World-famous homeless man lives on the street for a day!

Not quite (since that wouldn't make sense), but Joshua Bell, a virtuoso violinist got $32.17 of dollars and change by playing at the D.C. subway stop in jeans for 45 minutes.
A onetime child prodigy, at 39 Joshua Bell has arrived as an internationally acclaimed virtuoso. Three days before he appeared at the Metro station, Bell had filled the house at Boston's stately Symphony Hall, where merely pretty good seats went for $100. Two weeks later, at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, he would play to a standing-room-only audience so respectful of his artistry that they stifled their coughs until the silence between movements. But on that Friday in January, Joshua Bell was just another mendicant, competing for the attention of busy people on their way to work.

So what do we take away from this? That the true market value of good classical music is pretty low? That Symphony Hall-goers are pretentious? That's the average dude is an uneducated schmuck? That the real ignorance was that someone didn't knock him down and steal his multi-million dollar violin?


towwas said...

Yeah, Gene Weingarten's last story, or the last one I remember, was basically genius. (The one about the Great Zucchini.)

This one's like, eh. I think it's just embarrassing to walk up to someone and be like, hi, thanks for pouring out your soul and all, here's a quarter. Yeah, that's the point of busking, but still.

Anyway, after reading the article in my sunday post magazine yesterday, I was basically like, whatever. Joshua Bell may be hot, but he's no Great Zucchini.

Anonymous said...

There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog:
She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters... I thought you might find it interesting.

towwas said...

Here's the transcript of the Weingarten online chat:
Two of the questions are mine. Heh. But I am less annoyed by the article now that I've read the discussion.