Saturday, July 9, 2016
New York Underground - The performing arts.
Over the years, I've seen many a strange person in the NYC Subway. And I expect to continue seeing these strange people while I commute to my job in Lower Manhattan on a regular basis.
I spotter the lady above singing opera on one of my first commutes to the new job. It felt like I never left the city - the people performing for money have taken over every nook and cranny of the subway system. (Or, at least, those routes and stations I see on a regular basis.) But she's an exception. Many of the people performing in the subway have no talent, nor have they been vetted by NYC Subway's "Music Underground" judges.
Many of these people play until they can get better paying gigs elsewhere. I'm not sure if the above gentleman has a better playing gig, but he did enjoy playing his instrument.
Not all things that go on underground are unscripted. The above photo was taken at Grand Central Station, where a film crew made a shuttle train look like it was stopping at Union Square. I have not seen this photo shoot in any show or movie made with NYC as its locale. So, it is likely that the shoot was done for a commercial which never made it any of the stations I watch on a regular basis.
Every so often, I see this lady in Times Square. She's a joy to listen to, but I never have time enough to stay and linger for a while. Yet, I wouldn't bother buying any of her records, as she's good - but not that good.....
Now, here's a person I used to see on the subway a few years ago. He must have gotten a more reliable gig, as I haven't seen him in years. Who is he, and what did he do? I have no answers, and will never have them.
Not all performers are musicians. The troupe in the above photo were often dancing - and were quite entertaining. But they also are likely to have found better gigs.
Last, but not least, are the Xylopholks. This was the one group of subway performers who actually got me to buy one of their records. From what I understand, this was a gig they did while not teaching music at a local university. I haven't seen them in a couple of years, so I hope that getting tenure was the reason they no longer perform underground.
As you can see, New York is a very interesting place - whether you are above or under ground. No other city I've visited has the same quality of buskers as we have here. And for that, I'm grateful....