Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nathaniel Ayers, Steve Lopez and a woven twist of Life


Life; as Shakespeare in his sonnets praise...

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.
Love is not love
Which alters when alteration finds

best foretells the life of two very different beings, whose lives suddenly had intertwined.

I was driving back home from work and as always, I listen to NPR(national public radio:www.npr.org) at 3 in the afternoon for Terry Gross' show " Fresh Air" and today I thought was rather mundane, with Terry not doing the show and another book to be discussed, reviewed and overviewed. I was wrong. Steve Lopez, a journalist of the L.A. times, who now writes mostly from Skid Row had the most amazing story I have ever heard this month. ( I hear mind-boggling stories often, anecdotes of ordinary heroes and ordinary miracles)But, this one episode is an exception for now. It was by accident that Mr. Lopez passed by a homeless guy, in his 50's playing music on his violin, tattered, old; two string violin. That was the ultimate clincher. As Steve described his amusement, the music from a two string violin is not as bad as 4 string violins must be and should be. Yes, it was rustic, probably there were off shoot notes but you hear it and its melody purely encrypted in what we may say in lay man's term, within the heart of a musical genius. The friendship began. Lopez the headstrong, tough paper writer and the black compassionate crooner of a Master Composer ( he plays his violin on one part of the street as he told Lopez, that he plays for the statue on the other side of the road which happens to be that of Beethoven)that is, Ayers. The story between these two surpass any precipice of boredom. Their constant meeting gets more interesting by the second as I traverse the bottle necked FDR Drive. My favorite parts were; when Ayers had to play at the Disney Hall designed by Frank Gehry and Lopez described it like a metal schooner on sail ( i so agree, the architect is a fluid virtuoso of concrete and steel), when Ayers called Itzhak Perlman a molten lava on strings and when the life of Ayers was being shot in film ( Jamie Foxx plays Ayers and Robert Downey Jr. as Steve Lopez)in Disney Hall; as Lopez picked up Ayers from the street to watch the highlight of the film being shot, with all these big stars in, Ayers chose to stay outside of Disney Hall and play his cello for he was just in this music that is in his head and he could not stop. Lopez crossed the street, talked to director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice) and became an audience to the soloist...which happens to be the title of this movie.
The Soloist is also Lopez's biography which profoundly details his life and that of Ayers as nature had her purpose of crossing their paths in perfect time. Ayers was once a student of the prestigious Juilliard School but had to leave on his 3rd year due to schizophrenia and thus spiraled into a life of doubt, mental apathy and turmoil, even depression to that of being homeless. In a way, Ayers almost drained the now big brother Lopez that he almost gave up on him. Thank God that Lopez did not.
The love of Lopez to his craft met a crossroad,tempted in choosing an easy path of venturing to another career. Ayers made him stay, it was Lopez's healing. Ayers helped him reflect on his inner purpose and greater calling. Writing was, is and will be Steve's maniacal vow with all its subtlety. As for Ayers, Steve professed that despite what we can all see as unstable and probably inherent aggravation related to his illness, Ayers' notes, his violin and cello street performances are the only things that keep him still and unchanged. Ayers' music stays and everyone will have a chance to listen to what his strings are saying. Be it only two.

Please visit this site to hear Ayers music on the street:

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