Sidewalk Sammy and his sidekick set to celebrate 1001 buskeroos!
Rain or shine, summer or winter, Sam Schildkraut, or “Saxy Sammy,” as he likes to call himself, goes to work each night, busking on the sidewalk outside of the Skechers Shoe Store on Mission Boulevard in Pacific Beach from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
On February 9, Saxy Sammy, accompanied by his yorkie-chihuahua sidekick “Gangsta,” will play their 1001st performance outside the shoe store.
It’s how Schildkraut makes his living, or rather, how the 50-year-old earns money to eat and put gas in his minivan — which has served as his home since moving to San Diego from West Virginia in May 2011. Schildkraut has played to P.B. partygoers since July 2012. Save for the occasional bout of pneumonia, broken hand, or broken foot, Schildkraut has missed only five nights. During that time, he has become a fixture of P.B. nightlife.
In recent months, Schildkraut played his first official gig, “icon night” at P.B.’s Bar West. He’s also getting more requests to play at birthday parties and other private events. But, the sidewalk in front of the Skechers store is his bread and butter.
“It’s interesting seeing the difference in attitudes of some of the people,” Schildkraut tells the Reader. “Some people are just incredibly generous. One night, a group of tough-looking guys walked passed me. One of them sneezed and I stopped playing for a second to say, ‘Bless you.’ He gave me ten bucks.”
That type of generosity pays off. This past New Year’s Eve, Schildkraut had his best night ever, raking in $352 between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m.
“I’ve found that it really doesn’t matter whether people are drunk or sober. There are good people and there are some not so good. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people call me a ‘homeless piece of shit.’ So, there can be a prejudice, or maybe they are frustrated they aren’t able to pick on their boss or girlfriend or boyfriend so they take it out on me instead.”
For his 1001st performance, Schildkraut says, “I’ll play some notes, more the ’70s funk or soul-sounding stuff. Lately, as part of what I call my ‘Gangsta Sax’ act, I will bust out with some raps I’ve been working on.”
Schildkraut will begin his 1001st performance at 4475 Mission Boulevard at 9 p.m. on February 9.