News Column

Memory lapse sparks another proclamation reclamation

June 10, 2014

By Doug Clark, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.



June 10--That new Tom Cruise movie, "Edge of Tomorrow," may not be so farfetched after all.

That's the one where Cruise keeps reliving this horrifying encounter with dangerous aliens over and over again.

My Monday night attempt to pick up a mayoral proclamation for Spokane Street Music Week was dÉj... voodoo all over again, too.

The 12th annual fundraiser benefiting Second Harvest food bank kicked off Monday. The live music and fun continues during the noon hours through Friday on the sidewalks of downtown Spokane, the Garland District and, for the first time ever, Coeur d'Alene.

But just like 2012, my pal Jim Lyons and I motored over to the West Central Community Center to face space creatures who -- after assuming the guise of City Council members -- were holding a Town Hall meeting.

A few minutes prior to the meeting's 6 p.m. start, an embarrassed look washed over the face of Council President Ben Stuckart.

He had forgotten to bring our proclamation to the Town Hall gathering.

"Again?" muttered an amused City Councilman Mike Fagan.

Yes, again -- just like in 2012.

And so with the clock ticking, Lyons and I did what we did two years ago.

We dictated some semi-serious verbiage that Stuckart cobbled together into something vaguely resembling a proclamation.

Finally, the meeting began.

Time for Stuckart to deliver his manifesto.

And just like before, it was all Lyons and I could do to keep from wetting ourselves.

"Whereas, I like to panic Doug Clark and, whereas, I left the proclamation at City Hall," stated Stuckart.

"And heretofore, Jim Lyons is an amazing cool guy, I, Mayor David Condon proclaim this week, June 9-13, Spokane Street Music Week."

"Hey, I didn't review that," objected Condon from his seat in the audience.

You won't hear me complaining.

This year's opening day of Street Music Week was a glorious symphony of blue skies and warm sunshine that drew good-hearted performers.

In the Lake City, for example, lunch-hour pedestrians were entertained by the music of Dr. Phil & The Enablers.

Now that's a band name.

Playing blues and classic rock, the trio includes two doctors, Phil Kladar and Joe Bowen, plus a pastor, Geoff Rinehart.

Downtown Spokane drew a mix of about 40 newcomers and familiar faces.

Guitarists. A jazz sax man. Young fiddlers. Bluegrass pickers and grinners....

The idea is the same at every location. Buskers put out their red collection buckets and performed to raise money for Second Harvest food bank.

The key to street music success?

"Make eye contact and connect with the moving audience," said Tommy Gantt, who stopped by to soak in the scene.

Gantt, who performs under the stage name "Tommy G," is a street music fixture in downtown Spokane.

He's the real deal, a polished singer and guitar player, who performs several days a week mostly near the main entrance of River Park Square. Gantt said he can average about $40 an hour, but the money is secondary to his love for his craft.

"I can change somebody's day by just making eye contact and smiling at somebody," he said.

Filling downtown with music is what I had in mind when I started Street Music Week as a solo guitar act back in 2003.

Gantt, 48, started working as street performer about five years after that and quickly found a calling.

"I want to be an ambassador for street music," he said. "The city definitely needs it."

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or dougc@spokesman.com.

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Source: Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)