Today was one of those perfect summer days, and I suggested to my wife and son that we go into Philly for dinner. Despite the 75 minute commute (Waze had initially estimated 44 minutes, but we got hit with the classic last mile problem, which took us 25 minutes).
This is probably my favorite part of the city; it’s a beautiful little city park filled with lots of people, dogs, and most times, street performers. Given the perfect weather, it was an ideal night for street performers to be out.
While I was busy looking for a parking spot, my wife picked up our food and started looking for a park bench to sit on. Given how well she knows me, she picked a bench that was in a prime location.
What made it such a great location? We had front row seats to a street juggler!
I’ve written before about my love for juggling, and watching a street juggler is the ultimate form of entertainment for me.
Mike is quite talented, easily juggling seven balls or five clubs. But beyond his juggling skills, he seems to be great with kids, and likes to get them involved with his routines. He told me he is in the midst of putting together an hour-long routine that he hopes he will be able to perform on stage while touring around the country. (I try to strike up a conversation any time I see a street juggler.) I wish Mike all the best.
After he was finished, we walked around the Square a little bit. There were two guys playing a guitar and a drum, and I saw another guy carrying his guitar around; not sure if he had just finished or was looking for a place to set up.
As we finished our walk and were heading to Barnes and Noble, we came across the two young men playing the violin pictured above.
They were also quite talented, and the fact that they were just casually playing classical music out on the street made it that much more special. We stayed and listened for a while; it was a perfect way to end our visit to the city.
It’s hard to say specifically what it is about street performers that I find so entertaining and so fascinating. I’m always impressed with the confidence they must have to get so up-close and personal with a crowd while performing a routine that may not be quite ready for prime time. I also just like the fact that these performers are willing to share their talents for free.
Whatever it is, I always try to spend a few minutes watching such performers and making a donation towards their efforts.
One of the best street performances I’ve ever seen was down in the New York Subway system. My son and I had gone to NYC for the day, and when we were getting ready to leave, we caught a performance by the Drumadics.
And the following would be the ultimate street performance – Bruuuuuuce!
This video is from 1988 of Bruce performing “I’m on Fire”, “The River”, and “Dancing in the Dark” in the streets of Copenhagen.
And while looking for that video, I came a cross a more recent example of Bruce doing some street performing. When I first read this story, perhaps what first caught my attention was the word “busker”; I never knew there was a formal term for a street performer.
Anyway, this is a great story about Bruce coming upon a busker in Boston, and stopping to chat and even playing a few chords on the busker’s guitar.
So now I’m envisioning my ultimate summer day.
Hanging out with my family on Rittenhouse Square with jugglers performing on each corner, and in the middle of the Square, busking away, Bruce and the E Street Band.
I might have to hit up the ATM machine a few times on a day like that…