The Flower-Lady ‘Pulled a Borat’
Juan was playing mandolin when I got to the Music Under New York (MUNY) spot at Times Square today. I was surprised to see him playing all by himself – usually he has other people playing with him. He told me he couldn’t sleep last night, and so finally at 6am he said to himself – why am I just laying in bed, let me go to play in the subway instead!
I love Juan’s playing on the mandolin. He also plays guitar very well, but when he plays Bach on the mandolin it’s gorgeous.
Shortly after I started playing a ‘living statue’ set up not far from me. He was all in white, dressed like a butler with a folded towel on his arm, holding a dusting brush. He stood motionless. When somebody dropped money into his donations box he “came to life” and dusted off the person who gave him the donation
I have never seen him before but Frank, the guitar player/singer/whistler told me he has seen him here before. Frank was on his way from playing at 96th street in the morning to looking for a new location to play in the afternoon.
As usual, the guy who paints big canvases with ‘I Love NY’ (or Brooklyn or whatever) on them walked by, carying his huge canvase, on his way to Union Square. He was wearing an interesting vest with scores of colorful pens stuck all over it in special-for-pens pockets.
Kelly, the nice lady who’s hobbie it is to listen to subway musicians came and stood by a column in front of me. She stayed there for over an hour, till I was done playing.
When I was done playing for the day I went over to say ‘hi’ to her. She came to chat with me while I was packing up my gear.
As we were chatting a guy who walked by a couple of hours ago and bought my CD walked by in the opposit direction. He was dissappointed I was done playing for the day as he wanted to listen some more. He was carrying a big plastic bag which I recognized was of an art supplies store. It turned out he is a spray painter.
3 girls stopped in their tracks when they saw me. They had recently heard me on NPR. They recognized it was me by my saw – they remembered I talked about how my saw is now toothless thanks to the police giving me a ticket (for $150) on account of the teeth of my saw being a “weapon”. I was already done playing for the day but how could I not play for fans… so I took out the saw and played a number just for them.
A jolly lady selling flowers from a shopping cart walked by and was dissappointed I was done playing… so, I took out the saw and played a quick number just for her, too… Times Square really didn’t want me to leave today
The Flower-Lady told me that she had just ‘pulled a Borat’ on the Dianetics people who were set up down stairs hawking their book via the free “stress test” they give. The Flower-Lady pretended to be an obnoxious foreigner with a heavy accent and she psyched out the young Dianetics guy who was trying to push the book on her.
Nobody showed up for the spot after me. As I walked away towards the elevator I looked back at the spot where I’ve just spent a few hours. It was empty and yet – it was full of the memory and the energy of all the people who have stopped there today…