May 10, 2013
It was a great night. Some of the possibilities of the street were started to manifest themselves that night. I started off playing my favorite warmup song, ‘ A Bientot’. Hardly anyone knows this song and it’s beautiful and so easy. I was hardly half way through it when I heard some people across the street singing. I thought I heard singing. As they got closer I saw it was 2 women and a man. This is the best combination, you know. As they got even closer I saw the man was quite a bit older maybe in his mid-sixties. He looked like an artist or a hipster. The women were in their 30’s and obviously quite a bit drunk already, but not in a sloppy way just, in a free way.
“You are a lucky guy?” “I know”
“He’s a famous bassist in Korea. Kim yeong Jin. He plays with Sin Jeoung Heoun.”
Ok I didn’t know either of them but It sounded like fun. I started playing and tried to get everyone involved. The women were up to it, very up to it. They were singing right away. I tried to get the bassist singing along the bass part and finally he did as he mimed playing the bass too.
I started to play summertime, they objected, “ no no it’s slower.” I was playing a fast version of Summertine and they were used to a slow sultry version. “She’s a singer” oh really. And she started to sing. I could hear she could sing, very well.
The women were dancing and the bassist was in the middle.” You are so lucky.”” He’s the most popular bassist in Korea.” He started getting into the air bass, singing some crazy sounds. We started skatting (that is free singing with nonsense lyrics) , taking turns, me the bassist and the singer Eunjoo. We were doing 4’s where each person would sing 4 measures and try to pick up where the last person would leave off. It was pretty amazing. People walking by were ignoring us or gathering at a safe distance to watch.
“That’s not summertime.”” Yes it is.”” No its not.”” There are many styles of summertime. “NO.” They started singing a very slow version of Summertime. They sounded nice and I joined playing a background style bass on my sax. The real bassist Yeong jin finally started chiming in. His singing bass was a little out there and seemed to transcend key and pitch. After singing 2 songs together we finally introduced himself. They told me their names and I wrote them down in Korean. They were impressed that I could write it in Korean characters. Sometimes Koreans will give excessive praise to foreigners for doing the simplest things, like using chopsticks. They will give make a really big deal about it, “Oh my God, look, he can use chopsiticks.” And everyone praises wow….maybe even a group wow where they all give a big oooooh that slowly raises in pitch in the Japanese style. This was one of these. “Oh my god”, Lihaha exclaimed with a great amount of exuberance. “It sounds like she is having an orgasim.” They both understood and laughed. Clearnly I could say anything to them. I was so happy. We did a little orgasim riff , pretending we were all having orgasims right there on the street. Passers-by were ignoring us. It was too much them. Either we were crazy or really crazy and in any event they didn’t want to be involved.
I wrote down Eun Joo perfectly. “Wow. Maybe your first Korean girlfriend was EunJoo”. No. It was my 2nd and fifth,” It was the old English teacher as playboy stereotype. They laughed. If you can’t beat them then join them by exaggerating it. Kind of the law of opposties. Can you change your name for me?” She was up to any challenge. “Ok. Give me a new name.” “David” “Noooooo” Seriously then….”How about Mandy?” Mandy? Mandy?” “Yes it sounds like Candy,” “No I don’t want to be Candy. I don’t like it” Really me too. I don’t eat garbage ok lets go together ready, 1, 2, 3….no sugar….no sugar…… Lihaha objected..”Why” she didn’t like to be led. These were strong women. “its just a joke…(my favorite word …nongdam).
The bass player had to leave and so we said goodbye. They told me about his next gig and I would try to make it on Sunday on May 19th. “hey lets go together” The women were agreeable and I tried to set up that I could play with him. He immediately told me the key…am key” I told them it didn’t matter what key on an easy song like that….that brought on another …”ooooohhh”
“I really like you guys. You are not like other Korean women. You are free.” She’s crazy. She has crazy eyes. Why don’t you hang out here at the “Stoop café”. Where’s the coffee?” “You have to buy it.” “where’s the soju ?” You have to buy it” “Do you like soju?” (it was obviously their drug of choice. Soju in the cheap Korean rice rotgut. It costs about 1 dollar for ¼ litter which is enough to get me drunk. You can ask any Korean how many bottles of soju they can drink and you’ll get a good idea of their drinking habits). I am as I said, a 1 soju bottle guy. Lihaha and Eunjoo were both 4’s, they could drink me under the table anytime. “Do you like soju?” It was the old, “ you are a man if you can drink” idea. I gave my standard line, “No I like heroin” Didn’t phase them. These women were experienced in all realms, “but its expensive in Korea.”
“Are you a couple?” They laughed. “Yes we are. Guess who is the man.” I pointed to Eunjoo the pretty one and said, “you are.” They laughed. “No I like that, I like strong women.” Which is true. No I have boyfriend” I covered myself, “I’m just saying I like strong women”.
We went through the Korean age and name thing. “Lihaha is younger than me so she has to call me ‘ani’ it means older sister” Eun Joo explained. “yes and I will call you ‘ani’ as well, I chimed in” “Noooooo. I have to call you ‘Opa’ you know that.” Opa as in “opa Kangnam style, the hit song, is an affectionate term for older brother but it is not always taken literally. Surprisingly most Korean women call their boyfriends “opa” which seems a little Freudian but actually denotes great affection. I’m younger than you. “nooooo they both objected. “Ok….You can call my Opa….no …no call me ‘Opus. 41” Then the age thing came up. “So how old are you, 41” no I said I’m Opus 41” Where? “mars” (I would go to any lengths to avoid answering the age question. “they kicked me out and told me to come to Earth and practice until I was good.” Finally they laughed and they dropped the age question. I won that round.
Why don’t you sit down? Lihaha started to sit and I quickly stood up and gave her the little Styrofoam pad I was sitting on. “Oh what a gentleman”…”yes because now your butt is where my butt was.”
This inspired Lihaha to go into an accapella version of “Fly me to the moon” , which all Koreans know. When EunJoo got to the part of “hold my hand” I held her hand and as she continued I looked at her hard in the eyes but she didn’t flinch. When she sang“darling kiss me” I made the motion to kiss her, which I would have liked to do but I stopped short. She didn’t flinch, only said “oh my god” which by the way is the most common English phrase in the world. Even if you went to deepest darkest Africa, I’m sure those little kids would be saying “oh my god” I joined in with them playing a bass part on the rest of Fly Me to the Moon on sax.
Eunjoo said “I need a cigarette. “and coffee “ She laughed and said ok. They started to walk away. I had to act fast. Give me your email. I didn’t want to lose them. “Nooooo” They objected. Why, just email. I couldn’t understand the reluctance to give an email. “No we are coming back.” That’s what they all say.
“All the Koreans lied to you, didn’t they.” It was true. They all do. So many times people say they will meet later or call or be friends, but it is just that, saying, not real meaning. Ahhh. “we are not like that” We will see.
She started singing an Aerosmith song, “Crazy” I took some pictures. But you are coming back right…because you are my best friends……tonight. “ They posed dramatically. If anything, Korean women know how to pose. They walked off and I was left with Bosum. At least it was someone to talk to which was good.
“Do you think they will come back? She has a boyfriend she said, but they are great, I would love to be their friends. “Now that they were gone, the lights were switched off, it was back to normal. See what happens next. Wow, I’d been here already 30 minutes and was only my second song, which is usually “All of Me” A happy song.
I was still working on my relatioinshop to the audeience. Of course I could just sit their and close my eyes and play, which was probably how I played best. But I might was well be at home in my room if I did that. No I wanted to see how my music was affecting people. However if I looked at people directly I would freak them out and at the same time I wouldn’t really be focused on my music, I would be watching people. I was working on the skill of staring off into space at about the knee level. From there I could see with my peripheral vision if the music was affecting people. Sometimes it was just a matter of people slowing down. I could see that. I could sense their reaction. Were they just curios at this foreign older guy on the street or were they really interested in the music. I could tell that. If they were just curious I wasn’t interested . I didn’t mind but I wanted people who were drawn to the music. If they stopped I would look up to them briefly. If they were caught up by the music, then I knew I had someone I could go to when I felt something. When I had something to share. I noticed that when this happened it was automatic for me, like coming from another part of my brain, I just played something great that evoked a feeling in me and I wanted to see if the other person also felt it. When they did, we shared something at a deep level, and that was the best, when that happened.
By writing a blog about street music, I was in effect setting a frame around it and in effect making it art. Like an artist who puts a frame around a rock, which I had just seen that day in a student exhibition. The artist was in effect saying, “This rock is art because I say it is” My street music was not only street music now but an art form in itself, merely by the act of noticing it. I guess it would work for anything. A bus driver could write a blog about his bus driving and make it art. A farmer, anyone. Its our reactions to events that make us profound and give us a chance to reflect our spirit.
Only 10 minutes later the women came back, singing “Americano” which means American style coffee. It was also a popular song here.Then they lit up.
“I’m sorry this is a non-smoking bar” “Oh” “No I’m just kidding.” I value you more than your smoking”
“So what are you guys doing tonight?..(drinking)..besides drinking? “Whereever?” Where did you start out? We don’t know. Somewhere. “
We found we were neighbors. Its good to know neighbors, you can be spontaneous. “For example if someone lived in Gangnam (the fancy neighborhood in South Seoul) I couldn’t just call them to say, hey lets have dinner.
“Oh Gangnam people are so stuck up, “ she says. “Yes I know I hate them, “ and we take off and do a riff on how much we hate them, I am making fun of the Korean dialect but Im not sure they know that. Its fun. “They have plastic faces” And the women make up a song about plastic faces….Its very funny but they wont let me make a movie of it. They are really into being in the moment and not interrupting the flow. For my part I like to record and make a record of the great moments. “I don’t like to let the great moments go.” They start singing “Don’t let me go” to the tune of “Don’t let me down”. I found out that they perform in some locally clubs. Also we knew some common friends. In particular, Ripley the great man.
She has a gig coming up and she tries to tell me where but I cant get it because I don’t know any of the landmarks. She starts singing the Sting song, “You’re an alien, you’re an illegal alien..” and I join her but we change the words to “I’m an Americano, I’m an illegal Americano, I’m an Americano living in hongdae (my neighborhood) . “ And it sounds pretty good I think.
Lihaha laughs out loud at that and I notice her laugh is very staccato and has defined musical tones. “Your laugh sounds like a trumpet and it fits in our song”, and I imitate it but make it sound a little more trumpety. This of course makes her laugh again and again I interpret. This goes on for 3 or 4 times. Eunjoo joins in and soon all of us are making mock musical laughs. Its pretty strange and fun and free. Funny about people’s laughs though. They are all different. Some people have musical laughs, some have snorting laughs, some silent laughs. Someday I would like to just walk around recording laughs and maybe analyize them or do something with them. Eunjoo is we decide is a laugh imitator. “Wow you are a laugh imitator. You are a genius.” I really like you guys. I never met any Korean women like you. You are free. You are alive”
They start the age thing again. They ask me directly, “How old are you?” I just tell them, “It’s a secret.” They accept that. Eunjoo continues, “Lihaha had a relationship with a guy who was 10 years older.” “No he wasn’t 10 years, it was only 8 years.” They argue ‘8 and 10 years is the same.” I side with Lihaha, “No 8 years is less than 10 years. “ That settles it. “Anyway,” Eunjoo continues, “She got this younger guy because she is so charming”. I disagreed. “ I don’t think she is charming. She is funny and honest. But not charming. In fact I think she can be brutally honest.” They both nod…..I am right.
We do more life details. Eunjoo it seems studied opera, but quit after 13 years because of pressure from her mother. She teaches me about the different kinds of sopranos, there are 4, including coloratura, lyric, and dramatic. She was dramatic. About this time my sidekick Borum shows up. This interrupts things for a while. I try to get her to sing, that’s my MO, always try to get people involved and doing things, but she wont.
It turns out that Lihaha is a good cook of Korean food. I run through all the Korean foods I like that are unusual because even a lot of Koreans don’t like the traditional foods that I like. We start singing a song again about my life, with me playing bass on my sax. “I am a science teacher…I am a public speaking teacher…da da da dum….” That morphs into “I’m crazy, crazy, I’m crazy about you….da da da dum” and that evolves into a simple song in which I just make up any lyrics I can and sometimes extending the length of a phrase to get all the words in. This is really fun and quite comical. People think they can’t sing a song because they don’t know the words, but why not make them up. “I’m crazy crazy, I’m crazy about you” pointing to Lihaha, “not really, really, it just fits the song…da da da dum” “I’m crazy crazy, I’m not crazy about him” pointing to Borum,. “wow we just made up a song. It’s a new art form, street music create a song. “ Eunjoo says, “I didn’t create you created”…I intentionally misunderstand and say, no you create, you crazy” blending the words together. This gets a trumpet laugh out of them both. Imitation…..ha.
I tell them the story of my mean Korean girlfriend who objected to me lying about my age in an online dating. I was surfing the dating site, when this woman I had dated before came on and said, “Frank….Is that you frank” She had recognized me. “But you are not 41 Frank. You are a liar.” Of course she was right, I was, but I figured I looked younger than I was so I didn’t want to prejudice my potential dates by saying my real age. I saw her the next day by chance and she was still harping on that, “you are a liar and engaging in false advertising.” I shut her up good when I said, “Well aren’t you also false advertising when you wear those false breasts?” She was as flat as a pancake. I think I’ve rarely seen a woman so angry. I guess I won that round. I didn’t get to tell my story because Eunjoo was too eager to tell me about how her boyfriend thinks shes a “bitch” I disagreed though.
“I’d like to meet him. No I’d like to eat him” I guess I was getting carried away with punning. She ignored that. It turned out that he was also a musician and she had a recording studio in her house. We were also neighbors. I hoped we could form a friendship someday. “Wow I met a rich girl. And I’m rich too. …..I have music” We agreed we were both lucky to have a creative outlet and to have music.
She started singing a song ‘Music is my life’, by Korean singer, Im jong hi. I could see she had some good vocal chops. Powerful voice. We started to sing and play that song together even though I didn’t know it. Within seconds, Lihaha had found the song on Youtube on her smartphone and we were listening to it through my amp. What an age we live in.
Eunjoo also said she could sing another style of music called, minyo, which I didn’t know. She said it was like Pansori which is a traditional kind of Korean music which I like. Then we starting singing Ariarang. There are also many types of Arirang which the women started singing. They taught me the beginning part of it. It starts Ari ari rang. And she was teaching me style too. She was a really good teacher. But it ended in a flood of laughs.
They were getting ready to leave and a coaxed them to stay with my normal line, “One more song?”. How can you turn that down easily. So I gave them the choice, “Romantic or Latin” They started jumping up and down, “Latin, Latin, Latin” . I turned to Borum, “I guess they want Latin”. “How about Bossa Nova?” She groaned, “ohhh ohhhh (it sounded like another orgasm) “how about Girl from Ipanema?” “Stan Getz”, she yelled out correctly. “That’s right, he made the original recording. I met him” “Wow really? When?” “Let’s see, it must have been 1987.” “Wow, 1987” and that led us right back into the age game. Its funny how in Korea everything leads to that. “forget the age thing”, I yelled at them in mock fury. Now I was off into playing the ‘Girl”.
Lihaha went off dancing by herself. She had on a long flowing skirt which she was swaying to and fro. “She looks like a bullfighter”, I commented. This prompted her to exaggerate her movements and then to take off her scarf and wave it around ala bullfighter. The temptation was too great. I got up, still playing and improvising on the song mind you, and acted like a bull ready to charge. She is there waving her scarf tantilzing me and I am scratching with one foot then another like a bull ready to charge. After 4 or 5 scratches, I charge, horn first at her scarf/cape, still playing mind you and she cries, “Ole”. This is too good not to do many times. Passers bye are confused, bewildered, what is going on. But they don’t look too closely, lest they should be drawn into an embarrassing situation. I am snorting and playing and charging and trying to play in the most bull like way I can…..”Ole…Ole….Ole” Its free and wonderful and Borum is working the camera. Probably the walkers think we are making a strange student movie. That is the only way they can think to explain it, why people are acting so weird. Eunjoo chimes in and harmonizes my notes. Borum messes up the video. I try to get them to do it again, but they wont. They are “in the moment” people.
Someone gives us a dirty look and Eunjoo gives him the Korean finger (fuck you) which is different than the American one. In fact they have different levels. I tried to get them to stay but they wouldn’t. “I need soju,” Lihaha, confessed. “you are a great people, I told them” “YOU are a great person”, Eunjoo insists its me. We agreed to be friends, but I wonder if I will ever see them again. “Bye you guys. “ they objected, “don’t say bye” “Ok listen. I will play a song and as you walk away, you listen to my music.” “Ah so romantic” And away they went. I played ‘Witchcraft’. And they walked out of my life. That is street music at its best.
The women are gone. At the end of the song, Borum says “Billions” “ What is that?” “you taught me” Oh you mean brilliant?” We had worked on the nice things to say after a song, “awesome, brilliant, bravo.” “Good but look man, if I am going to be your teacher you will have to pay me, and big money too.” He nods. Then something strange happens. I am sitting on a stoop next to an alley that is blind because of a wall there. Suddenly the car that is in the driveway there turns on its bright lights and it is a little startling. The car just sits there and idles. The bright lights coming out of the alley cast deep shadows onto the street. It’s like a Broadway spotlight. At the moment I didn’t know what it was and then finally I did. It was a strange opportunity. Listening closely, I heard that the car wasn’t moving, just idling. “Take a picture.” I yelled to Borum. He couldn’t understand, and took my picture. “No not me, my sillohete on the car” for there in sharp contrast on a white sedan parked a cross the street was my image. . When people walked by, my image was projected onto them, then on the street. “ Nobody could see it but Borum and I. We kept playing with that for some minutes. Then I heard a change and the car was starting to move. I stood my ground as the car edged out, my shadow pancaked on to structures across the street. Finally I moved and the car slowly pulled away.
A guy I had met last week came up with an attitude. “Hi, don’t you remember me?” At first I didn’t and then I did. “yeah you are the guy who studies composing. “But you don’t remember my name. I told you but you forgot.” “yeah that’s right but I remember you, you play electric keyboards” My name is John. What’s your name” “What after that, you don’t remember MY name either. “ unbelievable. They were hungry and I pointed out the ‘Pho” restaurant across the street. “Oh you mean the saiguksu restaurant. “ “no I mean the ‘Pho’” After arguing about that for some minutes, it turned out that the Koreans have a special name “saiguksu” for Pho. They also have a special name for sushi, which is soba. I wondered if we rename foods in the USA. “What about hamburgers? Do you have a special name for hamburgers?” “no. hamburgers are just hamburgers. “That’s not fair, I yelled. We deserve a special name for hamburger. How about gu pu pi. Everyone agreed it was a good name. Anyway the young couple went away leaving me alone with Burom again.
A sweet couple came up and seemed moved by the music. When I finished the song they told me they were celebrating their 5 year anniversary as a couple. “You are such a nice couple. You (the man) are so sensitive, and you (the woman) are so sweet. I want to play a romantic song for you. Put your bags down so you can dance.” “We have a short time” they cautioned. As I talked to them, they took out a candle in the shape of 5. They wouldn’t dance but they tried to light the candle as I played, but they couldn’t get it. “Borum, go help them”. He went over and couldn’t the short wick to work. I got frustrated and taking a page from the Charlie Parker playbook (the groundbreaking jazz saxophonist who became a celebrity in Europe. When someone gave him a rose, he ate it) . I grabbed the candle and bit it off. I was hoping to expose the wick, but there was not wick at that depth. I felt bad, I had ruined their precious memento. Then miraculously I noticed that the new candle looked like a “6”. Amazing. “ 6 years, 6 years”, we all chanted. They left happily.
Later a woman came up and listened for a while. When the song ended, I asked her if she was a student. She was. . “I like watching you watching me. What’s your name?””Song” “Like I am playing a Song?” “Yes””Can I play you?” “She smiled as if she understood, “Maybe. I have a part time job at Pho restaurant across the street”. “Oh you mean the Saiguksu restaurant.” I looked over and Borum looked pleased. Someone tried to park in front of my space. That would have confined me in terribly. “Borum, stop them”, I commanded. Amazingly he went over and said some words to the people, and they moved. I was amazed. “what did you say to them?” I just asked them not to park there, and they moved.” That was amazing to me.
“Next I will play a romantic song for “Song”. She actually batted her eyes. I played “my one and only love” I played it beautifully except for the last night which I made a hideous sound. “Damn, I always mess up the ending.” One of my standard jokes
A vulgar looking man got into a huge SUV. He was yelling out at me to play a song. “Tell him to be patient.” Borum did that. I was amazed at Borum’s courage when I told him to do things. The guy was a little scary. When we finished I started to pick out a nice Korean song for him. But by that time, an even more vulgar man jumped into the driver’s seat and started the car. He was totally insensitive to my playing. I started yelling “Turn off the car” but it was to no avail. “Wait. Wait”, but the man started to pull out. I felt bad I seized the moment and ran toward the open window. The first vulgar man shrank back, he was drunk, and with the SUV running interference, I followed them all the way across the street playing the sappy Korean song. “Did you get it?” I yelled to my slave Boram. “No” I missed it.” “Ahhhhh. Slave. If I could fire a slave I would fire you.
“So Song, What do you study?” “I study languages.” What language do you study?” “Bulgarian.” “really. Bulgarian? Why” Well I wanted to study a language but the other ones were taken.” Amazing. “
“How do you say hello in Bulgarian?” She said something and I tried to repeat it. Then I had a great idea. “How do you say, ‘you have a lovely smile?’ in Bulgarian” She said something and I repeated it. Amazingly she blushed. This was going well. “how do you say, ‘Can I have your phone number in Bulgarina’?” She told me and I repeated it and again she blushed and said yes. I gave her a paper and she wrote it down. It was the first time I had ever flirted with a woman in Bulgarian. Song was very pretty and sweet and there was a lot to her.
A crazy drunken guy walked up with his girlfriend and wanted to hear a song. “Be patient” I repeated. When we were ready I played ‘A Night in Tunisia’. As I played and swayed with the music I bumped into a metal funnel that was tied up behind me. I’m not sure what it was for, maybe to put oil in the air conditioner. It made a nice clanking sound. I tried to match the tone. Unfortunately it was in a different key than my song. But from time to time I bumped it on purpose and used that in the song, either harmonizing it or playing against the rhythm. It was a new element. That’s what I like about playing on the street. New things pop up all the time. You can add them to your repertoire or not. Just being creative is fun. Crazy guy was ready to say goodbye. He said his name was PSY like the hit musician recently. As he left he said, “Give me a hug.” I learned a long time ago not to shake hands or touch drunken people. Often they end up hurting you. “How about an air hug Psy?” He went for it. We started playing with air gestures. I asked his girlfriend for a hug. That got a reaction. “Ok air hug” She gave me one. “How about air kiss” Crazy guy didn’t like that. “Nongdam (joke) everything is nongdam”. Song, how about a hug. She gave me one. How about kiss. She shook her head no. Air kiss? She gave me.
It had been a long night, almost 3 hours playing. I wanted to stop but sometimes it was hard to stop because you never know what might happen next. If you quit it was over. “Ok, really really last song”. I played the song that Song who had left a while ago had requested but that I couldn’t find at the time,’Lullaby of Birdland” As I was playing I noticed a couple across the street shyly listening. As the song finished they came over. An extremely handsome couple. “Is he your friend?” they asked pointing to Borum. “No, I don’t like him. He is annoying.” Actually there was some truth in that and saying it so directly had the opposite effect. Funny to lie by telling the truth too much. The really handsome guy asked the normal questions. Then he said, “she has a café. She wants you to play there sometime”. “When do you want me to come over?” “anytime” So we made arrangements for me to come and play, at the OOO Café. It was about 20 meters down the street. OOO meant Out Of Order.
Another standard question, “How long have you been playing?” I looked at him and decided I would like to be more honest than normal. Do you want the real answer or what I usually say?” “What you usually say.” I could tell I liked this guy. He was unconventional and saw beneath the surface. “Then, the answer is 2 years. You see why do people even ask this question?” “Because they want to do.” “Exactly, exactly” Wow I was impressed. This guy understood right away. “So if I said the real answer which is 32 years (actually 42 but I didn’t want to reveal my age) then people would get discouraged and think they never could do it. But I believe anyone with a tiny bit of ability could learn to master this instrument in just 2 years. You can learn almost anything in 2 years. That’s how long it takes to learn a language too.” I explained how easy the saxophone is. “What do you do?” “I am an actor, and my name is Min and I will play a harmonica in my next role which is drama on KBS. I will play ‘Bemo’. Wow a real actor. We made arrangements for me to come over to the café sometime. That was really the end, really. It had been a good decision to play that one more song after all. I met Min and Juli. “One more song? How about a romantic song? Will you dance?” “No no” “Alright you are the shy couple afterall. I have to play softly or the police will come after 12.” I played for the handsome shy couple, my really really last song” As they listened, a small crowd gathered. When I finished people asked me,” are you playing here everyday?”Usually I go to the OOO Café after here” I looked over at Juli and she beamed. “See its paying off already. “ We talked a bit about acting and Leonardo DiCaprio. “do you want to see a good Leonardo movie? Its …..ah whats the name?” One of the other people listening piped up, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” “Right. Thats it. How do you know?” “I am a director. “ wow amazing. This street I just met an actor and a director and a café owner. Playing on the street can be great. It’s a space that I am creating and all kinds of things can happen. I would rather be here than any other place. Here it is completely free. It’s the best part of my life“ I started telling them all about what had happened that evening. They were really listening and interested.
Later on I went over and talked to Min and Juli (the actor and the café owner) in the café. I met Juli’s parents who also helped out at the café. They gave me a free latte. They asked me to play one song for their parents and I did that, after all they gave me a latte so I should play for me drink. As I played, the mother started tapping time with a rolled up piece of cardboard. I tried to get her to play a duet with me. Unfortunately, the old woman had no sense of rhythm. Still , we tried.
He told me about the acting profession and training. He showed me some acting exercises where you just look at the other person and have to be completely honest. “What if there is nothing to say?” “There is always something to say. If there isn’t then you are blocking.” We talked for a good hour Min and I . I told him about my favorite movies “…..and I like Dongmakul, (an offbeat movie about a small village in the Korean war) ” “Oh that director comes in here often. He is our steady customer.” Its amazing how things get connected. I started telling Min about some old famous American movies like , It’s a Wonderful Life, Cool Hand Luke, On the Waterfront, Rear Window. He had heard them but had never watched them. “That’s your homework.” “Ok” Isnt it sad that the treasures of the last generation are often unknown to the next few generations and sometimes forever more.
“You look like Adrian Brody.” Really? Adrian Brody? He has a big hook in his nose. That Adrian?” (I guess all of us foreigners kind of look alike) “Well you are both thin too. “He told me more about acting and his training classes. Honestly exercises. My coach would always tel l me, “you’re hiding something. Be honest , even if its not acceptable, but you have to allow it.” I related music to acting. Both required you to be in the moment and paying attention. In music it can be like walking on the beach and finding shells. If you are trying to find a shell you may not really see one because your wanting gets in the way of looking. We went on and on for another 30 minutes until 230 am when the café closed. It had been a great night for street music. I had met some great people and had a lot of fun. But who knows, the next night might be lonely and boring. I guess that is part of the fun , “you never know, so you have to go. “