man with a dog, a piano and a dream @pianoxamerica


we were on our way to Meet up With Friends on sunday when we noticed a crowd gathering not far from Dean & Deluca

a queue/line gathering for some demonstration of culinary skill? – we wondered.

or a particularly good batch of baguettes from France?

actually it was a piano man.

not the original piano man 

but indeed a very original man – with a piano (and a dog called Brando).

and a dream.

Piano Across America is the story of a pianist named Dotan Negrin and his dog, Brando, as they travel across the United States with an upright piano in a truck. Fed up with working towards someone else’s dream, Dotan decided to leave home in pursuit of his own dream: to travel, make music, and meet people. From Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, this piano man travels to great length to bring people together through the power of his music. What started as a trip to develop his skills on the piano, evolved into a movement that inspired people to fulfill their own dreams.

Dotan was friendly and charming (and has a simply beautiful voice) and Brando was very Perky and played Awfully Well to the crowd as he tottered up and down the top of the upright piano most winningly in almost a Baby June sort of a way (without the curls and frocks of course).

there was something magical about coming across the piano man. The way he drew the crowd to him on a sunday afternoon. The smiles and head nods and pausing-for-a-moment on the way-to-somewhere they’d probably forgotten as soon as Dotan started playing and Brando gave us a whimsical bark.

what a lovely thing to do.

probably born out of frustration for the world-of-work (he is a young person and the future for young people is clearly not what it was) and so he Took To The Open Road – in a truck, with a piano, and a dog, and a desire to connect.

it’s all about the stories – the people he meets – the stories they tell him – as we watched him for a few moments we noticed how people just had to tell him how much they admired him for Taking Off and Exploring the world (America, so far, but we can see him taking that truck onto a large cruise ship at some point and heading for the Southern Hemisphere to sing, play and gather up stories).

he takes his adventures where he finds them – like stepping up when an artist needed to get his large paintings to Miami and Dotan said “Miami? great!” and he loaded them into the truck and headed to the land of beaches and slow afternoons watching the crowd drift past the blue-blue-water and perhaps buying foreign magazines at the 24-hour news cafe (on the corner of 8th and ocean drive) or writing a novel with one’s sandy feet all freckled and happy…….(we must go – it’s been an Age since we were in South Beach – it’s where we spent the Millennium actually – a story for another time, darlings).

actually, thinking about delivering paintings for an artist reminds us of Sybille Bedford‘s account of driving the Morris from England to Naples (a famous car, owned by the great Martha Gelhorn)

Martha bethought herself of the Morris she had kept in storage in England during the war years and arranged for a young man, a colleague of sorts who wanted to get out to Italy, to drive it over for her…….the situation was resolved by my offering to drive the car down to Naples for her as soon as it turned up…..Martha concurred, trusted me implicitly, and went ahead by train.
A Homecoming (the events within from 1948) Sybille Bedford, published in Pleasures and Landscapes, A Traveller’s Tales From Europe.

Of course this tale, from Sybille, contains the delicious image of her and Martha, on stools, looking out of the tiny windows up top in rooms in Capri, waiting for the sun to come up and talking of Hemmingway and love and violence and the War and travels and writing and journalism and Sybille not wanting to fall asleep after her long journey driving Martha’s car and so popping the mysterious pill given to her by a military officer (so pharma-grade-speed most likely) to keep herself awake……isn’t that extraordinary.

we bet the piano man has tales to tell……..worth following his adventures.


worth hitting the Road oneself, right?


the open road.

Just you, the car, the open windows and no one to hear you croon the greatest hits of Billy Joel.

we miss it.

tell us about your favorite/favourite road trip – where did you go? who did you meet?

is that where you fell in love?

thought so…..

tell. all.



2 thoughts on “man with a dog, a piano and a dream @pianoxamerica

  1. view from Billy Joel’s travel is exquiste…..and love the piano man…you have the most amazing experiences – Gloria …i hope you receive this message. xx j

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