Sunday, February 22, 2009

Man on Wire

"I see a beautiful place to put my wire and...I cannot resist."

--Philippe Petit, French wire walker, on why he installed and walked a high wire between the WTC Twin Towers in 1974.

This is an interesting story. This guy is from France and is a wire walker.  He heard about plans for the World Trade Center before the towers' construction even began and aspired to walk between them.  He practiced at his home in the backyard, mere feet off the ground, with friends shaking the wire and otherwise distracting him to simulate the wind he would encounter 1,350 feet above the earth.

On August 7th, 1974, armed with his gear (including a 450-lb cable and a 55' balancing pole) and a fake ID declaring him a maintenance worker, he ascended one of the nearly-completed Twin Towers. He got his wire in place and proceeded to walk the length of wire eight times over a 45-minute span before police coaxed him down. He was promptly arrested for what is now revered as "the artistic crime of the century."

A documentary about his life and this famous walk, "Man on Wire," is up for an Academy Award tonight.