Now with special sauce.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Play Me, I'm Yours!

I was born in what was to become The MTV Generation I was a little late for the explosive freedom and liberation of revolutionary changes in the 60's and 70's where music was taken out into the streets uniting people for causes beyond the concert stadiums. I was a child of the 80's and listened to music made on synthesizers and very large computers. Madonna and Whitney Houston were my heros and banana clips were my friends. Somehow though, as I aged, it did not take me long to realize that the music I truly love is that of the 30's and 40's. Of course I can appreciate modern music but I am certain I was born in the wrong era. I long for the days when a party meant everyone gathering 'round the piano and singing some rousing tunes. I feel strange that I know how songs like THIS...

was once a pop hit!

So it should come as no surprise that when I heard about "Play Me, I'm Yours", an art installation of pianos randomly distributed throughout Manhattan and many outer boroughs for New Yorkers to see, play, and enjoy, I was anxious to find some!

I had little idea just how cool it would be when I found one. The first I encountered was at Columbus Circle just behind the huge statue this past Wednesday. I got so giddy! I sat down to wait for the friend I was meeting and listened to the man playing the piano.

Everyone watching him was smiling and enjoying this just as much as I! When I thought about finding one of these I was hoping someone might be playing a song I knew and I might feel inspired to hop up and sing along. Instead, I was stunned as a sort of scroungy older man in the audience (who could have passed for homeless) hopped up and ran over after the other man left and started ticklin' those ivories! The crowd sat full of smiles as we enjoyed his tune, when a woman with a stroller carrying two babies wheeled over next to me. She pushed her babies towards myself and an older woman beside me saying hurriedly, "Would you mind watching them for a moment while I play?" Of course we agreed and she ran over and sat down only to play the most brilliant and challenging song we had heard just yet! "Oh MY!!!" giggled the older woman next to me as she started a round of applause! I watched as one of her babies repeatedly attempted to pull himself out of his slumber. I wondered whether he recognized his mom's tune. On she went only to be replaced by a tourist with bag from the M&Ms store. I was really considering jumping in but the only thing I thought I might be able to play was the Oscar Meyer Wiener song, and decided against it. It was then that my friend met me and we had to proceed with our day. I still want to find myself at another one of these pianos and sing some old standards just to have that experience out on a street somewhere, but wow is this public art incredible! We move to this city to be near this type of energy yet so many of us wrap ourselves into our solitary cocoons with earbuds and our own agenda. We steer clear of the "touristy" areas that initially drew us to this city and grumble at the crowds. I love when someone places something like this in our way and I watch as we come back out of our shells, and smile, and laugh, and connect...the way we were born to do. So get out there and find yourself a piano!

“Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram who has been touring the project globally since 2008.

From 9am-10pm each day, 60 pianos will be available to play across New York City. Presented by Sing for Hope they are located in public parks, streets and plazas the pianos will be available until 5th July for any member of the public to play and engage with.

Be sure to check out the "Play Me, I'm Yours" NYC site for more information, locations on the pianos (including Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island!) and to post pictures/stories/videos of piano sightings!

And to you fellow artists out there who are looking for ways to volunteer, I am excited to learn more about the folks presenting this art along with Luke Jerram, Sing for Hope. Go check out ways you can get involved as well!

*****Update*****I finally got to play my wiener the middle of Times Square to a smattering of applause! (6/26/10)


scorwitz said...

That's why I still hang out in all the most touristy areas. I love the excitement.