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Books // Busking History, Culture & Life // Part #1

1. Bowen, James // 2013 // A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life
Thomas Dunne Books (July 30, 2013)
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James is a street musician struggling to make ends meet.
Bob is a stray cat looking for somewhere warm to sleep.
When James and Bob meet, they forge a never-to-be-forgotten friendship that has been charming readers from Thailand to Turkey.
When street musician James Bowen found an injured cat curled up in the hallway of his apartment building, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London, barely making enough money to feed himself, and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet James couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent but very sick animal, whom he named Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining that he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.

2. Campbell, Patricia J. // 1981 // Passing the hat: Street performers in America
Delacorte Press; First Printing edition (1981)
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Discusses buskers in a number of cities, focusing on their reasons for street performing; the dedication, skill, and discipline required to develop an act; and unpleasantries with hasslers and the law.

3. Cohen, David; Greenwood, Ben // 1981 // Buskers: History of Street Entertainment
David & Charles (July 30, 1981)
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not available

4. Flynn, Jim // 2009 // Sidewalk Saints: Life Portraits of the New Orleans Street Performer Family
Curbside Press
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New Orleans street performers entertain for millions each year. With the sidewalks as their stage, they serve as ambassadors for their city's rich cultural heritage and a defiant symbol of the struggle to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Photojournalist Jim Flynn spent two years documenting the lives of fifty of the French Quarter's finest street entertainers. Each story is told in the performer s own voice, creating the feel of an intimate conversation.

5. Harrison-Pepper, Sally // 2010 // Drawing a Circle in the Square: Street Performing in New York's Washington Square Park
University Press of Mississippi (January 20, 2010)
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This gratifying study of a phenomenon that has imprinted itself upon the folklore of big--city life, is a joyful book focusing upon the street performers in Washington Square Park in New York City.
While documenting the complex expressions of street performance in a specific outdoor environment over a period of four years, Drawing a Circle in a Square gives a broad examination to the relationship between outdoor performance and urban culture.
In this book we learn that most American cities prohibit street performance, charging such entertainers with vagrancy or soliciting, the performer--joyfully, cautiously, heroically--persists.
On sidewalks throughout the country, in theaters reduced to their barest essentials, the performer juggles, blows fire, performs magic, and tells jokes, appealing both to our sense of humor and to our longing for a moment of spontaneity in our city--structured lives.
Drawing a Circle in a Square is the first scholarly documentation and analysis of street performance. Based primarily upon original research, it makes a contribution that is as much toward a particular subject. Promoting the study of performance as an important and valuable vehicle for inter-disciplinary research and thought, it is a model of the kinds of research being developed in the emerging field of performance studies.

6. Kole, Heidi // 2009 // The Subway Diaries
Bohemiantheapy Music LLC; First Edition edition (September 30, 2009)
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Heidi leads you on a guided tour through a subterranean world peopled by creative artists and sidewalk visionaries. Down winding tunnels and across gritty subway platforms, through her writing, both gritty and raw, she introduces you to an unforgettable cast of characters, not the least of whom is Heidi herself; a Renaissance woman, free spirit, and fearless adventurer in a world that millions pass through, but few know well. She takes you underground,where the music is the heartbeat of New York City. The chapters are informal, intimate diary entries, reading like a movie, jotted down at midnight after long sessions underground, so the book is a vivid and captivating read, like a breathless ride on the uptown express.
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