There’s a group of buskers that have taken up as artists-in-residence at Metro Center. They perform on the platform down the escalator where folks are waiting for the Orange, Blue and Silver lines and where the Red Line passengers walk to reach the opposite train.
It’s a fairly intimate spot. By intimate I mean small. The area is flanked by two triple sets of escalators, and there are big pillars with the lists of stops on either side next to their respective tracks. The buskers don’t really get in the way, though. Good on them. Except that they may block one of the pillars so people unsure which train to get on won’t have a clue.
When I’ve seen them, there’s been 2-5 men setting up with an amp. I think that they dance, but I’ve mostly seen stretching. And jawing. There is an upturned baseball cap that is likely for donations. First time I saw it, I almost picked it up to give to the guy. I thought he dropped it. Then I recognized the signs of a pending performance: the amp, the fiddling with the amp, the stretching, the cool shoes and the multi-colored hair.
I think, though, that they would be more likely to get green in the hat if there was some type of performance. Not being a busker myself, I could be wrong.
Today, as I crossed the platform-stage, there was sound coming from the amp. The sound was music. There was a guy who was kind of dancing. To be fair, I guess he really was dancing. Not in a way that was impressive, that might make you stop and watch or that was even choreographed.
Like I have on previous days, I rubbernecked. One of the guys was making motions at the “dancing” guy’s back, almost like he was either trying to fan the flames or put out a fire. Hard to tell. It almost seemed like they were nervous or embarrassed, like the kids trotted out by their parents at the family gathering who really don’t want to play the violin for Aunt Viola. The buskers looked like that the other days, too. If this was stage fright, I didn’t see any imminent end to it.
There were four or five women clapping along to the music. There were people covertly glancing at the potential performers. These people didn’t want to encourage the buskers, but they didn’t want to miss out. A few others stopped to wait. Well they were waiting for the train anyway, but instead of facing the track they turned toward the amp and the guy moving in front of it. Something might happen.
Me, I continued walking across the stage stepping onto the up-escalator, swinging around to face back at them. Something was bound to happen, no? No.
I didn’t see any money going into the hat. Seems that bad busking is not a good entrepreneurial look.
[image: The Ballroom Project]