I've written about street musicians quite a bit. They are everywhere in New York and I will miss them terribly when I am gone.
But they are not all good.
Example one: There are two musicians who appear to alternate shifts in one of the tunnels under canal street where we cross to get the uptown trains. One of them is "David's magic percussion hands" (that's what it says on the sign.) I give him a bit of slack because I think that he's developmentally disabled, and good for him for expressing himself. Basically he has a number of things taped to himself which he smacks. I guess if you were to stay long enough you might be able to discern some kind of rhythm or at least a repeating pattern, but it's a short tunnel.
He alternates with Example 2: Bad cellist. Really bad cellist. Cello is one of the most elegant instruments to hear, and those that play them are pretty much rock stars in the world of classical music (the mellow kind of rock star, who is unassuming.) This guy. There is no way to describe it except perhaps that it is the sound that would result from sinewy entrails being dragged through a brillo pad. Can you hear that sound? It's the kind of sound you can feel. Thank God that it's a short tunnel.
Example 3: Pan-flute-driven-questing-music. This is a new one on our Lorimer street stop on the L. It broke my heart when I saw the (wonderful!) spanish guitar player on Monday, and then heard the quiet crescendo of the pan flute as I advanced down the platform. Drake and I share a disdain for pan flute, so we looked at each other in despair. The train wouldn't arrive for 6 minutes-- Then we noticed the supporting track that the pan flutist was using. It was similar to what you hear in Celine Dion's hit "My heart will go on." It was similar to what I remember hearing at a praise music concert I attended in my youth. It was questing music.
Example 4: The arrhythmic folk hero accordian player. He started with "Amazing Grace." A classic, to be sure, but it took a little while for us to positively identify it as such, so disjunct was the rhythm. We looked at each other wide-eyed.... Drake compared him to Ives "only less organized" which is hilarious. So we briefly entertained the possibility that he might be a genius. But in the end, I think he was just drunk.
I am slightly embarrassed about the fact that I am browsing an online version of Target's weekly circular and envisioning the (relative) bliss of suburban life.
I cannot be blamed for this, since the subway was so crowded that I actually considered resting my head on a stranger's shoulder this morning. I also realized why the part of the platform where we wait for the N/R probably smells like pee every morning-- because PEOPLE ACTUALLY PEE THERE.
If you're feeling slightly morose or slightly old, consider visiting this site
I bought peeps, but it rained on Friday and Saturday, and I was too busy singing for the Clinton family to get my photo in on Easter Sunday. It's true!
Between Good Friday and Easter Drake and I sang 6 church services. A very busy weekend indeed. The children's choir was particularly rowdy at the 11:00 service and when I turned around to fuss at them for talking and not singing, they pointed straight ahead of me and said, "but LOOK!! There's the Clinton family!" True enough, there were Bill, Hillary, Chelsea and her boyfriend. It was pretty fun to see them. Bill's hair is very white! I mean **very** white! Once we knew where he was it was like a honing signal-- you could very quickly locate them in the congregation.
So no peeps photo-shoot, and for that I apologize. And I blame the Clinton administration.
Came across this in the blogosphere this morning, and I find it distressing to say the least.
_____________________________________________ NBC 10 - PHILADELPHIA Published: April 6, 2009
On Saturday, World Pillow Fight Day, organized, peaceful pillow fights took place in nearly 100 cities all over the world: in Houston and Hamburg, in Stockholm and Seattle, in Paris, Perth, Philadephia and Padova. And by all accounts, a grand, feathery time was had by all.
Except in Detroit.
In Detroit, when participants showed up at Campus Martius Park at 4PM, toting pillows and ready to rumble, local police intervened and “disarmed” the crowd. According to AP, the cops “confiscated [his] pillows but returned their cases. He says he was told that he needed a permit.“ A permit for what, no-one is exactly sure—congregating in a public park? Premeditated fun? Owning a pillow? ________________________________________________
Really Detroit? This is so sad to me. Disarming a pillow fight? I can't imagine how this all went down but it is severely depressing to imagine the police seriously breaking this up and following through to keep people from participating in World Pillow Fight Day. Not so sure if I can stand behind it. Well I can, I guess, as long as I don't have a pillow.
You may remember from this post that sometimes I am totally inspired by particularly exceptional street musicians. In particular this one guitarist who sings in Spanish sometimes on the L. WELL! every morning for the past two weeks he has been in a little nook where we transfer from the L to the N/R and every day I get out of the very crowded L train and am so surprised and happy to hear him. Really. He has such a beautiful voice. I wish that he made a CD, because I would totally buy it. Maybe I should record him and give him copies to sell, I LOVE his voice. When my time in NYC is finished he will be a big part of what I miss most.
Drake notices music everywhere too, but to him it is generally in the form of intervals. He'll notice that the alert for subway doors closing are a major third. The alert will sound, then he'll sing it back and say "Major third!" or he'll notice that when the train accelerates to leave the station the wheels will make a minor 7th and then he'll sing it back and say "Minor Seventh!" Sometimes we'll hear things and I'll just look at him, waiting for him to declare the interval that we just heard, and he won't say it for a while, but he always says it eventually. This morning after the subway doors closed he said
"it sounds like 'you-hoo!' 'subway doors closing! yoo-hoo!' can you imagine if it were a minor third and it was all 'uh-oh!'"
Communicating this to you, internet, makes me realize that this should be endearing, but I confess that I have little patience for it. In fact I get terribly agitated, to the point that whenever I hear an interval represented in everyday activity, I shoot Drake a look and point at him in warning. Which just means that he wins, because I hear it now too.
I have been in search of the perfect neutral flat, and have found them. On sale no less! I bought little arch inserts in anticipation of finding them one day (and knowing how flats are). Can't wait until they arrive sometime next week!!
They will be infinitely more elegant than my Chuck Taylor's for my AM commute to work.
My husband and I are both opera singers, and in the fall we moved from NYC to Michigan, where he is now a professor of voice and opera at Oakland University. In January we bought our first house-- an 1895 Victorian, and we're expecting our first child (a boy) in April.