A recent Monday 11:19 a.m.:
For 16 years, Bryant Bolling, a.k.a. "Mr. B," has walked the streets of San Francisco between the Powell Street cable car turnaround and Fisherman's Wharf, singing songs for paying customers. Mr. B, 57, calls himself a bard and troubadour, and like a professional salesman, he knows willing customers when he sees them.
On this day, those customers included a tourist couple in Chinatown trying to decipher a map, relaxed patrons outside a North Beach cafe and a youth group by the wharf. Wearing his signature three-piece suit, bow tie and brightly colored hat, he approached each of them in a faux British accent that he says puts people as ease.
"Good day, family. I'm Mr. B, the singing busker," he said, promising to sing anything they desire. Often he resorts to the classics like "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" or "Fly Me to the Moon," but he brags that he can do songs in Hebrew and Spanish if that should that suit your tastes. Mr. B keeps a smile on his face whether the answer is yea or nay.
The street-singing idea started as a part-time distraction from the challenges of a career in social work. Then he retired last year after 27 years of service and turned singing into his primary source of income. "It's now or never. I decided I should work full-time as a professional singer. This is all part of the dream," he said.