Monthly Archives: July 2015

#24. Colonel Summers Park Jul 11, 2015 - 6:20 pm

Some random circumstances put me in the neighborhood of Colonel Summers Park in the early evening of this fine Saturday and I decided I should try to play a show. And after a fairly successful outing at the park in Sellwood erased the memories of a prior less successful park outing, I was ready to push my luck at another park.

When I got to this spot, there was a couple canoodling on the bench you can see in the picture below, and I asked if they’d mind if I played some music. They were all for it, and so I had the pleasure of playing to an audience straight away.

But nothing lasts forever, and they bid farewell after maybe half an hour. In the meantime, a man took up a spot just to my right. He was really into the songs, and from the looks of it, he was also well into his cups.

His phone rang a couple of times while I played, and although I thought it would be polite to pause while he took a call, he urged me to play for his friends over the phone. I think he might even have been calling people for me to play to.

But I can’t complain, because each phone listener doubled my audience size. A one-man band can be a fine thing, I think, but a one-man audience? Get out your phone! (This actually gives me an idea of how to handle my next experience—for I know it’s coming—playing to no one.)

I was close enough to the sidewalk outside the park to see a lot of people walk by without pausing. A number of people walking through the park also just walked on by without stopping. So it was kind of flattering to see a woman interrupt her brisk walk through the park to listen to two songs and applaud after each of them. It’s even possible she was sober!

As I could feel things winding down, a rough looking guy some distance off shouted to me, “Can I play your guitar?” I shouted back, “No!” but decided I should leave before he decided not to take no for an answer.

From the start it didn’t seem like I’d picked a great spot to play, but my first impression was wrong. I never played to very many people at one time, but overall the people who lingered enjoyed the show very much. In the end, it was a rather gratifying experience, and I look forward to my next opportunity to play music in a park.


#23. Sellwood Park Jul 3, 2015 - 8:30 pm

This one actually started out as a “private” show (albeit in a public park) for some visiting friends, and I wasn’t going to note anything here. But after I started playing, a half dozen youths from the park came over and sat on a log to listen for a while.

While they were situating themselves, a city parks employee drove up. I worried he was going to tell me to knock it off. He was only driving by, though, and he smiled as his head was bobbing along to the music. This was a nice contrast to the jogger who ran by with the “Who farted?” face.

But my very favorite moment was when one of the young men came over to tell me, “You’re doing great!” Yep, sounds like a show to me.

(Walk this way.)

#22. Alberta and 12th Ave. Jul 2, 2015 - 8:10 pm

I mentioned this spot in my last post but this was my first time here. It was pretty warm, and I’d rather have waited for sundown, but I wasn’t sure of how much the residents would tolerate noise after 9pm, so I kicked things off around 8pm.

From the get-go things felt a little off. I was awkward in an unfamiliar spot, and there was not exactly any clamoring to see any new source of noise on Alberta across the street from the Radio Room. But soldiered on, because it’s like fishing: sometimes you’re catching fish, and sometimes you’re just drowning bait. Tonight I drowned bait.

But a few people came by to see, and it never feels like a waste of time. At worst it’s practice in fresh air. A few friends stopped by, a few more didn’t, no strangers stopped to watch at all, and I just played a while and left.

I wonder if I would ever play here again. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad. Maybe I’ll try again sometime outside of a crushing heatwave.