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Back from vacation
April 23, 2008 - Bill Ackerbauer
I won't bore you with all the details of the little road trip my wife and I took with the kids last week. If you've seen the Chevy Chase "Vacation" movies, you can imagine what it was like (but no dogs or elderly aunts were injured, and instead of seeing Big Ben a hundred times, we did get lost in the Berkshires ("Look kids, a quaint village filled with antiques shops!").
We went to Boston one day to visit the New England Aquarium, and my kids got to experience the joys of subway travel on a hot day. I felt like "Charlie" in the Kingston Trio song, but my wife was with me on the train, so she couldn't "hand me a sandwich at quarter past two." And it cost a little more than a nickel ...
We walked through Quincy Market and saw a number of great street performers, which reminded me that, having performed at open-air venues myself, one of the great things about major cities is the free entertainment. Contrary to a common misconception, people who perform on the street for spare change are not beggars -- they are "buskers." It's an honorable tradition that dates back to ancient times, sort of like prostitution but less glamorous. According to the illustrious Ramblin' Jack Elliot, the word "busker" comes from the Spanish "buscar," which means "to search." There was never a more appropriately romantic etymology, if you ask me. Try typing the word "busker" into the search field on youtube.com sometime, and see what you get.
Here's my most recent contribution:
And here's another bit of video I shot last summer at RiverLink Park in Amsterdam. The performer, Bruce Molsky, is one of my old-time music heroes. In the clip, he's performing a banjo tune called "Wandering Boy."
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