Archive for the Buskers Category

The Burlington Junket

Posted in Buskers, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, FOOD & DRINK CULTURE, ME, Movies (Contemporary), PLUGS, SOCIAL EVENTS, Travel/ Tourism with tags , , , , , , on October 7, 2013 by travsd
My Son, the Rock Star Environmentalist

My Son, the Rock Star Environmentalist and photographer (he took many of the pictures below)

I had the BEST time this weekend bonding with my progeny at the University of Vermont’s Parent’s weekend (officially known as UVM Alumni and Family Weekend). Not a minute of the short stay was wasted, for in addition to the requisite Q.T. we seemed to suck the marrow out of the tiny town (which is nonetheless the largest in Vermont).  I enjoyed myself immensely.

I arrived late on Friday night, but there was still time for the kid to show me the main drag, Church Street Marketplace. That’s Burlington’s First Unitarian Church, built 1816 at the pinnacle of it all. This pedestrian mall is thick with restaurants, shops and free entertainment (a lot of buskers), and this week naturally had lots of college kids socializing with their drunken parents. We grabbed a quick bite at a pizza joint and then hit the hay. It’s a good thing we did. We would need our energy on the day following.


The next day the two of us and my charming and generous hostess (whose anonymity I’ll safeguard) braved the line at  Henry’s Diner, where I had an obscene repast, the likes of which I have not had in many moons, mostly because the diner breakfasts in NYC have always left something to be desired. Large slabs of thick ham steak (as opposed to the skimpy cold cuts they fob off on you in NY) came with the eggs, along with two biscuits the size of alarm clocks, and enough home fries to feed an entire village of leprechauns. And the waitress practically poured the hot coffee directly down our throats. After this breakfast, in my ideal scenario, I would have done the rest of my sightseeing being pushed around on a gurney.


From here we we went on to take a tour of my kid’s school, the Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources  and its headquarters the George D. Aiken Center. The building is LEED certified platinum and features a green roof, solar panels, and an eco-machine, which treats and converts wastewater. Get all the stats on this highly impressive green facility here.  The kid’s in good hands, and he takes it seriously. I think he’s found his life’s work!


Then we made a quick pass through the UVM Fest, basically a gauntlet of vendor tables (where we got to sample switchel, a native Vermontian beverage, also known as haymaker’s punch.) And I got a free tote bag to carry my crap in.


Next I saw my kid’s swank dorm room and met his cool room mate Victor, who had an awesome top hat and full length overcoat to match, essentially an undertaker costume I badly coveted for my own collection. Cashel says the kid actually goes snowboarding in this outfit, which I think must be how certain supernatural rumors get started.

View of mountains from near his dorm

View of mountains from near his dorm

We next made quick passes through the Billings Library and the Dudley H. Davis Student Center and then took a more serious look at the The Fleming Museum 


In addition to the temporary exhibitions Look Again: Images of Daily Life, 17th-21st Century and Eat: The Social Life of Food, we were glad to see this old boy:


Most local museums in New York (e.g., the Met, and the Brooklyn Museum) show their sarcophagi but keep the actual mummies under wraps, if you’ll excuse the expression. Call me an unsophisticated museum goer but I’d much rather get an eyeful of the Walking Dead, especially during Halloween season.

After the campus tour, we walked down the hill towards Lake Champlain.





Here, we spent a good long while walking the shoreline, checking out the marina, and several natural places along the shore where the boy likes to come with his friends (environmentally oriented and otherwise). AMAZINGLY we ran into one of my former co-workers at my day job in New York, the person who used to have the job I currently hold. This was fairly flabbergasting, and I had to stop myself from asking him which Federal agency he was spying on me for.

On the way back up the hill we went into ECHO Lake Aquarium.


By now we were both foot sore and starving so we had a late luncheon/ early supper at the Farm House Tap and Grill, beating out the crowds of alumni and parents by supping in the 4-5pm window. (A few hours later we heard there was a 3 hour wait to get in). 


The place had been recommended by two different people and it didn’t disappoint. Our burgers were delicious, but I’ll also confess we finished them in less than seven minutes. I clocked us.


 Then, because it is one of the things we always do together, we went to the Roxy Cinema…


…to see Gravity in 3-D, one of the best first-release movies I have seen in a long, long time. Like everyone else, I plan to see this movie many times, and hope to catch it on an IMAX screen (which they didn’t have at the tiny Roxy, though I enjoyed myself mightily nonetheless)


Then we had a disgusting amount of ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s in one of their flagship, original stores. How can one come to this area and not do that (I asked myself as chocolate dribbled down my chin and all over my shirt)?

 DTS dusk pic

Then we watched one of the best buskers I have ever seen, in the Church Street Marketplace. I think it may have been “Slackwire Sam” Johnson. I’d say he’s ready for the  big time, but he’s already been there — he was recently on America’s Got Talent.  Not only was he a master of working the crowd and extremely funny, but he did all that while precariously perched on top of five chairs, juggling fire and for the wow finish, a hand stand. The perfect cap for a perfect day!


Busking Bulletin: A Double Header En Route to Coney

Posted in Buskers, Coney Island, Folk (Ethnic), Music, Rock and Pop with tags , , , on August 8, 2013 by travsd

The Busking Bulletin is a series wherein we chronicle contemporary NYC street and subway performers for fun and very little profit. 

The F train out to Coney Island the other day was a veritable variety show — two acts passed by our seats in rapid succession. Makes me think it might be a fun stunt sometime to mount an entire full length vaudeville show on the trains in this fashion….

Burlington Festival of Fools Opens Today

Posted in Buskers, Clown, Contemporary Variety, PLUGS with tags , on August 2, 2013 by travsd


Today is opening day of Burlington, Vermont’s Festival of Fools, now in its sixth year. The Festival of Fools is a curated festival of street theater devoted to community engagement through the celebration of circus arts, music and comedy for family audiences. In accord with Burlington City Arts’ mission to make the arts accessible in greater Burlington, the Festival of Fools offers free events, open to the public and appropriate for all age groups.

The Festival of Fools features the best international street performers from around the globe. Four main stage locations surrounding the Church Street Marketplace and City Hall Park will feature continuous street theater, performing to over 10,000 visitors to Church Street each day. The Festival wraps up on Sunday, August 4th with a grand finale featuring all the performers of the festival.

Festival information: 


Busking Bulletin: Besa Me Mucho on the Brooklyn Bound C

Posted in Buskers, Latin American/ Spanish, Music with tags , , , on June 29, 2013 by travsd

A series wherein we record and chronicle contemporary busking performers for fun and very little profit.

This hombre passed through the C train with his squeeze box yestiddy:

Busking Bulletin: The Skyline Duo

Posted in American Folk/ Country/ Western, Buskers, Contemporary Variety, Music with tags , on June 24, 2013 by travsd

A series wherein we record and chronicle contemporary busking performers for fun and very little profit.

I caught these chaps in my local subway stop again this morning. A pleasant way to start the day…

Busking Bulletin: Banjo Busker at the 6th Avenue L

Posted in American Folk/ Country/ Western, Buskers, Music with tags , , on April 17, 2013 by travsd

A series wherein we record and chronicle contemporary busking performers for fun and very little profit.

This chap gave his rendition of “House of the Rising Sun” last night at the 6th Ave stop on the L train:

Busking Bulletin: A Cellist Chap in Chelsea

Posted in Buskers, Classical, Contemporary Variety, Music with tags , , on March 18, 2013 by travsd

A new feature wherein we record and chronicle contemporary busking performers for fun and very little profit. This gentleman was improvising on his cello at the 14th Street F platform last week.

To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media.


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