Instantly killing the growing urban legend Madonna’s tightrope artist from Sunday night was actually the little kid from “Bad Santa” all grown up, the New York Times’ Jere Longman profiles Andy Lewis, who “makes his living performing an extreme and obscure form of tightrope walking known as slacklining.”
Slacklining reached the Super Bowl about three decades after originating in Yosemite in the world of rock climbing. Frequently, it involves stretchy nylon webbing attached low to the ground between two trees. But the more adventuresome have branched into highlining (sometimes performing hundreds of feet above the ground), waterlining and tricklining, Lewis’s specialty.
He is said to be the first to complete a back flip on a slackline. He is definitely the first to complete a kiss on the cheek by Madonna at halftime of the Super Bowl on a slackline.
“The kiss was my idea,” said Lewis, who lives in Moab, Utah, a slacklining haven. “Madonna likes to present her show with some kind of meaning. I wanted the kiss to give me energy to perform tricks. She kissed me every day in rehearsal. I’ve been kissed by Madonna something like 27 times.”
Initially, Lewis said he had some reservations. Exactly how much slack would Madonna allow in this slacklining routine?
“I was afraid I would get bossed around,” he said. “But Madonna was so nice and friendly.”