Townie guide to... jazzbohemia

Daniel Kozak, Jr. (a.k.a. dkzk), jazz musician, street entertainer who's played "well over 1,500 performances," enjoys "dematerializing &, recently, conducting the 'Adopt-Pseudo-Celebrity-Artist' contest"

(Interview conducted via e-mail.)

You're one of Lawrence's most celebrated street performers. How does one get into this line of work? Do they have an undergraduate program for it at KU? Or maybe an apprenticeship program where you study underneath those human statue guys in New Orleans? Discuss the path that led you to this vocation.

"Where's the celebration? At 7th & Mass every evening, silly. 'It' is actually a super-elite, top secret, post-grad research program. Shhhh! Path? It was e-z-at the turna-thee-century I acquired 5 under-diagnosed heartattax in 7 months which crescendo'd with a bum's-rush into emergency sextuple bypass surgery, followed by a truly miraculous recovery, followed by the loss of the sig' other who'd literally saved-me-life & who's incredible devotion inspired said miracle recovery, followed by a depressive 'breakdown' unto an inexplicable (for-lack-of-a-better-word) 'transcendence' via a 'vow' to live or die via sharing of 'art' regardless of $$$consequences. ALL a blessed walk-in-the-park-I highly recommend it (the complete process) to anyone & everyone."

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Is there ever any turf warfare with, say, the maracas lady or that bagpiper who shows up periodically? What does it take to carve out a niche for yourself in this scene?

"No turf war at all-other musicians have always been graciously respectful & deferential (no joke)."

You've adopted a "spiritual-artistic, accidental vow of poverty." Aside from being a douchey fine arts major who secretly has a trust fund and only affects being a starving artist in order to woo impressionable young women, how does one get by while adhering to this vow?

"Of course it's just 'human nature' for alotta folk to think it's just another pathetic-bum-scam, but it's none'a my business what folks think (& none'a my business what 'I think,' for that matter) & while 'I' may or may not 'be' a pathetic bum, there's no scam-I must just represent something scary to folk who might be prone toward some kinda scorn. If my being out there makes them somehow feel 'better' about who they think they are, then it serves a(n) (albeit accidental) purpose. On the utter hand, the folks who, in whatever way, express appreciation are the greatest blessing of spiritual sustain'ance that $$$ CAN'T buy."

Being a sax-man, which jazz titan has left more of an indelible mark on the art form-John Coltrane or Kenny G?

"Uhhh, well, for me anyway, the spirits of John Coltrane, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, & Tiny Tim."

Any advice for struggling musicians?

"Just make-a-joyful-noyze-don't think about it!"

Any advice for humanity in general?

"Just make-a-joyful-noyze-don't think about it!"

-Interview by Gavon Laessig

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