Monthly Archives: January 2015

#10. NE Killingsworth St. at Cleveland Ave. Jan 25, 2015 - 9:34 pm

After the last show I was relaxing with some friends at the ol’ Florida Room and one of them suggested I should play a show near her house. (Note: Not at, or in, but near.) She said that though it’s a pretty busy thoroughfare, there are wide sidewalks and a fair number of pedestrians. Plus my friends would come out to watch.

Well, I’ve played on the odd street corner in front of a friend’s house before, and it went pretty well, so why not? And really, while I have enjoyed playing to large audiences, or to a steady stream of passers-by, if it comes to it there is a zen to the futility and pointlessness of playing a show to no one, and I was up for that, too, if it went that way.

I won’t deny some tipsiness contributed to my determination the night before at the Florida Room, and so there I was, proclaiming for all to hear, that I would absolutely be at the corner at 4pm the following afternoon. My only out was, “weather permitting.”

Portland weather isn’t always so cooperative, but this day…this day was beautiful. And so, at 3:45pm, tired from a long show the day before, plus a long hike with the dog and Señora Demasiado that morning, I got my stuff together and headed to the spot.

When I arrived, it didn’t feel so warm where I parked, so I walked to a sunny spot and set up. I was already feeling a little light-headed from hunger and fatigue, even before the blinding sun coaxed a steady sweat from me. But those silhouettes on the sidewalk before me wanted a show, and while dying or even fainting during a performance is not a life goal, I bet it would look pretty cool.

So I began to play. These friends were only familiar with the three bear songs I played at my first public performance and I was curious to see how they liked my other, less whimsical songs. So I played, and must have been something of a spectacle, as cars racing by slowed and opened their windows to hear better. And as promised, some random pedestrians hung out for a few minutes here and there to listen.

Just over half an hour later, after playing some old classics and a few songs from this century, I felt too close to fainting to play much longer. One last song, and I was out of there.

While I was packing up, my friend asked if I wanted to come in the house for a beer. Not out front, not merely nearby, actually inside! I guess the show went okay after all!


#9. Alberta and 21st Ave. Jan 24, 2015 - 8:17 pm

After Winterfest I figured that would be about it for street rock until warmer, dryer weather next summer. But then there was a Friday afternoon when the weather was unseasonably warm and sunny, and I finished work early, and I decided to use the last half hour before sundown to get out and rock.

I grabbed all my gear, running down the list in my mind over and over, and making sure to remember an important item I keep forgetting, my donations box for my friend Priya’s campaign to raise money for a handicap-accessible van. I forgot the box last time, and blame that absentmindedness for how little I collected for the cause.

After negotiating heavy end-of-week rush hour traffic, I got to the neighborhood. There were plenty of people walking around, just as I expected. I found a distant parking space, gathered my gear, and walked back to the spot. I attached the hi-hat cymbals, and then while reaching for the snare drum, I noticed my shoes. My regular old shoes. The ones I don’t wear while playing because they lack the attachment for the base drum and hi-hat cords. Show canceled.

So the next time the weather was accommodating, I was determined to return to the spot, with all the necessary equipment in place, and make up for the time I was denied. And that was 8 days later, when I got all my equipment together, including the proper shoes, and made my way to Alberta yet again.

I started playing, and while there weren’t quite as many pedestrians as the unsuccessful attempt the week before, it was a decent number of people walking by. I made a few bucks in donations, collected in my generic guitar case, because while I remembered all the stuff I needed to play, this time I forgot the donations box! No wonder it’s taking so long to buy a van for Priya!

Hey, maybe help me make it up to Priya by donating right now?