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Everyone knows the story of how I became a busker.


i'll tell you just in case.

  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

I was sure of it.

this space




  "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 
 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.
  Curator and Docent; 


         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 
  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."

   Your life is a tree.
 You plant it wherever you 
   Happen at any time.

Click These Letters For All Things Busking.

  • Permits. Pro or Con.
  • Busking As A Sole Career; Can It Be Done?
  • Richie Havens. Still busks after all these years.
  • Is Mickey Mouse Really Kokopelli In Disguise? Film at 11!
      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.
    Did you forget where you came from?
     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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    Most popular mp3.com classical guitar marcosongs (in order):
    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. 
    and woah, someone put my audio(s) right between
    Manic Street Preachers' "If You Tolerate This"
    and Marilyn Manson's "Suicide Is Painless."