"What started this summer with 60 pianos as part of a public-art exhibition in New York City has expanded into downtown Iowa City and, just recently, even the south-central Kansas town of Hutchinson"
Apparently the Larryville piano is getting some use. Assistant manager Joe Cottin says: "“We’ve had people who can play full concertos and whatnot, playing them all the way through...We’ve also had people playing ‘Chopsticks.’ Little kids play while their parents shop. Kids from the junior high stop by on their way home from school."
Chip: "I stopped by recently to offer a performance of Forttt Scottt's favorite drinking songs, all of them absolutely filthy. And I ran away when the cops were called."
According to the article, there is also talk of installing public pianos downtown as well. We certainly hope so, as we'd love to see Larryville's hobos gather to lead us all in a sing-a-long of their favorite train songs.
As we noted last week, downtown merchants are joining forces to combat panhandlers with a new campaign. Are Larryville's hobo-loving progressives mad about this? You bet they are! In an LJ-World editorial today, Richard Sullivan offers a wonderfully indignant piece of purple prose (titled "A Little Boycott" by the LJ-World) as he vows to launch his own boycott of downtown merchants. Here's a bit of it:
"We could choose to let our homeless nomads remind us of the broader illusion we all would prefer to hide in these days, of the consequences of war and capitalism run amok and what being a community really means. For me, Lawrence has been an oasis amid a seething Kansas, a place of vibrant, artistic grit. Today, it feels more like a peeling, faded mural that once proudly celebrated its diversity. So, in honor of this season’s communal spirit, I hereby revoke my charity — to the downtown merchants."
Chip: "When I accuse this town of being full of 'artistic grit,' I do NOT mean it in a positive fashion."
Richard: "Sullivan is right. Let's repaint that mural, meaning ourselves (I think?), and quit seething against the noble nomads. But how does this connect to war? I think I got lost somewhere in that righteous indignation."
The annual KJHK Farmer's Ball kicks off tomorrow at the Jackpot. Which band is the LC endorsing? Well, this could change, but right now we're going with Radar Defender, largely because their influences (via Myspace) are pretty hip ("Pixies, Swirlies, My bloody Valentine, autolux, Jesus Mary chain, Breeders") and because we like their album cover.
We'll consider other contenders later this week.
In the meantime, go here and familiarize yourselves with Radar Defender: