a fantasy of getting entirely soapy and walking into or out of a vey large bubble. We tried it at the second and third Exploratorium Bubble Festivals in the 1980s. I stripped down to my bathing suit and bathing cap, was drenched with detergent, and Richard Faverty waved huge bubbles over me as I attempted to walk out through the film. Although the bubble often popped just as my last foot was coming out, I got credit for having succeeded by the end."
His favorite bubble story comes from when he was volunteering at a school for severely retarded children when he was in engineering school. He says, "There was an autistic girl who gave very little reaction to anything going on around her. I made some half-sphere bubbles on a soapy formica table top for some of the kids, letting those who were able to play with the bubbles I had made. All of a sudden, the girl's eyes seemed clearer, and she became engaged with the igloo-like bubbles that were in front of her. She played with the them, touched them, and was interested in their popping. Her teacher said it was the only time that had ever happened. It was pretty touching to be present for that."