Marcia Mello, Atlantic Public Media, Audio Profile

WCAI a public radio station in the Cape Cod area put together a great radio segment about a local busker in P Town. CHECK IT OUT

Somerville Festiville, Arts

Festiville, Arts

Somerville which was the site earlier this year (READ OUR ARTICLE) of a contentious battle between city officials and street performers is holding their inaugural street festival this weekend. With a new agreement between buskers and the city of Somerville all concerned are ready to make Festiville, Arts an amazing success.

Main Street in downtown Somerville on Saturday, May 18th will be closed to traffic and serve as the stage for a merry-go-round of family-friendly street performers that have dazzled crowds far and wide at street fairs, festivals, circuses, amusement parks, theaters and late-night television.

Lowell Buskers New video series

 Ratbas Ratbas

released a series of six videos on Saturday featuring performances by some of the street musicians that perform in Lowell MA, USA. The performers include Dave Warren.who you can find on https://www.facebook.com/LowellMusicNow

Other performers include Reverend JJ and The Casual Sinners (aka Justin Burns). www.ReverendJJ.com

The buskers in Lowell must be considered pretty good as the town passed laws late in 2012 allowing them to play in the middle of Downtown where there is a good audience during the Cities music festival in July which has five stages going on as well.  Check out this video and decide for yourself.

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) 

Audio meters needed in Camden

WHAT WILL MARTIN DO? Street Performance Struggle; Camden, London, UK

Martin is an endangered species in Camden these days because he and a bunch of other buskers are simply making too much noise.  I want you to listen to this performance which is as good as anything of its kind as you will see and hear on any stage or experience through any medium. The only problem with this video is that it is too short and only a small portion of the song Martin is playing.

 GiveMondays GiveMondays shot this video and gave Martin a wonderful gift. Click this to see their YouTube channel

Will Martins presence on Camden end as suddenly as this video? Well if these folks have their way and if no one has a better plan for Camden street culture, then Martin is gone and so will be an undeniably, life enhancing feature of life in Camden. Why must he leave, you ask? Street I Am asks, why not give him a place on the street where people could gather around?

It is because, (from left to right), Chief Inspector of Operations Penny Mills, Councillor Chris Naylor, Camden Town resident Judith Clute, Cllr Abdul Hai, Cllr Maryam Eslamdoust and Lazzaro Pietragnoli, think things would be better that way.You see they say Martin’s music uses amplification and they say some people around the area are complaining that this sort of thing goes on into the night, beyond all hope of reasonable tranquility and proper sleep.Their duty and solution are suddenly clear to them. The only way to ensure this supposedly highly prized form of tranquility they aspire to, is to proclaim NO AMPLIFICATION EVER! is the best for all concerned. And then make it, THE LAW!

This next video therefore should be seen as an example of the kind of busking that would be allowed under their proposed framework. Peter Lee Peter Lee

Also very pleasant to experience. Why not both at the right time in the right proportions.

If Camden is not careful they will be facing some of the same opposition that is going on in Ottawa Canada SEE OUR  ARTICLE, where chess champion and busker Daryl Bertrand would rather fight a similar law than go away quietly and accept the leniency of the judge who recently waved his $260 fine..He is presently preparing a case to be heard before the Ontario Superior Court.

Both Ottawa and Camden need to take it down a notch and do it more like they do down south in the USA. That is where Glen Orange, a visionary busker of Charleston North Carolina and a reasoned and relentless advocate for street culture, helped to create a law for Street Culture that serves the community interest.

Street Performers Hitting the Streets of Charleston

Or the Great resolution of a similar situation in Somerville

Somerville Says Yes to 1st Amendment where the serious concerns of Alderman-At-Large John Connolly were successfully addressed, He was reported to have said, “If the wind is blowing from the north or northwest, it comes right down the [Davis Square] busway, the music and the voice will sound like it’s in my backyard. Naturally one of the first things my neighbors will do is call me, and say, we love music, but when you can’t turn the volume down it’s a problem. In other words if someone complains of the noise of a performer and they are amplified then they will be subject to a fine. However if no one complains then there may be no fine.

Both resolutions involved similar concerns as exist in Camden.
There is no question that music and amplification can be a mess in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Camden as in other areas like it, a certain amplification at 10 or 11pm, may be desired in one spot but a nuisance one or two blocks away.
We await the developments in Camden, which as you know, is one of the more educated parts of the world.
By the way; They invented meters for these audio things you know? Get on it. We are sure you know somebody who has one.

Bomber Targets Free Streets in Boston

100+ injured two dead.  Attack on open streets in Boston.

The forces of hatred and intolerance blew people away people celebrating the marathon in the streets of Boston today in an attack on the freedom of people to assemble. People were cut to pieces in an effort to enforce a political cultural, personal or perhaps psychotic street level agenda which is unclear at this time.

Our hearts go out to the individuals, family and friends of all those who were so cheaply, cowardly and tragically affected today. Let us resolve to work more closely together in our communities to find the ways we need to know each other better and develop the tools to keep our streets safe, for people to live and ideas to express.

Somerville Says Yes to 1st Amendment

The Somerville Board of Aldermen voted Thursday to allow street performers to perform legally for the first time in many years.but with some limitations. The Street Musicians and Performance Ordinance, allows street performance in public places but musicians need to be non-amplified in order to be completely safe from fines. Amplification is not banned outright it is subject to a complaint procedure that may vary according to location, mood of the community and direction of the wind. mass-somervilleAlderman-At-Large John Connolly said, “If the wind is blowing from the north or northwest, it comes right down the [Davis Square] busway, the music and the voice will sound like it’s in my backyard. Naturally one of the first things my neighbors will do is call me, and say, we love music, but when you can’t turn the volume down it’s a problem. In other words if someone complains of the noise of a performer and they are amplified then they will be subject to a fine. However if no one complains then there may be no fine.

The ambiguity of this facet of the new ordinance is bound to be a trouble spot for some as it is subjective at best. It is conceivable that a performer who uses amplification may perform successfully in a place one day and on another be subject to a fine simply because someone get annoyed or is in a bad mood that day.

While there is no question that the Council wants to avoid distractions to business and peace for residents from noise interfering with transactions in the marketplace and enjoyment of ones home, and that successful business areas create better opportunities for performers, it is also true that this will be a problem for some performers and may limit the enjoyment of a greater variety of performance for the visitor. It means that not only will electric guitar be a problem but also almost any keyboard. Acrobats, dancers and jugglers who almost always have recorded music will find it difficult to entertain.

Performing will be allowed between the hours of 7am and 10pm, 100 feet from a school, library, or church, as long as it does not block a sidewalk or other public way.

The Council will probably take up the issue of permits for performers soon to keep performers from monopolizing a choice spot and keeping others from being able to perform their. Smart permitting may also be a solution for the problem of amplification as well.

The new ordinance reflects the growing awareness in communities all over the world of the value of street culture.

Spring Theater Showcase 2013

     I’m from upstate New York, sandwiched in a suburb between the capital and the back country.  Before I shipped off to Boston to start my college life, the only city I really knew much about was Albany and I didn’t realize how naive I was until I made my way out.

    Walking along Lark Street a few days into my freshman year Spring Break, it finally hit me what Albany was missing.  The sidewalks were bare.  Besides for the usual walkers and bikers along the side of the road, there was barely anything going on.  Nothing out of the ordinary at least.  But for a city striving to be known as a contemporary, urban, hip place to visit or live, they were missing a key aspect of the street life: Street Theater.  

     Big cities rely on their entertainment.  It’s what keeps people like you and I coming back.  Downtown, Boston is doing it right.  You show up to walk around the city for a day trip or whatever and you’ll be entertained without ever walking into a store.  You can easily trade twenty dollars for five different street performances and a memory or two.  There’s every act you can think of and probably many that you wouldn’t imagine in a million years.  Some will have you wondering why they’re still playing on the streets with their talents and others will leave you trying to figure out how they do what they do.  If there’s one place in Boston you could call the breeding ground for street theatre, it would be the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  Many successful performers mention Faneuil Hall to be their claim to fame and the main reason their names got out and stayed out. 

     Peter Faneuil built the Hall as a gift to the city and over time its been transcended into an unparalleled meeting place for not only Bostonians, but also the world outside of New England.  Faneuil’s been know as “the Cradle of Liberty” for encouraging independence from Britain and now its become the home of independent street performers.  What better place to take your hidden talents than to the birth place of freedom and independence.  Seven days a week hundreds of performers make themselves at home in the areas surrounding Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, looking to make a couple bucks off “free” entertainment.  One weekend throughout the spring season stands out from the others, though, and that’s the Spring Theater Showcase. 

      STS13 or Spring Theater Showcase 2013, brings the best names in the business together on one stage for eight hours of non-stop streets acts, two days in a row.  The weekend of April 13-14th, Street performers will set up shop around Faneuil Hall and do their thing from 11am-7pm.  The line-up has enormous depth year in and year out, staking to become a household name for east coast street theater showcases.  This year Faneuil invited acts ranging from a contortionist to a crazy talented pogo guy, with whole bunch of talent thrown in the middle.

     Faneuil Hall placed a video on their website so visitors had a chance to get to know the performers before hand.  Of the many big names, some headliners are AlKazam( Contortionist), The Real McCoy (Comedy group) and Kilted Colin with his unicycle, bagpipe and juggling skills.  One of the performers who always brings me back for more is Wacky Chad whose got a whole bunch of acts up his sleeve but is mainly known for his extreme pogo stick talent.  The guy moves as swiftly with a pogo stick as the average person can with their own two feet.  This weekend is a very rare opportunity to see all of this street talent in one place and for free. 

    Viewers aren’t required to leave tips or feel like they have to empty their pockets to support the performers.  How you reflect their entertainment is completely up to you and the showcase is just an opportunity to bring entertainers together in a place where it’s easy for attendee’s to get their fair dosage of raw talent.  

     Faneuil Hall has a world renowned street theater program that has captivated audiences year after year.  By bringing the most popular acts together for this two-day event, passers-by are guaranteed to catch a glimpse of something they have never seen before or hear something they would love to hear again.  For a place that was once home to thousands of merchants struggling to make a living in the costal city, it’s not much different hundreds of years later.  This event is a perfect example of what Boston is all about.  By bringing all of these talents together, Faneuil Hall and the city of Boston is providing these performers with the gift of doing what they live for in front of thousands of captivated people.  

     Another awesome thing about the area surrounding the Hall and Market is that you don’t just have to be entertained by the acts, but you can take a break to stroll up and down the pedestrian cobblestone walkways, grab a bite to eat in the world famous Quincy Market, get yourself some new clothes or wander to the water and explore the rich history of downtown Boston.  You can guarantee I’ll be down there getting my fair share of bacon-wrapped scallops and street theater.  You could even take some time out and approach a performer.  

     Faneuil Hall’s all about having a good time so if you show up for this showcase make sure you take advantage of all that’s being offered.  Treat yourself and spend a little more than you should.  Maybe make a performer’s day and leave a little appreciation in their hat.  Spring’s all about new life and accepting the ability to be outside again, so make a day out of it and appreciate what Downtown Boston has to offer. 


– Max