Thursday, April 21
Play Me, I'm Yours | Austin TX April 1-May 1
April 1 pianos were placed all across Austin, installed by the Art Alliance Austin. Any one can play them. In big letters across each of the pianos are stickers proclaiming "PLAY ME, I'M YOURS"! I first encountered the one on the South First Pedestrian Bridge during my run and let me say it is impossible to not stop and listen for a while. For four or five days over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to sit a bit next to them.
Jenny Crook, project manager of installing the pianos pointed out it "helps to animate the public space and lifts the atmosphere to have music playing around the streets, something you don't normally hear." She couldn't be more right.
Strange things have happened while I'm hanging out by a piano. I sat down to play late one evening when hardly anyone was around and a gregarious soul walked up.
"Can I improvise words to a song while you're playing?" she asked.
"Sure!" I replied. I don't play that well anyway but I thought why not?
"Well, first we have to establish common ground" she said. "Have you ever had your heart broken?"
Perhaps I was speaking to a slightly inebriated soul (by the six pack of bud a few feet away) but we already had common ground--with all 6 of us on that hill-- and it was with the help of the piano: our love of music and the desire to express ourselves.
I didn't want to leave. I left before the others but the stars were bright and the moon was high. I never caught that Lovelie's name but the next night I sat out by the same piano hours earlier and this time a jazzy "Let it Be" was pounded out. I watched the sun set. My back was to the piano player and I didn't want to see who was playing. I just wanted to be in that moment. As abruptly as the music started, it stopped and a sweat-covered gentleman raced by me in running shoes and a messy head.
"Was that you?" I shouted after him. He turned around while still jogging,
"No! The beatles!" then laughed and ran off.
There are artists all around us. Each of us seeking common ground and a desire for our voice to be heard.
Surely Johnny Walker's vision and mission in bringing this art installation to Austin had already been fulfilled.
Thank you, Johnny.
To note: Should it start raining, there are huge sheets of plastic covering the back sides of the piano and rolled up on top, which could be used to cover it. ;)