Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gregory Pike and Dog Cat Rat

Greg Pike and his triple decker pets. Photo:Kevin Hazelton
This was on my first day with Kevin and there were two people he had seen that he was hoping to find again. He had actually been excitedly trying to describe this particular act to me as we decided to break for lunch.

As it turns out, I was maybe one of the few people who hadn't heard of Gregory Pike and his unique pets. Mr. Pike, you see, had trained his dog to give a ride to his cat who in turn gave a ride to his pet rat.


Three to four years ago, this was a bit of a unique phenomenon, and as we made our way down Powell between Geary and O'Farrell to get some burritos, there was Greg Pike and his mobile menagerie.

Photo: Kevin Hazelton
So, originally I had intended to record musicians. Partially because all I had to do this project on was audio equipment and I couldn't really represent acts like the robot men or jugglers or whatever other spectacle happens on a regular basis on the San Francisco streets. I had to decide if this constituted street performance. He wasn't performing per se, he wasn't at a particular location, he himself was on the move to somewhere with his pet tower in tow.

But the reality is, it was a spectacle and just as many people stopped and watched if not more than some of the musical acts we had already encountered. And Mr. Pike, like his other performers, was living off tips from onlookers.

Not that this was his only plan. Dog Cat Rat was, above all else, a message of peace and cooperation. And Pike delivered that message to anyone who would stop and ask.

Photo: Kevin Hazelton
It's hard, in my cynical normal existence, to associate getting a cat to accept a free ride with people putting away their differences and getting along. But I have to admit, when you're sitting next to the pet stack, it's a little easier to believe. Or maybe it just makes you think of the Town Musicians of Bremen.

When I met him he had just finished a bit for Animal Planet and was thinking about moving on to other cities to spread his message. Judging from the amount of hits if you just Google Dog Cat Rat, spread his message has. I don't know that I can say much more about him than others have save to just let him speak for himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment