Monday, April 21, 2008

Street music

One of my ironclad rules of life is, always give some money to the street musician. Even if it's a bad street musician. It takes guts to stand out there and play your songs and have people instantly pass judgment on you. There's also the problem of, well, being out on the street. One time in New Orleans I saw a drunk guy come up to a sax player and holler, "I'll give you 20 bucks if you play 'Flight of the Bumblebee!'"

The sax player ignored him.

The drunk guy said, "I'll give you FIFTY bucks if you play 'Flight of the Bumblebee!'"

The sax guy glanced up, stopped his song and broke into a perfect version of "Flight of the Bumblebee." The crowd went nuts and the drunk guy dutifully tossed his 50 bucks in the jar.

I love a good street musician.

A couple of things lately made me think about this. Saturday morning we stopped by Nova's Bakery on Central Avenue and a kid was playing the violin inside. He was doing fine as it was, but then he took it over the top -- he busted out "Sweet Child of Mine."

Nothing like hearing a little Slash on the fiddle.

The other thing was that we're now just a few days away from the Bruce Springsteen concert at the arena (you can still get tickets!) and so I've been dredging YouTube for clips. Diehard Bruce fans will have seen this one, but it's still my favorite -- the Boss joining a street musician in Copenhagen for a version of "The River":

Wonder if Bruce made a few extra bucks that day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Best game ever

Nope, not Kansas over Memphis. (And definitely not Kansas over UNC.) This was an ordinary Little League game in California that turned into -- well, watch:

And read the background, which makes it even better. (The leader of this group is a guy named Charlie Todd, who grew up in Columbia and went to UNC. I'm guessing he was fun to hang out with in college.)

The whole wonderful stunt made me think of this question: Have you ever just stumbled into something where you had no idea what was going on, but it turned out to be really cool and special?

Back in my college days we went bar-hopping in Atlanta one night and ended up riding through downtown in my white 1971 Buick LeSabre, a/k/a The White Shadow. Downtown was deserted. We pulled up to a red light. I looked left. Nothing. I looked right.

There was a tank in the street.

Clearly, the Russians had taken over the country while we had been out at the bars. We were completely freaked out for about 10 seconds... until we saw all the floodlights and all the people milling around. It turned out that Chuck Norris was making a movie (the immortal "Invasion U.S.A.") and 3 a.m. was the only time you could roll a tank through the middle of downtown Atlanta.

So we hung around awhile and watched. A drunk guy showed up and wanted to fight Chuck. Security hauled him away. Eventually we headed back home, feeling the same way I suspect those Little Leaguers felt -- a little confused, a little giddy, with a great story to tell.

So: Ever have one of those days that ended up turning into something surreal? Let's hear it in the comments.