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.


What did I say?