Monday was a tough night for Abel, a 45-year-old artist, street musician and handyman who lives on the streets of Pasadena.
“Last night, it was cold,” observed Abel, who came to Pasadena from North Hollywood in 1994 and at the time worked as a deejay at a local night club. He’s been without a permanent home since 2004 and didn’t want his last name used for this report.
Tuesday morning, after temperatures started arching up from the low 30s to the low 50s, Abel was hanging out in the brick-encased courtyard at the Majestic Roof art gallery off Fair Oaks Avenue. There, some of his works are actually for sale. He pointed one out in the window of the shop, which hadn’t yet opened for business.
The bitterly cold night before, “the butter-knife thing,” where one takes a blade or a plastic card and jimmies the locks on public bathrooms, “wasn’t working,” he said. Sometimes Abel gets the doors open and stays inside and grabs some sleep. When that’s not possible, “you do the parking structure thing. And down in the basement it’s nice and warm,” he said before taking a short walk through Old Pasadena.
Guitar in hand, Abel headed over to Starbucks, where he serenades coffee drinkers for a few hours with a diverse repertoire of songs from Barry White, the Pretenders and Neil Young. He also knows the In-N-Out Burger jingle and the theme to Gumby, which he sang on the way to Colorado Boulevard.
“Look, man” said Abel, suddenly becoming serious. “Pasadena is a tough town.”
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