HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
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October 31, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
My very close, long time friend John Leonard passed. He was ready, he wanted to go. At age 80 I would bet he is the record holder for heart stints, (over 20 I think) and the record for 911 deliveries and self visits to the hospital (at least once a month for years sometimes twice a month) ... and medication prescribed (a few weeks ago he told me he took 120 pills of prescribed medication per day!). We trudged through life together. His trudging did not stop his ability to be chipper, have fun, feel purpose, love and allow himself to be loved. John was an Irishman through and through. Deep down he was an angry Irishman fighting the good fight.
We talked almost everyday simply to connect for the last thirty years. We both got sober in Philadelphia, PA through Alcoholics Anonymous thirty seven years years ago. For the first seven years he tortured me with phone calls. We would connect and he would have nothing to say forcing me to do all the talking on the phone. This, when I did not even want to talk to him at all. I felt we had nothing in common. He was boring to me and way too slow for my energy. I remember thinking for years when going to my answering machine, "Damm he called, now I have to call him back! Why is this guy calling me? Can't he sense I'm not interested in his friendship? I'm giving every clue I know of to turn him off." Yet... he just kept calling... for years. I put up with it because of his wanting to recover from the disease of alcoholism, the same as me... and just not drink! What was interesting about those phone calls... after a few years I began to practice giving him a taste of what he put me through. It was a difficult practice and took a few years to perfect. Through it I realized that I did all the talking in life, I never gave people room to take even a breath. When John called I would say "hi, John whats up" and just stay silent to wait it out. Sometimes the silence would last for minutes... several times, in the same conversation. I thought the silence would be a way to get rid of him. I would sit in silence counting the seconds to myself trying to break the record until one day he said, "why are you not talking". I replied, "you called me, why are you not talking"? He may have not known it consciously but he had been actually helping me to train myself to shut up and listen for what other people had to say, give them the time "they" needed to gather their thoughts. The God of our understanding was working through both of us always because... we both had the same common goal, the reason for our friendship, not only to recover from the disease of alcoholism but to grow together in learning to have, know and keep a conscious contact with a power greater than ourselves who we call God.
For me, John's claim to fame in life was that he sought to grow through the spirit of Jesus Christ every single day even though he did not know it on some days. Spirit carried him because he was in it... all the time through his not drinking. He thought his one big failure in life was being rejected by the Jesuits in becoming a priest. Also, that desire was connected to unresolved issues with his brother who was a priest. We often talked about how I know that he served much better and more efficiently as a layman through his work and religious belief. Specifically there is one person other than myself I know for who John was a strong, patient and tolerant angel in life. Until the very end John cared. I believe that if we affect just one person in life with God's love... that is enough.
John was with me through every life event of mine. He was with me at both my parents funerals, my big time nerve-racking musical career firsts, huge house parities I had and much more. I never really saw him during any of that. I never wanted to. He was just part of the group, never standing out, content with being in the background and knowing that his purpose was nothing more than to be present. We talked this year about that. He began to recite all the significant events in my life where he had been with me in support and I was just aghast! John was a guardian angle constantly by my side and most of the time in earlier years, I was not aware. Having been through many personal and intimate dysfunctional relationships in life with John, never once did he criticize, judge, warn, remind me of how stupid i was being or how I was repeating the same cycle... not once did he ever do that, ever. John was able to embraced every nuance of my faults, sins, defects, whatever you want to call them and tell me I am a good person, worthy and deserving of love in a way that I could not reject.
It was said by someone when I first got sober that no one is going to do it for me but that Alcoholics Anonymous will hold my hand and walk with me through the process of living life on life's terms without drinking and... life would be beyond my wildest of dreams through a path proven to he helpful. This is what I wanted for my life. I choose that path. That... was John. He was Alcoholics Anonymous. He served spiritually for me with validation and reassurance that I would "find my own way" through the path, with whatever was happening. After about seven years I began to get used to him. John became my security blanket, the someone always with me by my side until the day he died. How I will be able to erase his last message on my phone answering machine... I just don't know. Through the last year as we both knew it was getting close to the end of life, I could hear clearly in his voice every time we talked, a desire to put forward his very best in the most positive way possible. He wanted to sound uplifting and in good spirit as he talked. This, even when telling me how bad it all was for himself. John allowed me to help him as he helped me through life. He wanted what I had to offer in perspective, knowledge and observation and appreciated it. He validated my worth and reassured me constantly that everything is ok, and will work out in the end... through death. John was a respectful person. We talked about our deaths often to take fear out of it. We laughed a lot together. Through John I know I am loved. He was one of the very few best friends I've had in life, one of the very few people who has told me that they love me with my being able to trust that fact. He is also one of the few in life for whom I have been able to return the sentiment, sincerely.
John was without question the brother I always wanted to have. I've been fortunate to have had a friend like John who has loved me unconditionally without expectation or obligation. I am going to miss John a lot, a real... lot. I can choose now to focus on gratitude and happiness for him in his new state of spirit or fall down into a deep dark rabbit hole of self-pity and gloom with delusional thoughts that now there is no one who actively cares about me on a daily level, no one to talk to about things you don't talk about with people, no one who is there when I need them. People are there for me if I take the effort to extend myself to find out. With John, extending myself took no effort. Every day we have been a reminder for each other of our goal to make a conscious contact with the God of our understanding, a power greater than ourselves, through ourselves, to keep ourselves with amazing spirit and to enjoy life even when it does not feel enjoyable. A facebook friend I've never met helped me celebrate John's 80th birthday with him this past year. Having reached eighty years of age was a big milestone for John. I'm glad he did it! My friend hand delivered a cake, birthday card and coloring book to him and took a picture of the delivery. I will treasure the picture forever. He enabled himself to take a trip across the sea this year to be honored by a student reunion. John was a teacher when he was younger. Frail in health, ending up in the hospital over overseas, nothing stopped him from extending himself in life through gratitude by living life to the fullest! John will live forever in spirit. He is alive as long as I remember to remember everything he is... and that is the spirit of love.
John had just paid for a workshop two weeks ago to write a story about his life. Of course he ended up not having the time to write it but I wrote some of it about us here to leave for the world via the internet. My grief ebbs and flows. Sometimes it feels like the breath is being taken from me. Other times it feels like I might faint. Mo and I at our usual Thursday commitment at the Rescue Mission helped the day. Seeing so many people putting love on each other, having Halloween fun for kids staying at the mission as well as the adults... that all kept my mind occupied. Also, I tell everyone I meet what happened so I do not keep the loss of my friend in my head so it can sit and fester into total bleakness.
October 30, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
My friend John passed away today. He was eighty years old. He died of a brain bleed that somehow got into his spine. He was in New York City walking down a street heading to the doctor because he's had a headache for the last two weeks and he collapsed into unconsciousness. We were friends for thirty seven years and have connected via the phone almost every day for the last thirty years. We got sober together. Every day we have been a reminder to each other of our goal to make a conscious contact with the God of our understanding, a power greater than ourselves, to try and enjoy life even when it was not enjoyable. John was a boring guy lol, who I was able to make laugh. He knew every nuance of my soul, accepted all of my character flaws, went through every life experience I have had both good and bad with me. No one ever calls me on the phone not that I want anyone to do that. John... I wanted to do that.
He was one of the very few best friends I've had in life, one of the very few people who has told me that they love me with my being able to trust that fact and to whom I have been able to return the sentiment to. John was without question the brother I always wanted to have. I've been lucky to have had friends that have loved me unconditionally without expectation or obligation. I am going to miss John a lot, a real... lot. I can choose now to focus on gratitude and happiness for him in his new state of spirit or fall down into a deep dark rabbit hole of self-pity and gloom with delusional thoughts that now I have no one who actively cares about me on a daily level, no one to talk to about things you don't talk about with people, no one who is there when I need them. People are there for me if I take the effort to extend myself to find out. With John, extending myself took no effort.
October 29, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
My friend John is in the hospital dying. He's been going in the hospital via 911 at least once a month... for years. I think he holds the record for stints put in. He is my last close friend in that of being an old friend who I have talked with almost daily for thirty seven years. He has had a brain leak, bleeding for several weeks that some how seeped into his spine. We thought it was just a headache and he was to see the doctor today but collapsed on the way, on a street in New York city. He has specific instructions to not keep him going with hospital equipment. So with that news I drove with Mo to our usual Tuesday commitment. You just would not believe the love I was given from strangers who had no idea the sadness lingering right below my surface of consciousness. Literally at least fifty people acknowledged us with hellos but more importantly with significant statements of why I am important to them and how much they appreciate our being there for them. The sweetest old Chinese woman got onto the piano to play.
It took her about five minutes to maneuver inside the truck bed and then she really began to explore and play around. She was no namby-pamby for sure. Her playing was strong and aggressive with a fun type of "don't fuck with me" spirit! Lol, I think she was somewhat autistic. I'm amazed at how much love I can feel from strangers living on the streets or just having a difficult time in life. It is a very real love. I have rarely felt it from people living a conventional life. The love between us has an element of trust maybe because there is no obligation or expectation attached to it coupled with the fact that everyone just wants to get along. The truck battery that powers the piano and speaker went dead. I have to turn on the engine and run it while using the piano to give it juice. That uses more gas than driving around to recharge but I have had no time to be driving anywhere. The cold is also having an affect on the battery charge. I hope to God the batteries themselves are not dying because I've no money to replace them.
October 28, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
The cold weather has arrived. I'm so glad I have a room. Friends of mine do not. If I had a house like in the old days, it would be filled with people from the streets. It would be tricky and troublesome but absolutely necessary to do. There is not enough room in the room I am now for anyone. Every time I need to use the bathroom I have to tell Mo to move. The room is super small. A bed, fridge, chair and clothes bin. I met a guy at the field tonight from Kabul, Afghanistan. He served, risked his life and stood beside our military troops in support and was abandoned once the military had no more use for him. You know just like they do with US veterans when they are one being used for wars. He used to be an interpreter, translator for our military. Then I met a guy in a scream halloween outfit. The old Halloween scare em' fun days I think are gone but he meant well. In the dark on a street full of crazy people it just does not work. A guy who almost attacked me at the Mission Center a month ago showed up to try and attack me again. There is something about my music that brings out a violent impulse in him. He threw his food at me, grabbed for Mo's leg, I grabbed the guys hand, he twisted mine... let go and then he went away yelling obscenities at me.
Then he began to come back as I jumped off the truck. The guy was bringing out violent tendencies in myself. I was yelling around for security but no one was there to help. The scary part about it is that he comes out of no where without warning. It was a little disconnecting that none of the volunteers came over to help and a good thing some other guys were not there. Some could not get the orientation of what was going on. Someone attacking the piano man? One guy said he was going to look for him next week and fuck him up. I hope that does not happen. When another guy who just got out of jail after twenty one years found out he said he would have killed him. I have no question about that in my mind from him. People have respect for me, they care about us very much. Earlier in the night another fight broke out next to the Traveling Piano between a guy with a hatchet and another guy with a woman who claimed she was shoved. Then another guy, a friend of mine got into to it and began to escalate the situation even more between the others. I jumped off the truck and went over to him, looked him in the eye and said, "If you don't stop it right now Mo and I are leaving." Lol, he actually stopped and all the energy began deescalate. Ten minutes later he came over to me to apologize. Wow!
October 27, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
We started out with the Traveling Piano at Veterans Village today on the strip at the food bank there. It is the same as we have done every last Sunday of the month for almost three years now. I'm exhausted as I have been working with the Traveling Piano every day was well as trying to get the photo gallery going and looking for contribution to not become homeless. Someone suggested I look into the owner of the apartment complex as a place to stay which just made me laugh. First of all it is very run down. Some people may remember back in the late 70's when business began to merge into corporate conglomerates? Well, now that is the case with non-profits. They are buying each other out, partnering, squeezing out the resources of those that do not comply with the takeovers and they are all becoming one big money making non-profit (now a fake word) for say, food, another for housing, another for medical, etc... The owner of the seven properties that are now Veterans Village in Las Vegas has never once introduced himself to me or thanked me for being there. Anyway, thank God I have people in my life not interested in any of that and are just trying to get by one day at a time or just out to enjoy and share life with others.
October 26, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
We went to the Day of Dignity at a local Mosque. The Muslim community has this day to share food and clothing with the homeless. They had some blow up bouncy things for the kids, and food being cooked on a grill. While people waited in line, I handed out flyers for a city council meeting coming up to criminalize people sleeping on the sidewalks by giving them a $5000 fine or putting them in jail. What a bunch of morons people can be. Everyone knows no one has $5000 to pay for anything! Its really about revenue for the prison industry, government bureaucracy agencies, the legal system and non-profits which are really for-profits wanting to build their empires. They want "use" humanity like slaves for profit while also craming humanity into a city run non-profit area full of bed bugs, crazies and mats on the ground where you sleep two feet away from a stranger who might be a crack addict, thief or someone who has not taken a bath in a month. And... they know the shelters get filled up so there is nowhere to go... really... they want the homeless to just crawl up somewhere away from sight and die. Not on my watch that won't happen if I can be of help for them.
October 25, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
While at the Mission Center today a woman came up to me who had been on the Traveling Piano in California several years ago during a stressful time in her life. She began to cry in saying thank you and I thought in my mind "your still on the street, can it get any more or less stressful than it was?" Still, how humbled and thankful I am to be able to be of service in this way to people who want and appreciate what I have to offer. Our interactions are real and history shows that fact. It is all very fulfilling for my life. Another woman sent me an email from back east. She had one of my business cards that she has been saving for fifteen years and now wanted to book me for a job! Thats pretty amazing wouldn't you say? I told her that I have been gone for many years but wanted to tell her to send money! I just let that go. Lol
October 24, 2019
Mo is keeping me alive. He is my priority and so no matter how little, I make sure he gets a little walking in everyday for exercise. Really, who gets the benefit of that? I do, along with him. He is by my side ninety nine precent of the time and I need him by my side to not feel alone. He is my security blanket. No less then ten times a day I give him a hug, mess around a little with him and he loves the attention and I need the distraction. I love the warmth of his love and his just being with me. He grounds me in the present moment and with him I know everything is alright. At the mission for the dinner tonight he was a pain in the butt. I leave him off leash as much as possible and at every turn tonight he was under the tables like a vacuum cleaner with all the droppings from people. Tomorrow he will need to go back on his leash as I reel his behavior in a bit. He NEVER complains or shows resistance in fact he comes over to me to get the leash on wether he wants to or not.
October 23, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
Today was to be a nature day but I need to raise money so I was at the store. I also need to get people to go inside the store and purchase a photo. Nothing happened yesterday or today. The place is getting fixed up. Nothing new or high class. It is all used furniture and makeshift displaying. That is what I have to work with. Shades have to get placed in the window quick because the sun is destroying the photos. People are stopping by on the street for the Traveling Piano. Word is getting out. What is interesting about that is how people are coming to get a happy fix, a relief fix. They are showing up for comfort. How do I know? They tell me. It has only been a week. There is absolutely no way that I will monetize that happiness, relief and comfort for people. It comes from a place of respect and trust and money just cannot be a part of it. For me... money is not compatible with what I have to offer. There are ways to monatize it but not from those it is being given to. I do not care what anyone else thinks about that and really do not care to even hear about it. There is absolutely nothing that I have not already heard.
October 22, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
The people where I usually go for our Tuesday commitment canceled and I am glad. I spent the day at the store trying to make the place look reputable with the few resources I have. Someone in business was to come check me out but they did not show. For some, people saying they are going to do something and then don't... will tell you that is just part of doing business. Well, that not part of doing business for me. I always one hundred percent follow through or at least let it be know that I cannot follow through. I do not like being left hanging and when my energy spent, my commitment to time and place is not matched... that tells me respect is lacking as well as interest. It is very easy for me to move on in situations like that. Many will say to keep the door open. I'm not doing anything with the door including caring about it. My time is limited and valuable... even if no money is involved.
October 21, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
Time was spent at the Traveling Piano Photo Gallery on Main Street. I hope this works out, there could be many reasons why it may not. One day at a time... Mo and I went to our usual commitment at the field tonight. It was crazier than usual and crowded with hundreds of people. Half of one of the shelters is closed because of a plumbing problem so a lot more people are on the streets and very uncomfortable with that. People seemed hungrier than usual. I've got myself roped into helping one of the volunteers set up his food tables. So now, I'm creating music, working as a food setup volunteer as well as interacting with people and the Traveling Piano and... a guy has been bringing me blankets every week so when we are done I drive around town giving them to people who need them. There is a new brewery that opened up on my block, where the photo gallery is. I've been holding off on meeting the owners but today I figured, just do it.
I met one of them before going to the field and on the way home stopped and met the other. I played some music and interacted with a few of the patrons to introduce myself. I'm hoping there is some way we can work together to build community and also for basic survival for myself financially. There was coincidentally a volunteer from the field there who knew the restaurant owner part of the brewery and so I met that guy also. All three are very interested in a sense of community and they were very open to what I have to offer. Figuring a way to fit into it all is going to be a challenge. My music really does not fit for a brewery. What is happening is all very new for me. The place is doing so well they need no promotion and have not even had the ribbon cutting yet! This all has major potential for creativity. Can it also have major potential for income? The most basic and important first impression for me is that I really liked all three of the guys. Playing music in the dark at high blast on the street in the dark felt crazy to do!
October 20, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
Ask and you shall receive is a constant saying I have been using to keep from going off the deep end. I do have faith in that. It helps me to do what I need to do. Everyone works in their own ways. Asking to receive is a lot of "work" in of itself. Some people succumb to receive. Others manipulate, enslave themselves, bargain, negotiate, resign themselves, etc... my way has always been to ask. Doing it effectively, with correct intent, being responsible about it and with gratitude verses need takes constant awareness. I want to ask everyone to contribute to the Traveling Piano so that I can continue my work. It is good and worthwhile work. It adds to the lives of others without agenda. Mo and I spent time in my Art Photo "store" today with the Traveling Piano outside on Main Street in the Arts District of Las vegas. No one came in. One guy who is living on the street got up to spend about fifteen minutes playing with some music. "Just keep going Danny."
October 19, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Traveling Piano was perched outside on the corner for eight hours today. Mo and I spent the time both indoors and out. I hung my pictures inside because of the sun. I sold one for $20 the entire day. The plan is to go out every hour on the hour and play for twenty minutes and spend the rest of the time inside my "store" doing this usual computer work and trying to make a buck. Ugh. The fun was in connecting with neighbors, visitors in the city as well as locals. I've been meeting a lot more Las Vegas residents in general now that the street is starting to create walking traffic and the weather is better and of course, it was saturday. At least I got up at a decent time today and went to work even if it was for two bucks an hour. They are my hours in my way and now the trick will be to build them into money... quick.
Actually I made more today because someone sent me $50 bucks online. That paid for truck gas and dinner. Just doing the best I can... and will continue to create musical fun, friendship and respect without fees, tips or commercial affiliation while keeping my usual commitments with those living on the streets four to five days a week. Please create a subscription on this website so I can have a sustained income and put my energy into the Traveling Piano verses finding money for it. All you friends and past friends who read this blog from time to time... I know your there, lol... now is the time for you to step up! Seriously, if for nothing else but the curiosity value in having this blog to read and knowing that I am still going after all these years!
October 18, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
I'm working in a routine for myself, have been doing that for a life time? No. There was a time in this journey where I was in a true free flow. I tell myself just spend time at the AutoShop if only a few minutes everyday with the Traveling Piano out front and the signs saying Photo Art Gallery. So I did that before heading to my usual commitment at the Rescue Mission. We spent time creating music for the dinner there. Then I wasted the rest of the night beating myself up for getting up too late today. Just below the surface of beating myself up emotionally was a lot of angst about the rent at the end of the month. I should know by now I'll take care of it but one of these times I'm afraid it just won't happen. That is a distraction through the wasting of time in every way.
October 17, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
While playing at the Mission Center today people were bobbing along to my music big time. Thats because I had a lot of energy, slept into the afternoon. Last night I was so exhausted from the previous days that I felt a tightness in my chest, a rawness in my throat, I was definitely getting sick. Luckily I have some meds that helped. They are from 2015 and still working! Don't ever throw away meds you might use four years later. They don't go bad, they just lose strength. So, with twelve hours sleep I felt rested. There was a guy eating dinner definitely mentally ill and while I was playing Ragtime he was holding his hands open into the air cupped like he was letting in the universe, welcoming the holy spirit into his being through the energy of my Ragtime music... bobbing away. It looked pretty funny his having a spiritual experience in that way through the beat of Ragtime music.
October 16, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
I connected with Ed today. He is from the Netherlands and is visiting Las Vegas for work. He loves pianos and playing them. His hobby is to travel the world to festivals where cities put pianos on the streets for people to play. His passion is to play on different pianos outdoors. Mo and I took him to Redrock Canyon for some special Traveling Piano Fun, Friendship and Respect. The weather was unique and perfect. There was no wind, cool and it was cool and comfortable. We met other people from around the world. I could sense it was difficult for Ed to grasp the concept of not collecting tips. Another outdoor pianist I know from England told him about me. The only egotistical part of me I think... is to state the claim that I am the one who created the idea for pianos outdoors and in unconventional places around the world for profit thirty three years ago. I am also the only one in the world to have done it for one hundred percent non-profit full time, for the last twelve years, lol!
October 15, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
I took a day for nature as soon as I could get started. Mo and I drove to the Valley of Fire. As we get older and the hiking slows down... goofing around, exploring tunnels and caves, laying around and just hanging out is what Mo and I do in nature. Whenever we get to the Valley of Fire which is just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada... first thing, find cove-like hideaway and take a nap! It felt good to not play the piano for a day... it has been happening a lot lately, that and setting up on the street.
October 14, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
I drove around today looking for furniture to put in the Auto Repair Shop, Traveling Piano Photo Gallery. I found three nice theatre chairs from someone's house being tossed. The truck needed some driving around to charge the battery for the piano's sound. I've been playing so much without travel that the battery keeps shutting off. At dinner time we headed for our usual Monday night commitment at the field. It is dark now when everything gets started and my night vision is terrible. It is because of age. So... its difficult seeing anything while I'm working. Someone gave me four bags of blankets so when we were done at the field I went and distributed them to people sleeping on the sidewalks downtown.
October 13, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
We drove up a block to experiment with setting up in a different location. Sara, who owns an antique shop has been wanting for us to come play in front of her store. She has been supportive in the past and created a Traveling Piano subscription for a couple bucks a month. Five hours of playing and working with people in one spot is totally exhausting. I set up some art photos to sell and there was one buyer. Twenty bucks and lets not forget the time and materials to make the photo. For a days work, that will not work for me. We talked about the street sponsoring the Traveling Piano. After thinking about it, that would never work. They could not pay me enough and if they were to sponsor the Traveling Piano it would need to be on my terms otherwise they would be hiring me. Then, everyone would want a piece of me and the pay for a month, I could get booking one job for a day. Ugh... I'm working again and from square one.
October 12, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
As soon as I could get it together Mo and I rounded the corner from where I live to play outside in our spot on Main Street. My head was in such a fog I must have sat in the office of the Auto Repair shop with the truck outside for an hour. What the hell is happening! Once I got going we had some fun with people and someone put a five dollar bill in Mo's collar. Then others followed. I didn't stop it and when they left there was thirty bucks there. Am I ready to whore Mo out and start collecting tips? Thirty bucks for a days work is better than nothing? No, it isn't. Especially considering the talent and expertise of my work, a life of study and perseverance, the time, effort, cost of equipment, basic living expenses, no other income... this is a very difficult time for me. But hey, has it ever not been difficult? Through periods of life the difficulties change form but my life has never been difficulty free.
October 11, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
I'm watching the passing of desktop computers. We are in the golden age of it all. Everything is moving to phone. I can use my computer systems less and less, next year not at all. Those with money will once again dominate creativity as far as getting money. This website is almost impossible to navigate or experience now on phones which people are using more and more. Oh, well. I don't have it in me to redo everything and operate in the new ways. Thats ok. It is what it is. These pictures today are from Lake Meade in April. Mo and I played the Rescue Mission today and I fixed a piano key!!! For how long, who knows. I tried last night but the emotional exhaustion with even to try... I got so tired, to bed I went to try again today. Of course a friend at the auto body shop helped.
We also blew air into the keyboard to blow out tons of Mo hair! Lol. At night I walked a few blocks down to the Annual Las Vegas National Coming out day Pride Fest Parade. There must have been sixty thousand people there between the marchers and viewers. The governor march in the parade which I thought was significant. As with last year, I thought how amazing and how everyone would love and how the Traveling Piano would stand out in this parade. There is nothing like it, it is intimate and personal unlike most of the other stuff and as much fun as it can get. With twenty years of full time parade work back east before this journey began... there is nothing I am more sure of but I do not have it in me anymore like I once did. If I ever got back into that kind of thing it would be with several piano players for the one parade.
October 10, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
A schedule is what I need and the very last think I want. Obligation for work I can schedule. Personal scheduling for work has never worked for me my entire life but that fact has put me in a serious situation and at this stage of life? And I left the idea of all that for this journey. When people would say, "what are you going to do when the money runs out?" I would always say go walk into the forrest with the Moose and never come out or go back to making money. Deep down I thought something would have happened before the question ever came up. So... I would not take back the decisions I've made, what an amazing life it has been... unique, individual and mine. It has served purpose for the world through myself through a power greater than myself what ever you want to call that. Bottom line, it is a spiritual power. My thoughts on the description are personal. If you want to know, ask. Mo and I were at the Mission Center as usual today and also on Main Street for a short while. Nature is calling me, I miss being out in it. That needs to happen soon. The pictures posted today are from March in Mt. Charelston just outside of Las Vegas.
October 09, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
Keeping everything straight in my head is a challenge. Traveling Piano Musical, Fun, Friendship and Respect... Empowerment and Inspiration... Nature is in that somewhere. It has been two weeks since I have seen any of it. And then, there is the work I've been doing on the streets with water, food, blankets for people... the Traveling Piano Photo Gallery I'm working to develop on Main Street, the ongoing online work, Mo and spending time with my fantastic relationship with him. There is no time to clean my room. We were on Main Street for a short while and I enjoyed creating music basically for myself with others around, smiling, waving etc... I do not want to be a novelty or come across as a busker, entertainer, performer, local character... what a challenge. I've been creating my image for many, many years... but never in the same spot, in an environment where those descriptive words I mentioned are the norm, the conventional, the stereotype... what a challenge. Being present to present a Photo Art Gallery will help. Nice promo will help, consistency in not taking tips and doing crap paying jobs will help. All the people I meet, friends, etc... spreading the word will help. But wow, is financial help playing on my mind. There was no time to look for that today.
October 08, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
I went to the colon specialist today, all is well. Then onward to Main Street where I set up for a while and made my first Instagram video. It is the beginning of something big. They are short and I'm going to do "A Hundred" Fifty Ways to Get Onto the Traveling Piano. The goal is to have fun and be silly and I want to monetize it in someway. Then I drove to our usual Tuesday spot across from the Salvation Army. Trying to function brain wise is difficult. Two Traveling Piano agendas a day really throws me off. Actually three because after that I went to my homeless spots to distribute food that I acquired. There is a lot less time to do anything else and physically it has been five days now of constant going outside with the truck. That is a lot, a real lot of physical exertion for me.
October 07, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
Almost every day now I will be on Main Street at least for an hour along with all my other commitments and side work. Tonight we went to the Field. This all must work for me. And I hope money comes in before the piano totally breaks down. And... simple exposure is not going to cut it. For fun I have begun to make lists. Ten Traveling Piano Facts: 1. 2020 will mark 33 years of full time work with a piano in the back of a truck. 2. For the first 20 years the truck was called Raggin' Piano Boogie. 3. Since then the Traveling Piano has been used solely as a philanthropic endeavor. 4. The Traveling Piano has visited all four corners of the Northern Hemisphere from top to bottom and everywhere in between. 5. 90% of the costs have been paid by myself, 10% from contributions and I've stayed with over a hundred fifty families through the years.
6. The Traveling Piano has created support and healing for some of the nations most tragic events. 7. Over 90,000 people have been on the Traveling Piano's seat and 99% of the interactions have been through synchronistic, spontaneous encounters in both rural and urban areas. 8. A Piano Dog named Boner hung out for over fifteen years with the Traveling Piano. 9. The present journey has been documented every day since 2006, the Traveling Piano website has over 80,000 photos and 4,000 individual pieces of music on it. 10. The Traveling Piano is all about sharing musical improvisation, encouragement, inspiration, fun, friendship and respect with the idea of strangers becoming less afraid of each other.
October 06, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
So, I am figuring this all out. Hopefully I'll figure out enough to pay the rent at the end of the month and get myself through. I absolutely need a new piano as well. Please create a subscription here on this website to sustain the Traveling Piano's work. Hit the contribute button. I am going to present the Traveling Piano on Main Street six days a week if possible for at least an hour a day to start, while doing everything else I've been doing. I was there today. When people try to hand me money I say no but I did take five bucks twice. The one guy felt relieved I took it and thanked me? A sign might help saying... if you would like to contribute please purchase a Traveling Piano Art Photo. People will just need to learn that I am not street performing or busking. This education for others will be a challenge. I can do it. I taught people to pay for my performing on the truck, up to $2500 an hour for twenty years back when. Before the sun set we drove to the ghetto. A bunch of people on the sidewalk yelled, "stop here" and so I did. They watched out for the cops for me as they harass anyone who stops on the streets around where I was. So I played a little, a guy got up on the piano a little, they all began to yell cops... and Mo and I ran. Lol!
October 05, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
I spent most of the day on Main street with the Traveling Piano. Usually I would be exhausted from yesterday but I have some renewed energy because of the printing resources I've been given. Now that I have signs to help communicate my purpose and flyers to do the same, I need to create a consistent presence in one spot where people can depend on finding the Traveling Piano. In one spot may create a blog challenge. Doing the same thing day in and out is not very interesting blog material. One of the aspects I enjoy about this blog is the variety of pictures. Soon most may be all from one spot with the Quality Auto sign in the background, lol. That is where I will be stationed out of on the corner of Main Street and Utah Avenue in Las Vegas. At night walking the streets with Mo I was passing water out to people sleeping on the sidewalks as we have been doing for a long time now. One woman laying under a blanket said no thank you and as we were leaving the area called me back. She wanted to give me five bucks while saying... "you are always out to help people." That was soul food for me. Someone with so little and so needy still contributing in the world any way she can. I told her I love her and I meant it.
October 04, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
First, the best thing to happen to me today was Print Fast Vegas. This printing company generously came through for me. In a very short amount of time they produced two large free standing signs, a bunch of large smiley faces, a couple of "Contribute" signs and 200 quality color flyers without cost. This was a lot of work for them to do and it was a rush job as well. And then with the material costs, it is a little overwhelming for me, the gratitude I have for their contributing at a time when I really am in need. Then there is Quality Auto who gave me the space to use, and their business equipment, lighting, table, extension chord, power, etc... I set everything up and began playing/selling on the street. There were less people then I expected but the third best thing to happen to me today... all the people I met and the diversity as well as people I have not seen in awhile. The piano was crap today. It is just getting worse and worse to try and create music on. But the people... just wonderful. A married couple celebrating their first meeting today twenty five years ago. Neighbors, several people living on the streets I know, cool hipsters, suburbanites, city dwellers, little kids... I meet some people living here in Las Vegas from Zacatecas, Mexico where the Traveling Piano spent time in 2007.
Trying to work the fundraising, selling photos and the Traveling Piano experience at the same time with the same people was just awful. I could not do it. When I was playing while trying to engage people for the purpose of a possible sale I began hating myself. I sat creating music while asking myself, "what the hell are you doing." Trying to explain the situation of what I was in fact doing was totally confusing for people. But, in the end I worked it out. I've decided that when I am with people and the truck I am going to keep it as it has always been. And then separately there is the Art Photo Gallery. If people want to tip me as always in the past I will decline in the spirit of the journey but now also add, "maybe instead you might purchase a photo." I don't care how awkward it will be for the many wanting to give me only a buck and my asking them to spend twenty-five on a purchase instead. When I am sitting with the photos I'll sell photos and that will be like working a store. When I see opportunity to overlap the two, then that will happen but I cannot try and make it happen. Never again am I going to put out a tip bucket. It is not my level of working and never has been. For some people it works. For me it never has, never will. For anyone who reads this and says I should have a tip jar... in the six hours I worked tonight and three setting up, all the preparation, want to know how much I made in tips? Thirty two dollars. Some people would say it is what it is, or thats good, or better than nothing. For the time, passion, experience, creativity, professionalism, life long development of career to get to this point, and hard work I did tonight... I'd rather accept nothing than thirty two bucks.
It is like when I let go of the possessions of my home many years ago. I owned a four thousand dollar Persian rug and people wanted to give me fifty bucks for it. No way. The value of that rug to me was worth much more as a gift to someone than fifty bucks! Same with the Traveling Piano experience. It is worth more as a gift than a dollar bill. Why not both? Call it the value of respect and dignity. I sold three photos tonight for twenty five each. Of course I wish it had been more but still, three people purchased photos of mine for twenty five bucks each! That is to me some worth, respect, value and dignity. So, it is all difficult right now but I'm going to push forward. Denise from the auto repair shop reminded me that she has been there for months and is still not breaking even. New endeavors take time. The only thing new here is the selling of my photos. All the rest, the fundraising for the Traveling Piano... ugh. A guy came up to me wanting to hire me for his festival. I told him twelve hundred. He said it was a fundraiser, how much of the twelve hundred was I going to give back to the fundraiser, lol. People like that cannot grasp what I am about. If they began with contributing a hundred bucks in appreciation for the Traveling Piano's work in the community, they would have me in gratitude without cost. But their approach is... what can they get and how cheap can they get it. Certainly I understand that, but there is not enough respect for the value of my work in it.
October 03, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
I'm really freaking out over tomorrow. But, when I can I catch myself and remember the history of my life... I've been through so much more than this. It is not comparable. And my mind going blank and not knowing what, where, when, how I am to function in the present moment, that has been for my entire life. Nothing is new with that. So now with this knowledge, I want to look at my state of being as a challenge for growth and an exercise, a practice in control and clarity. It is going to be a fun time with a lot of energy and work and thinking... and just everything I've been doing my entire life. Now that life moves slower still, I just do what I can do. Mo and I were at the Rescue Mission today for our usual Thursday commitment of musical fun, friendship and respect for the huge dinner they have for people on the streets. For the second time in two years, I will not be going tomorrow as I've got to center myself on tomorrows work which unfortunately is not the work I would choose over the mission, but life is calling me to it. How I wish I was not going to do tomorrow all by myself. But then again that is also the story of my life... so far. Deep down I know it has been of my own choosing for reasons good as well as not so good.
October 02, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
Well, on Friday I will be going to work for the first time in twelve years. Of course it is work for myself and not in the best of circumstances. I will be setting up shop on the street in the Downtown Arts District of Las Vegas to raise awareness for funding needed and to also sell my photos for the first time ever in public. They are inside a gallery up the street but I've never tried to sell them on the street myself. Selling myself once again... I thought I'd be dead by now or something bigger would have happened like a partnership to take my career to the next level. Lol, there are two years devoted to that endeavor concerning Oprah in this blog. Anyway, I'll hopefully have signs, the setup with a table, some promo if it comes through, lights for the night and of course the Traveling Piano and a five gallon water jug for people to fill with contribution money. Ha... I'm sorry I just can't see it happening and it is what it is. I'm trying to fake it until I make it. With the Traveling Piano I plan to work as I usually do with all the paraphernalia a little off to the side so it does not look like I am busking. People getting that idea would just destroy all thirty three years of what I have built for myself on the truck. Doing the promoting, selling and Traveling Piano work itself all at the same time will be crazy. Wish me luck.
October 01, 2019
Las Vegas, Nevada
The day was spent dealing with errands for setting up shop on Friday, sending emails trying to deal with the computer, printing needs for funding, the broken piano, basic needs like rent and gas money. I also worked on the the usual processing of pictures and going through my music catalogue to see if there is anything sellable. At night I went to the Healing Garden for a short ceremony which is a small park up the street from me as today is the second year anniversary of the mass murder that happened here in Las Vegas. I wore my shirt saying, "We Can Stop Gun Violence." The newspaper took a picture and wanted my name to use, I said no thanks. The television station wanted to interview me I said no thanks. Later, I wondered wether I should have as the issue is so close to my heart. Tonight brought up all my emotional sadness, anger and frustration over how people have been indoctrinated into gun support through fear and manipulation.
It is excruciating for me at this point because I have had many personal interactions along with the innocence murdered, those shot and those family and friends that will have to live with it all for the rest of their lives. I did tell that to a Japanese television station that was there. They asked me if I think guns are needed and I said flat out no. For those new to this blog, I've been drawn to reject gun violence since I began with the Traveling Piano in 1987. One of my first jobs was to bring awareness to the problem in North Philadelphia. Since then I've been with those affected in heart wrenching situations with the Traveling Piano at Virginia Tech (at their request) in Sandy Hook CT, San Bernardino, CA... skid row LA, at Trayvon Martin's tragedy in Florida, here in Las Vegas, on skid row in LA... he list goes on.