Keys to the filthy
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 00:10
The first time I saw a piano sitting in the middle of the 16th Street Mall, ripe for the playing, I was ecstatic.
You mean that the city paid to have pianos installed just for, like, anyone to come and play? There’s nothing in it for them—just art for the sake of art?
Get outta town.
But then I got closer. Things aren’t always as they seem.
Half of the keys were eaten away—gnawed on or torn apart by some type of mutant termite. The other half were stained with coffee and dirt and who knows what else. The keyboard was rife with disease.
I decided to give it a whirl anyways. That’s what I have an immune system for, right? I could knock the socks off of some passersby with some jazz. A minute of fun in exchange for influenza and a hand full of stitches seemed worth it at the time.
The sound emitted from the poor instrument’s soundboard was definitely something that’d knock your socks off, but not in a good way.
I’m guessing that the “Keys to the City” were donated, and then never looked after again. I’ve heard a three-year-old with better pitch.
It’s nice that the city cares about improving the overall attitude and cultural aesthetic of our streets—I just wish that it was done with a tad more attention and class.
But that’s the way of the world, I suppose. We’ll have to get our public music elsewhere.
For example, every Saturday night near California and 16th, you can hear an electric guitar jam session in the alleyway, or the homeless gentleman with a dog and long hair who plays Elton John covers on his beaten up guitar near 19th and Arapahoe.
If you’re ever in Boulder on Pearl Street, an older African American gentleman named Otto wanders around with his trumpet every once and a while, spewing the jazz of Miles Davis with a smile on his face.
When it’s played outside just for the sake of sharing the art, music is wonderful–if it isn’t done with disgusting and nearly destroyed instruments, that is.