From Skid Row to Disney Hall
October 9, 2005 9:13 AM   Subscribe

"I haven't been in a concert hall in 4 billion years". Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, 54, had been excited about an invitation to see the Los Angeles Philharmonic in action at Disney Hall. "The anticipation is horrible". He'd started showering daily at a shelter, to gussy himself up as much as possible. Nathaniel was a music student more than 30 years ago at the Juilliard School when he suffered a breakdown. Today, as he continues to battle the schizophrenia that landed him on skid row, he plays violin and cello for hours each day in downtown Los Angeles, lifting his instruments out of an orange shopping cart on which he has written: "Little Walt Disney Concert Hall — Beethoven." After the Philharmonic's rehearsal, Ayers has played Disney Hall -- the real one, this time. Without the bow at first, picking the strings with his right hand, Bach's Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude. Several Philharmonic staffers heard the music and wandered over, peering in to see a man of the streets, tattered and elegant, close his eyes and drift into ecstasy.
posted by PenguinBukkake (14 comments total)
The same story is here
posted by PenguinBukkake at 9:36 AM on October 9, 2005

poignant and beautiful story
posted by seawallrunner at 9:44 AM on October 9, 2005

Loved this. Thanks.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:34 PM on October 9, 2005

Thank you!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:39 PM on October 9, 2005

I was happy to read this -- and I need about 50 more of these stories to clear my head after the last 3-4 months of news.
posted by thanotopsis at 2:50 PM on October 9, 2005

posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 3:55 PM on October 9, 2005

This is very cool. Thanks!
posted by gaspode at 4:02 PM on October 9, 2005

thanks, penguin--can't they give him a job there or something? bring him in somehow?
posted by amberglow at 7:54 PM on October 9, 2005

Will we ever find a cure or treatment for schizophrenia, how long will it take? It occurs so frequently and steals so much from us.
posted by zarah at 9:34 PM on October 9, 2005

Philly misses Steve Lopez.
posted by coolgeek at 10:49 PM on October 9, 2005

Philly misses Steve Lopez.

Yeah, sorry. But in L.A. somedays we just don't know what we'd do without Steve Lopez. You can always go online and read his columns from Lousiana and Mississippi (including the response to the people who chided him for not rescuing the dogs), or his review of Crash, or his interviews last spring with L.A.'s mayoral candidates. He kept me sane through that whole thing.

I know he was good in Philly and all. But we NEED him in Los Angeles.
posted by judlew at 2:16 AM on October 10, 2005

Absolutely fantastic.
posted by I Love Tacos at 10:44 AM on October 10, 2005

zarah: Modern antipsychotics are actually very good; this guy may be untreated.
posted by abcde at 5:06 PM on October 10, 2005

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