Another suggested location, this time from a friend of a friend. He recommended playing in a vacant lot on North Williams Avenue, which would put me in direct view of thousands of afternoon bike commuters. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try.
But when I got to the spot, the lot was not exactly vacant, as it was full of hot, sweat-inducing afternoon sunlight. This is certainly a hazard of playing outdoors, but after a week of daily shows, I was not keen on standing in the sun to play music yet again.
So I strolled up and down Williams a little bit, looking for a better spot, and noticed the real estate office on the corner was closing up. I poked my head in the door and asked if they were really closing (yes) and would they mind if I played in the alcove (go right ahead!). So that was a problem averted.
I set up and started playing when a second interesting aspect revealed itself: cyclists on their afternoon commute have little interest in stopping to hear some music on a random street corner. Ironically, it appeared to me, motorists in their rolling cages had more awareness of and curiosity about what I was doing than cyclists, who otherwise seem to enjoy a much more direct relationship to their surroundings. Or maybe they’re just focused on not getting hit by cars, who can really say?
Another largely disinterested group of people is pedestrians headed to the fancy wine shop next to the realtor. If you ever want to feel like you have cooties, be hot and sweaty and in the path of a would-be patron heading to a fancy wine shop.
But it wasn’t all disinterest. An adult and child (mother and son?) stopped and sat down for a little while. After a couple of songs, the woman stepped away, leaving me playing music to a young teenager. (She did come back eventually.)
I try to play more cheerful songs when possibly influencing the youth of today, but he told me his favorite band is Linkin Park, so…does that free me to get dark? I kind of did, but I also devoted some time to talking with him about musical instruments he played, etc.
Turns out he’s a multi-insturmentalist (several horns plus drums) and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on a street corner of his own someday. Or maybe he’ll aim higher: a whole vacant lot to himself. (And hopefully in the shade.)
Incidentally, this is the first show where I had stickers to give away. If you see me out in the world playing music, ask for a sticker between songs. I will probably be glad to take a break and hand you one!