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Joshua Bell social experiment

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by Phoenix, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Phoenix

    Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    ...referenced in another thread here, about the virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell posed as a street musician outside a DC metro station...


    Well, I found the full article at The Washington Post. Utterly amazing read, I thought. Very long, but very good.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

    The full audio of the performance by Bell is here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2007/04/09/VI2007040900536.html


    There is a reference towards the end of the article about a shoeshine woman in the mall. Well, I work just down the street from where that that mall is, in DC, and in fact go through the L'Enfant metro every day to/from work. I've seen that shoeshine woman before, but never spoken to her. Today, after reading the article, I went there, saw her, and talked to her:

    I said, “You must be Edna.” She replied, “How did you know that?” I answered, “Well, I was reading an article from The Washington Post and your name was mentioned…” and before I could really go any further, she says, “Ah….yes…the violin guy, right?” :)

    That was all four years ago (come January anyway), and she instantly remembered and knew what I must be talking about...



    The clip from the article mentioning Edna starts out as:

    Edna Souza is from Brazil. She's been shining shoes at L'Enfant Plaza for six years, and she's had her fill of street musicians there; when they play, she can't hear her customers, and that's bad for business. So she fights.


    Souza points to the dividing line between the Metro property, at the top of the escalator, and the arcade, which is under control of the management company that runs the mall. Sometimes, Souza says, a musician will stand on the Metro side, sometimes on the mall side. Either way, she's got him. On her speed dial, she has phone numbers for both the mall cops and the Metro cops. The musicians seldom last long.
    What about Joshua Bell?



    He was too loud, too, Souza says. Then she looks down at her rag, sniffs. She hates to say anything positive about these damned musicians, but: "He was pretty good, that guy. It was the first time I didn't call the police."
    Souza was surprised to learn he was a famous musician, but not that people rushed blindly by him. That, she said, was predictable. "If something like this happened in Brazil, everyone would stand around to see. Not here."




    I found all of this amazing because not long ago, as I was coming up L'Enfant Plaza escalator out of the metro, a musician was playing beautiful music, and playing it expertly, and I instantly recognized it as one of Kitaro's electronic pieces. I stood there until he had finished, utterly engrossed. Work was forgotten. I walked up to him after he was finished and simply said, "I love Kitaro." and then put a sizable donation in his case. His eyes were so lit up and the smile was so huge...as if he couldn't believe anybody else knew what in the world he had been playing.
  2. Faerluna

    Faerluna I'm Complicated

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    Great article, and the audio is brilliant, even with the background noise of the station.

    It is very easy to tell that he is no random musician. I guess it's easier to know that when you are familiar with how difficult it is to master the violin. I play the violin and I was a good orchestral player, but my instrument would never sound like that in my hands.

    Just wow.
  3. CliffnMesquite

    CliffnMesquite Well-Known Member

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    I heard of this quite a while back. I would probably stop and listen for a moment the keep going.
  4. SaltwaterServr

    SaltwaterServr Blank Paper Offends Me

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    That was awhile back.

    If you have any love of the violin, check out the movie "The Red Violin". Not kid safe, but Joshua Bell plays the landowner that gets the violin from the gypsies. He plays a few pieces, including on in the nude, simulating sex, without a stunt double.

    Also, the reaction that Samuel L. Jackson has when hearing it played for the first time is a brilliant piece of acting. Simply brilliant.

    The story is great as well. Probably one of those movies you'll wish you have seen earlier, once you see it.

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