San Francisco hosts some of the finest talent in the country. Some of it you can find in the street. Here are the best buskers in San Francisco, available for your free (but you should always remember to tip!) viewing and listening pleasure.
You've seen his sass and heard his cool jazz stylings around downtown and the ballpark. (Not to mention his threads. He's the best dressed man in San Francisco, period.) Starting at the tender age of 6, Gabriel Angelo made it big time over the last couple of years with appearances on Ellen and America's Got Talent. But make no mistake, this kid isn't a one-hit wonder. Angelo's street performances are an effort to pay for his music schooling at the S.F. Conservatory of Music and Berkeley Jazz School.
WORLD FAMOUS BUSHMAN
A Fisherman's Wharf mainstay as much as sourdough bowls and cioppino, the World Famous Bushman (né David Johnson) has been hiding behind a makeshift shrub and scaring the everliving crap out of tourists for nearly 30 years. While jaded San Franciscans will say there is nothing worth visiting in Fisherman's Wharf, there's nothing quite like watching the Bushman as he hides behind his makeshift shrub (so obvious!) and leaps out at unsuspecting passersby meandering along Jefferson Street. (To wit: We once watched Dave Chappelle and Mos Def standing across the street, laughing at the absurd scene for a good half an hour.)
THE ASIAN JOHN DENVER
We don't know who this guy is or how long he's been there, but there's a small Asian man with a guitar who busks in the afternoon at the eastern end of the Powell Street BART/Muni station who is really quite amazing. He plays quite a lot of John Denver, and he sounds just like John Denver, and it's always a mild shock as we round the corner hearing Denver-esque croonings and there's this guy, singing us sweetly to our commute with "Rocky Mountain High."
ROBERT CLOSE & LITZ PLUMMER
Italian tenor Robert Close can be seen performing in Maiden Lane. A native San Franciscan, he has sung in the city for over 25 years and performed in the the San Francisco production of Phantom of the Opera from 1993 until 1999. His cohort, Litz Plummer, started singing in the streets in search of work after moving to the city from North Carolina. Plummer came across Close by simply following his voice. The two have been singing together ever since.
Topnotch clarinetist Don Cunningham can usually be found at the Ferry Building on weekends, or at the Montgomery Muni/Bart station. "The people here really cherish music," Cunningham told the SF Bay Guardian in a 2011 interview. Look for him while on your way to work or en route home.
In memoriam: Jesse Morris, the "Punk Rock Johnny Cash," who died in 2011 at the age of 28.