Once upon a time I was 6 years old. Oh, let's see, that would be about 1970. My mom and dad took Missy and me to Boston for four days one summer. We lived in a hotel next to an ice rink. It was just up the road from a restaurant which boasted its Yale-Harvard Regatta memorabilia. Well, our main destinations planned were Boston Common, the Tea Party Ship, some bookstore where Ben Franklin fell asleep, and the basketball hall of fame where everyone knows the story about Mr. Naismeth who gave someone a dilapidated apple crate and they reused it for recreation. [Hence: Basket Ball.] well, that's a whole other story. Let me quit my kibutzing here and tell you how I grew up to become curator AND docent of Mark Weisenheimer's Cyberspace Museum of Busking. Out in front of Faneuil Hall there was a man playing a Bob Dylan song. His guitar case was overflowing with 1's, 10's, hundreds, even thousands. OK that's what it looked like to this 6-year old. There was probably 25 to a hundred bucks in that thing. He told jokes between songs, juggled, blew balloons, pinched childrens' cheeks and promoted his evening gig in "the world's oldest pub in all of Boston still standing..." "Mom, Dad," I said with more than Lucifer's ambition in my eye gleaming, "When I grow up, I wanna be a street guitarist." I was sure of it.
"Fine, Marc," my mom said, "so long as you have something else to fall back on. You'll need it to keep yourself alive." I knew what she meant right away. The uncertainty of making cash flow from 1-? dollars per hour; the city officials who like to ask you if you have a permit for that; the people who walk by saying, "get a job;" the shopkeeps who think you're ruining their business. (I was kicked out of one place by a woman complaining that although the entertainment was very classy -- yes I was playing "serious" music in the mezzanine during "Phantom Of The Opera" with permission -- my presence reminded her too much of places like the streets of Mexico!!!) Let's see. I started busking seriously when I was 14 years old and I'm 33 now. I've never stopped. Well to sleep. And to work odd jobs, or to take college, join the army or help run homeless shelters, but my main calling is busking. That is when and why I began abusking. Did I ever tell you that story? That's all I can say for now. Marco Curator and Docent; MUSEUM OF BUSKING _________________________________ Click here for some free Marco Mp3's. _________________________________
Journal Note: Sept '01 Well, another season busking at Bay Beach is winding down for me. Many of you already know about my alternative style of career. And how I "quit my day job" each summer and ply my wares playing guitar 2-3 hours a day for tips at an amusement park. This is my 4th full year doing this, and the past few years I was able to donate a hundred dollars or so worth of ride tickets to places like Oneida Day Care. It looks like this year I won't be able to. I've got enough tickets to give a handful here and there to parents who come through the shelter but I just didn't receive the thousands of tickets I'm used to each summer. I'm not sure how much has to do with the new twenty-cent price; I actually think it's more because Wendy's restaurants announced they'll take tickets in exchange for foodstuffs. I never did get in there to see what the exact terms were. "Two for one," I thought? "Buy one, get one half price maybe?" Who knows. At any rate I overheard lots of moms and dads this year forbidding their children from throwing tickets into my guitar case. And I saw less people this year giving away wads of tickets to just anybody around on their way out, saying, "would you like a bunch of tickets? We're done today." Conversely, I saw a lot more people standing around asking if anyone wanted to buy some tickets. The sluggish economy didn't seem to have directly affected my actual cash tips this year yet. But it may have been one factor in the "ticket slowdown," eh? I've made some other observations over these years I wouldn't mind mentioning here before I close with my main point to all this. If there's an older son and a younger daughter I almost always get a one dollar bill from the son and a just a tiny bit of change from the daughter. Actually, I've often noticed money handed to a son and nothing to the daughter until she demands to be allowed to give too. Then it's some smaller denominations in what looks to me like afterthought. I'll bet parents have no idea they've "said" very much with such a simple transaction and almost no conscious thought. I'm thankful that a large bank in town has been willing to exchange my coin for dollars about once a week every summer for the last three of my four and a half summers here. Last week they announced they're going to enforce their policy that if I don't have an account with them, I'll have to pay a $2 fee each time for exchanging coin. I can't afford an account there; the fine each month for not having more than 300 in savings would about kill me. I was a little miffed at first; but quickly chose to look at the positive aspects and only the positive aspects. I think I was mostly being protective of the fact that two dollars playing my guitar at the park can represent between 2 and 20 very happy children who wanted me to have the money and use it for my own enjoyment, not for userfees at an institution of finance. I'll bet were I an ice-cream vender or a festival retailer year round I probably would just agree to pay the fee every week without even blinking. Instead I'm very thankful that my smaller, humbler credit union finally was able to afford one of those electric coin counters. The paper tubes do become quite a chore after a while. And I'd rather wear out my thumbs and fingers playing too much guitar than saving $2 by folding paper around coins a couple hours a week. We've made almost every part of life a commodity haven't we? Hmm. I wonder how well this short newsletter article I'm writing here might do on the NASDAQ? Hmm. Probably poorly. I'm composing it in Notepad.exe on a very old 486 computer running windows 95. I'll bet if I made it using Office with a spellchecker and the grammar and syntax checking applications; and got a spiffy new .XP machine or IMac to print it out on I could justify calling it something in all capital letters and announce it start valued at say twenty or thirty dollars. OK, a couple final observations for the year. I must shape my face very funny when I sing, because three years in a row I've sunburnt the inside of my bottom lip by early August. People who fish through their pants pocket farthest from me are going to tip me really well. People who do it demonstratively and noisily in the pocket closest to me as they walk by almost NEVER five me even a single penny. Fox news and WBay were very interested in me as a back drop and soundtrack to many different stories they did during the summer. The other channels were not. Mark Green, Guy Zima and Mayor Jadin smile at me when they walk by and some of them even tip me well. Some other prominent people who I will not name, do not. I spend about $100 on lemonade every summer, $50 on strings and $5 or $10 on picks. And I enjoy every minute of it, to be honest with you. My friend Ben makes the frequent guitar repairs somewhat affordable and he works really quick and is usually willing to time it for when I'm visiting my mom and sister instead of playing every day or something. This year it was waiting for my pickup when I returned to Green Bay. I gave away a lot of cassettes and homemade CD's this year. And even that was a lot of fun. Don't ask me how much it cost me, I don't even want to begin counting that. Three months a year I'm probably one of the happiest workers on the planet. I absolutely love my job and would even like it if I didn't average almost three times what I can make in any other job I've ever done in my entire life. The rest of the year when I work places like Subway, News Chronicle AND the Gazzette, Boys and Girls Clubs, and so on, I am not one of the happiest workers on the planet. I'm paid very poorly before AND after taxes, the people overseeing me tend to act like they also aren't the happiest workers on the planet, and I always find myself wishing two things: That Bay Beach was open year round, and that I sure can't wait til next summer when I can quit my day job again. Anyone know any extra places that would pay me say five dollars per hour "net wage" to play my guitar in the fall, winter and spring? I think that means they have to find me 8/hr or so to start, but I'll leave that for them. That's not even a quarter of what union scale is, but I'd be just tickled to keep at it rather than almost any other job. Can I confide in you? I'd offer to do it completely free, but trust me when I say this - everything else I do besides those degrading odd-jobs has always been completely free of charge. I really should charge for my guitar playing whenever I get a chance. I've been at it for 23 years. OK, I must end this by listing high points of my summer. Some are general and not guitar related, but most actually are. Sharing a stage with Hanson. Or was that last summer? Congressman Green's children tipping me on a very hot Sunday afternoon. Playing guitar at the Beerbelly run. The children from Turtle School filing past me each putting something in my guitar case. One of the Bay Beach employees asking me for "Johnny B. Goode" at least a dozen different times. Riding my mountain bike on the new trail that used to be just an abandoned old railroad. Getting rained out at Art Street this year. Ooh, this doesn't count as summer, but playing guitar at the annual Swan Club dinner. Actually it sort of does count because the people who booked me remembered my Mickey Mouse slippers the year before. There's some things in life you're never going to be able to make into a commodity. I guess for everthing else there's my poor credit rating and my debit card. And the song "One Tin Soldier" from the movie "Billy Jack."
I'm a little disillusioned with Art Garfunkel right now. I'd always seen him as an excellent poet and a very humble street musician. Maybe not anymore. "Listen, try and get us a job," says a Garfunkel letter to Paul Simon when the album 'Wednesday Morning, 3am' was just hitting the charts, "for when I come." Garfunkel was in NY and Paul was in London. "And no singing in the streets." I guess I'll stick with Richie Havens, Melanie and Odetta. TINY OPEN LETTER TO ART GARFUNKEL Art, Did you forget where you came from? Marco
No HTML code was harmed in the creation of this website. This site was composed using Notepad, the way a page was meant to be. All text was entered using a Tandy Model 100 laptop computer, a null modem connector, a 19.2 connection, and a ton of TLC. This page in its entirety is copyleft 2000 by marCo.
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mp3.comclassical guitar marcosongs (in order): Chaconne Sonata Estampa Gitana Boceto Andaluz [ update: ( 19jan04 ) mp3.com sold out and died off. ] The most popular marcosong (all genres) everywhere else including kazaa, iuma, hubba, radio4all, audiogalaxy, napster and indymedia: Boceto Andaluz Chaconne is the 478th most popular mp3.com classical guitar song in the untied states.