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The New York Experience

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Roving Rube

Sept. 14, 2003

Tourists photographing Times Square Naked Cowboy

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"He used to be naked," confided one tourist lady to another, having in mind some past Golden Age of Times Square when all was permitted.

It's hard to know how to react when you come across the Naked Cowboy -- the Rube usually pretends not to have noticed him. But he has new respect for the Naked Cowboy after visiting his website -- it took him a long time to get to where he is today.

I wanted to get to Venice Beach because I knew I could perform for an audience each day without being told to leave, and I knew that I could experiment and determine what I could do to make people pay attention and like me for God sakes. I performed on December 24, 1998 for over six hours in jeans, boots, hat, and loosely fitting flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off. I made one dollar and two cents. The dollar was thrown in by an elderly lady who clearly felt sorry for me, and the two cents was thrown at me. When Charles picked me up after day one, he realized that I was a beaten man and told me not to give up. He suggested that I try something different like hell, Robert, play in your underwear, laughing, thatll make em stop.

The next morning I took the bus to the Boardwalk. Charles said he would be down to get me by five, which would give me a total of about eight hours ... Much to his surprise when he got there I had a guitar case full of dollar bills as I sang, danced and banged out tunes on the guitar in my cowboy boots, hat and underwear. He laughed and smiled like a satisfied old wise man and took a series of photos, as did hundreds of on-lookers. This had been going on for several hours. I got on the news and was a big hit. Charles was so pleased. I remember being driven back to his home, exhausted. He said, Robert, you have passion, and thats all it takes to be a singer. He then laughed again and said, my little naked cowboy". See, I knew I could sing. (from The Legend of the Naked Cowboy)

See also: Naked Cowboy with Girl

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