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May 30 2011

New York City – A “Quiet Zone”

Monday afternoon I wandered down to Union Square and stumbled on a fabulous¬† busker , Morgan Okane, playing his banjo¬† by the fountain. Not one song in the Park¬† Police approached the musician and told him he had to leave. First it was because he was amplified then when they saw he was not they said he had to go anyway – “Because there were more than 20 people listening” the two¬† cops explained.

Seriously NYC? Seriously, this is what is important to you?

The fact that a guy w/ a banjo was making  more than 20 people happy at a time seems hardly a reason for law enforcement to  step up & do something.

Then this on the news…

Marlon Bishop/WNYC John Boyd, singer, performing in the Bethesda Arcade despite the new regulations that prohibit playing music there.

An acoustically brilliant area near Strawberry¬† Fields, where classical musicians have played unamplified for years in Central Park, has now been deemed a “Quiet Zone” by the city of New¬† York.

A “Quiet Zone” banning classical¬† street musicians entertaining your tourists for free???? Are you kidding me Mayor Bloomberg?

PS – Wasn’t Strawberry Fields named after those guys, those¬† guys who were named after some bug or somethin’? They got really famous for just sitting there in silence hour after hour, day after day…. ūüôā

And finally … I found out that my friend and fellow¬† busker/Steel¬† Drummer Caesar Passee, was arrested Friday for playing his Steel Drums in public. He¬† “got¬† a police escort¬† in midday traffic with sirens and¬† all”¬† – Yeah,¬† this is a fabulous use of NYC’s dwindling budget.¬† Good idea Bloomberg¬† – cut thousands of school teachers & close¬† firehouses & spend the little money we have on¬† arresting¬† musicians¬† who are merely exercising their First Amendment. Yeah, this is a great plan…

I’m saddened by the Mayor and the city’s choice to¬† spend so much time, money and manpower shutting¬† down¬† such a¬† harmless, and honestly, life affirming activity as music. I¬† realize¬† you’re¬† fiscally hurting¬† NYC but my God, pick on something useful – music is something that actually¬† makes people happy, not sad, and to trying to¬† ‘clean up the city’ or pull in some¬† cash by arresting musicians is insane.

By the way New York City, I’d venture to say that both the sanitizing of art¬† out of NYC and harassment to enforce that ‘sanitization’¬† does not make¬† your city more¬† appealing to those visiting…but less.

The bright light in this story is¬† that¬† the musicians are not¬† going anywhere despite the “Quiet¬† Zone” demarcation – I’m proud of my fellow buskers.

Keep the music going…

May 28 2011

Red Carpet Premier of film I did stunts in & rockin’ the Hudson @ Fleet Week!

Fri was¬† a¬† jam packed¬† night starting w/¬† the NYC premier of “Tied To A¬† Chair”¬† the film I did¬† stunts in described in “The Subway Diaries”¬† followed by a party along the Hudson River where Fleet Week was in full swing. Here’s the¬† New¬† YOrker¬† review of the film¬† & some pics of the fun : )

The Front Row: ‚ÄúTied to a Chair‚ÄĚ: Bound for Glory : The New Yorker

Happy Start To Summer! : )

May 18 2011

Performing, Signing Books & on Arts Panel @ Wesleyan University this Saturday!

Hi guys ! As thousands gather for Honecoming and Commencement weekend, Wesleyan University has asked me to perform, sign copies of “The Subway Diaries” and be part of an Arts Panel on Saturday May 21st.¬† It’s gonna be a rockin’ weekend so stop on by & soak up some rockin’ culture, food & fun!


1‚Äď3 P.M.

WESEMINAR 5,000 Women

A\This is a satellite production of a project called “5,000 Women” whose mission is to have 5,000 women artists performing in tandem. The name comes from the fact that every hour 5,000 women are giving birth at the same time throughout the world. “5,000 Women” honors that amazing creativity, by showcasing the creativity of women artists. The performance will include singer-songwriters, comedians, dancers, actresses, spoken word artists, independent films by independent filmmakers, and one-woman shows.

Performers: Naaz Hosseini , Aleta Staton , Heidi Kole, Lisa Porter, Jennifer Blaine, Elizabeth Liang  Nafeesa Monroe, Karen Gross , and Stephanie Fungsang

Center for the Arts Hall (formerly CFA Cinema)


3:30 P.M.

WESEMINAR Making It In the Performing Arts‚ÄďIs it Possible?

This seminar, conceived by Wesleyan alumnae who have established careers in the arts, is a forum to share experiences and insights. For those who are contemplating a career in the arts we may ask ourselves: How can I make it as a performer?, Will I be able to support myself?, In what ways can I distinguish myself and establish a career? Through this seminar we hope to create a network of support for students and alumni in these challenging fields. All students, graduates and artists are welcome to attend. Networking session and screening of Fly Away, a film by Janet Grillo ’80, will follow.

Presenters: Dana Leslie Goldstein, playwright and poet; Heidi Kole, author, singer-songwriter; Lisa Porter, actress and vocal coach; Jennifer Blaine , actress and one-woman show; Karen Gross, cabaret artist and singer song-writer; Grace Overbeke ’08, director of marketing at Theater J; Martha Meade, muralist; and Tamina Davar, filmmaker.

Center for the Arts Hall (formerly CFA Cinema)

May 17 2011

Documentary Film “Busking The System” today

Hi all – today (despite the monsoon outside) I’ll be filmed & interviewed by the documentary film “Busking The System”. It’s a fabulous film & great crew so keep your eyes & ears peeled as we’re gonna make some waves : )

May 12 2011

Tonight…I’m watching as someone plays me on stage! : )

So, last week I was interviewed for a good hour and a half for this stage piece that’s in development called “Buskers” and tonight I’ve been invited to see it’s premier reading in association with The Old Vic Theater of London, at the Soho House here in Manhattan, in which an actress is playing me!

Go figure right? I’ve never been on this side of the fence/camera/stage before and I gotta say…it’s a bit trippy ūüôā

Fill ya in later…

Stay musical!

May 10 2011

DStripped Launch Party featuring Review of “The Subway Diaries” this Saaturday!

Come on out & celebrate this Saturday @ 9:30PM @

Veranda Lounge NY
130 10th and 7th
New York, NY

The Cutting Edge magazine DStripped will be launching their first Print Issue for Spring/Summer 2011! Inside is featured a kick ass review of ‘The Subway Diaries” Stop on by, pick up your signed copy & enjoy the party!
Here’s their Youtube link for the launch: