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December in San Diego

December brought several things my way... the days were filled with a show with #DuBAndDownWithTheBlues, #busking, car repairs, drum and guitar #practice, #Christmas, #openmic and getting to know San Diegans. There was a personal tragedy along the way but I guess I deserved it *eyeroll*

I had already bagged a featured slot at #710BeachBar and #TheLocalPB but the first day of December showed me #NorthPark and #QueenBeesArtAndCulturalCenter. Queen Bee's agreed to giving me another featured slot in January. So at just a couple weeks in town I was rockin' and rollin' as they say. North Park quickly became one of my favorite parts of town. Every time I busked there people responded with a different sort of joy.

The story is vague, but apparently COVID has something to do with shutting down a lot of #livemusic in the area. And regulations made it expensive to regain traction as a live venue. That's the story anyway. I definitely felt the thirst for art and music around there. This is the side of town where farmers markets, thrift shops, karaoke, bar-cades and small quaint restaurants dotted the main streets, yet many store fronts were closed and boarded among the high volume of visitors. I'm sure it's going to change a lot in the upcoming years.

Now, to mention the Seagull guitar...

#HumbleHeart in #OceanBeach had this treasure sitting front-and-center on the stage as I walked in the door. Only $380. I stopped mid-sentence as I asked: "Do you have an acoustic guitar with a cutaway- Much like the one on stage... Made by Seagull..."

And I went directly home to grab the cash to pay for it. I was absolutely overjoyed! I have told my friends for a long time how I remembered playing a Seagull and still wanted one of my own. I estimate wanting one of these for 15 years.

It's not because they are a luxury guitar. It's not because someone famous uses Seagull. It is just a good guitar for a good price. And I have needed an upgrade for a long time. Mixed with the feelings of being out-of-town and on an adventure, this was a perfect #relic of the time.

One step back for honorable mentions: Donnie. What a cool cat. I got to hang with him a little bit here and there through December and Jan. I won't forget ya my man!

So I headed to #Tucson to play at #ThunderCanyonBrewery December 4 with Trevor, DuB and Alexi. Some highlights of the show are here:

It was a bangin' show. As a Sunday usually is an opportunity to show up for the regulars, we did it. The sound guy and the other rappers on stage killed the night. I arrived to Tucson by bus and got a little time to see portions of town I hadn't seen in a previous visit. I'm officially sold on the idea that Tucson is a place for #artists and #entertainers.

Again, a bangin' time. Here's more pics.

Note the #SeagullGuitar. Man, that guitar made it so easy to rip on the highest frets.

Yeah, well, I finally made it back to the bus and headed home via LA.

You may have heard the story - my guitar was left on the bus. I can only blame myself. It was a long bus ride and I really didn't keep my wits about me.

I definitely brooded for a week or so and then put my eye to Facebook marketplace. this #Cort guitar stood out for $300 used. I took it. It's a good guitar. I honestly believe I got a better deal on this Cort guitar than on the Seagull. But it still makes me sick to think I let something I was so excited about slip away.

I guess it will have to remain a fond memory. I don't think I want another Seagull guitar. I want to one I found at Humble Heart.

Well, back to the grind of the new California scene... I had some raw tracks to finish up with Allen at Pacific Beat. So I went back December 12 to lay final vocal takes and get my finished mixes.

The rest of the month was more open mics, busking, adventuring, and time with my Mom and family.

I must force myself to split the month of December into two parts. Next installment will pick up on December 16th.

Altogether, this lands me at the 1-month-mark of San Diego. This time was full of both encouraging and discouraging days. I saw support and kindness all over the San Diego area. The love of music is ubiquitous in Ocean Beach, North Park, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach... and on.

Here is a small thought I'd like to leave this post with...

There is a difference between "Panhandling with a guitar" and "Busking."

But what is the difference? I don't think it's the gear. I don't think it's the skill level or the song choices.

It's the #intention.

Every time I went out busking, certainly I hoped I would receive some sort of compensation. But the compensation could have been a new friend, a dollar or two, or some dedicated practice time and experimentation. "Busking" is an act of "everything is everything". One does not busk for one purpose... to make money... THAT is panhandling... One busks as an act of guerrilla art, to pursue and hone their art, to expose themselves to the full spectrum of uncertainty in a street corner. It's what the bible calls "Tell it on the mountain".

It invites interflow between art and onlooker. It breaks up insulation. Life and culture is surely getting more complicated by the day, and to me, the busker that brings his art to a street corner or city block is providing a mirror to the walkers and drivers. The blur of car sounds and street noise is not often regarded with admiration. Nor the smells. What if someone, in the midst of man-made chaos, gave of their joy freely? Is it categorically intrusive? Would you listen freely and accept that joy? Would you feel pressured that this person wants money or a compliment? Would you feel guilty that you did not give one of these?

If I rearranged the air's vibrations into something passionate and intentional... not a collateral by-product like the smog of an engine but a direct application of the things that bring me joy... would you accept that I was doing it in beautiful honesty or would you believe I was noisier than the bus driving by or the homeless squabbling over a cigarette?

I ask you to engage with a street performer someday. Ask them about their story. If they accept your short conversation as a fair trade then you are talking with an artist, a busker. Art simply wants to be seen. There is a deeper message than "Give me your money".

Art asks, "Do you see me? Do you understand me? Do you feel me?"

And if I answer yes to any of those questions, I think the artist deserves a dollar.

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