HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
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October 31, 2007
The hot chick sittin' on ma' lap is Patty! Twenty years ago I was lost as to what I was going to do with my life and while I was sitting and moaning at her kitchen table she said, "why don't you put a piano in the back of your truck and make a living at it"? So I did. Can you believe we are both over fifty years old from the picture? I had to say that to get a rise from her when she reads this. We both sat together on the piano bench throughout high school from the age of fifteen. We were the accompanists for the high school choir. Yikes! Yikes! Yikes! I consider it a major life accomplishment to have stayed friends for all these years, our relationship has had its trials and tribulations and here we are... were still here! This is definitely one of my all time favorite pictures taken tonight right before sunset.
I was at Jim and Judy Best's house for Halloween in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. This couple has contributed to my journey but that is not why I was at their house. I was there because of how much they contribute to their neighborhood. Every Halloween they "put out" in every way... on every level to create a traditional fun visit for all the trick or treater's who stop by. So do several other houses in this neighborhood but there is no "lets out do the neighbor" ...it is truly a spontaneous collaborative neighborhood celebration. Jim is a nut like I am when it comes to wanting to share his spirit of having a good time and he will not blink an eye in adding to that how his wife is such a support with it all. They set up games on the street, have a harvest scene for pictures on the front lawn, I supply the music and other neighbors and friends like Patty OFFER to volunteer and help out! To me I call all of this... a manifestation of love.
This is the third time I have been to the Best house on Halloween. I am sorry to have found these friends so late in the game as it would have been wonderful to grow up with the neighborhood looking forward each year for everyone to visit and jump up on the piano to create some music. There were I counted at least five piano players from the past two years who specifically learned and practiced Halloween type songs to perform on the Traveling Piano tonight. Others just could not wait to get on board to bang on the keys again. Several parents introduced their tots for the first time to piano music tonight. I watched one little girl sit with her mouth open to a perfect "O" while I played for like five minutes. She forgot all about the candy... she was in awe. I met a few new piano players, a new friend named "Keyboard Cathy" (she's a pro) stopped by and played for everyone.
This is what I am all about!!! This is what the Traveling Piano is all about!!! Wow... fun, joy, happiness, interaction, respect, sharing, participation, inclusiveness, friendship, and music. This is worthwhile stuff, this is worth living for. Boner was his usual champ self! What patience he has to sit on top of the piano with everyone is eating cotton candy and pretzels while petting him to say hello.
What a great way to end the month. I improvised in duet with several piano players tonight. They asked me to. I was not afraid. This fact is very cool! My niece stopped by with her two girls to check out the scene, play some piano and to CONTRIBUTE to this journey the... Flight of Peregrinating Musical Exploration via the www.bonerthedog.com website! She wanted the clown costume I had posted up on the site. I used it for many years on mischief night to torture the family. I would show up at their house yearly and was wonderfully insidious in not letting them know who the clown was.
October 30, 2007
I think I am coming down with a cold! This is not acceptable... Halloween is tomorrow!!! No colds on Halloween. I was in Rittenhouse Square in center city Philadelphia today. I heard someone playing the trumpet and could not resist being drawn into the music and I have also played music in this square with the truck several times. I feel a bond with any street musician I come across. I still need to consciously override the respect issue for myself concerning the idea of being a street musician verses a paid pro. I know who I am... I have been a successful paid pro since the age of fifteen... I must remind myself not to care what other people think of me in terms of professional respect but also... I must remember to keep my professionalism somehow because there are bills to be paid and... I deserve to keep the quality of life that I have worked for my entire life but today... it was all about the music. It was about the joy this guy was bringing to others especially the kids as he played twinkle, twinkle little star... the ability to communicate without fear or repression. As I watched people respond to him and tell him how he was making their day, how the children stared in awe and clapped their hands... I saw what I do as an observer. It was very powerful. Afterwards I took Boner to the local dog park. He found this little white male dog that he could not resist. I never saw him initiate play and be so interested in another dog in all of his thirteen years. This happened the last time we were in the park and I am sure it was the same dog. He kept trying to hump it and the owner said that it was a dominance thing. All I know is that I really enjoyed watching Boner being interested in his own kind. The more kinds the better!
October 29, 2007
New Hope, Pennsylvania
I am in a very weird place in my head. Strong contrasts black and white (analogy), take and give, nothing and everything, regression and progression, repression and empowerment... I am experiencing it all at the same time. I think I know what is going on. I am once again at a crossroad. My choice is to regress or progress and I am smack dab in the middle of the choice. The illusion is that the regression is stronger. The truth is that the progression is more powerful, I only need to "allow" it. "No chaos or distractions please, Danny". I allow myself to be successful with a full and abundant life of fun and joy. So, that is it. It is what it is. Pray for me :)
I went up to New hope, Pa tonight to do probably the last showcase of the one's I have been doing on Monday nights when I am around. I stopped along the way to play a quick take of Dizzy Fingers on the Delaware River. Then I raced to the club because I wanted to take Boner for a walk and play some piano in the lounge. I parked the truck and started for inside. Two roofers smoking cigarettes in a construction van nearby yelled, "arn't you gonna play some piano?" I'm sure they were joking. It didn't matter I went right into my avoidance head mode of, "I don't have time, I got things to do" but then I reality came into focus, "here are interested people and musical opportunity". I followed through with conversation and within minutes, they were on the truck creating music and smoking cigarettes faster than ever. We had fun!
I have been meeting many creative artists over the weeks at the Cosmo club in New Hope. This has been such a new and positive experience. I have been in a separate world from other musicians while on the truck for all these years. I ask everyone I meet to connect and create music with me on the truck. About one in a hundred follow through. Speaking of "one"... I have been making a practice of doing "one takes" ... "one shot onlys" ... "one minute performances". I mess up in ninety-eight maybe ninety percent of my attempts. People do not seem to hear the mistakes. I think I will begin to approach it like I have with the music samples I have uploaded every day for over two years on this website. It is not my job to critic myself. It is no one else's either but I am the one who affects me most. If other people enjoy whatever I do, why should I diminish that joy for them by discounting their compliments or expressions of approval. My job is to have fun!
October 28, 2007
I pulled the Traveling piano truck outside today onto the street for just a few minutes with the neighbor kids to play some Dizzy Fingers and then focused on gathered all my plants to get them indoors before the frost tonight. A new friend, a musical friend became the first to contribute via BonerTheDog.Com ...the link "Boner's Store" is on the left side of this page. So now... two people have contributed one financially and the other through merchandise donation (one of my favorite Halloween decorations will be mailed tomorrow) that makes me feel real good! I have a four thousand dollar house tax bill to be paid tomorrow and I have the money to do it because of the communities that have contributed to the journey. I am confident life will continue to work out in a progressive, positive way. I am going to refuse to act illusionally needy thinking that will inspire people to contribute. It won't and I don't want to think that way for myself!
October 27, 2007
Alloway, New Jersey
What a new experience it is for me to be giving farewell performances for communities that I have been with for many, many years. Tonight was the Alloway/Salem County Halloween parade in South New Jersey. I have been performing for this town for over fifteen years. I'll never forget the many, many experiences and especially the dedicated community members who have held this event together over the years. They have consistently extended their respect to me. Once again this is yet another community who has contributed over and above to the Journey of Peregrinating Musical Exploration. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I wish I had someone to take pictures from my viewpoint on the truck tonight. Tens of thousands of people were in the streets in front of me, to the sides of me, behind me. Unlike many parades, there are no barricades in this town so the crowds are very close, I love that!
I have been uploading a video take of the piano novelty song Dizzy Fingers every day now for 36 days on YouTube and the goal is to look into the camera eye for the entire length of the song. That exercise has now crossed over into my live performances. I no longer wear sunglasses when I play my parades and there is real eye-to-eye contact. In order to do that I must be aware of the facial contortions that I used to hide behind. Does that make sense? Anyway, I have been developing a new level of intimacy in performance and I like it allot. I was having fun with the heavy drinking hard core guys. I would communicate with them through physical movement and facial expression to help the musical connection. As I would exude male aggression with movement or attack on the piano keys, or do anything resembling an orgasm with the performance they would respond accordingly with cheers of approval. It was very funny, a new insight.
I just want to notate some of the visuals from this annual event over the years... this area was once the "boonies" (real country) and up to 60,000 people would gather every year from out of the woods to celebrate with this parade. I would have to get there three hours beforehand to get in. People would park their car miles outside of town to walk in. One year the parade was so big I did not get started until 11:45 pm and there was frost on the piano. I love a night parade. They strung up lights along the streets and had bales of hay for people to sit on. This was a true harvest event. Flat bed trailers line the streets for people to sit on, some bring the couches out of their homes to use on the truck beds. Did I mention party hearty? Major party town!
This Halloween parade was the first job I did after 9/11 and I realized tonight that it was a turning point for me. I'll never forget how everyone was numb; there was absolutely no energy to draw from the crowds. No facial expressions. I remember thinking during that performance, "you are here to do a job, you cannot go to the head space these people are in, you must keep your spirit high for their sake and bring them up... release the depression." Honest to God, I remember thinking that... what a job that was because I personally cried almost daily for at least a month after 9/11. I had a lot of personal ties to that happening. It was the first time ever that I consciously felt a purpose for what I have been doing all these years. Well I must have done a really good job that night because when I dealt with performing after Katrina, I was able to take it up a notch and then recently with Virginia Tech it was effortless to exude only fun, friendship and respect. This has been a gift for myself to be able to detach from other people's emotional drama and also to not insert my own emotional drama into other peoples experience and lives. It is a talent in of itself. It has been very empowering for me to accept the responsibility of sharing my love and joy and to be able to do it through music.
I arrived early today in order to have as much fun as I could with the community. A seventy five year old woman jumped onto the piano to play and she was great! Her grand daughter then jumped on and I drove her around town as she played all the songs that I played as a kid. She played the Charlie Brown song and Beethoven's Fur Elise ... that one really stuck out for me. We had fun. Someone came up to me and said, "where's the old guy that used to play?" Ha, do you think that made me feel good?" I have improved my being that much in the last two years! It did not stop me from eating a full extra cheese, pepperoni and mushroom pizza on the way home. Speaking of on the way home... I drove by a new church... and African American Methodist Episcopal Church of Zion... who knew?
Boner hung in like a champ onto of the piano for the entire length of the parade. Last year he gave up and jumped down when someone popped a gun at the start. My driver, Jennifer was perfect. This was her third year. The first year she drove drunk, (not a pretty event) last year she drove sober and nervous... this year she drove sober with wonderful assurance. I am glad I gave her a vote of confidence and trust; she rose to the occasion wonderfully. On the way home I stopped the truck twice. Each time I needed to find people to help push it so I could pop the clutch to get it started. This happens all the time now. I used to panic when stuff like this happened. Now it's like... "the truck is old, it needs a push start, who knows if its the end, it might be, it might not be." I got home so that's all that matters for tonight.
October 26, 2007
I'm visualizing Chengdu, China but in todays reality... Yea...yea... yea... I know its almost every day but I feel again today, I had yet another wow musical day! It is pouring rain outside so I played some piano indoors. I went to the house of a new piano player I met. His name is Glen and I had dinner with his wife Jody and met his young son Zach. They live an hour away from me but the drive was well worth it. I think I may have some great new friends. Glen and I have some major similarities in a musical sense he is completely improvisational in style and never took lessons. At thirty years old, he is a monster at the piano and his strength reminds me of Rachmaninoff. His music has somewhat of a classical sense where mine has a meditative sense. We are both building our improvisational performance self-confidence. We took turns in playing for each other; I never did that before with another musician! I could not wait to sit down and play as soon as I entered the house. Anymore, if I see a piano, I cannot resist trying it out. This fact amazes me it is so completely new to me. I did not care that the piano was completely out of tune it was just a new experiment with music for me. We both had thoughts of intimidation on hearing each other's playing. How ridiculous is that? Very. We just reminded ourselves to love each other through the music. How great is that? Very.
October 25, 2007
I need to go home! I do not want to go home! I have all this crap to do at home! I am doing it all here in Cape May.... but at least it is in a different environment. I went outside to walk Bo it was grey and cloudy and absolutely wonderful visually. We walked along the crescent beach all by ourselves, the sand was flat from heavy rain, the ocean waves, the billowing clouds, white weathered driftwood, browning green grass hanging off 20 foot high sand dunes... when I got back to the truck I could not resist creating some music with the presence of this nature.
The tarp kept everything under it dry from the heavy down pour last night... alleluia! The secret is to not let anything touch it. The wind was so strong the truck was swaying while I created music on it. I Ieft Boner in the grass to wonder around and the truck door open for him to climb into if he wanted, it was too cold and windy for him on top. No one was around so I did not get any pictures. The wind... it was amazing to create music in it, I could hardly hear myself... I just allowed the wind to take me away, it controlled all of my energy both mental, physical and emotional. I thought about how grateful I was that our technology has advanced enough to afford this human experience. (creating music... on a piano... on a truck... outdoors... on the beach).
October 24, 2007
I woke up at 2:30 pm today. I really needed the sleep, I needed to stop some conscious thinking, I needed to let my body sort itself out a bit. I think I may be gaining weight and this will not do for my life. Wether I like it or not this health issue is presently the foundation for my self acceptance. It is what it is. It was not raining when I got out of bed (as forecasted for the last three days) so I took the truck out to play some piano and as soon as I parked the rain began. The truck is sitting outside in the pouring rain as I write this. I must test the cover. The last day I was in Blacksburg Virginia was the last day it was poured rain on the piano, equipment etc... under the tarp and situation was not pretty... that might have been because the speaker was touching the canvas. I'll keep my fingers crossed. I am trying to breath before I continue with my never ending work. It takes me two hours a day minimum just to do the website publishing. Then there is the work of this very strange process of paying the bills. I must get back to downloading more items for Boner's website of which one person has contributed to so far. Thank you Dave! ... and then there is China and what that entails. Health comes first, paying the bills, then music and a life of fun for myself and sharing that with others.
I caught the last half of Oprah Winfrey's show on television today. I often hear things people say that go over most human heads. She said something that I thought worthy of repeating. She was talking about how we are all the same... "the mystery of life... were all different (humanly)... if all the souls were the same we couldn't recognize each other" ...that really hit me the understanding of WHY we are different and how being different is so necessary and good... then she went on to say, "the beauty, the wisdom is to be able to recognize the soul of every person and not the labels (humanly) we give to each other." What a fun challenge this can be... and my experience over the last two years has shown how the mixture of the Traveling Piano truck, my spirit, music and especially piano dog Boner's presence accomplishes the ability to reach people's soul to connect without labels. Cool!
October 23, 2007
The day started before I went to bed. About three in the morning, Boner and I went for a walk by the sea. Boner becomes so alive in nature and new places just like I do. He was jumping all over the place and so was I. We had a lot of fun. Someone sent me an email last night saying that Boner is too old, it is too risky to take him to China and insinuated that I do not value his life enough. My dog and I live everyday to the fullest! When Boner is home... he lays on the floor... That is it! He lies on the floor unless I force him to go outside to poop. Is he happy? He is bored shitless!!! When people think in terms of fear and comfort about other people's dogs they are avoiding their own fears and comforts. They do not want to or are incapable of looking at themselves so they externalize their fears and needs on open targets... like me! Unfortunately, they are usually clueless to this fact and it stays that way for a lifetime. I was one of the few lucky ones to escape from that self-absorption even though it still does grab hold of me from time to time. blah, blah, blah.
I thought it was going to be raining when I got up but it was not so I rolled out of bed (at 11:00 am) and drove to a great spot in Town Bank, New Jersey. It was so perfect I drove back to my place to get my computer to record some music. I have wanted to do that for a while. I pulled off the road and onto the grass by the bay. This was surprisingly a sleepy residential neighborhood and many people were home. It did not take long for the neighbors to investigate the music. One guy came out of his house to tell me, "man, your music is beautiful, it really touched my heart." When a man's... man says something like this to me it blows me away. I wonder if I will ever get used to it. I don't really care if I get used to it, I just don't want it to stop. A guy came by with his pooch and they played a duet together. Strangely enough, Boner was completely none interested. Two women came by and I ended up telling them every detail of my life for about an hour. Yikes!
I went home to get some food and decided to go back for the sunset over the ocean and to see if I could get some recording in a second time around. No dice, I barley got to play for the sunset! One of my all time favorite Traveling Piano truck experiences happened. Neighbors began to congregate around the truck and socialize and share with the music. This is the best! After just about everyone left then I had a personal best. I played for about the last three minutes of the sunset and then sat and created music while watching the ocean waves, listened to the grassy breeze, I watched the sky and the birds... and a beautiful couple on the beach with their two children as they stood enjoying my music. Two boys, probably around ten years old from the neighborhood... hung on the side of my truck bed and just watched me play for a spell. They had no interest in my entertaining them with music; they were just soaking in my musical improvisation. I thought to myself, "how can this be?" I am talking about how people from all walks of life respond to my music. I almost begin to cry just writing this the feeling is so overwhelming. ...and to think I was too fearful and repressed to create my own music for fifty years... naa, no think... I just want to let that all go and... just keep feeling beyond what I ever thought I could feel.
I just had a major thought. I have always wanted to be inclusive and also accepted by every type of person. This has already truly happened for my life with every type person I have met through my improvisational music. Every age, social background, ethnicity... everyone. I am humble with gratitude!
October 22, 2007
I just had to take advantage of the beautiful warm weather today and get to the beach. The beach is my favorite place and I did not enjoy it for myself one day this year! So here I am in Cape May, New Jersey. I had some major thought about taking the piano truck with me. "Should I take a break from all this"? I realized that was like asking myself if I should take a break from eating or brushing my teeth. I don't need to take a break from creating music, now... thinking about paying the bills... yes i need a break from that... impossible... oh well... it is what it is. I made the best of it all. Boner and I had the beach all to ourselves with the water, the sand, and the ocean grass. I laid in my lounge chair while Boner laid on my stomach because he was too prissy to lay in the sand. We spent a very special time bonding alone just the two of us... just being close with each other in the pureness of nature. I have never had a better life experience than being still and quiet in nature with my best buddy.
Afterwards I meandered around driving the area to feel out where I could create some music. I was not into entertaining the tourist crowd. I was beat from yesterdays performing! I found a road with an open gate near the water and drove right up to the waters edge across from where the ferry boats dock. There were two young guys hanging out in a pickup truck there. "Unless it is going to cause a lot of trouble I'm going to play some music, ok?" "Go for it", they said. Wow, creating music on the ocean in the grass on a warm windy, sunny day with my best buddy and no one to bother us. A young woman came up a path with her daughter and of course I invited them over to meet Boner. Which gave one of the guys in the truck an excuse to come over. He knew the girl (small town cape may here). The guy says, "man that music was just so amazing out here, it was so trippy... my buddy is sound asleep in the truck." I like the idea of my music being described as, "trippy" because I know that it is just that. It is the rhythm and imagery of my soul manifested in sound. Sometimes I express it with wondrous amazement... and sometimes its just spirited... and other times it is manic and chaotic and senseless... and other times it is just plain bland and nothing... it can be the pureness of nature and love... ahh... its all good.
October 21, 2007
Today was a total blowout energy day. I am having difficulty in writing this because I am kinda numb. Seems... well anyway it was a lot of fun today was. I played so hard the skin is worn of above the cuticles of my fingers from ripping up runs on the piano keys from the back of my hands. I was in Quakertown, Pennsylvania for their annual Halloween parade. This is another of my favorite places and another goodbye scene for a town that has shown Bo and I a lot of respect and interest over many years. The Lions club sponsors the parade and they contributed to my present journey over and above the usual as has every long running performance relationship I have. One of the presidents of the Quakertown National bank, Tom Klee has organized this parade forever, and he continues because he has yet to find anyone willing to take on the parade responsibility without getting paid for it. What a great community member he is. I would like to call him a friend; he has always treated me with the utmost respect. I forced him to take a moment and jump onto the piano for a picture.
I did a pre-parade run to hype it, stopped at the judges stand to do a YouTube take and then got into position to do the actual parade. There were ten's of thousands of people in attendance. I made sure I was well liquidated with Gatorade before I began. Bo did not want to hang out on top of the piano as we waited; he preferred the shade under the piano keys. My friend Rich drove and his wife Debbie and daughter Leah sat in the back... Leah got a few great pictures of the performance from the truck bed. Every time I turned the truck off it stayed off. I had to have people push it three times and pop the clutch to get it started. Yikes! At the end of the parade, I did something unusual. I attempted to clam my wild, manic, creative performance headset with some of my quiet and loving improvisation music. I think my giving myself those few moments was the favorite part of my entire day.
As I was riding through the parade, I spotted a huge house party and said to myself, "They look like fun, I'm going to crash that party when I'm done and get some free food and create even more fun! So I went back afterwards and found my impulse to have been a positive one. I don't even remember any of the names only that the couple throwing the party have done so for years and they really put out a great spread for everyone... most of the attendees belong to the local Moose Lodge Family Fraternity (community do good-ers). I suggested we do a YouTube take and I wanted to get people on the balcony porch above... but the porch belonged to another house. That did not deter this crew as within a few minutes I witnessed about fifty people climbing through a back bedroom window to get out onto the neighbors porch. Oh my God it was so much fun. They screamed all the way through the take of Dizzy Fingers and began yelling, "Moose, Moose, Moose." Then I let everyone loose on the piano as I ran upstairs to climb out the window myself to get a look at the scene.
Someone noticed that I did not wear my sunglasses for the parade during the pre-hype. I did that consciously and it was very gratifying to have someone comment on it. I wanted to have more eye contact and create more intimacy with everyone during the performance. What a wonderful trust for me to have developed and for people to notice. She said, "we always thought you were blind until we saw you driving on the road down the turnpike one day'! People told me all day how I have always been their favorite part of the parade. After I left the party, I took a ride back to my friend's farmhouse and we all posed for some piano pictures with a pack of alpacas. These animals are amazingly beautiful and tender in looks and... Boy were they interested!
October 20, 2007
I felt like I was on the road today. It was very full of intense play, full of negative and positive energy... and it was necessary for me consciously choose positive experience, to be aware on every level... to be able to respond to my purpose, my surroundings, my fun and enjoyment... I did a good job for myself but boy am I exhausted. Back to 23rd and South street in center city Philadelphia I went to meet up with Larisa a University of Pennsylvania... Ragtime Piano Player/Law Student. We had corresponded online and she wanted to take advantage of creating music on the street. How great this was! After only five minutes of music the police rushed to the scene... someone had complained. If the officer had not been so strong with his support, I would have become very paranoid. I said to the people around me, "what kind of dick head would complain"? My head went right to the Homer Simpson episode where the fun loving aliens appeared from outer space and he reacts impulsively.... "kill, kill!" I relate so much to that episode, it was so funny... because I was raised in an environment exactly like that!
Most of the two and a half hours that I stayed was taken up with other people playing the piano, one guy sang and played some great Laura Nero songs. Larisa was in heaven, she was living a dream. Bo got to meet several other dogs, and a veterinary student who lived nearby ran home to get him some treats. Parviz the guy who owns the oriental rug store I was outside of, ran inside to get me some treats... a box with fig bars in it and he handed me a $20. Ha!
October 19, 2007
I ran outside between rain showers today to get a quick take of Dizzy Fingers for YouTube. I stopped to get a few neighborhood kids to film it for me, they were playing street football. I had to coax them a bit until they finally gave in. It felt good to get some exchange going with them. It has taken time. Back in the spring they never looked at us when we walked by. Then we started glancing at each other, that grew to head nodding, and then into "hey", to "how ya doing" and today we actually had an exchange. To bad I'll be leaving the area and not get to know them better. Another neighbor with her two girls came running out, the kids were so excited. I loved that but had to run because the rain was starting again. I'll go back another day to for them. I have over 270 Halloween decorations up on www.bonerthedog.com . Go there people and make a contribution and take something for yourself in return. I've been working very diligently to create worth in the world and I need people to participate in order to make it all a success. There is no room for failure here. I love the words that go through my mind everyday... musical, fun, friendship, respect, empowerment, inspiration... Music for People to Discover... Bring the Beat to the Street... Coming Soon to a Street Near You... and the support of that.
October 18, 2007
I................. love life, so does Boner! it is amazing that I have discovered the music of life. it only took fifty years.
October 17, 2007
I went into the city today for an appointment and stopped at an oriental rug place where I met the owner a few weeks ago. I parked the truck on a remote street corner and started to play some piano. The day was so beautiful there was no way I could not be in heaven. Some people came out of the shops, some walked by me within three feet and never once looked at either me or Boner. There were some stern people around, very serious and it was fun to break some of them out of their box to explore music a bit.
I came home and headed for the river. One of the fisherman took pictures for me and a father with his young son came kayaking in from the water to find us. I played for a while and the guy came over, "it is unbelievable what your music does... it is like everyone is here with all this nature and it is so beautiful and then your music on top of it all makes it even calmer than what exists."
October 16, 2007
My replacement camera came today. I am so glad that did not take long. Sixteen year old Brittany jumped onto the traveling piano right from her school bus... backpack and all to create some music and she was really, really good! I've known her for some time and had no idea that she played. I drove to the river in Bristol, Pa afterwards. The authorities had put up poles so cars could not drive into the unused areas. I had been afraid to go there because of that. People think I have a lot of nerve, I do... as in I get very nervous, especially when I am taken to task for doing something wrong. Sometimes that fear stops me and sometimes not. It was such a beautiful day that I was not going to pass up on the opportunity to create music in one of my favorite spots. I drove up the curb and onto the walking path and then to the waters edge and that was it. A bright setting sun behind me, a clear blue and white sky, Canadian geese skipping on the water, classic tugboats drifting by... it could not have been a better environment for improvisation.
While making my coffee this morning I thought, "I'm ready for Letterman, I want the world to meet Bo, I want everyone to come to bonerthedog.com to contribute to the journey, I think it would be fun and the show could make something of us for their audience." So now, it is later in the day and I am improvising by the water as this woman approaches out of nowhere to ask if she can take a picture with her cell phone. "Your the highlight of my day", she says. I enjoyed her interest; I think her name was Maureen. She stood out because aside from her being an interested person she was maybe a little bit younger than me with red hair and she was covered with red freckles and I never would have thought freckles could look so good on a person! Hahaha... she was really attractive and the freckles were what was doing it for me. Anyway, I was telling her about the recent attempt for Hollywood and she says to me, "what about letterman"? I said, "yea, I was just thinking that I am ready for him this morning". She told me that she knew a letterman producer in the building where she works and another producer through a friend and that she would pass my info to them. As I drove home I kept thinking, "allow it danny, allow it danny..." It then occurred to me that doing the show would be a lot of fun... and because of that I know I am on the right track for it.
October 15, 2007
God, I went and played indoors again today. I feel like I'm cheating on my Traveling Piano truck when I do this. I did not even take the truck with me, I used my other truck. It was Monday night at the Cosmo club in New Hope, It was showcase night. I played for about 45 minutes beforehand on the bar piano. I am finding that it is very easy to play to environments. Tonight it was at the bar meaning, nobody really cares about the piano guy because they have agendas going on so its easy for the piano player to not care about the piano music... and then I felt myself over indulging myself with my music which I realized is something I should not do in public. I guess I am really getting good at creating music because I am becoming more aware and conscious of the feelings I am expressing and the responsibility for sharing those feelings in public. It is all about boundaries and limits... I'm thinking maybe some music should be kept private for when I am playing alone, for myself. It might be better for me to musically over indulge in private. Ha. I am enjoying interacting with an audience for my five minutes of performance and also meeting and hearing other top notch performers, especially piano players. There were at least six other excellent piano players in the room tonight. What a treat that was for me. I did chicken out with the piece of music that I was going to perform with all those piano guys around, I took a safe route. I was going to play Kitten on the Keys and I played Dizzy Fingers again. Oh well, there is always next week. (when hopefully no other piano players will be around :) Not really...
October 14, 2007
We were in the mountains and forests of eastern China in Zhejiang province sharing some musical fun, friendship and respect with volunteers and locals while they were working on a forest project ...In the meantime Bo and I traveled to a friends house today who said their next door neighbor was throwing a huge halloween party and were loaded, so I stopped by to give them a pitch for some music and to contribute to this journey I am on. I am getting aggressive with my financial needs, I am trying to be aware with coming on too strong. They were receptive and went to get their other next door neighbors to come and meet Boner and myself. I then went to the local high school parking lot and was practicing when a young junior fireman appeared on his bike. His name was TJ. "So your that famous piano guy on the truck", he says with a big grin. He was a cool guy, got on the piano to try it out, we had a great visit. I so much enjoy people who are interested in life and this young guy was one of them, I could tell. Then he said how much his mother would love what he was experiencing so I told him to email me and we would set up a time when he could present us as a surprise present for her. I really miss having my camera! I came home feeling frustrated that i could not visually share my experiences today. I have a new one on the way in the mail.
October 13, 2007
Did I have some bad luck today because it is Saturday the 13th? Someone lifted my camera from the truck today. Ugh, ugh, triple ugh. Ok, so now... I went to Haddonfield, New Jersey to create and share some music and to help the First Night group promote their 10th year, I have been with this event on New Years Eve for the last nine years. Today was the Fall Festival. The worst thing about what happened is that I do not have a Youtube take to upload for today, there was one on the camera and now the weasel that stole it has it.
This is where it gets difficult for me... I want to share my process with the world so here are my thoughts I must be honest with myself ...I am so disappointed (not really, it is what it is) ...I am out $1500 (not really it is more like $470) ...my day is wreaked (it was sunny and beautiful and I had many new fun types of musical piano truck experiences with people) ...now I am really in trouble financially (what's new?) ...I have to tell everyone and get sympathy or use it to drum up support (I'm working on that one, soliciting sympathy accomplishes nothing) ...I loved that camera (was thinking about getting a new one for the last two days) ... act out drama, drama, drama (I'm allowing this, that is what the black pictures are about... actually its more about fun and humor) It is sad that I do not have pictures to share and today was a fabulous day for many pictures. (how does that saying go... some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you?)
I had a sixteen year old guy who practices 3 to 4 hours a day creating his own music get on the piano and that was a wonderful experience but it was even better as I saw the joy he experienced in watching his grandfather get on the piano and play. That alone was worth the $500 camera. I wished I had a picture of it. A young adult woman who had some challenges I could not tell if they were mental or physical or both or how challenged she was... she just really, really wanted to play the piano so she jumped on board and I instructed her to play one note with intent and focus and to enjoy it. I told her it sounded wonderful, it did. She "got it". She said, "really"? I said, "really". We kept it up together, we had such a great time. She left telling everyone, "I just had a piano lesson". The day had many experiences like that. I realized how taking pictures of everyone is a large part of my enjoyment of it all, but today was good, I was put in a situation were I had to shift my focus away from getting those pictures which was a challenge. I'm up to positive challenges.
I thought, "this is such a big crowd, the exposure, I do not have many situations with big crowds to work with anymore". Then I reminded myself of the fact that exposure translates into a big fat zero when to comes to finding financial support. I learned my LAST lesson with that in December when I played in Chestnut Hill one of the most affluent areas of Philadelphia on the streets all through the holiday season. That exposure made me cold and that was about it. At least it did not give me a cold. I'll just keep trying different ways to generate $$$. I'm not afraid to make bad choices and mistakes anymore... at least not as much as before. I'll just keep trying new thoughts until something breaks through. Boner was going crazy from the yellow jackets today. I just focused on enjoying all the moments that I could.
October 12, 2007
I went to play for some friends today and I could not drive into the driveway because it had just been refinished. i was out on the street with Friday rush hour traffic rushing up from around the corner behind me. I was there to play so I said screw it to the traffic and jumped on board right in the street to play, yea I know it was dangerous... whatever... it was fun too ... and don't think for a second that Boner was not on my mind ... I know what I'm doing. Do I sound defensive? I feel rushed... maybe it was the rush hour traffic. I really enjoyed my musical interlude today.
October 11, 2007
Today was the first blast of cold air for the season. I wonder what I am going to do about the cold weather. My life course is not quite the same as last year. I also made this commitment to do one hundred takes of Dizzy Fingers to put onto Youtube but I was not thinking about the cold when I started that. I want to keep dream clarity, raise funding, create music (would be nice if that was for others besides myself in the present also) ready china... I went over to my life long neighbor Larry's house (who is also now I consider a very close friend) to play a few minutes of music and my hands were freezing. Hmmm... I'll just take it one day at a time. The websites are just about completed. I listed about twenty more halloween decorations on the Boner the Dog website. I am moving forward. Larry... I was so scared of him as a kid as he came across as such a hard ass... he is in his late seventies now and told me today that he started taking guitar music lessons to help encourage his grand daughter because she felt like she was being forced to practice her guitar lessons. He's been practicing music with her so they can musically share and have fun together. What a hero!!! I love this man.
October 10, 2007
Something I very much enjoy about what I have been doing is that when I leave my house to go create music I never am set as to where I will go, which way I will turn at the next stop sign. I went to the post office and ended up over my bud Alex's house. His housemate Kevin was there and we went to the backyard roof shed to take a picture from the air and to create some music. Alex pulls out a simplified copy of Dizzy Fingers that he has been practicing and that pushed a button for me. "What the hell are you doing playing simplified music when you can do the original, here let me show you." I think that was in a plan he had... I fell right into it. I found myself giving a music lesson and it came with some life philosophy. I can help not blending the two subjects because the way I live music is the same way I live life, when I am talking about one I am talking about the other at the same time, when I am drawing from analogies, references, examples life and music are one and the same.
October 09, 2007
I had an amazing headspace experience today on the Delaware river. I raced to get there before the rain started and pulled the truck right up to the water. The sounds of nature were almost deafening with all the strong wind and the leaves flying hard and holding tight to the trees. The heavy waves lashing at the concrete barriers, the birds screamed. Large drops of water were hitting my face. I could not tell if it was raining or the water was blowing in off the river. I began to create music with it all and found myself very stimulated from nature's chaos. I was swirling my hands around on the piano keys, totally acting out with the environment. An interesting thing happened after about fifteen minutes. I found my music becoming still, I began to immerse myself in simplicity and stillness. Every few moments I would check to see if the environment was doing the same but I could not tell. I just keep sinking into a quieter and more still space. I am fairly certain all the chaos was outside of me yet I was clear, strong and still 'In music". I think I was actually mediating through my music. After I came home, I had an amazing sense of well being. Today, I experienced the most intent, focus, enjoyment and purpose in the play of a single note and the silence between that note and the next note... more than ever. I stopped at a neighbors on the way home to do a Dizzy Fingers take and he said I seemed, "high". I said I think I was, high from music.
October 08, 2007
I went to the Cosmo Club in New Hope PA to do a showcase tonight, my third time. WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING PLAYING THE PIANO INDOORS???!!! I really just want to play on a real piano and I have been doing that before the show. I want to strengthen my hand muscles because they have become weak from playing on a non-real truck piano. I have played the piano indoors now... more in the last two months... than I have in the last four years! I was banished from the club piano to the bar piano, I'm not quite sure why. Bobby the guy running the show is an expert, expert, expert when dealing with performer ego and THAT is a talent. I was glad to be trying out any piano, I was hearing high notes loud for the first time ever, it was a bright piano and I was conscious to let the music breath. My music actually drew someone out from a nearby room to investigate, which felt good. Every time someone approaches me playing, I now have a natural impulse to invite him or her to also play whether it is on my piano or anyone else's. Ha. On the way out of my neighborhood to drive up north I stopped by a neighbor's house so they could film me doing my daily take of dizzy fingers for Youtube. I am getting good practice these days with the idea of doing one take performances of "it is what it is". I am getting the thought process and feel down for... "this is it, one take only, you have one shot at this and that is it". I am learning to shed any pressure surrounding that and I am gaining confidence to get the job done. I am leaning to create and give five minute performance soundbites with the showcase. Its fun. I am also meeting other musicians and performers and this is another result of the pursuit of my Wildest of Dreams. Believe it or not, over the last twenty years I have known very few musicians and associated with practically none. That's all changing and that's a wonderful thing!
October 07, 2007
Amora became the youngest piano player ever to play on the Traveling Piano today. This beautiful little girl was with her parents Sarah and Aca. Amora is three months old and I am certain she had a good time creating music for the first time. I certainly had a good time bouncing her on my knee as I performed Dizzy Fingers and we filmed it to upload onto Youtube! I was in Tyler park in Newtown, Pennsylvania and with all the people stopping by to say hello and create some music, I stayed well into the dark. I felt especially empowered to create interesting music today. I had several discussions about money and contribution and how people easily and freely give to suffering but "selling" and "getting people to buy into" seems to be needed when it comes to giving that supports goodness without neediness attached to it. Please contribute financially to the Traveling Piano... keep the good... make it go even better :)
October 06, 2007
I spent the day with Charlie Boland and the terrific realty group of City and Suburban Remax. We were all celebrating their grand opening. I ate ten hot dogs, four with rolls and I enjoyed them with a concerted effort to ward off guilt. It was a warm humid day, which translates into balloon popping... which translates into Boner communicating clearly that he was not going to tolerate balloon popping from on top of the piano... so I let him down. Every time someone jumped onboard to create music I would throw him back up for a picture and he would create a piano duet while on the way back down with whoever was playing. On and on the cycle went. I had to do my work and trust Boner would stay out of trouble while wondering around on the ground looking for pretzel droppings. I felt like a parent who was not controlling their kid. I let him run amuck. Everyone was much more concerned then I was. "He's going to go into the street, he might bite someone, he needs water, he might get lost, he might run away, he needs shade, he might jump on the table and eat all the hot dogs"... oh my, oh my... the list goes on and on. It all goes along with the territory. Boner is such a role model for how a dog can respond to empowerment and trust.
A few ranbunctious kids from the neighborhood stopped by and of course I embraced their desire to create chaos as they all piled into the truck to jam on the piano together but... when the one kid jumped on top of the piano and started to gyrate his body while standing on top of it I had to create a halt. I was proud of how I handled it... I needed to be stern but not threatening. He jumped down and started to act up on the piano and I took his arm in my hand to set my boundaries and limits, "time to go." They could not respond with any respect so they just left. I really enjoy the level of self-respect that I have achieved so far in life. I gave myself every ounce of it... all on my own... with the support of others that I had to search for throughout my life. My self-respect gives me an inner strength to control dangerous situations without fear and drama. I just step up to the occasion and accomplish whatever is needed.
A guy named Al Taubenberger, the president of the Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce who is also running on the Republican ticket for Mayor stopped by. Flags usually go up on some level when a politician crosses my path. I have run across a lot of politicians in my day. If you do not know... I was a corporate, business, society pianist for fifteen years before Raggin' Piano Boogie and then of course that has always continued on different levels with the truck. Politicians frequent every type of event. No flags went up with this guy; he took time to be interested on every level even to the point of jumping up on the piano to try it out. There was no agenda for him in this scenario except to join in, be part of, have some fun and create a new unique experience for himself. I could see he was on a schedule with agendas and he took time for himself. That impressed me. It may be the first time any candidate ever impressed me!
I am so grateful for Charlie's Boland's contribution to the Journey of Peregrinating Musical Exploration. Every time I connected with him, I boarded on being a pest. "If there is anything I can do for you, use me." And then... the idea of a local parade came into play and my mind went into business mode. I said to myself, "I'd want money for that, I've been trying to book that parade for twenty years." Hahahaha.... ping-pong, ping-pong... back and forth, back and forth... it is not easy deciphering what is gifting verses what is work to pay the bills. I decided if I was going to error for now... I would do it on the side of gifting so I said, "I'll do the parade with you for your business if you would like for fun, no charge. That felt right... from a business angle I want him to get his business moneys worth from me because of his willingness to be part of my Wildest of Dreams and also his large donation for my efforts.
October 05, 2007
Shameless! I never thought I would see a picture of the Traveling Piano Truck partnered with such blatant commercialism!!! What can I say, am I selling out, absolutely not. This picture is of the Raggin' Piano Boogie truck with the Traveling Piano signs on it. Ha, whatever. Charlie Boland a realtor in business for 47 years in Northeast Philadelphia on the Roosevelt boulevard has been going to the Philadelphia International Car Show where I have been performing for years. He had saved my business flyer in wait for a time to have me perform for something that he was doing. With a major shift in franchise company ownership, he is celebrating with a grand opening tomorrow and asked if I would provide the entertainment. I told him that I could if he was willing to donate the flat rate I have decided to ask from everyone for these final months before the Tour of Peregrinating Musical Exploration heads to China. Without hesitation, he agreed to make the substantial contribution. With major appreciation and awareness that he was giving me double the money that he would normally spend elsewhere I told him that I would help him with any agenda he could conjure up and do it with pleasure. I went today to give him a kick-start for tomorrow and played some music for the rush hour traffic outside his building. The visual and sound aspects with twelve lanes of traffic flying by was very stimulating musically for me, it helped to keep the energy intense. People who walked by signaled their approval and whistled from across the street when I finished a song. I so much appreciate people like Charlie with his giving and generosity. I'll do anything I can for him before I leave the area, no limits because he has already shown to me what kind of guy he is... I will not be charging him any fee for any favor or future performances that he may ask for. He has done his part concerning that.
I got lost a bit on the way and drove through some rough areas of the city and that was good because it gave me the idea to go and gift these neighborhoods in the coming weeks. On the way home I saw a Checkers and stopped for some cheese, chili, fries. It has been about ten years since I last had them. It will be at least another twenty before I have them again. The guy at the take out booth said, "so your bringing the Beat to the Street eh?" I jumped out of the truck and onto the piano to blow some Boogie for him while waiting for my change... he freaked out (I guess in fear) and ran away! The other customers loved it! I would have got a picture of the situation but I was too anxious, I wanted to eat.
October 04, 2007
I have been working very diligently, I think maybe too diligently because I am not having so much fun. I spent the entire day scanning my newspaper articles and pictures and creating web pages for them on TravelingPiano.com. It is very tricky in knowing what work is needed, necessary, how much is too much work, time elements and restrictions etc... verses just hanging out to do nothin', which does not seem to happen very much. I don't even know what I am saying here. it is coming on three in the morning and I need to take Boner and myself out for a long walk yet before bed. I went over to my bud Alex's backyard to have him do a Youtube video take of me plaing Dizzy Fingers. One of the reasons I have decided to do 100 takes of Dizzy Fingers and upload them daily to Youtube is to create a new daily anchor to push myself into a state of fun whether I like it or not! That can be a challenge... to have fun whether I like it or not... so this practice also helps keep me in the professional arena too. There have been many a day where I have performed and I was not feeling fun while I acted fun and looked fun! When I say I get paid to have fun, let me tell you THAT can be work! I also like challenges, I talked on camera everyday to Oprah for two years and now I have started to practice playing piano on camera.
I improvised while Alex and his girlfriend Jacki sat on a nearby back bench and listened. I love this so much when people just hang and listen and enjoy my improvisation and I especially love that every age group responds to it. When I was finished Alex said, "the was the chill" and "it sounded like I was in Sim City". He is like the tenth person to tell me I sound like the music from the computer game Sim City. I've never heard it but I want to look into it.
October 03, 2007
On the way to the park I stopped at the gas station and could not resist giving the pump guys some music. The car waiting behind me enjoyed the impromptu concert also. At the park, I was there strictly for myself so i did what I enjoy doing most... musically ramble without taking a musical breath, I sat and musically dumped, psychically dumped, mindlessly created and manifested musical energy that did not need to make any sense... and I enjoyed every moment of it. Boner did not seem to mind, he just focused on how much he wanted to get down and run around in the park.
October 02, 2007
Before I left town I played some Dizzy Fingers in the parking lot of a funeral home. I have friends who are funeral directors, what else is there to say about that? I do not know if I should think anything about all the cemetery stuff and now funeral home stuff in these blogs, I do not think anything specific or out of a norm about it all so I hope no one else attaches any strange energy to it. As I played in the parking lot the roofer, part time drummer climbing up and down the ladder leaning on the house next door yelled over that he liked the music.
On the way out of town, I stopped at a small country farm market to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables. By the way, I was leaving Schuylkill Haven, PA to head home. I found a wonderfully classic Pennsylvania rural countryside market on the side of the road. I said to the woman, "this is a perfect spot for some piano music" and she replied, "I would love that but we have no piano". I said, "I do"... and pointed to the piano right next to us. She had not noticed it or the signs on the truck. "Your that guy with the piano and the dog" she exclaimed! As I threw Boner up on top of the piano she ran to get her husband and the mom came out of the farmhouse from across the street. We had fun, and I really enjoyed my short visit with them. Of course, I loaded the truck up with stuff like apples, cucumbers, peppers, cider and humongous zucchini.
We then headed to Newtown Pa to have a delicious steak dinner with Moulin family. Mom and dad were visiting from Michigan and my friend Eileen wanted for us to meet each other. I played a few songs for everyone as they sat in the driveway and then I sat down with the family to have dinner. What a treat that was.
October 01, 2007
I began to play in my friend Celeste's driveway today and within moments all these people started to appear that I knew from the last few days. It is still sinking in my head just how small this community is and that everyone lives nearby. It feels good to have everyone embrace the music verses coming outside to yell something like, "stop the noise"! It was also visual because the houses are on hills at different levels and in different juxtapositions so Bernice and Al walk down the slanted street as they waved from above. Bob came out to say hi and hang out on the chain link fence. A bunch of college girls from Penn State came out unto their porch from three stories up. I was able to coax two of them, Nicole and Althea down to the piano using Boner as bait. Hunter came over disappointed that his picture was not on the website from the festival the other day so of course he is a priority for today's blog. His buddy Dominic also came over while his dad watched from above. Hunter was really interested in the music he was creating, there was no end to his musical interest, most kids would quit after about ten minutes, not Hunter he just kept going and going and going. That made me feel good. Celeste shot some pictures also from above. I did not get enough playing on the piano for myself!