Why I Love Decatur, Part 1

Part of the beauty of working on the Decatur Square is the entertainment. Not only from the town crazies, as that is another blog post entirely. No, today I speak of the eccentric street corner musicians and performing artists livening up our lives on a daily basis.

Right now for instance, a man outside my window is playing a saxophone. A second ago he was playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and I can’t be entirely sure, but I think he’s just transitioned into a rousing renition of the “the Muppet Show” theme. It’s oddly and pleasantly calming background music at lunch time.

At other times you’re apt to find one of a handful of local guitar players who regularly serenade shoppers and patrons of the Brick Store Pub – one of which I consider the official town troubadour of Decatur – or as of late a lone drummer who has been playing the bongos up on the plaza, joined by someone from a local dance company performing with a bow staff.

There’s also a preacher out on the bandstand, usually on Thursdays, whose booming, echoing voice can be heard across the square to our office. Whether he is trying to save lost souls passing by or practicing for a sermon I’ve never been able to figure out. Some days he draws a crowd. Some days he just paces back and forth, preaching to the empty park benches. Either way, his enthusiasm never wanes.

Then there are the self-professed 21st century beatniks who gather for open mic nights on Sundays, their spoken word performances broadcast loudly from Java Monkey, a coffee house on Church Street. (The boy and I had our first date at one of these poetry slams.) It’s interesting to hear someone bare their soul to a full crowd at night, then see them doing odd jobs around town or slinging pizza orders at Mellow Mushroom during the day. It makes one feel like a bit of a voyeur.

Guess that’s what you get when you’re surrounded by music venues, playhouses, and dance studios. Performers. We’ve got ourselves quite a little cast of characters. God, I love it here.

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