“Iso” jumped into our train last night at Universal City and told us all he was doing his show. There was a slightly plaintive quality to the announcement, like he wished to assure he was offering quality and not some subway shakedown.
Then he fired up the boombox and subjected a captive audience to his energetic pastiche of karate moves and pole spinning.
As he was “dancing” I was thinking is it Iso or I So, as I so badass? Or is it “I? So…” Or, “I sow”? Or, “I sew”? Any one of these might have worked. If you told me he was going to take the two dollars he was given and run straight to a dealer, I wouldn’t be surprised. Just as readily if I were to learn two bucks would prize him a pair of sparkly pants for his audition to be one of Rihanna’s back up dancers, I would believe that as well.
The line between derelict and street performer is a narrow one. The line again between lifelong busker and employed artist is narrower still.
To this end, Jack Dishel, a Venice musician, hit upon the very inspired idea of a YouTube channel called :DRYVRS, wherein he has encounters with oddball rideshare drivers, played by celebrities. Ostensibly a comic short, each episode serves as a stealth vehicle for promoting his music.
Episode 1, starring Macaulay Culkin in a reprise of his Home Alone character went viral: 25,000,000 views.
Episode 2, starring Rosanna Arquette: 113,000 views.
Jack Dishel playing music on his channel, after being seen with Macauley Culkin : 4,000 views. That would be a retention rate of .00016. Or one out of every 6,250 viewers.
The series lasted two episodes.
“Iso” jumped off the train at Hollywood and Highland like he robbed a convenience store and disappeared into the crowd with his two dollars and his boombox.
At the Hollywood Bowl, Brian Setzer kicked off the show by telling us only 30 people came the first time the Orchestra played Sunset Boulevard, 25 years ago.
Since then he’s been perpetually touring, grinding it out with little variation to the set list, a hostage to his own success, dozens of families, musicians and crew, depending on the forever tour to pay the mortgage, the tuition, the grocery bill.
We were in the cheapest seats, by the upper terrace, and we swing danced as the music was meant for. Our footwork was …let’s just say we were in no danger of anyone tipping us for our performance. In the shadows of the pepper trees, we almost looked like we knew what we were doing. Which is to say we had fun, fun being the operative verb of indestructible music, cheap wine and moonlight.
Dancing is exhausting. I so left the Bowl with a little more respect for…Iso.