Friday, May 18, 2012

Boulder 1

Appreciate that you are in a busker’s paradise. Arts appreciation + pedestrian mall + disposable cash = Boulder, Colorado. Find free parking even though paid lots are ample. It is a beautiful day so you will not mind walking to your chosen spot.

Walk the length of the ped mall. You will pass many buskers, but they are not all musicians. Some of them are mimes and contortionists. The musicians are not all guitarists, either. There are mando players and banjoists and there is even a piano on the block between 13th and 14th where students from the College of Music play concertos. Put a buck in the hat as you pass.

Keep a distance from the others, especially the musicians. Observe busking etiquette. If you see an old man leaning on a brick planter with his guitar case, ask him if he is going to play there before you set up a few feet away.

Be aware of lunch-goers. They are your prime customers, but you are so close to the patio seating for Kasa Japanese Grill & Bar that you do not want to ruin anyone’s lunch or get reprimanded by the sushi chef. Center your case between Kasa and Illegal Pete’s, facing directly down Pearl Street. The traffic picks up again here at the end of the ped mall, especially on the cross street, but you are in a prime spot.

Also, there are not many female buskers in Boulder, if any.

You will learn here that the Magnetic Fields do not have a huge following in Colorado. And you will accept that your one Dylan song and your one Grateful Dead tune are the ones that garner the most attention and the most cash. Still, you want to fill an hour before your sore fingers, dry and cracking from the wind at 5328 feet elevation, give out and you start packing up. In the meantime, sing your heart out.

You may be approached by a strange woman. She is steadying herself on the bricks just inches away from your water bottle, digging in her purse. She is either looking for money or just oblivious to personal space boundaries. Give her the benefit of the doubt.

When you finish your current song, she will ask for your card and say she needs a non-professional singer to play a role in the movie she is making of her life. She will call herself Quantum Cow and you will be glad you are not a professional.

Smile. Find any scrap you have to write down your email address for her and graciously accept the one dollar she says is all she has. It will be more than enough to get you started on All the Umbrellas in London, and while you are singing that, although the opportunity to play a busker in a film is worth more than a hundred gold coins in your case, you will be pleasantly surprised to see a man approach and delicately place two folded bills securely under the rock at your feet.

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