Unannounced, I went busking in my usual spot in uptown Charlotte. The corner of Trade and College streets, in the shadow of the Epicentre, just across from the Ritz. Unannounced because I didn’t want fans and friends turning up. Sorry, gang: I wanted the feel of pulling my own crowd, gathering disinterested souls and entertaining them ‘cold’.
In court earlier this week, the attorney for the other side sneered at my art, my career, and my means of income. Condescending questions were asked about the ‘hidden cash’ I earned ‘regularly’. Snide comments were offered about my character and my life. She was trying to make me upset, I think. Sorry, Babe … performing on the street for so many years thickened my skin, and nobody runs the entertainment hustle like I do in this city. You just made me smile, recalling all the lessons my sidewalk theater taught me. One of those is: don’t get mad at the petty insults hurled by those frustrated by their own inadequacies. Rise above. I did, and I handed you a definitive loss.
I digress. Sorry.
Inspired by the events of the week, I tucked my table under my arm and went to set up shop. The night was crisp, but not unpleasant. I created spectacle. I gathered the people, danced with them, let them fill my hat and sent them off into the night … changed, smiling, happier than when we met. I did good work.
Charlotte is my beloved hometown, and everything I became was birthed here. I love the people, I love the buildings … especially some that have been removed for ‘renovation’ … and I love the feel of this wonderful, shining jewel. I recognize her faults, but I love her anyway. So I gave her, her citizens, and her guests my very best. Especially last evening. I did my card tricks, yes, but I put my art and my heart right out on display and offered pieces for them to take home. Streetlight for spotlight, passing cars for background music.
I stayed for an hour or so; the hats filled, the air rang with gasps, laughter, and applause … and I was once again truly happy in my home. I took the cash I made and gave it to the humans asking for some of it on the way back to my car. Emptied my pockets. My pay was greater than mere money.
So, goodnight. Thank you to the Charlotte streets that shaped me. Thank you to the thousands i had the pleasure to work for. I’m off in search of new horizons, but I will never, ever forget you, Charlotte.
I love you, and I hope there is always love where you are.