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Posts tagged: The Subway Diries

Nov 21 2010

“The Subway Diaries” – A Foot Long Look At Another World

Heidi Kole takes us on a unique journey below the streets of New York City, with her book, “The Subway Diaries.” The treat the reader gets is that the book really is not about being underground. It’s a personal journey of discovery, deep inside of her soul, which surprised her with a new vision of her art and her life.

For those who have never been in the New York Subway system, her writing paints an accurate and detailed picture of the life there..not the life of those passing through, but the life of those who are there..to share their music and their lives….for tips. Ms. Kole is an important voice, for you can’t really understand the scope of New York City without including the Subway system and the life that exists there.

“The Subway Diaries”, in a way, is history….the personal history of one author that represents so many people who have passed through these famous tunnels of The Subway System, is a truth..her truth..her life…and to document that life is as important if not more important, then creating the Transit Museum.

I highly recommend “The Subway Diaries”. It’s different and It’s personal and it’s actually happening today and tomorrow and probably everyday that New York continues to thrive. Our lives are enriched by the music and art that spontaneously presents itself underground. For, in each and every performer, we can see ourselves. ~ Jennie Walker

Sep 09 2010

Lay Me Down With Your Hands


Aug 25 2010

The Wizard & The Wardrobe Master

Hi you guys, so I’ve missed you all ‘muchly’. Finally got a sec to write here & hope you all are doin’ super!

So last week @ 59th where I’ve been frequenting quite a bit these days, about 20 minutes into my groove a guy in an e green t-shirt wandered up and  stood staring at me as I dove into my version of Den ise LeSalle’s “Right Side Of The Wrong  Bed”. He was average height, on the thin  side and obviously not very wealthy, at least not demonstratively so, (one never knows who has what in a city like New York). His bright green shirt looked extra ’emeraldy’ against his dark  brown skin and he stood stransfixed as I sang. I  thought perhaps as I sang and kept an eye on the guy who was standing super close, staring at me; “He must know the song or something. It must remind him of something in his past.” That’s usually the case when someone stands and stares  like that.

I wrapped the song and began to tweek my strings to get them back in tune since I’d just replaced  my old strings with a pack of brand new ones given my sweat from the summer had  rusted the old set straight through and my instrument was beginning to sound more like a tractor with a dying motor than a guitar.

Anyway, as I was  tuning the guy in a the green shirt spoke up; “Is that a Western guitar?” he asked

“Uh…well,  I  don’t think so – it’s just an acoustic with a pick up”

“But is it a Western one?”

“Ummm…I don’t think  so, but uh, maybe” I responded, thinking perhaps if I allowed for the possibility that my trusty Epiphone was, in face a “Western” guitar, he would stop asking.

“Yeah, it’s a Western guitar.” He proudly concluded. I thought that was that on the inerrigation. Ha! Who am I kidding, it’s the subways, I’ve been down here for five years, I should really know better by now…

“Are you gonna be here in September?”

“Ummm…yeah, I think so, I’m kinda here year  round. So it’s a good bet I’ll be here in September, yup”

“Do you have Western jeans? You know dark ones?” Ok – at this point I was  ready to start in on my next set of tunes as there was a big crowd and as much as I  enjoyed chatting about ‘Western garb’  with  this guy, I had  some bills to pay.

“Well, I have jeans and I’m not sure where they’re  from, but yeah I have jeans” and I began in on my next tune. Once done, the man in the emerald “T”, who had not  budged, jumped  right in; “How about boots? Do you have those boots, the ones with the pointy toes?”

I bust out laughing as I acknowledged the dollars coming into my case  from the other straphangers listening to my music; “Hahaha…I have some boots, yes. And I might even have some with ‘pointy  toes’

“So, you have to wear them, you know? In September. You’ll wear the jeans and the boots in September?”

Trying to control my giggles I responded; “Ok, yeah, of course I’ll wear the jeans and the boots with the pointy toes in September. I gotta get back to my music now though. But nice meeting you!” And I started up on my next tune, the music and lyrics swallowing up the remaining grin still plastered across my  mouth.

The day went on as planned and sans any more ‘wardrobe consults’.

Then, today, on the opposite side of the A,C,E @ 59th, the Uptown side (cause there was a sax player on the Downtown) – Poet Minor stopped by, ofered her smiling energy & snapped a shot – I love visitors!

Shot courtesy of Poet Minor Time Warner TV

…then, not a minute after Minor left to go uptown, up saunters the same dude, this time in a blue  “T”. What are the odds? Why does the ‘crazy’ always show up when the cameras are not rolling!

“Haha – hey!” I giggled and greeted my newfound wardrobe master, always intregued to see a familiar face, no matter how ‘out there’.

Without a word the guy opens his  backpack and pulls out a  folded, crumpled piece of paper. He unfolds it, smooths it out and turns it around to  show it to me. Written on the paper are both the name, address and cost of a pair of dark blue  Wrangler jeans. Omg this guy is intent on getting me dressed like a cowboy. What a hoot!.
“This is where you can get the jeans” he said to me.

“Wow – thanks…I mean, yeah, thanks for that…what’s your name, I forgot.” I said, knowing I’d not ever been told, but not  wanting to seem rude.

“Jamal, I’m Jamal”

“Well, thanks Jamal…for the information. Thanks a lot”

“So  you have the boots right, and you just wear a plain white shirt with buttons and … and …” And I  could see his mind was going fast now, working overtime to dress me just right. “And a vest, you have a vest?” And before I  could answer in the negative he kept going; “And a hat, you know one of those hats, the western ones”

Ok, I was almost doubled over at this point. Of course no one else on the platform had any idea what our conversation was about or what was making me stifle laughter more than play music, but the commuters waiting for me to sing seemed intregued none the less.

“Well, I have some of that stuff and I really appreciate you showing me the store info and directions, that’s really nice of you Jemal”

“Here, it’s for you” and he handed me the paper

Jamal's wardrobe notes : )

“Awe, thanks  Jamal. I’ll look into it. I gotta get back to playing some music here, but thanks so much.” Jamal gave me a look that made it very clear he really didn’t want to leave until he was sure I would, in fact somehow  get the exact wardrobe he’s so vividly seen me in for all of two weeks now. But he seemed to ‘get the hint’ once I stashed the folded paper and strummed my first chord of my next tune. That seemed to be Jamal’s cue to go cause he bowed his head and turned with conviction and walked away.

Man, what am I gonna say to the  guy come  September when I’m still not dressed like a cowboy? I thought to myself as I floated back to my music. Well, I’ll cross that ridge when my possy gets to it 🙂

I figured that was my requisite dose of  ‘crazy’  for the day but….nooooooo, heck no in fact. I was nearing the end of my energy, not to mention bladder capacity, when a tattered looking  guy sauntered over, and bent over my case. I didn’t flinch but I  have to say  I had no idea what his  intentions were. I almost offered him a candy and a dollar to  try and abort and alternate plan he might have but before I could offer he bent  down and picked up the ‘public’  copy of “The Subway Diaries”

Ok, ok…cool, he’s gonna read the book. That’s cool, I thought to myself. The dude  was more than  dishevled, he had bags stuffed in bags and a stack of  free papers from what looked like the past zix months  that he wedged between his knees as he  leafed through the book.

“Must be a wold  adventure” The black, deshevled guy said in an affected British accent, that oddly resembled a Monty Python character.

“Yeah, it’s been an adventure for the past five years. That’s for sure.”

“Well…” the Monty Pythonesque  dude chimed in; “I’m a street performer of sorts myself”

“Really? What do you  perform?”

“Well, I perform, but mostly above ground. I”m a wizard” He responded matter of factly.

“A wizard? Really?”

“Yes,” the wizard continued, “I’m the wizard of New York. They’re doing a documentary about me” and he bent down, leaning over my case. I wasn’t sure what he was going to grab onto next, but to my relief if was my pen. He stood up and  looked around and mimed writing, indicating he needed something to write on.

“Oh, here” and I handed him the back to Jamal’s  wardrobe instructions.

“Perfect, perfect. I’ll  write down some information for you. Perfect” And I started in playing again while the  wizard meticulously scribbled on the back of the piece of lined notebook paper, for what seemed an  eternity. “I take forever to  write sometimes,” as he continued to slowly etch his words.  Once he was done and I’d  stopped  singing he handed it to me, “Here, it’s for you. It’s marvelous, marvelous this world.  Thank  you for sharing the music” the wizard said as he tried to remember where the pen came from.  I motioned to the case and he dropped it back in. And without another word he reached down and grabbed the half a years worth of newspapers from between his  knees and hopped onto the waiting “C” train.

I looked at the paper, not having a clue as to what he  was  writing all that time. I was fully prepared to see nothing that made any sense at all but no, there was a website a name of his documentary and an  email address. Go figure. So here it is, so you all can google it for yourself. I know your  curious : )

Genuine Wizard info : )

Ok- so that was my day.

How was yours? : )