Street fair as shaggy dog story

IMG_0858IMG_0819dog watching jazz pajq varsity IMG_0891dogdaymusicThe Weekly baited me into telling them how I really feel. Surprise, surprise. I almost never do this: I would say this is the cultural equivalent of government surplus cheese. It’s nice that the police got paid some overtime, however, if the musicians did not. By the way, First Amendment permits all Palo Altans to gather, sing, play, make music or noise up to a certain decibel limit, every day, all day, with few exceptions. Other than using an amplifier during business hours, which might distract the guys managing billion dollar hedge funds nearby, that is, at Lytton Plaza. By the way, whatever happened to our summer music in the parks serie? We have such nice parks, we should make better use of them. I would book some reggae and samba bands, with decent sound systems, into Heritage Park, Cogswell Plaza and Johnson Park playing all day and into the night (9-ish) for two or three days, and that would be a World Music Fest. Oddly, as we walked back home, even after an enjoyable couple hours, we were relieved to escape the din — most of those people are not used to playing in the streets and had really crappy sound systems. Palo Alto Jazz Quintet at 456 University had my heart skipping a beat in anticipation that someone with a clue would unlock the gorgeous courtyard of the historic and beloved theatre but that is too hip for organizers. Even letting Umami put a couple tables out in the vacant sidewalk (where Waverly t-bones into Uni) would have been a nice little touch, but no, Alo the manager said the City nixed this idea. Rupa Marya, a Casti grad who leads a world music band, would gladly play this event if someone would raise even the tiniest honorarium – -she’s never played here. She was holding the date the first year of this event but organizers wanted to hold the line on only unpaid musicians, like in France.

I think there should be a class-action suit in which anyone who has signed up and played this event, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 or yesterday should be retroactively paid $75 per service for individuals and $150 per group, which is union minimum for musicians. Why should starving artists work for free to support the spoiled and overpaid and greedy downtown landlords? One of these days the citizens of Palo Alto, artists and otherwise, organized around a variety of overlapping agendas, will take back the streets quite spontaneously, and with better music and more dancing. Much more dancing. In terms of a suit, the City, Downtown Business Association, The Rec Foundation or even the organizer as an individual are likely enough, deep pocketed enough and culpable for such. Friends of Lytton Plaza not sure they actually exist but as individuals maybe you could tap them too. Or as my friend Corey Harris, the Genius Grant laureate, say: If you don’t keep your culture along come many vultures


That’s great that the Weekly photographer caught Dave Hydie at Lytton Plaza Sunday — he was not actually part of the official state-sponsored event but was merely holding his ground against the heathen incursion. He is the one I am alluding to who was banned from playing Lytton Plaza 9-to-6 weekdays so as not to bother the hedge fund manager in the loud-mouth developer’s building.

If you don’t who gonna do it for you If you don’t stop crying these blues If you don’t put up a fight if not you then who

If you don’t who gonna do it for you
If you don’t stop crying these blues
If you don’t put up a fight
if not you then who


Posted by Frank, a resident of Barron Park
9 hours ago

@Mark Weiss – Boy, way to be a wet blanket on what is a nice event. Must everything be something to complain about?



Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North
0 minutes ago

Mark Weiss is a registered user.
Responding to “Frank” of Barron ParkSpeak truth to power with love.When they came for the underpaid street musicians I did nothing because I was not an underpaid street musician…

I did like: Palo Alto Jazz Quintet, Gaby Castro, Hannah May Allison, people with their dogs, the weather, Dave Hydie who performs often at Lytton Plaza not registered for this event but playing his normal place anyhow, and being pictured above by Nick V of the PAW, my burger at Umami which we ate outdoors within earshot of PAJQ.

I generally stop and listen for a song or two to street musicians, and encourage musicians of all walks of life to keep on keeping on.

I worked on this event the first year. Maybe that’s sour grapes or something, but in my opinion Claude Ezran is not much of a leader and not fit to hold elective office here, but voters can certainly make their own choices in November.

Maybe I have an axe to grind, which reminds me of a Bob Marley song about small axe and big tree.

My girlfriend thought they should have swept the streets before the festival. Too much trash and debris.

edit to add: Doris Williams, a Stanford music grad who specializes in Celtic Music and was part of the show Sunday, saw my comments and we eventually caught up by phone, to scheme about how to build on this event, perhaps with a nooner series at Lytton Plaza, underwritten by the Palo Alto Downtown Business Association, whose 700 or so members pay between $50 and $500 each so they would have a vested interest in bringing quality programming to downtown and especially Lytton Plaza. Not sure what happened to the word I was told about a local sponsor stepping forward to bring back Brown Bag shows to Cogswell Plaza.

I also post a bit, words and photos, about Hannah May Allison: “Hannah may Hannah will.” Succeed I mean. I have a track record.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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