Sometimes You Just Say "Fuck It," Throw A Piano In the Back of A Truck, and Play Your Way Down To Panama
Dotan Negrin is a guy who plays piano out on the streets for money, but to say he's just another street performer is like saying Felix Baumgartner -- you know, that guy that jumped from the stratosphere back down to Earth last October -- is just another skydiver.
A couple of years ago, Negrin, a 26-year-old native New Yorker, sunk his life's savings (about $10,000) into a GMC box truck and an upright piano and hit the road for five months with his now-three-year-old Jack Russell/chihuahua mix, Brando, making his living entirely from playing piano in dozens of American cities.
Since then, he's done two more such road trips around America, and in about two weeks, he and Brando are planning to head out on their most ambitious trip yet -- a 10,000 mile journey from Manhattan to Panama. This time, he's bringing a cameraman along for the ride with the intention of putting footage together to pitch to TV networks for a travel show idea Negrin likens to Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, but featuring music instead of food. He's Kickstartering the project in the hopes of raising $10,000 to pay his cameraman and a post-production crew upon their return. He's close to his goal -- the project funding period goes until Monday morning -- but he's going through with the trip whether or not he makes that goal.
"Why do I do it?" says the gregarious Negrin, repeating the obvious question posed to him. "I was tired of living that ordinary lifestyle. I asked myself, 'Do I have to? Is this what life is about? I got out of college and now I have to do all these things that everybody tells me to do, and I have to do what everybody else is doing?' And I said fuck it, I really am tired of this, I want to do this and who cares? If nothing comes of it, I've had an amazing experience."