From Skid Row to the White House: The Journey of Nathaniel Ayers
(Charles Dharapak / Associated Press / July 26, 2010)
Nathaniel Ayers performed Monday at the White House for President Obama. For any musician this would constitute a peak life experience. For Mr Ayers, who has spent long periods of his life on the street, the event is monumental. The dramatic story of the man’s difficult life was well portrayed in the feature film “The Soloist” with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.
To veer into the metaphysical for a moment consider the possibility that in a world getting seemingly more insane by the week, perhaps a man with firsthand experience with schizophrenia may be able to process, evaluate and express the zeitgeist in a way that “normal people” can’t.
Read LA Times columnist Steve Lopez’ fine account of the event.