On Valentine’s Day at sunset, hundreds of people — from lovers and dogs to singles and children — on foot, riding bikes, toting lawn chairs, sipping glasses of wine, and eating picnic dinners, gathered on the bluffs at the end of Kelly Avenue in Half Moon Bay to take in the last performance by artist Mauro Ffortissimo and bid farewell to the baby grand piano before he carts it away and burns it.
Musicians and a female fire dancer, who performed her routine on top of the piano, accompanied Ffortissimo for his last “Sunset Piano” performance.
A man videoing the event on his iPhone with a toddler strapped around his shoulders said out loud that he wishes this moment could last forever. When Ffortissimo was done playing, the crowd chanted his name, "Mauro, Mauro, Mauro." Two women sitting in lawn chairs shook their heads in awe, and one marveled, “Only in California, where else is there to be?” when the fire dancer took center stage. And when it was all over, a couple packing up lamented how disappointed they are that the piano has to go so soon.
In fact, even the mayor of Half Moon Bay would like to see Ffortissimo and his piano stay a little longer.
“Mauro and I were able to exchange a few emails, and I met him on the bluffs. I enjoyed his performance immensely,” said mayor Rick Kowalczyk, who did what he could to allow Ffortissimo to keep the piano on the bluffs for longer despite the fact he needed permits to do so.
When Kowalczyk heard a couple of days ago about the enforcement code, which required Ffortissimo to have a permit for placing the piano on the bluffs for which he did not, he wanted to see if there was something he could do about it, so he put a call into the city manager.
Turns out it’s the type of situation where the city wouldn't enforce the rule unless there was a complaint.
“I'm told there was a complaint, in spite of the clear popularity of the piano and his playing,”
Still, Ffortissimo had already made up his mind. Moving the piano was the right thing to do.
“All good in the hood,” he said. “They gave me 10 days, and I am grateful for it. No need to bend the rules. I don’t want to put anybody on a tight spot. Thanks so much anyway.”
Kowalczyk explains that given the tight timing, he was not able to turn things around at this point since there just wasn't time to put the permits in place anyway. He is now, however, investigating how to put in place a process to fast track permits for art installations going forward.
“Tonight was the last performance on the Half Moon Bay bluffs, although it is fitting that the final performance be on Valentine's Day," said Kowalczyk. "I found Mauro to be a gentleman and very understanding of the situation. Mauro not only brought out the community through his art and music, he also brought people from all over the Bay Area to Half Moon Bay.”
Read more on Patch:
- Devil's Slide Tunnels — a Massive Art Installation
- Flash Mob Comes to Half Moon Bay and You’re Invited to Dance
- Native Plant Nursery Moves to Half Moon Bay; Takeout Burger Bar Opening Next Month
- Is There Really a Baby Grand Piano Sitting on a Bluff in Half Moon Bay?
- The Fate of Half Moon Bay’s Beloved Baby Grand
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