Yesterday, I was riding east out of downtown, approaching the Hawthorne Bridge (you know, right next to the bourgie-boo Veritable Quandary) when I had a sudden panic: What if street musicians like “Working” Kirk Reeves—the white-tuxedoed, Mickey Mouse-eared trumpet player who plays at the eastbound entrance to the bridge—got kicked out of downtown by the mayor’s new iteration of the sit-lie ordinance.
I stopped and had a long conversation—and impromptu jam session—with him (which I’ll probably write more about later), but he assured me that, as a street musician, he was exempted from whatever sit-lie law city council decided to pass. Mercury news reporter Matt Davis also later reassured me that that was the case, and that people like Reeves were safe under the new law.
Still, that got me thinking, and since today is the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ mindwarp, psychedelic album about a military band leader, I had a brilliant realization: What if someone started a foundation that gave cheap instruments (plastic ukuleles, kazoos, paper accordions, etc.) to the city’s homeless, and we could teach them to play, and whenever they got harassed by the city’s cops—real or fake—they could point to the instrument and say, “I’m an artist—leave me alone.”
We’ll call it Sgt. Potter’s Homeless Art School Band.
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