Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Just Juice Today

70% Chance of Rain
I left Rouses Market yesterday (Monday) evening at about 6 o' clock after posting here and after watching the weather report on the TV in their dining area.
The radar showed that we were almost certain to get rain.
I had the instant coffee and a half gallon of juice in my pack, which I thought about dropping off across the river. It was raining very lightly.
By the time I got to Canal Street, it was no longer raining. I could hear the trumpet guy (whose name is also Daniel) playing a couple blocks to the south, as I crossed over to Royal Street, headed for The Unique Boutique.
I had $2.96 in my pocket and figured that I would spend it upon 3 beers, before retreating to the spot in the parking garage beneath the Harrahs Hotel to spend the night out of the elements.
The Lone Spangers
Harrahs Hotel
Before I got to The Unique Boutique, I encountered a young couple.
The guy was sitting by a palm tree, banging on one drum.
The girl asked me if I drank, to which I replied in the affirmative.
She handed me a half glass of what turned out to be vodka, saying that she didn't drink vodka, even though she is Russian.
"Spaseeba balshoi," I thanked her in that language; which she seemed to comprehend.
She then stood there asking everyone that passed by "Do you have a dollar, so we can get something to eat?" while the guy drummed away. By the time I finished the half glass, she had asked several people without having any luck.
I lamented that I only had $2.90 myself.
"Yeah, tonight kind of sucks," said the young lady, pulling a pack of cigarettes from her pocket and lighting one.
"Last night was pretty good, we made like 180 bucks, just spanging ("spare change"-ing) she added.
"Just like you're doing now?" I asked, kind of astonished.
"Yeah, we just got a new drum today," she said.
Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there...
...If you made 180 dollars yesterday; then how can you be hungry so soon...unless the 'for something to eat' is part of a fraud...
...Did you really think that it was from to your boyfriend pounding on the drum, and not yourself begging for food right in peoples faces that the 180 dollars came from; and then went out and bought a better drum in hopes of making even more, or was the 'new drum' another lie in order to explain how you could be broke and starving so quickly...
But, mostly I thought about how little money I had been making by playing music, compared to them unashamedly begging, and it crossed my mind that maybe I could swallow my pride and try to panhandle my way out of this town.
I just wish more people would see through their scam and say things like: "You don't look like you're starving," or "The money you spent on that pack of cigarettes could have bought you a hamburger and fries and a drink," and then walked on.
I admit that this is because I think deception is generally a bad thing; and using a drum in order to skirt the panhandling laws is an insult to real musicians; but mostly because it is something that I just can't bring myself to do.
But, they gave me a half glass of vodka, so maybe I shouldn't complain.
I went to The Unique Boutique and spent my last 3 dollars on beer. I figured that 3 dollars couldn't really do  much else for me on that dreary night.
A Slow Night For Daniel
I then ran into Daniel the trumpet player, who had, by now, stopped playing and was now sitting on a bench along the trolley tracks on Canal Street.
He is the guy who said that he made 2,000 dollars the month of December; but then considered leaving town after January was disappointing; but then backpeddled after February was being much better.
On this occasion he was dejected. He asked me something like "Don't you get depressed when you don't make anything?"
Apparently February had abruptly stopped being much better for him; probably right after Mardi Gras, just as it had for myself.
We had a discussion about buskers and their self esteems in relation to their tip jars, both agreeing that it is easy to become discouraged when you are not making anything at all.
I refrained from telling him about the drum player and his girlfriend and their 180 dollar Sunday night.
Howard Evacuated
The Kind Of Accomodations We Slept Under...
Fortified with 3 beers and the half glass of vodka, I took the ferry across the river to get Howard, whom I shook awake with the words: "It's gonna rain, let's go across the river."
"OK."
Once on the other side, Howard followed as I led him a short distance to the garage, where the cardboard which Steven (formerly referred to as the Shaman) still sat.
Howard went off, saying that he needed to get water from a store; and returned with two 24 oz. cans of beer, one for each of us. I think he appreciated being protected from the rain for a night.
"You've slept here before?"
"Yeah, this is Stevens spot. You remember Steven?"
"Oh, yeah."
One Less Spot
In the morning, he was up and out. I remained long enough to see one of the employees of that hotel who informed me that there was to be a bowling alley constructed on that site and construction was soon to begin. They were already clearing out the area where we had slept, making it no longer an option for getting out of the rain.

3 comments:

Alex said...

I think you should pursue Tanya, not too hard or anything but ... she may have Dorise around because Dorise is the only person able to provide decent guitar back-up, provide a measure of physical security (is a girl but is big) and is able to show up on time, have a good work ethic. If you are able to step into Dorise's shoes, can do things Dorise is able to do like wake up before noon or not drink beer for breakfast or whatever Tanya needs in a side-man, you may find yourself being able to play with Tanya here and there, and eventually ... who knows?

So what if she makes more than you, she probably makes more than anyone else in NOLA, Doreen included. Start to visualize yourself as the Sonny to her Cher.

Daniel McKenna said...

She has had Dorise around so long that they have built an empire; able to pull songs out of their bag of tricks that they haven't done together in 10 years; Dorise has a little i-pad type thing and if anyone requests a song (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, I requested once) she Googles it real fast and has the chords sitting in her lap within seconds; she probably subscribes to some service; apart from paying the phone/internet fees; and unless I was noticably better (or more complimentary musically) than Dorise; I think the big black girl/ little Chinese girl thing is a charm; I can see it in peoples faces -kind of like a black presidential candidate choosing a white running mate in effect...not that a crusty old burned out white man/ little Chinese girl hasn't its own appeal...
If I tried to play here and there with Tanya, she would drown me out unless Dorise let me hold her (polycarbon fiber $2,500) guitar and amp combo and sit in her chair and be carefull not to kick over her herbal tea; and I think they have a rule against that; either because of Dorise being terratorial; or because it can get out of hand; like giving the starving musicians a buck or two here and there can get out of hand...or if Tanya unplugged, which for the audience would be like the power going out during the Super Bowl was...where did she go, I can hardly hear her...
But, I suppose "when the Sony is ready, the Cher will appear"

Alex said...

All very good points.

Sorry for not replying to this sooner, my Internet access continues to decline, making me arrange more and more not to depend on it.

Ultimately I need to make a living w/o dependence on anything "modern" like cell phone, internet, or even electricity. The way things are declining it's only common sense.