I got out of Oklahoma City and head to Norman, it was the next town south of there. It was on the 19th I pulled in there around 5ish. I took around through the downtown area and didn’t see much of anything going on. I figured I would go out later, after I did some work. When I was just about done, I got talking with one of the people behind the counter. He told me there isn’t much going on, on a Tuesday night. I was there for a while and noticed that was true. Tuesday nights are very slow there. I called it a night early.
I went back to the downtown area in the late morning and walked around before I got started. Norman, OK is James Garner’s hometown. There is a small plaza dedicated to him there with a bronze statue as well as James Garner Ave. I found it pretty cool to be walking the same streets Rockford himself walked as a youngster! It is kind of fun to imagine where he may have hung out, though I am sure the place has changed considerably, but a lot of those buildings have been there since he was younger. I wonder what they were like…
I got started and I played for about an hour and nothing happened. So I decided to pack it up. When I went back out later in the evening, I almost immediately was approached by a woman who told me I could play in front of her place- Joy’s Palace. It is her private club and opens for parties, weddings or some other type of event. Within seconds of her talking to me, a guy rode up on his bicycle and started playing guitar. I was quite confused by this, but grateful I had permission to play in front of her business across the street. I went across the street and he stayed there. He played one tune a few times, it was good but come on! He left after a while. I was also grateful to Joy as she gave me $10 to get a burger and fries at The Garage when I was done. It was a good burger, (but Bentonville still wins for biggest and greasiest) and it was a good portion of fries. It was also for a decent price, with what Joy gave me, I was also able to leave a tip.
Joy also told me I could play there the next afternoon, so I did. People driving by, would wave and and smile as they saw me. The people walking by did the same thing for the most part. The people of Norman certainly are people who appreciate music. There was a stylist, who put his card in my tip box and wrote on the back, Nice music- come get a haircut on me! When I was done, Joy came out of her “Palace” – I didn’t even know she was in there. She brought me inside and gave me the grand tour. It is a wonderful place, she is talking about putting a burlesque show in there with a live orchestra. She always has bookings for various things and keeps a 20’s theme going on, with the menu and the cocktails. Basically, my kind of place! She gave me an open invitation, to come back there anytime I want. I might just take her up on that!
When I was done there, I went to see Brant, the man who gave me his card. Unfortunately, I got there about 20 minutes before he had to leave for an appointment. We had a brief conversation about music and Norman and our work. He told me I could come back the next day. I told him I was leaving town. I had to get ahead of the freezing rain and awful weather. I wasn’t taking any chances in driving with black ice and I didn’t want to wake up in an ice capsule! He told me the offer is good even the next time I go through there. I thanked him and he thanked me for the music I played earlier. He also gave me a Dr. Pepper for the road! I gave him and Joy each a cd before I left. I do hope to pass through that way again. I enjoyed the company of the people I spoke to.
From my experience, it appears busking is just fine in Norman. No permits necessary.