Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

July 5, 2014

Balancing Act

TRAVERSE CITY — Levi Meeuewenberg vaulted cars as Captain America’s stunt double in “The Avengers.” He leapt rooftop to rooftop for Jeremy Renner in “Bourne Legacy.” “America Ninja Warrior” was a regular gig and his IMDb profile was growing by leaps and bounds — literally — as parkour and freerunning gained Hollywood traction.

Put on your “parkour goggles” and the world becomes a playground. Ugly, mundane urban spaces become a launchpad wonderland for graceful backflips, frog leaps, vertical scampers and cat-like landings.

Youtube videos sparked Meeuewenberg and his Traverse City friends’ interest in the sport, and soon, new clips surfaced of Meeuewenberg spiraling over rooftops and vaulting full tilt through fence holes. He caught the mascara-ed eye of pop superstar Madonna who brought Meeuewenberg onstage on her 2006 “Confessions” tour and his career exploded.

“I never saw it coming,” Meeuewenberg said. “I never realized that we could make a career out of it. I was in the right place at the right time.”

But the “bright lights, big city” lifestyle held few trees. A shattered wrist, caught by television cameras on the G4 reality show “Jump City Seattle” underlined that professional parkour carries a physical expiration date. The entertainment industry’s excessive wastefulness began to cast a pall on the experience, he said.

“I started looking at the stuntmen, and their lives and I realized that that’s not what I want at all,” Meeuewenberg said. “You’re always traveling, which means a lot of broken families. It’s hard to stay connected — to friends, family or even a place. The allure, the one ups-manship ... I started thinking that there must be another way.”

Enter Real Eyes Homestead, Meeuewenberg’s permaculture project with his girlfriend, Brenda Baran, a holistic nutritionist from Dearborn. Meeuewenberg returned to Traverse City in 2012, and the couple keeps pigs, chickens, worms and a large garden on Meeuewenberg’s family land.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot