The Unbearable Banishment: Music in the streets of Crazytown

Friday, August 5, 2011

Music in the streets of Crazytown

The city is littered with outdoor festivals and events throughout the summer. It's all free, so bring your cheap ass to Manhattan and be entertained for nothing!

I was feeling a little blue so I went to the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival to see if anything there could cheer me up. Boy, did it ever! I saw the Raya Brass Band. They're five young guys from Brooklyn who play music of the Balkans. Good, Eastern European stomp. Just like the stuff my Polish dad used to play on Sunday mornings.

You might have to watch this clip twice to take it all in. First, watch the old dude on the right in the blue tee-shirt and hat dance the crazy spastic-twist. No rhythm whatsoever. He just wants to steal attention from the band and make it all about him. Typical crazy New Yorker. Then, about midway through, watch the old Balkan women dance into the frame. And notice the old perv looking them over. The poor band.

video

The dancing becomes TOO FRANTIC and the po-lice have to step in to restore order. I kept waiting for fists to fly. Meanwhile, the band never stops playing! Seasoned pros. As you can imagine, I walked away from all this feeling much better about life.

video


God bless Lincoln Center for providing this festival for the city. Laurie Anderson is doing a free show on the 10th but I'll be away. If you're around you should go. Unless it's raining. Nothing will kill an outdoor concert quicker than rain.

* * *

Last summer, 88 decorated pianos were placed throughout the city streets and plazas. People could just walk up and start playing. The event was so popular that they brought it back this year. Sadly, someone actually stole one of the pianos that was out in Queens. Bastards! They're chained to cinder blocks but that didn't stop the thieves.

Here, at the piano in Times Square, a woman bangs out a ragtime number. I've always heard that ragtime is particularly difficult to play. Is that true?

video

12 Comments:

Anonymous daisyfae said...

i adore music festivals! i think the 'old perv' was actually trying to figure out the dance steps the women were doing... loved how the sax player from the band seemed to be trying to intervene on behalf of the dancing hat dude...

ah, people watching! never gets old! thanks for the videos!

August 5, 2011 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

daisy: Yeah, well, you can't see the look on his face but it didn't seem he was interested in dance steps. Unless you're talking about Elvis Costello's Mystery Dance. And you're right! The sax player was trying to get the po-lice to leave him alone!

August 5, 2011 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Great videos! I know my mum would play a bit of ragtime on the piano but it was never her forte. So maybe there is something to the difficulty of it.

August 5, 2011 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Never dull there is it?

August 5, 2011 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

I love street music.

And there's always at least one attention grabber at my wedding gigs, some fuckers stand right in front of me, I move to the left they move to the left! :¬)

Rain at an outdoor concert? Why it's downright expected in these parts!

Have a great weekend my friend! :¬)

August 5, 2011 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger SJF said...

Saw and heard Dr. John last week-end in Prospect Park at the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival. Hurrah for outdoor music festivals in NYC!

August 5, 2011 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ponita: Thanks. Great video but for the fact that I keep FORGETTING to rotate my iPhone when recording.

Pat: Never dull. Or normal. And usually a lot more expensive.

Map: It's sad because the attention really is taken away from the band and, instead, is focused on this idiot.

Sharon: I love Dr. John! Wish I had known about it. Was that one of the free Celebrate Brooklyn events? Some are. Some are not.

August 5, 2011 at 1:00 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

I wish we had pianos...I believe there are one or two damn' fine key bashers in this town.

August 5, 2011 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger nursemyra said...

Wish I were still in NYC. I would have gone there with you. Why do the police always try to break up peaceful movements? They made the dozen all grannies dancing in Central Station move along too

August 5, 2011 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

God bless a proper city!

August 6, 2011 at 3:40 AM  
Blogger Mitzi G Burger said...

Super fun!

August 7, 2011 at 1:56 AM  
Blogger Gnu Kid said...

glorious fun.

we're just entering festival season here and, you're right, it is a wondrous lift to spirits. don't think i stopped smiling at the recent Celtic festival. more festivalsnto come, too.

keep going, UB. it's good for the soul.

August 8, 2011 at 11:04 AM  

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