Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jerome - Drums

Jerome Photo: Kevin Hazelton
First of all, two admissions. First is that I lost my notes and I don't know how to spell Jerome's last name. The second, we clearly caught Jerome on a bit of a bad day. We tried our best to not press the street performers who did not want to take part in the project, though we rarely encountered resistance. But we were taking up their time and if they weren't playing they weren't earning so we tried to take no as no. Somewhere the communication broke down with Jerome, I think he wanted to take part but just didn't like the way we were going about it. Ultimately he did agree to participate and we tried to keep things short.

He only had four hours in Larry "Bucketman" Hunt's spot and he was trying to make the most of it. We guessed that like the Lowery Brothers he had been moved from his other spots. Drums are a little trickier than most instruments, whether they are regular drums or buckets, in that they have to be packed up and set up, they take up more sidewalk and separates the performer from the passerbys. Plus, they are not particularly melodic, but rhythm is one of the things that effect us on a more primal level, so they have that going for them.
Photo: Kevin Hazelton

Jerome had just returned to The City after staying in Japan for over a decade. He was on his way back through the states to catch up with friends. Shortly after we wrapped our interview someone approached having recognized him from years past. And that's sort of where it clicked. We were a little soured, we had upset a performer when we were really trying not to and it had effected our attitude a little bit, but here was a performer who was not the most unique (that's the next one) or most dynamic, but he was recognized and his absence was noted.

Because street performers matter. They matter to the city and the people who have to spend their time in it. They add to the texture and feel of the urban experience in San Francisco and any other city that has a street performing community. The addition of music and performance adds something to the life of the city where they perform. And like magic, we felt good about what we were doing again.

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