For all his setbacks, he still finds hope and sanity in the music - Los Angeles Times
The unlikely friendship between Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times columnist, and Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless musician, has inspired newspaper columns, a book and now a movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. Lopez met Ayers four years ago, when Ayers was a homeless. Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, Jr. (born January 31, ) is an American musician. He is the Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez met Ayers at Pershing Square in , and discovered his Lopez wrote several columns about his relationship with Ayers, and Nathaniel's slow transition out of homelessness. Lopez's. Nathaniel Ayers tests a new trumpet at a rehab center in Long Beach. “I've got my problems, but I wanna be free,” he says. (Steve Lopez / Los.
Steve ruminates upon this comment for a moment, finally accepting it as is.
Nathaniel Ayers - Wikipedia
Discuss what you think Nathaniel means by this. How do you think families should handle a mentally ill relative?
Do you think it is okay to force treatment on a person? Are there any instances that could change your mind? What do you think compels people to help a stranger?
For all his setbacks, he still finds hope and sanity in the music
Do you believe that people would have been as eager to help Nathaniel had Steve not written about him and his plight? Why or why not? He's a handsome guy, lean and fit-looking, with a strong jaw and clean white teeth. He reminds me a little of Miles Davis. I ask where he lives and he says at the Midnight Mission, one of the biggest rescue operations on nearby Skid Row.
Not inside, he specifies. But on the street, though he showers and takes some meals inside.
The Real Story Behind 'The Soloist' : NPR
Skid Row is a dumping ground for inmates released from the nearby county jail, and it's a place where the sirens never stop screaming. He nods, but I can see he doesn't trust me. He tucks the violin back under his chin, eager to get back to his music, and I know that if this one ever pans out, it's going to take some time.
I'll have to check back with him now and again until he's comfortable enough to open up. Maybe I could go on his rounds with him over the course of a day or so, see if anyone can help fill in the blanks in his story or explain his condition. As he begins to play, I wave good-bye, and he responds with a suspicious glance in my general direction.
Two weeks later, I go looking for him once more and he's disappeared again. I stroll over to the mission at Fourth and Los Angeles streets, where I see street people by the dozens, some of them drug-ravaged, some of them raving mad, some of them lying so still on the pavement it's hard to tell whether they're napping or waiting for a ride to the morgue.
I check with Orlando Ward, the public information man at the Midnight. He tells me he's seen the violinist around, but doesn't know the backstory. And he hasn't seen him lately. Now I'm worried that I've lost the column. Weeks go by and I get distracted by other things, shoveling whatever I can find into that empty space on the page. And then one day while driving to work from my home in Silver Lake, a neighborhood five miles northwest of downtown, I cut through the Second Street tunnel and there he is, putting on a one-man concert in a location even noisier than the last one.
He remembers me this time. He says he's been around, here and there. A car whooshes by and his mind reels. And for those whose illnesses are too severe, we need smaller, modern, humane versions of the hospitals we closed.
Without that, there can only be shame because a civil society, and a rich one at that, has a duty. A piece by Cannonball Adderley blew in and Mr. Ayers, a rhythm man, tapped to the beat. I hear from people around the country and the world who want updates on the story — the story of a man who played with Yo-Yo Ma at Juilliard and did not give up the dream even when he was homeless and missing two strings on his violin. The update is that Mr. Ayers remains faithful to what he loves, and reminds all of us of the virtue of finding both a purpose and a passion.
That spirit and determination inspired L. We got to my house at 10 on Christmas morning. I carried the trumpet into the house, Mr. Ayers carried the bass. He and my wife had played together on Thanksgiving, her on piano. For Christmas, all Mr.