Added to ClicheSaturday for 9/1/12 - Don't let appearances fool you. HCS!
I had planned on a decent dinner in downtown San Francisco but got distracted by some great street entertainment in Union Square. Then before going to eat, I decided to take one quick walk down Powell Street. It was there that I heard this amazing operatic voice. I stopped to listen and could hardly believe my ears. When he took a break, I walked up to him and we began to talk.
Svetlio (goes by Steve in the U.S.) is from Bulgaria and has been in San Francisco on and off for a couple of years. He's 35 years old and has been singing for about 15 years, but opera for only a year. I told him with his voice, he should be singing professionally. Steve said he is homeless in San Francisco but is going to New York next Tuesday for an audition with Disney, where they have an opening in Tokyo. He may decide to stay in New York for a while since he has some friends there. I suggested he check out Ellen's Stardust Diner where all the wait staff are aspiring Broadway performers. I told him he was as good as any of the performers we've heard there and many of them have successfully ended up on Broadway.
Steve told me he has sung quite a bit in Bulgaria and directed me to a YouTube video of him on X-Factor. Check this out. www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKC-U2F3Wvk. Also, check out this documentary on Svetlio - apparently he had some notariety in Bulgaria as reported in San Francisco. www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYXugYeBSRo.
We continued to talk and I told him about the $2 Portrait project. He'd never heard about it; referred to it as must being some crazy American thing. Nonetheless he allowed me to take his picture as we bantered about a whole myriad of subjects ranging from energy prices to politics. After a while, I felt bad monopolizing his time and placed some money in his backpack, telling him I'll step back and listen for a while longer. He thanked me and we shook hands. As I backed away and he began to sing, a small crowd gathered. The looks on their faces mirrored my initial amazement and contributions began to slowly flow for Svetlio. He caught my eye and smiled.