Juggling Pennies

He stands straight 

and juggles anything.

Bending over to place a hat,

leaning over to pick it up.

Look at the brim

it’s bent and withered.

Look at the feather

it’s nothing but a spine.

Look at the top hat 

flipped on it’s head.

Forgetting its purpose and pleading.

Silently though.

With open arms, interlocking at the finger tips 

as a cylinder.

Acting as a collector, an advertiser, a sign

reading: ”Throw away some change.”

I’m a juggler, I’ll juggle anything, anything I can.

The shoes on your feet and his, 

some sausages from the stand, 

pennies from this top hat.

Five pennies from this top hat?

No? Seven pennies from this top hat?

More? Ten pennies from this top hat?

He does it with ease.

They ask who he is,

he’s the guy juggling pennies 

on the street.


Here’s How You Do It

If you’re like me and you have no idea what the heck you want to do when it’s time to get a real job, give one of your hobbies a second look because it might be the best thing you’ve ever done.  We all have something we enjoy doing but we usually don’t make it our main focus.  Life’s tough enough as it is so who has time for nonsense.  That’s the whole point of me writing this, your passion, isn’t a waste of time but an awesome use of time.  So if you’re having trouble figuring out a place to get the train rolling, you might want to pay attention to these 8 tips I have for you:

1. Figure out what your act would be.  This is the bread and butter.  Once you have an idea of what you might want to do, go with it.  You don’t have to be amazing, you just have to have an idea and play off it.  This is what passerby will notice first, so try to make it stand out any which way you can.

2. Decide where you would want to perform.  A street corner in Boston, one of the stops on the green line, a bench beside the ocean in Beverly, it’s your call.  Of course your commute comes first so when choosing a place, make sure it isn’t too far away and also surrounded by heavy traffic.  The more ears and eyes the better.

3. Set up your space.  Your space is your space.  Do what you wish with it.  Make sure you check in with the city first before you just set up shop, but after the fee is out of the way, make it you.  You want to make it appealing to the passing eye but not too overwhelming where it upstages your performance.  Have a clear idea before you show up to the spot, please.

4. Work on getting a crowd.  Building a crowd is an art.  You don’t want to be too desperate but you also want to sell your talent and your charisma.  Make sure to make the passerby who do stop by feel comfortable.  At first you might only draw in the people who share similar interests or some curious tourists, but if you keep at it and wear a welcoming smile, the crowd will grow in a matter of time.  This is where your act comes in handy because if it’s different from the rest you’re bound to attract a larger crowd.   “If you build it, they will come.”

5. InterACT and keep them Interested.  The reason I highlighted ACT is because you can’t forget that you’re putting on an act, but you’re also their friend.  The street is the most public place in the world and you come across every type of person there is.  In order to keep them entertained you’ve got to interact with them.  Whether this means you incorporate a bystander into the act or just talk to them while the stop to tip or are slowly passing you by, it all counts.  If you go 70, you’re more likely to get the 30 back then those who just sit there.  Though that might work for certain acts most of the time you need to maintain the crowds interest.  

6. Build Participation.  If you choose just the right person, specifically the one in the front throwing their hands to sky when you ask for a volunteer, you automatically have at least one person’s interest.  This tends to draw other people in because they see this random guy using another random guy as a prop and their kind of wondering what you’re going to do with them.  The element of surprise is yours and the mysteriousness garners attention.  This is when you get the crowd involved and build the participation.  Look around and hook as many as you can, even if it’s for something extremely small.  People like to be involved, so get them involved and hey, you might find an extra $10 in the hat.

7. Collect Tips.  One of the best ways a person can show their appreciation for what you do is through some pocket change.  Make sure to bring something that you can collect the tips in, that’s key.  Here’s a secret though: Don’t be too pushy, it’s annoying.  That means not shoving the bag in someone’s face or pleading for some money, but just leaving it there in front of you and mentioning it once in awhile.  You will be respected.  It shows character that you can perform and accept whatever gratification you receive when the act is over with.  The tips will come, don’t worry, they will come.

8. Keep track of your experiences.  Write down what works and what doesn’t.  If you want to bring a notebook along and take notes on what others do to build a crowd and keep it then do so.  The best thing about the street is it’s free to learn and with experience you’re bound to pick up on plenty of things that might help your act progress.  If you want to change something, go for it and see if it works.  If not, just try something new or go back to what you were doing.  Life is a learning experience.

Good Luck Guys! #Pocketchangelifestyle

Once (2006)

Directed by John Carney.

There’s something about a creative love story that gets me every time.  Don’t get me wrong some of the cliche’ ones have their ups and downs, but this one filled up a previously vacant part of my heart.  First you’ve got this unnamed guy and this unnamed girl.  I think the decision to not disclose the names gives each of the characters an even more underground, fly on the wall kind of sense.  Anyways, the guy is a guitarist/singer-songwriter in Dublin who fixes vacuum cleaners by day and plays for money on the Dublin streets by night.  On the other hand you’ve got this girl who does all of these odd jobs by day while also taking care of her mother and sister, but finds occasional time to mess around with the piano.  Of course their paths cross, thank god, because they end up making beautiful, soul-touching music.  The guy wants to make it in London, but needs to put together a demo disc that will catch the higher-ups ears and land him a music contract somewhere.  As they work on creating beautiful music, they discover love in the craziest place, their songs.  

Now I know that not every street performer’s story isn’t like this one, but what I find intriguing about it is that they both started on the streets and made it somewhere.  That’s the whole point of becoming a part of street theatre, isn’t it?.  You trade hours and hours of hard work for your spot beside on the sidewalk, entertaining the passerby.  Most do it because they love it, some are in it to get noticed and some just need a few extra bucks for some drinks.  Hansard had a vision and that was of being able to play music in London at recording studio, and this film was about how he get there, with a little help from his love interest.  

This film could have been made with another street talent like juggling or magic and still would’ve been awesome.  Maybe I’ll have to write a screenplay about a performer with a really obscure hobby, turned talent, who wants to make it to the circus.  I hope you guys would watch that for me, it’d mean a lot.  But all in all, this is one of my favorites and if you’re into street performing, or at least give it a thought, give this film a watch.  Also, give Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova a listen because it’s an absolutely beautiful song!


Loose Change

The other day a friend of mine, Myra, was walking around Boston taking pictures as she came across a couple unique street performers.  One of them was a country band and the other was an older, distinguished looking man with a funky-looking instrument and a guard dog.  Of course I had to give them a look, they seemed too memorable to pass up.  A country band playing on Newbury Street?  Little out of place.  And then the guard dog guy from the Public Gardens, I had to listen.  

Two things came from me listening to these clips: 1. I loved both of them enough to make a blog post about their talents and 2. Planted the idea in my brain to create a guest blog section thingy called:  Loose Change.

Everybody loves finding loose change on the ground, just like everybody loves to be the first person to discover something.  Loose Change brings both of those together.  Here you can post videos, stories, pictures, etc. of performers you have personally encountered or heard about, and use the space as an opportunity to get their names out there.  

I want you to feel like Christopher Columbus, so don’t just sit back and watch, get involved!  Just send me all of the information you want to have posted and best bet is it will be up in no time.  This section of the blog is for you guys, so take advantage of it!

If there’s some Loose Change you want to show the world, send it my way.

You can officially call Myra the first guest to contribute a…

You can officially call Myra the first guest to contribute a Pocket Change Lifestyle.  She’s not just a follower, she is a contributor!  

Myra Dettelbach-

If you happen to be walking through the Boston Commons on your way to Newbury street, you might find yourself seeing this guy. Located at the end of the bridge you cross where they filmed parts of “Good Will Hunting,” this man is set up with his dog, hats and CD’s laid out for $15. Greeting everyone with a smile, he doesn’t sing, he just plays his (Max-you gotta check what instrument?) A girl walked by with a  ”Berklee College of Music” sweatshirt and he smiled and stopped her to ask if she attended there, he then went on to say “That’s great, music is the best thing.” It was nice to pause and just see how he interacted with people who passed him by. He’s accompanied by his guard dog.  

(Picture and description Courtesy of Myra Dettelbach)

Myra Dettelbach-  “Season Grey” Walking about half way down…

Myra Dettelbach- 

“Season Grey”

Walking about half way down Newbury street, I saw this group of guys playing guitars, drums and a banjo. I stopped to hear their music because it reminded me of a country band “Love & Theft.” This group, “Season Grey”, started to have about twenty people gathered around taking pictures and clapping. Their style was country which was ironic to be walking down Newbury street. With amazing harmonies and talent, these guys will hopefully make it far. The crowd really seemed to be enjoying their music and most importantly the group of guys looked like they were loving every second of it.

(Pictures and description Courtesy of Myra Dettelbach) 

Cover Love

  So, I’m sitting in the Arts Center at school, right, and I’m snacking on this hummus cup, when it finally hit me what my screenplay should be about:  A STREET PERFORMER, yeah duh.  I consider myself a creative writer (shit, I’m even thinking about making it my minor), but I’ve never thought about writing my own screenplay before so it took me awhile to get in the zone.  I had some other work to do at the time on Pocket Change so I started working on that.  It kind of hit me like a double altissimo A note from an alto saxophone in an empty subway.  

“I should really just write a play about a street performer, so I can also put it on here..”

So I did it.  I think I pulled it off, but that’s sorta up to you guys.  Jake and Jess are two twenty something’s, one searching for an extended hand, the other extending it.  They needed each other, like a performer needs his crowd or a producer needs something catchy to produce.  

This is my mini screenplay about a street performer and his break.  Enjoy!

                                                        Cover Love


JAKE ORSON, An NYC Street Performer in his late 20’s

JESS LEVINGTON, A SoHo Music Producer in her mid 20’s


Corner of W Broadway St and Prince St.  About six years ago.

JAKE, a Street Performer, walks along a busy NYC sidewalk past a couple convenient stores with a guitar case in one hand and a folded chair in the other.  He finds a spot to set up and takes his acoustic guitar out of the case and puts the strap his left shoulder.

He takes a couple moments to grab a pic, tune’s up and then starts to play.


“You breathe me in, I breathe you out

that’s all this is, what love’s about

how I used to see this thing we do

funny the feelings hidden from you

when life’s all good and our loves all great

not til they’re taken away, we break….”

(A few passerby reach into their pockets and empty some change into his open case. People walk in front of him, so it’s difficult to see him for some time, but you can still hear him playing.)


“only then, does the heart feel hopeless 

broken down, miles from home

though home’s beside you, so let me remind


(Jess, A women in her 20’s approaches Jake like any interested passerby and listens for a few moments.)


“if I could rewind this and take

it back to what we were”

(Jake watches as she just stands there, listening intently, even closing her eyes to really feel his music.)


“before the,

 leaves hit the autumn flo…”

(Jess interrupts Jake’s song.)


You know, I walk this way everyday after work hoping to see you play.  

(Jake stops playing abruptly and couldn’t hear what she said)


Sorry, what’d you say?


I said I walk this way everyday just to hear you play.  Works usually pretty crazy so it’s nice to stop and listen to you for a bit.

(Hearing Jess the second time brings a nervous smirk to Jake’s face and he looks down at his feet, then back up at Jess)


Well that’s what I’m here for.  I’m glad you enjoy it, it’s sort of my getaway out here.  Anywhere on the street really.


Really? You’ve got pissed taxi drivers honking like every forty seconds.  I don’t know if I’d call it relaxing, kind of distracting.

(Jake looks up at Jess and neither say anything for a few moments)

Sorry for jumping into your song like that, something inside of me wanted to let you know you were noticed out here

(laughs to herself)


(Laughs also)

No, no, don’t worry about it, I was just warming up anyways.  

I’m jake by the way, Jake Orson.

(Jake reaches his hand out to shake hers.)


Would it be weird if I told you I already knew that? 

(Getting defensive) 

It’s not like I stalk you or anything, I promise, but one of the first times I watched you play I asked a guy next to me who you were and he gave me one of your cards.  I think you’re on of the best out here, Jake.

(Taken aback a little bit by everything Jess says, he smiles and laughs it off. )


Yeah, I know that guy, he sets up down by that burrito joint on Sixth Avenue, his name’s Carlin.  If you’re into some real kick ass saxophone, I’d take a walk down there before you call it a day.  Guy’s talented, probably has me beat.

(Jake starts to set up for his next song. Takes a feel around his open guitar case to get an idea of what he made, then looks back up at Jess.  He notices the bag she’s wearing says “Okies Recording Studio” and recognizes it.)

When I hit twenty I usually call it day and go get a drink, are you in a rush or anything?


Oh, um, no not really, I mean, well what do you mean?


Well, I’m already at fourteen I think, or close at least and I played longer than normal yesterday at Times Square so I ending up making like forty bucks.  

(Jess looks at him still a little confused about everything.)

Is that your studio?

(Jake points to the name on the bag hanging over Jess’s shoulder)


Yep started it right after college, well a few friends and I did.  We all went to Berklee for music production and it was kind of our first taste of the real world.  


No shit Jess, I was a terrier for four years! Majored in marketing and advertising.


BU? My ex-boyfriend was a terrier.  Total asshole.  Kind of swayed my opinion about you guys for a couple years after.



Probably played football right?  Back-up quarterback?


 Third string tight-end.

(Both of them laugh)


Anyways, how’s business going?


Business is okies.  A little background on me, I say okies a lot


Figures why I named my studio after it.  But we just signed a couple new indie bands from Western Mass actually, I think one of them might take us somewhere.  Maybe put our name on the map.  Heard of Passion Pit before?


Actually, funny you say that, I saw them at this indie festival last year.  I think they were a fill-in band or something but totally, I liked them.  Definitely bringing something new to the music world.


That’s what were hoping.  I’ve got a lot of money tied up in this thing.  Didn’t think It’d take us this long to find that one band of stars to get us out there.

(Jess takes a seat next to Jake’s guitar case)

Like what kind of name is Passion Pit anyways, though?  Everyone in the studio really likes it, I just don’t see it sticking, I mean it’s different, yeah, but I don’t know.  Maybe it’s me.  What do you think of it?


Honest opinion?


Honest opinion dude.


I think it’s genius.  It’ll work for them.


But why though?  They think it’s genius too.


It makes them stand out.  It’s half the problem.  Of course you need the talent but you need the name too.  Something to make some college kid listen to your song and spread it with his friends.  Look at me, I’m just a guy playing on a sidewalk using his own name.  Some people probably think it’s lazy or whatever but it’s just me.  The name works.  Their name works also.  You need to have passion and they’ve got a bunch, so much they put it in their name.  Seems hard to beat if you ask me.


Maybe you’re right.  Maybe it does work. 

(Slight pause)   

Wait, what’s that one song you play, where it’s like “Remember that old park back by the fields, where we used those…” 

(Jake interrupts her)


“…tree’s as our shields, the only place we ever knew to be alone,”  That one?



Yeah, what’s that one called?


Funny you ask, I don’t really have any names for my songs.  I just remember them by the story.


Well then, whats the story behind that one if you don’t mind me asking?


(Smiles and starts to fidget with his guitar)

The idea within the song is real, like it’s coming from my heart, but most of the things in that one, didn’t specifically happen to me.  A lot of the lines represent what I wish I did and some of the others actually do represent what I did.  It’s just a story about getting away from the bullshit thrown at you as a kid, going to college, whatever.  It’s for your own interpretation.  I interpret my music differently almost every time I perform.


Well, I can relate to it.  Can I name it?


You wanna name it?


Yep, I wanna name it.  Is that okies with you?


You know what go for it. 


Cover Love. I’m thinkin’ Cover Love.


Cover Love?  

(He thinks to himself for a moment)

Cover Love, I think that fits Jess. Like I really think it works well.  


(She smiles at him and then looks down at her shoes for a second then back at Jake.)


Jake, is this your job? I mean is this what you love to do?


No that’s okay, I actually work at a cafe a couple blocks from here, so I come and play after my shift.  But music’s my love.


What are you doing this Saturday?  I don’t know what you street performers calendars look like.


 I was looking to drive up to Flushing since the METS have a home game, figured if I caught the fans early, I could make a pay day.  But Nothing really actually.



What do you think about recording that song in my studio? With a full band and everything.  


You’re not serious are you?

(Jess grabs her backpack and pulls a pen and business card out and flips it over.  She writes her number on the back and hands it to Jake.)


Yes, I am.  And I want to see how serious you are about all of this.

(JESS gets up and smiles at Jake.  She quickly blends in with the traffic of people and he loses her)

(Jake looks at the card and begins to smile.  He starts to play the song.)


                                                             THE END 

emachtblog: Newest Video has dropped! Well I just want to thank…


Newest Video has dropped! Well I just want to thank Margo for coming with me! Anyway if you’re bored on the weekends , or instead of drinking go do this! Find street performers because honestly it’s really cool and fun to watch! I personally went to a lot of places in New York just to find these guys! Well please reblog , or subscribe to me on youtube!

Walking around a city like New York is something amazing, it’s cultivating.  I know there’s some makeshift cities out there trying to do what the Big Apple does but the recognition never dies down.  This videos an awesome taste of what’s in the melting pot of New York City.  The city never sleeps and neither do the streets.  Whether it’s beautiful vibes echoing off the concrete floor or the sound of strangers hands meeting for a clap, the city is music to my ears.  You never know what you’ll see next.  That’s what brings you back. #pocketchangelifestyle