Thursday , july 11th, 2013
I changed my schedule today. Since it is so crowded at the Charles Bridge and the Castle in the afternoon, I decided to get up early and walk. At 630 am barely anyone was around. I walked over to the old Jewish Cemetary and around with a photographer I met. Then I walked over the bridge and up to the famous cathedral on the hill. By the time I got there it was 8 and opening up. There was a trio playing Czech style traditional music. the instrumentation was interesting, trumpet, accordian, and basson. They sounded great. To get information I stood next to the tour groups that were beginning to assemble. Along the way I saw some places that I would like to go another time like a science of kids place, an all you can eat Indian buffet run by the Hari Krishnas. As always the buildings themselves were the stunning attraction. Stuning doors, statuary on buildings, amazing and surprising trims. This whole city is like a huge outdoor museum.
I met Ludska the guitar player at 3. Why do I play with her? ok, she’s really pretty and nice and she ofter smiles at me when we play. She kisses me on the cheeks when we meet (French style) and last time she just kissed me on the mouth (lips closed) when she met me. Maybe I have a fantasy about traveling around theworld with her, playing street music. But , its just a fantasy. Anyway, she actually makes money,and always seems to like me to play with her. Of course the best is Pavel and Hanka. Pavel is always doing funny things and making everyone laugh. Hanka is always laughing at him and surprisingly she thinks Im the funniest person in the world. She cracks up at my stupid jokes and encourages me to be even stupider. But she is very complicated in a way and often does unusual things. I think they are both unusually and completely free people. Along with Adams band and Frankishek, these are the people Ive managed to hook up with in a week. Not bad.
Ludska and I played at one spot for awhile and then he said she wanted to change locations. I went along with her happily. The next place was not far and the reaction was so so. But one car stopped that we werent happy about. After about 15 minutes, a police van pulled up and snapped our picture. Then Ludska had to go talk to them. She was talking and laughing with them so I was surprised that they had given her a ticket for 200 K (about 10 dollars) but told her next time it would be 100 euros =120 dollars. This scared her becasuse actually she didnt have this kind of money. She was really living on her earnings on the street, though you wouldnt know that she is poor from looking at her. The police gave us a map with certain streets marked. Apparently, the system for street music was being strickly regulated. It had to be. There were so danged many of us. Every day, I see new people and new instruments from Czech and all over. For me its great because I will never hesitate to ask to sit in. Often they agree.
After the ticket, Ludska was scarred and rattled. I took her over to meet Pavel and Hanka. She just sat there in a slump. However in no time they cheered her up. The markets hired street musicians to play. Pavel and Hanka were playing there. There were about 6 food stands set up with about 6 big picnic tables. it was a nice place to play. Mostly Czechs were hanging out listening. I played a bit and then when they finished Ludska and I walked over and played awhile until we made enough for me to pay her back for the fine. After that she left, discouraged. I went over to find Adam and played until 730 it was time to go and see the Latirna Magicaka again. I had seen it on my first day and it was the same show, but I was so crazy about LM that I decided to go again. Its a mixture of cinema and acting. A movie is show on a cloth screen. The screen has a slit in it in which the actor can jump through and disappear. However what usually happens is that the actor reappears in the movie. this can lead to all kinds of creative and amazing developments, like last night the actor who had roller skates on is pushed down a street and falls out of control. In the movie we see the view of the camera careening wildly through the streets. The actor in front is dancing like a skater would skate and he is also interacting with the movie and dodging cars, people, and other things. When I saw Latirna Magica it was a little different than last night. Then it was all movie actor interaction. Last night, there was a lot of pure dance, with projection to be sure, sometimes in amazingly creative ways. For example, 2 ballet couples dance in the bright light, their shadows thrown up on the screen by the intense lights. Its beautiful and pure, but suddenly there is an extra shadow of another couple. Its being projected. It interacts with the dancers.
After the LM show, it was time to go see the Lemon Bucket Orchestra in a club called Propaganda. It cost 100 K to get in and downstairs it was crowded and sweaty. The band was great as before but somehow the show wasnt as much fun for me. On the street they were at their best. here they were crowed onto the stage and they didnt have room to stretch out. Plus the sound was too loud and booming. Still, it was great. The only problem was that I was so tired. I had been getting just a few hours of sleep since I arrived. My wierd body habit of waking up at 6 no matter what time I go to bed was causing havoc. I kept falling asleep during the show. It was embarrassing. All these young people and heres me this old guy inthe corner dropping off to sleep all the time. I was almost glad when the show was over and went back to the hostel for some needed sleep.
It hadn’t been a great day, but the next one would be.