Video Proof: Joshua Bell Plays the Metro

World-famous violinist Joshua Bell played in a Washington, D.C. Metro station during the morning commute at the request of the Washington Post in January. He and the writers weren’t sure what to expect — the fear was such a large crowd would gather there could be mass pandemonium.

In an overwritten piece, the Post proclaims: “It was a snazzy, sequined idea — part inspiration and part gimmick — and it was typical of Bell, who has unapologetically embraced showmanship even as his concert career has become more and more august.” About 2,200 words into the article, we’re finally told (sorry to ruin it!) that barely anybody seemed to care. Only one person out of 1,097 people who passed Bell in the 43 minutes he played said she recognized him, and most people didn’t even turn their heads.

The cool thing is, it was all caught on video, so you can see for yourself what the show looked like. (Unfortunately the Post hasn’t yet delivered its promised video embeds; screenshot above.) Something tells me this might have worked a lot better as an online video installation with footnotes, rather than the other way around, but nevertheless it was a pretty cool experiment.

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