CHICAGO — Street musician Caitlan Dunleavy has moved her performance area to a remarkably nicer street, a decision that has polarized many pedestrians and has some people labeling her a sell out, according to sources within the community.
“Her performances simply lack the intimacy they once had,” said street art aficionado Aaron Newhart. “The passion for song craft has clearly been diminished by her desire for fame and fortune. Next thing you know, she’s going to book a show at an actual venue.”
Dunleavy, 28, has responded to criticism, saying “Although there is an indescribable quality that comes with playing a heavily potholed side street, playing on a busier avenue will allow my music to reach more people, something I’ve always wanted. I can’t always be opening for the guy who juggles pythons.”
Dunleavy’s puritan fans claim that the move to a more heavily trafficked sidewalk has prompted a watering down of her music in an attempt to pander to listeners for big time pocket change. In a storm of backlash on social media outlets, one fan called her new folk renditions of Coldplay songs “hopelessly derivative” and longed for a return to old material like bluegrass covers of Third Eye Blind. Other fans bragged about seeing her in more modest and obscure days before she played to huge crowds of apathetic passersby.
“I saw her way back before she was big. She played “Jumper” on banjo to a crowd of nobody,” said longtime fan Sheila Dekker.
There are some, however, who stand by Dunleavy’s choice to play to larger audiences, saying it would be nice if she could scrape up enough change for a new shirt or something. Dunleavy said that the chance to garner a larger following makes all the denunciation worthwhile.
“People can criticize me all they want but the truth is, hundreds more people will see me out of their peripheral and hear a couple chords before walking out of earshot.”
Patrick Reilly thinks he’s pretty punk rock for someone without a tattoo.
Image by yuri_samoilov.