A Street Performance Blog and Video Series
Busk Till Dawn is currently in: PARIS!
Next stop: USA on Tuesday

A sign from on below…

by B.T.D.


Number 12

by B.T.D.

12. Walking home on our last night in Paris. A runner jogs past us, points his finger at us and exclaims:

“BuskTillDawn, right? You guys are the best!”

Exhibit A

by B.T.D.

2 weeks after the trip ended, and the memories are already starting to reorder themselves in unpredictable ways. Here are some prominent ones right now:

1. A 15-euro salad of grandiose proportions at a Parisian cafe. God what didn’t that thing have? There were potatoes crisped to perfection, dressing like a vinegar-y nectar, and meat so tasty it served as a reminder why God made animals out of the stuff.

2. Our first real busking day in Brugge, culminating in a performance at dusk in a silent square. Some kind of large Flemish monument in the background. In its shadow we played to the semi-circular crowd; afterwards we heard for the first time the best complement possible: “Congratulations.”

3. Strong sweet Trappist beer at the ancient wooden bar later that night.

4. Playing at the vacant corner spot on the busy crowded market street. The first time the police came, they berated only the assembled crowd for blocking traffic; the second time, they stopped us only reluctantly because the music was, “Really quite nice.”

5. Our pre-made amphitheater by the outdoor market in Berlin. If there’s anywhere from our entire trip I want to busk again, it’s here.

6. Sleeping four-to-a-floor at our lovely hostess Stacey’s in Salzburg.

7. Gelato, and gelato, and gelato, at our primo table on the river at Cacao in Ljubljana. Here me and Auyon made our “Ace” in Psychic Terets by saying “eyes” at the exact same moment with absolutely no clues or precursors. Kind of romantic, no?

8. Boating down the Grand Canal in Venice, peering down the tributary canals spanned by bridges, each glimpse a one-way ticket to Gorgeousville.

9. There’s a bridge in Florence that’s a street with 4-story buildings lining it overlooking the river. Still don’t get it. What lottery did the lucky bastards who live there win?

10. I got stung by a jellyfish in Nice during my first 5 seconds in the Mediterranean. Needless to say, by dint of extreme bravery and force of will, rather than leaving the water, I channeled my fear toward getting Dave and Aroop to join me there so that hopefully they’d get stung too and I’d have company. Instead it turned into a BuskTillDawn v. Waves championship match, with BTD as the clear winners.

11. Ethiopian food in Paris. It’s like a giant plate full of heaven that you get to eat with your fingers and share with your friends. Fingers, food, and friends: necessary and sufficient conditions for complete human fulfillment.

Davelicious

by Aroop

Though the tour has come to an end, I have a strange suspicion that we will be blogging more than we did on the trip itself. We attempted to capture much of what went down in Europe, but some narratives needed the entirety of the trip to reveal themselves.

This story is about Dave.

At mealtime, Dave was often the focus of attention. When he ate, he singularly resembled a pack of wild hyenas after an evening hunt. I once jokingly conjectured that Dave ate so fast that he couldn’t appreciate what entered his mouth. Looks like I was right.

Case #1: Ethiopean restaurant, Berlin, Germany

Dave’s inability to taste was just a joke until a certain Sunday night, when things started to get real. After a hard day’s busking around Berlin, BTD met up with Will Cappelletti for a well-deserved African feast. At the end of the meal, Will ordered pineapple ice cream. The dish arrived a few minutes later, served inside a hollowed-out pineapple. The presentation of the dessert was so creative that each of us demanded a taste. The ice cream was passed around the table.

“Wow, this is really good,” Auyon said.

“Great choice, Will. I can’t believe they served it in a hollowed-out pineapple!” Daniel exclaimed.

Dave took the dish and gave it a go. Puzzled, he squinted his eyes. “Very interesting,” he said, while still holding the pineapple in his bare hands and examining its contents. “I wonder… I wonder what flavor it is.”

Case #2: Italian restaurant, Venice, Italy

When you only have a few days in a country, it is difficult to survey its entire cuisine. That is, unless you are BuskTillDawn. When we didn’t order family style, we engaged in a healthy amount of exchange. It was an efficient way to diversify our intake, and it made for some fun bartering.

Enter Dave.

The currency was pizza and the amount was one slice. Auyon ordered something with mushrooms, Daniel meat, Dave anchovies, and I jumped for marinara.

Sometime around the end of the meal, Auyon asked Dave, “Dave could I grab a piece with an anchovy on it?”

Faithful to our system, Dave handed Auyon a slice (though, notably, with no anchovies, as they had been finished). Auyon pleasantly went about the rest his meal while Dave sat uncomfortably.

“Uh…”

“Yeah what’s up,” Auyon responded.

“Well.”

“……”

“Well, can I have one of your slices too?” Dave asked, trying not to sound too impatient.

“Dave, I already gave you one. You finished it like 15 minutes ago.”

“Yeah, Dave. Auyon definitely gave you a slice,” Daniel and I contributed.

“Oh.” Dave thought for a second, furrowing his brow. “Wait.” His mind was racing. “That explains…There was this one piece in there that I swore tasted a little better than the rest, but I couldn’t figure it out. Well, shit, that must have been the piece you gave me.”

Case #3: French restaurant, Nice, France

Til now, it is not clear that Dave’s taste buds were arrested beyond elementary development. One could postulate that he may just be absent-minded when he eats.

False.

In this event, Dave actively attempted to discern between flavors, and failed miserably.

The rest of the meal was not even relevant. We were eating french fries, with ketchup. Dave took a few, swabbed the dollop of ketchup, and then gave them a new home.

He smiled. “Wow. That ketchup. Definitely not Heinz.”

I looked at the ketchup packet.

Strike 3, Dave. You’re out.

Request #11: Answered.

by B.T.D.

“Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” with David Culver Senft performing the rap” – Victoria “Posh” Beckham

We’re excited to unveil the first video of it’s kind, a buskompilation video of multiple performances of the same song. Now that we’re home and we have some time on our hands (and hi-speed internet to boot), we’ve got a bunch of these puppies in the works, and lots of raw footage to work with, so we hope you’ll keep checking in as we keep ‘em coming.

Thanks to Dan and Amanda for the stellar request and the stellar filming, respectively.

It’s not the size of the coin…

by Dave

Busking, by definition, is a way to earn money, and it is of course a profession with a very long and rich history. There are many people for whom busking is their sole or primary source of income, and I’d wager that many of them earn a very decent living. I, on the other hand, busk as much for the experience as for the income (the former often being more notable than the latter), but I try to be careful not to talk about busking as though this is generally the case, for fear of getting flack from the busking world. So, please, continue generously tipping your local street-guitarists and acrobats. But for me, one of the best things about busking is when something other than a coin is dropped into my D.R. Over the years I’ve been given folded notes, cigarettes, phone numbers, business cards, fresh fruit, baked goods, candy, flowers, fake money, and once, a large cardboard cat.

Most recently, at the beautiful Sacre Coeur in Paris, a man with a large camera dropped us a business card, and we at busktilldawn love people with large cameras. God, those things are just… large and sexy. Anyway, we contacted this particular large-camera’d man, and he followed through by sending us some unmistakably large-camera-taken photos, which really made our day. So, here they are, for mass consumption, along with photos taken by one other stranger-with-large-camera (can we call them SWLC’s from here on? …. not to be confused with STWWGOPSC’s, or strangers-to-whom-we-give-our-pretty-small-camera) that we were fortunate enough to meet.

Associated SWLC websites:

Juan Wyns: www.juanwyns.com
Ralph Petang: http://3wite.blogspot.com/

Request #10: Answered…(?)

by B.T.D.

the Divinyl’s mega-awesome-hit: I Touch Myself. -GK

Though this was filmed on our last night in Paris, we have several more videos from earlier in the trip which have yet to be posted. Stay tuned!

A little time

by Daniel

Hey guys, Daniel here.

The sudden absence of my fellow btd-ers has left a hole in my heart but also a nice little wedge of afternoon for blogging. Today was sadly the final day of our tour. The last few days in Paris have been wonderful–we’ve managed to squeeze in both activities that are new and exciting and also ones that embrace the cyclical nature of our journey. Paris was of course the place where it all began–the fertile soil, so to speak, in which the seed of our idealism took root and blossomed. A little over a year ago, Dave and I climbed to the base of the Sacre Coeur cathedral and, armed with a guitar and a pink toy keyboard from toys ‘R’ us, shocked ourselves by making ten euros in ten minutes with a couple poorly rehearsed Coldplay songs. What better place, then, to fulfill one of the final requests of the current trip by awing the crowd with a spine-tingling version of Miley’s Party in the USA? The last few days were full of such book-ends, from perfecting the “deliberately forgetting the corkscrew in order to have an excuse to talk to strangers” technique on the Champs-de-Mars park under the Eiffel Tower to a midnight Velib ride down abandoned one-way Parisian streets. After a month in entirely foreign places, Paris has a comfortable, familiar feel about it and we were happy to take our foot off the accelerator pedal, where it’s been tending for the last four weeks, and enjoy the scenery a little bit.

The last few days have been new in other ways, however–most importantly with the arrival of Dave’s girlfriend, BTD’er Emeritus Amanda Knorr, who, while not playing an instrument herself, brightened our performances so consistently by her mere presence that she might as well have been tickling the beams of a laser harp. She’s great, and I’m not just saying that because the Daniel-Amanda team CRUSHED Dave- Aroop at Psychic Terets (game description to come) like what a high-school dweeb has on the math-league championette. I think I speak for all of us in saying we were at our best with Amanda as our planted audience member, and would be thrilled if she ever chose to accompany us on any future B.T.enDeavors.

Right now, all aforementioned characters are 35,000 feet above the Atlantic, leaving me with the bittersweet responsibility of enjoying Paris all by myself. But though BTD is temporarily separated, rest assured we will continue to post videos of us making fools of ourselves in front of large crowds for weeks to come. And don’t worry, this project is far from over. In fact, there’s been talk of upping the ante a little bit, since Europe’s treated us so kindly. We want to travel to a place where people will really appreciate the effort we put in, instead of being just a dime-a-dozen. That’s right, you guessed it: coming Summer 2011, it’s BuskTillDawn: Antarctica.

Request #9: Answered.

by B.T.D.

…American Boy by Estelle while wearing the most obnoxiously American outfit you own. Preferably in front of the Eiffel Tower. Thank you kindly. -ASchap

Alissa is owed an added shoutout for being a BTD superfan. We thank you kindly.

Also, since we were anyway decorating ourselves in Americana, an “American Boy/Party in the USA” mashup was too difficult to resist.

Thanks to the nearby recreational motorcyclist to kindly wait fifteen minutes while we filmed USA-themed pop songs dressed like idiots.

Happy Birthday, Mom, from Daniel

by Daniel