OWS day after Raid, Amazing Grace and Alixanne

November 16, 2011, the evening after the police raid I went to OWS after my subway gig. It was cold and rainy but spirits were strong. The park was barricaded and had only one entrance heavily guarded. They weren't allowing anyone in with items thought to be used for camping etc. Since I had my subway gig stuff, they wouldn't let me in. I went home to drop off my stuff and returned to join the supporters. I got up and sang Amazing Grace. It was truly an uplifting experience. Thanks to Alixanne Goodman who gladly took my camera to film me.

I later heard from her that she witnessed some pretty tough police action. "I have bruises and cuts from the riot cops when I had indeed put my hands up, did exactly what they told me to do, and moved back.....A man next to us was writing down badge numbers of cops who were being too physical with the protesters and he got dragged off the sidewalk and arrested. Well his cardboard he was writing badge numbers on fell to the ground and my fiance went to pick it up... well the cops saw and dragged him off the sidewalk and arrested him... It's a scary world we live in when you're getting picked off the sidewalk for nothing... "

What Inspires Alixanne? The people of OWS. What Inspires me? Alixanne and her fiance ready to stand up and peacefully protest even in the midst of riot police and threat of arrest.


Why I Busk? Amazing Grace

I met Cathy at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, she shared with me her recent loss of her father and how my music was healing to her. Inspired by her daughter Ashianna to come over and chat I also learned Cathy could sing. This clip is a wonderful inside look at how I engage and am engaged by the amazing commuters that feel so comfortable to chat and allow me to record.

Talk about grace, Cathy at the end gets the audience to applaud. So this is a perfect example and peek into my world of performing in public spaces. Thanks to another commuter and singer Justin who gladly took my camera to capture Cathy and I singing Amazing Grace together.

What Inspires Cathy? "music...and listening to your smooth sound put a peace in me...."

Public spaces are being put in the spotlight with Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park inhabited by the People, juxtaposed by Citigroup representing a corporation buying the rights to Bryant Park to install a skating rink.

Maybe instead of a casual place to sit on a bench and read or walk across a park, for a time, a public park is a place for public protest against injustices, or one that becomes a skating rink surrounded by shopping kiosks. My view is we need to understand the rights of all aspects of our community by the people and for the people, live within our beliefs of Democracy and Freedoms, and use ethics and reason to guide our laws. I am hopeful. I sing it and see it every time that I sing in public spaces.