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A shadowy performance artist and vigilante emerges on the downtown scene

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Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 2/14/2008

BY ADDISON HERRON-WHEELER

One cool, summer evening as I was sitting in Market Square at sunset, a shadowy figure appeared on the rooftop nearby.

The figure was holding a lightsaber and making patterns in the sky. To make matters even stranger, a group of men dressed in Civil War clothing were walking by at exactly the same time.

I was utterly confused. Could the Jedis be preparing to retake Marye's Heights? Or were these Rebs staging a plot against the Death Star? In my astonishment, I thought maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me. They were not, however.

ENTER NIGHTSHADE

To anyone who has spent time gazing at the downtown skyline at dusk, the mysterious man on the rooftops is a sight almost as familiar as our local historical interpreters. He goes by the name of Seraph Nightshade.

Naturally, I had to discover who this person was and what in the world he was doing playing with lightsabers on rooftops. After weeks spent asking around downtown and posting MySpace messages, I finally was able to set up an interview with him.

My first meeting with Mr. Nightshade was as odd as I had expected it to be. I showed up in Market Square sometime around the early evening. He was waiting, dressed all in white, with his double red saber and his blue one.

A few minutes into the interview, a group of teenage boys walked by and yelled for Nightshade to get on the roof. Obediently, he sprang up the ladder on the side of a nearby building and then quickly dismounted.

ROOFTOP VIGILANTE

While some might consider Nightshade's rooftop shows just plain strange, the city calls them illegal.

"On New Year's Eve, I got busted for the first time," he admitted. "The cops had been looking for me for about six months. The cop was cool about it, though. He just gave me a warning slip, which I actually want to frame."


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