Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Adventure of 22 Pianos Part 1

A passing comment on Facebook about an experiential art project in NYC by Luke Jerram led to a spontaneous visit to Lancaster PA this weekend.  I haven't seen Dawn in about 20 years, and we met in Lancaster to find and play 20 pianos currently in public places. (And... it seems... to eat some fantastic food and stay in a really cool hotel!)

Piano #1

We started at Lancaster Arts Hotel with our first piano.  Unfortunately, there is a loudspeaker above the piano piping jazz 24/7... so it is not a piano that is fun to play... but it's there in bold pink and black.  It is sheltered under the Hotel's entrance.  We started at 11 Saturday morning with this one... and a few hats and scarves... (and a wonderful nine year old photographer!)
 Piano #2

We found the second piano at the Northwest Corridor Linear Park... which has more name than park really.  This one was covered with a tarp and when we unearthed it we found that it was lavender with collage elements in a pop art style and parts of the art had vanished (it used to have great big eyes.)

Piano #3

The next piano was in another park and it was non-functional. Nothing happened when you touched the keys. Nothing happened when you napped on the keys... or put your foot on them...
Nothing happens if you stand on it even...   so we played with the bronze children instead.

Piano #4
We had trouble finding piano #4 so we visited a shop nearby and they told us it had been removed.

There were 20 and then there were 19. Bummer.  So we paused for a moment of silence at  The Fractured Prune, and since we were already there, we thought a drink might be nice. I saw "black widow" on the menu and knew I must try whatever-it-was!  THEN they dropped some dough in the oil... (bless their genius hearts!!)  I turned to Dawn and told her that they were making my donut right this very moment! They dipped it in raspberry glaze and then in crushed oreo cookies.
 I had wondered off to find a seat and I hear "black widow?"  "That would be me!" I said, and went to retrieve this little marvel.  It was piping hot, I cut it and shared it around the piano group and it was one of the most amazing things I've ever eaten.  It was hot, *FRESH!* and the raspberry chocolate combo was perfection.  The "All that Razz" smoothie was also made after I ordered it, and while it didn't have the wow factor of the donut... it was delicious and refreshing. 

So... armed with new strength to carry on... we went looking for:

Piano #5

Piano 5 was the "Music for Everyone" piano (thus the MFE on the front.) It was a little extra grand in back...
Here is our photographer showing us it's pink tulle skirt. 
So... I pulled out my grandest outfit:
And Dawn pulled out her flute and we played for a while.
We stepped away for a moment and this guy stopped to play a tune.  That wasn't the least bit unusual.  As we traveled the city we often found the pianos in use by people of all skill levels.  I was really struck by the way a public piano invites interaction.  And since I've been a long term piano player, and I've played and sang with street musicians... I've always been jealous because my instrument wasn't one that could be packed in the trunk of my car like a guitar or flute... but this time... the piano was standard equipment... needing only a musician. And anyone can be a musician for a moment!
Somewhere in there we discovered an antique store complex with lots of great stuff that was new and artsy or old and cool.  We paused for a brief (uh... at least an hour) visit with all the beautiful things!  Including earrings made with parts from the hardware store by B. B. Bellezza. 
And since I bought a bunch of stuff to make jewelry with at the hardware store also... I thought B. B. Bellezza had some really cool ideas!

Happy Trails,
-Carmen Rose


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed our little city and the pianos! Thanks for mentioning my earrings at Building Character, too!

    Definitely come back anytime! :)

  2. Wondering where you ended up for lunch? It was a pleasure to wait on you at Building Character and hear about your visit to our city. Hope you enjoyed it!

  3. Hey sounds like you guys had a great time.. only thing next time call me.. I want to go to .. love you both
    Mary wilborn


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