Taking it to the streets: a new street performer program kicks into gear

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It appears that things are about to get a bit more lively downtown.

The Greater Columbus Arts Council recently announced the launch of the Community & Street Performer Program, an initiative designed to bring performers of all stripes (musicians to spoken word poets to mimes) to city streets during various sanctioned events.

In a press release, Mayor Michael Coleman described the program as "an exciting effort to bring art directly to our people," which definitely sounds like a net positive providing the people running things turn down applications from living statues. To quote from "Hot Fuzz": "Now I'm sure that all of you will have noticed the return of a blight to our streets… I refer of course to the extremely irritating living statue."

Guidelines and a performer application can be accessed by visiting www.gcac.org/performers.

With this development in mind, we decided to revisit a handful of our favorite moments in busking history.

Joshua Bell plays for unsuspecting rush hour commuters

In 2007 the Washington Post conducted a brilliant experiment, inviting the world-class violinist to perform incognito outside a Metro plaza.

Kurt Cobain lives

The Nirvana frontman died in 1994, but he appears to have been reincarnated as a Russian subway performer, who nailed Cobain's vocal tics in his reading of "Pennyroyal Tea."

Glen Hansard plays "Say It to Me Now" on a nearly empty street in "Once"

Yes it's from a film, but Hansard's raw, revealing performance of the tune still stands among the best things he's done.

Berlin busker gets a surprise

An anonymous street musician performing Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy" got an unexpected surprise when the band's lead singer Jimmy Somerville swooped in to harmonize on the tune.

NO.

What did I say?