Raggin' Piano Boogie

 

 
HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010

Use the links to the left to read a past Month or Year... and then there is always your Backspace to return to a past page.

October 14, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

I drove around today looking for furniture to put in the Auto Repair Shop, Traveling Piano Photo Gallery. I found three nice theatre chairs from someone's house being tossed. The truck needed some driving around to charge the battery for the piano's sound. I've been playing so much without travel that the battery keeps shutting off. At dinner time we headed for our usual Monday night commitment at the field. It is dark now when everything gets started and my night vision is terrible. It is because of age. So... its difficult seeing anything while I'm working. Someone gave me four bags of blankets so when we were done at the field I went and distributed them to people sleeping on the sidewalks downtown .


October 13, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

We drove up a block to experiment with setting up in a different location. Sara, who owns an antique shop has been wanting for us to come play in front of her store. She has been supportive in the past and created a Traveling Piano subscription for a couple bucks a month. Five hours of playing and working with people in one spot is totally exhausting. I set up some art photos to sell and there was one buyer. Twenty bucks and lets not forget the time and materials to make the photo. For a days work, that will not work for me. We talked about the street sponsoring the Traveling Piano. After thinking about it, that would never work. They could not pay me enough and if they were to sponsor the Traveling Piano it would need to be on my terms otherwise they would be hiring me. Then, everyone would want a piece of me and the pay for a month, I could get booking one job for a day. Ugh... I'm working again and from square one.


October 12, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

As soon as I could get it together Mo and I rounded the corner from where I live to play outside in our spot on Main Street. My head was in such a fog I must have sat in the office of the Auto Repair shop with the truck outside for an hour. What the hell is happening! Once I got going we had some fun with people and someone put a five dollar bill in Mo's collar. Then others followed. I didn't stop it and when they left there was thirty bucks there. Am I ready to whore Mo out and start collecting tips? Thirty bucks for a days work is better than nothing? No, it isn't. Especially considering the talent and expertise of my work, a life of study and perseverance, the time, effort, cost of equipment, basic living expenses, no other income... this is a very difficult time for me. But hey, has it ever not been difficult? Through periods of life the difficulties change form but my life has never been difficulty free.


October 11, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

I'm watching the passing of desktop computers. We are in the golden age of it all. Everything is moving to phone. I can use my computer systems less and less, next year not at all. Those with money will once again dominate creativity as far as getting money. This website is almost impossible to navigate or experience now on phones which people are using more and more. Oh, well. I don't have it in me to redo everything and operate in the new ways. Thats ok. It is what it is. These pictures today are from Lake Meade in April. Mo and I played the Rescue Mission today and I fixed a piano key!!! For how long, who knows. I tried last night but the emotional exhaustion with even to try... I got so tired, to bed I went to try again today. Of course a friend at the auto body shop helped.



We also blew air into the keyboard to blow out tons of Mo hair! Lol. At night I walked a few blocks down to the Annual Las Vegas National Coming out day Pride Fest Parade. There must have been sixty thousand people there between the marchers and viewers. The governor march in the parade which I thought was significant. As with last year, I thought how amazing and how everyone would love and how the Traveling Piano would stand out in this parade. There is nothing like it, it is intimate and personal unlike most of the other stuff and as much fun as it can get. With twenty years of full time parade work back east before this journey began... there is nothing I am more sure of but I do not have it in me anymore like I once did. If I ever got back into that kind of thing it would be with several piano players for the one parade.

October 10, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

A schedule is what I need and the very last think I want. Obligation for work I can schedule. Personal scheduling for work has never worked for me my entire life but that fact has put me in a serious situation and at this stage of life? And I left the idea of all that for this journey. When people would say, "what are you going to do when the money runs out?" I would always say go walk into the forrest with the Moose and never come out or go back to making money. Deep down I thought something would have happened before the question ever came up. So... I would not take back the decisions I've made, what an amazing life it has been... unique, individual and mine. It has served purpose for the world through myself through a power greater than myself what ever you want to call that. Bottom line, it is a spiritual power. My thoughts on the description are personal. If you want to know, ask. Mo and I were at the Mission Center as usual today and also on Main Street for a short while. Nature is calling me, I miss being out in it. That needs to happen soon. The pictures posted today are from March in Mt. Charelston just outside of Las Vegas.


October 09, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

Keeping everything straight in my head is a challenge. Traveling Piano Musical, Fun, Friendship and Respect... Empowerment and Inspiration... Nature is in that somewhere. It has been two weeks since I have seen any of it. And then, there is the work I've been doing on the streets with water, food, blankets for people... the Traveling Piano Photo Gallery I'm working to develop on Main Street, the ongoing online work, Mo and spending time with my fantastic relationship with him. There is no time to clean my room. We were on Main Street for a short while and I enjoyed creating music basically for myself with others around, smiling, waving etc... I do not want to be a novelty or come across as a busker, entertainer, performer, local character... what a challenge. I've been creating my image for many, many years... but never in the same spot, in an environment where those descriptive words I mentioned are the norm, the conventional, the stereotype... what a challenge. Being present to present a Photo Art Gallery will help. Nice promo will help, consistency in not taking tips and doing crap paying jobs will help. All the people I meet, friends, etc... spreading the word will help. But wow, is financial help playing on my mind. There was no time to look for that today.


October 08, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

I went to the colon specialist today, all is well. Then onward to Main Street where I set up for a while and made my first Instagram video. It is the beginning of something big. They are short and I'm going to do "A Hundred" Fifty Ways to Get Onto the Traveling Piano. The goal is to have fun and be silly and I want to monetize it in someway. Then I drove to our usual Tuesday spot across from the Salvation Army. Trying to function brain wise is difficult. Two Traveling Piano agendas a day really throws me off. Actually three because after that I went to my homeless spots to distribute food that I acquired. There is a lot less time to do anything else and physically it has been five days now of constant going outside with the truck. That is a lot, a real lot of physical exertion for me.


October 07, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

Almost every day now I will be on Main Street at least for an hour along with all my other commitments and side work. Tonight we went to the Field. This all must work for me. And I hope money comes in before the piano totally breaks down. And... simple exposure is not going to cut it. For fun I have begun to make lists. Ten Traveling Piano Facts: 1. 2020 will mark 33 years of full time work with a piano in the back of a truck. 2. For the first 20 years the truck was called Raggin' Piano Boogie. 3. Since then the Traveling Piano has been used solely as a philanthropic endeavor. 4. The Traveling Piano has visited all four corners of the Northern Hemisphere from top to bottom and everywhere in between. 5. 90% of the costs have been paid by myself, 10% from contributions and I've stayed with over a hundred fifty families through the years.



6. The Traveling Piano has created support and healing for some of the nations most tragic events. 7. Over 90,000 people have been on the Traveling Piano's seat and 99% of the interactions have been through synchronistic, spontaneous encounters in both rural and urban areas. 8. A Piano Dog named Boner hung out for over fifteen years with the Traveling Piano. 9. The present journey has been documented every day since 2006, the Traveling Piano website has over 80,000 photos and 4,000 individual pieces of music on it. 10. The Traveling Piano is all about sharing musical improvisation, encouragement, inspiration, fun, friendship and respect with the idea of strangers becoming less afraid of each other.

October 06, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

So, I am figuring this all out. Hopefully I'll figure out enough to pay the rent at the end of the month and get myself through. I absolutely need a new piano as well. Please create a subscription here on this website to sustain the Traveling Piano's work. Hit the contribute button. I am going to present the Traveling Piano on Main Street six days a week if possible for at least an hour a day to start, while doing everything else I've been doing. I was there today. When people try to hand me money I say no but I did take five bucks twice. The one guy felt relieved I took it and thanked me? A sign might help saying... if you would like to contribute please purchase a Traveling Piano Art Photo. People will just need to learn that I am not street performing or busking. This education for others will be a challenge. I can do it. I taught people to pay for my performing on the truck, up to $2500 an hour for twenty years back when. Before the sun set we drove to the ghetto. A bunch of people on the sidewalk yelled, "stop here" and so I did. They watched out for the cops for me as they harass anyone who stops on the streets around where I was. So I played a little, a guy got up on the piano a little, they all began to yell cops... and Mo and I ran. Lol!


October 05, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

I spent most of the day on Main street with the Traveling Piano. Usually I would be exhausted from yesterday but I have some renewed energy because of the printing resources I've been given. Now that I have signs to help communicate my purpose and flyers to do the same, I need to create a consistent presence in one spot where people can depend on finding the Traveling Piano. In one spot may create a blog challenge. Doing the same thing day in and out is not very interesting blog material. One of the aspects I enjoy about this blog is the variety of pictures. Soon most may be all from one spot with the Quality Auto sign in the background, lol. That is where I will be stationed out of on the corner of Main Street and Utah Avenue in Las Vegas. At night walking the streets with Mo I was passing water out to people sleeping on the sidewalks as we have been doing for a long time now. One woman laying under a blanket said no thank you and as we were leaving the area called me back. She wanted to give me five bucks while saying... "you are always out to help people." That was soul food for me. Someone with so little and so needy still contributing in the world any way she can. I told her I love her and I meant it.


October 04, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

First, the best thing to happen to me today was Print Fast Vegas. This printing company generously came through for me. In a very short amount of time they produced two large free standing signs, a bunch of large smiley faces, a couple of "Contribute" signs and 200 quality color flyers without cost. This was a lot of work for them to do and it was a rush job as well. And then with the material costs, it is a little overwhelming for me, the gratitude I have for their contributing at a time when I really am in need. Then there is Quality Auto who gave me the space to use, and their business equipment, lighting, table, extension chord, power, etc... I set everything up and began playing/selling on the street. There were less people then I expected but the third best thing to happen to me today... all the people I met and the diversity as well as people I have not seen in awhile. The piano was crap today. It is just getting worse and worse to try and create music on. But the people... just wonderful. A married couple celebrating their first meeting today twenty five years ago. Neighbors, several people living on the streets I know, cool hipsters, suburbanites, city dwellers, little kids... I meet some people living here in Las Vegas from Zacatecas, Mexico where the Traveling Piano spent time in 2007.



Trying to work the fundraising, selling photos and the Traveling Piano experience at the same time with the same people was just awful. I could not do it. When I was playing while trying to engage people for the purpose of a possible sale I began hating myself. I sat creating music while asking myself, "what the hell are you doing." Trying to explain the situation of what I was in fact doing was totally confusing for people. But, in the end I worked it out. I've decided that when I am with people and the truck I am going to keep it as it has always been. And then separately there is the Art Photo Gallery. If people want to tip me as always in the past I will decline in the spirit of the journey but now also add, "maybe instead you might purchase a photo." I don't care how awkward it will be for the many wanting to give me only a buck and my asking them to spend twenty-five on a purchase instead. When I am sitting with the photos I'll sell photos and that will be like working a store. When I see opportunity to overlap the two, then that will happen but I cannot try and make it happen. Never again am I going to put out a tip bucket. It is not my level of working and never has been. For some people it works. For me it never has, never will. For anyone who reads this and says I should have a tip jar... in the six hours I worked tonight and three setting up, all the preparation, want to know how much I made in tips? Thirty two dollars. Some people would say it is what it is, or thats good, or better than nothing. For the time, passion, experience, creativity, professionalism, life long development of career to get to this point, and hard work I did tonight... I'd rather accept nothing than thirty two bucks. .



It is like when I let go of the possessions of my home many years ago. I owned a four thousand dollar Persian rug and people wanted to give me fifty bucks for it. No way. The value of that rug to me was worth much more as a gift to someone than fifty bucks! Same with the Traveling Piano experience. It is worth more as a gift than a dollar bill. Why not both? Call it the value of respect and dignity. I sold three photos tonight for twenty five each. Of course I wish it had been more but still, three people purchased photos of mine for twenty five bucks each! That is to me some worth, respect, value and dignity. So, it is all difficult right now but I'm going to push forward. Denise from the auto repair shop reminded me that she has been there for months and is still not breaking even. New endeavors take time. The only thing new here is the selling of my photos. All the rest, the fundraising for the Traveling Piano... ugh. A guy came up to me wanting to hire me for his festival. I told him twelve hundred. He said it was a fundraiser, how much of the twelve hundred was I going to give back to the fundraiser, lol. People like that cannot grasp what I am about. If they began with contributing a hundred bucks in appreciation for the Traveling Piano's work in the community, they would have me in gratitude without cost. But their approach is... what can they get and how cheap can they get it. Certainly I understand that, but there is not enough respect for the value of my work in it.

October 03, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

I'm really freaking out over tomorrow. But, when I can I catch myself and remember the history of my life... I've been through so much more than this. It is not comparable. And my mind going blank and not knowing what, where, when, how I am to function in the present moment, that has been for my entire life. Nothing is new with that. So now with this knowledge, I want to look at my state of being as a challenge for growth and an exercise, a practice in control and clarity. It is going to be a fun time with a lot of energy and work and thinking... and just everything I've been doing my entire life. Now that life moves slower still, I just do what I can do. Mo and I were at the Rescue Mission today for our usual Thursday commitment of musical fun, friendship and respect for the huge dinner they have for people on the streets. For the second time in two years, I will not be going tomorrow as I've got to center myself on tomorrows work which unfortunately is not the work I would choose over the mission, but life is calling me to it. How I wish I was not going to do tomorrow all by myself. But then again that is also the story of my life... so far. Deep down I know it has been of my own choosing for reasons good as well as not so good.

October 02, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

Well, on Friday I will be going to work for the first time in twelve years. Of course it is work for myself and not in the best of circumstances. I will be setting up shop on the street in the Downtown Arts District of Las Vegas to raise awareness for funding needed and to also sell my photos for the first time ever in public. They are inside a gallery up the street but I've never tried to sell them on the street myself. Selling myself once again... I thought I'd be dead by now or something bigger would have happened like a partnership to take my career to the next level. Lol, there are two years devoted to that endeavor concerning Oprah in this blog. Anyway, I'll hopefully have signs, the setup with a table, some promo if it comes through, lights for the night and of course the Traveling Piano and a five gallon water jug for people to fill with contribution money. Ha... I'm sorry I just can't see it happening and it is what it is. I'm trying to fake it until I make it. With the Traveling Piano I plan to work as I usually do with all the paraphernalia a little off to the side so it does not look like I am busking. People getting that idea would just destroy all thirty three years of what I have built for myself on the truck. Doing the promoting, selling and Traveling Piano work itself all at the same time will be crazy. Wish me luck.

October 01, 2019

Las Vegas, Nevada

The day was spent dealing with errands for setting up shop on Friday, sending emails trying to deal with the computer, printing needs for funding, the broken piano, basic needs like rent and gas money. I also worked on the the usual processing of pictures and going through my music catalogue to see if there is anything sellable. At night I went to the Healing Garden for a short ceremony which is a small park up the street from me as today is the second year anniversary of the mass murder that happened here in Las Vegas. I wore my shirt saying, "We Can Stop Gun Violence." The newspaper took a picture and wanted my name to use, I said no thanks. The television station wanted to interview me I said no thanks. Later, I wondered wether I should have as the issue is so close to my heart. Tonight brought up all my emotional sadness, anger and frustration over how people have been indoctrinated into gun support through fear and manipulation.



It is excruciating for me at this point because I have had many personal interactions along with the innocence murdered, those shot and those family and friends that will have to live with it all for the rest of their lives. I did tell that to a Japanese television station that was there. They asked me if I think guns are needed and I said flat out no. For those new to this blog, I've been drawn to reject gun violence since I began with the Traveling Piano in 1987. One of my first jobs was to bring awareness to the problem in North Philadelphia. Since then I've been with those affected in heart wrenching situations with the Traveling Piano at Virginia Tech (at their request) in Sandy Hook CT, San Bernardino, CA... skid row LA, at Trayvon Martin's tragedy in Florida, here in Las Vegas, on skid row in LA... he list goes on.