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

Request #8: Answered.

by B.T.D.

“Just Friends” by Musiq Soulchild -Carolyn

Filmed in Slovenia. Pow!

Holla atcha boy

by Aroop

So this is what’s up: French keyboards are whack. Call me insensitive, but I’m almost certain I am correct. Despite this impediment, though, I am still going to  blog post, because I happen to be an incredible human being. God has gifted me with an extraordinary sense of persistence and purpose, and today, today I refuse to be beaten by an idiot piece of plastic.  Here we go.

Beards. BTD has them.

I brought a fully charged trimmer to Europe and hoped that it would survive the 5 week adventure. Unfortunately, the little bastard switched on randomly in my bag and only lived 2. Dave also brought a trimmer, but when we plugged it into the wall in Nice, 220 volts of death surged through it’s feeble frame.

Europe: 2

BTD: 0

But every cloud has a silver lining. We discovered, for example, that Dave has a few red hairs along his chin line. We discovered that Daniel is less patchy than he has always worried about. Most importantly, we discovered that Dave’s beard hair grows at a significantly faster pace than mine.

Give us lemons, and we’ll throw a lemon party.

Amsterdam in Photos

by Dave

Ok, there’s a lot more that went down in Amsterdam than is depicted here, but there isn’t any photographic evidence of it, and we’re not sure that’s a bad thing. I’d explain more about this Kebab sign fiasco, but French keyboards don’t make any sense, so I’m out.

Request #7: Answered

by B.T.D.

We were asked by Joey Horn, esteemed Williams alum and one of Darlingside’s greatest champions, to put together our first “ad” busk to encourage contributions to the class of ’87 alumni fund. With pleasure, we said.

Flailing Math

by Dave

Busktilldawn arrives in Florence just before 10 pm, and pays 61 euro/night for an apartment for three nights. In the apartment, three group members must now sleep in two beds — a double bed with good back support and a small single cot. It is each group member’s objective to obtain H_e, or earthly happiness, through a good night’s sleep. For any group member to achieve this, the following conditions must be met.

1. The group member must sleep in the double bed.
2. The group member must not share his bed with a flailer.

It has been determined that group member Daniel is a flailer. There are of course three possible scenarios, that we’ll denote by the group member who sleeps in the cot (Cot_name). Observe:

Scenario Cot_daniel: david and aroop achieve earthly happiness.

Scenario Cot_dave: only daniel achieves earthly happiness.

Scenario Cot_aroop: only daniel achieves earthly happiness.

Daniel proposes simple group RPS to determine an order for picking beds. Dave and Aroop are quick to point out that this yields:

P(Daniel achieves H_e) = 2/3
P(Dave or Aroop achieves H_e) = 1/3

Q: What next?

There are, of course, many possible solutions to this. We stayed within the realm of RPS, but we certainly didn’t need to. Before we reveal our solution, we’re interested in yours.

Request #6: Answered.

by B.T.D.

In a personal email to his son, Mr. Yudkin asked for any Beatles song to be performed in front of this particular church in Venice. We were more than happy to oblige.

What we’ve learned

by Daniel

Traveling together for five weeks gives a unique opportunity for a group of close friends to observe new aspects of each others’ personalities. For better or for worse, I have learned things about Aroop and Dave weren’t brought to light in the more than five years since I met them. Dave, for example, is never more flustered in life than when he is confronted with two equally tempting menu options. In fact, what happens when you present Dave with ANY two options between which there is no discernible advantage is a lot like what happens when you tell a computer to divide by zero — nothing. He will sit there with a slightly puzzled look on his face, his eyes slowly wandering from side to side, until someone holds his hand, trying to take him step by step, or simply makes the choice for him. “You want the ham, Dave,” I’ve said on more than one occasion, and he nods happily and says, “You‘re right!” and orders the ham.

Aroop, for all his talk of ironies in his previous post, embodies one himself. For all his needless musical modesty (I’ve accidentally convinced him of the wrong chords to songs he knows well because he’s so willing to listen other people’s advice) is highly immodest when it comes to things that — let’s be honest — he knows very little about. Yesterday Aroop was convinced he knew the saturation point of dirt in the plastic bristles of street-cleaning machines in Florence. Now, after several hours of debate, I will admit that Aroop probably has more “expertise in surface cleaning” than I do, and I have grown to have a healthy respect for both his debating skills and his ability to dirt-guesstimate. BUT I think it is worth pointing out here that for all of Aroop’s janitorial prowess, the efficacy of bristles remains somewhat unknowable and should be acknowledged as one of life’s great mysteries, along with the lack of odor in Aroop’s as-yet-unwashed jeans.

This Past Chapter

by Aroop

A few mornings ago Auyon boarded a Venetian water taxi bound for the airport. His two-week commission with BuskTillDawn expired all too soon. Now, as is the case whenever I have just parted with my brother, I feel a sizable void somewhere in my gut. His departure closed the first half of our busking tour of Europe, and while I greatly look forward to the next half, his sudden absence has inspired me to reflect on this past chapter.

Thus far, our trip has been marked by two very strange ironies. The first concerns our audience. Though we traveled thousands of miles to street-perform IN EUROPE, the fact is that we play mostly to visiting tourists, many American themselves. We learned this quickly in Bruges. Our kind hostess, Liezy, taught us the Dutch phrase, Get es gezzelig, which loosely translates to, “I’m having fun!” After a particularly lucrative set in one of Bruges’ central squares, Dave busted it out to impress the crowd. “Thank you all for listening! We have one last song for you this evening, and we’d just like to say, get es gezzellig er en Brugge!

Silence.

Daniel followed up, “Wait. Does nobody here speak Dutch?!”

A lone teenage cameraman on the side nodded and smiled, but the rest of the audience looked at their feet. No one had any idea what the hell Dave had said.

Three or four days later, in Dam Square in Amsterdam, Daniel knew what to expect. Our crowd size had eclipsed 100, we had just successfully debuted our rendition of the American classic “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha, and energy levels were flirting with 11. “Thanks everyone for hanging out tonight! We hope you are enjoying your visit to Amsterdam, and, if you do happen to live here, congratulations!”

The second irony of our trip has been self-engineered: we decided to work on our month-long vacation. Most rational people would call us idiots. According to our paradigm, to have a more rewarding time in a city we must spend less time in that city, and more time practicing in our hotel room. It’s a funny way to do things, but we’ve probably learned about local culture in a way that an ordinary tourist never would. We learned, for example, that Dutch police officers are awesome. We learned that Florence police officers aren’t. We learned that, in Venice, it wasn’t the police that we needed to worry about. Within minutes of our setting up in what seemed like a harmless spot, two gondolier vigilantes had silently alerted their gondolier sergeant, who berated us for playing teen pop songs on their canal. After that, we were more afraid of the gondoliers than we were of the fact that Venice is literally built on water.

In Salzburg, we discovered a city that has a love-hate relationship with Mozart, who was born there, and whose fame has thus defined the city‘s place on the map. While many gowned and dinner-suited octogenarians snubbed our music, I had one noteworthy conversation with three middle-aged locals.

Here’s a fun snippet from that diggity:

“You play wonderful music!”

“Thanks so much! We know its not Mozart, but we were hoping that would be okay.”

“Thank God. We get enough of that here.”

The chapter was fantastic. Certainly we have had our share of the normal stresses associated with completing a project or trying to get Daniel to cook some decent eggs once in a while (I should note he made a strikingly good fruit salad the other day in Florence)–but we are seeing Europe through different sunglasses. We are seeing it from the ground-up, and that’s been very exciting for me.

Request #5 Answered.

by B.T.D.

…“The Seed 2.0″ by The Roots… -BenHo

Ljubljana. August 2010. What in God’s name is Auyon doing in a rain jacket.

Request #4: Answered (Don’t tell Liz yet!).

by B.T.D.

“…would love recognition of Liz turning 50 on 9/11. She loves Italy and Dave Matthews’ Crash Into Me.” – Greg

Happy almost birthday, Liz. We love Italy every bit as much as you do. And Dave has never been so excited as he was for his role in this one.