Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The return of Violin Monster

Violin Monster, Ann Arbor's favorite werewolf mask wearing street musician migrated out of Michigan last fall. Who can blame him? Winter is probably not the best season for busking in Ann Arbor. Great news for all of you Violin Monster fans: he is currently on his way back from his travels around the country. Recently, I had the opportunity to conduct an email interview with Violin Monster. We talked about the highlights of his travels, why Michigan people are great and his secret return concert later this week. Here's what Violin Monster had to say:

BCB: Where have your travels taken you?

VM: The cities that I've traveled to and performed in include: Boston, New York, Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Memphis. I performed in New Orleans for the Mardi Gras festivities, as well as in Austin for the week long SXSW music festival.

Violin Monster in New Orleans. Photo by: Delary Harborth

BCB: It might be hard to choose a favorite place you visited, so what were some of your favorite places, and why?

VM: New Orleans was my top favorite place, and I spent the most time there. It has so many street performers and the city has embraced it as part of the culture. I made friends with other professional street performers who have been doing it for years, and some of them even decades. Among the new friends I made were magicians, a swamp man, a didgeridoo player, some fire spinners, puppeteers, and a transformer. Mardi Gras was a perfect opportunity for me to fiddle my tunes. The week leading up to it has parades every day, and the streets are filled with people looking to have a good time. There are beautiful backdrops that I played by, including Royal Street, Jackson Square, and in front of Cafe Du Monde. In addition to New Orleans being great for me to perform in, the architecture is simply stunning, there's a beautiful view of the Mississippi River, you can drink your strawberry daiquiri or beer or whatever else on the street, and there are 24 hour bar/laundromats. New Orleans has a budding film industry as well, so there's always a chance of walking by a movie set. I'm going to stop myself right there, before I write a whole travel guide.

Austin was my other favorite spot. It was my first time at SXSW, and it was purely awesome. Mardi Gras was great performance wise, but SXSW was probably even better. I had some fantastic audiences on 6th street, and there were so many photos, videos, and interviews taken of me that week. I've never been in an area with so many bands, musicians, music media, and industry people. It's really quite special. I'm going to come back to both Mardi Gras and SXSW every year.

Here are some other highlights real quick: In Boston I performed in Harvard Square, and my picture was taken for the Boston Globe. In New York, I fiddled on the subway platforms and charmed some children on the steps of the Met. In Los Angeles, I played in Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and at various farmer's markets around the city. I felt like a star performing on Hollywood Boulevard. In San Francisco I encountered a sketch crawl, and these talented artists sketched some beautiful drawings of me.

BCB: Sounds like you had some really awesome experiences on your trip. Did you meet many Michigan people on your travels?

VM: I did meet quite a few Ann Arborites and others from Michigan during my journey! I was always pleased, surprised, and filled with warm feelings when it happened. And of course, whenever they made it known that they were from Ann Arbor, I played "Hail to the Victors". I always wrote "traveling from Ann Arbor, Michigan" on my sign, so even U of M alums who have never seen me in Ann Arbor sometimes came up to me and chatted. Even more surprising were the people who saw me in multiple cities, not including Ann Arbor. I seem to be picking the right high-traffic spots to perform!

BCB: There are lots of great events coming up: Foolmoon, Festifools, Hash Bash,. Can we expect to see you at any of these?

VM: I'm doing a secret homecoming performance on in Ann Arbor on Friday. You can find out where it is by entering your email address here. You can definitely expect me to be back in Ann Arbor in the first week of April. ;)

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