Monthly Archives: September 2014

#5. Russell and MLK Sep 21, 2014 - 5:29 am

Trying to expand my zone, I ventured down to Russell and MLK around 7pm on a Saturday night. I worried the traffic would be too loud, and a couple of buses did drown me out while I played. But mainly I felt pretty audible, and detected no hostility about my being there. (Believe it or don’t, not everyone is glad when El Demasiado shows up for some one-man-banding.)

It felt like a pretty good show. This time I brought a list of my song titles, which I often forget in the excitement of performing, so I played a lot of songs I might have forgotten otherwise. A little more than an hour in, my bass drum strap came loose and I decided to call it a night. It’s still pretty hot, and I was almost seeing double anyway. I played one more song without the drum rig, and headed out.

I always say, one person staying to watch beats making money from people who just walk by without listening at all. So I was deeply gratified by the woman who hung around from the first note to the last. As for the proffered marriage proposal, well, Señora Demasiado isn’t ready to give up on us yet.

A friend who stopped by told me she also received a marriage proposal from a man walking by. Who would have thought? The corner of Russell and MLK is surely among the most romantic spots in Portland!

For the next hundred days, any money I make from live shows will be contributed to my dear friend Priya’s campaign to raise funds for a handicap accessible van. Priya is a violinist who’s played many a show on the streets with me, never letting her wheelchair keep her from street rockin’. Since moving to Asheville, NC, she’s gotten much better medical care, but must contend with much worse public transportation. A van she can drive with her hands will improve her quality of life immeasurably. I urge you to contribute whatever you can by clicking here to donate!

#4. Cleveland and Failing Sep 12, 2014 - 10:33 pm

Trying not to fall into a rut by playing at the same old place again and again I picked a completely different kind of spot, in a mellower neighborhood but not too far from a busy street with lots of foot traffic. Despite its sad sounding name, this location really fit the bill: restaurants and bars around the corner meant lots of people parking and walking by, but also a lot of the actual residents would be out and about on a Friday evening.

This location isn’t completely random, though. It’s the intersection where Moe (recall show #1) and George live, as I was counting on at least one friendly resident to allow me to play in front of their house without calling the cops. Also, I think they kind of liked it.

As I’d hoped, several folks paused on their way to one of the many bars and restaurants on Williams, but…mostly on different corners, across the street. People, if you see me playing on the street, come closer, it’s perfectly safe! I know it can be awkward, if you’re the only person watching from close by, but another person will always stop if you do. Eventually, you’re just part of a small crowd.

Some old and new friends did hang around on my corner for a few minutes, long enough to witness a brief equipment malfunction. Most embarrassingly, this was in front of Señora Demasiado, who doesn’t come out to every single show, as well as la perra Dorita. But I still got a ride home, so it must not have been too bad for them.

I must admit, not the best show ever, as I was pretty wiped out by the ol’ day job on a Friday night, and the mental acuity and physical precision may have been a bit lacking. Nonetheless, I played for about an hour and fifteen minutes, mostly to appreciative passers-by—apart from the one family who crossed the street between songs to get a closer look, and left as soon as I started the next song. Not for everyone, this one man band.

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