Aerial performance artists scale San Francisco's Transamerica Pyramid kicking off APEC

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Tuesday, November 14, 2023
APEC 2023: Aerialists perform on side of SF's Transamerica Pyramid
Three people from BANDALOOP vertical performance troupe were spotted rappelling down the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco to help kick off APEC.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A captivating sight kicked off APEC week in San Francisco as performers from nonprofit BANDALOOP scaled the facade of the Transamerica Pyramid building. At first glance, the orange-clad climbers caused...a bit of concern for bystanders.

Mariela Torres spend a good amount of time Monday morning watching the act.

"We got scared we thought something else was going on!"

The three people are part of Oakland-based BANDALOOP, an aerial vertical performance troupe.

WATCH: SKY7 video of aerial performance troupe rappels down SF's Transamerica Pyramid

SKY7 was over the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco Monday, where three people were spotted rappelling down the building.

As bystanders tilted their necks, flashbacks of an anti-abortion activist scaling Salesforce Tower in 2022 came to mind.

BANDALOOP says they were asked by the city and the Transamerica Pyramid to kick off APEC.

"We dance on buildings all over the world and we're trying to bring unity through the joy of public art." said Thomas Kavenaugh, Executive Producer of Bandaloop

MORE: 2023 APEC summit: Everything to know about San Francisco road closures, security and more

Melecio Estrella, the Artistic Director for Bandaloop said "The sense of disorientation and disruption is something we welcome as part of the impact of our work."

SFPD tweeted on Monday: "Heads up! The individuals seen rappelling down the #TransamericaPyramid are part of a PERMITTED PERFORMANCE. Do not be alarmed, enjoy the show!"

SFPD Chief Bill Scott has warned at a press conference last week, those who choose less legal forms of distraction will be faced with something more serious.

"Because this is national special security event, the secret service is the lead as far as security for this event," he said.

RELATED: Day-by-Day timeline of APEC Summit in San Francisco

In other parts of the city, there was a noticeable increase in security.

"I think we haven't been robbed yet so we can't complain!" smiled a man from Switzerland.

The cleanup efforts across San Francisco were also clear. We saw crews sweeping the Embarcadero and parts of Union Square and the Financial District.

An alleyway off Van Ness Avenue, known for homeless encampments in recent years, was empty, minus some debris.

It's something visitors at Pier 39 noticed, too.

"The interesting thing is seeing the clean up of the city, and seeing all the highway patrol staying at our hotel and the barricades going up," said Dan Frey, visiting from Florida.

Tripitak Warothai, an APEC delegate from Thailand says he has loved his San Francisco experience so far. "Yesterday I saw many homeless people around the city but today I think they fixed something."

With closed roads and 20,000 people expected to descend into the city this week, others hope it won't scare other tourists away.

"We're not certain what to expect. I have to say there are more people here today than I expected. Maybe people came out today before the rain hits," said Sue Muzzin of Pier 39.

ABC7 News weather anchor Spencer Christian says expect the rain to move in by around midnight.

MORE: Man free climbs 1,070-foot Salesforce Tower in San Francisco

A man who calls himself the "Pro-Life Spiderman" free climbed all the way up San Francisco's Salesforce Tower Tuesday morning.

BANDALOOP posted on Facebook shortly before the aerial maneuvers began. "We realize that true safety is not a solid reality - it is situational, relative and dynamic - a living system - and in many spaces in the world people are NOT SAFE.
As a company that aims to reimagine what is possible and actualize a Culture of Safety, we stand in solidarity with movements towards liberation and the CALL TO A CEASEFIRE"

In a statement to ABC7 News Monday afternoon, BANDALOOP wrote:

"BANDALOOP is working with Transamerica Pyramid building and the City of San Francisco. Their message is "We are dancing for human connection and expanded possibility - how we can have hope in impossible times...The company has just returned from performing on St. Paul's Cathedral in London. What better emblem of San Francisco than the iconic pyramid?"


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