Almost any day around one o'clock, you can hear Vincent LaFrance playing rhythm on his guitar and singing at the corner of Boulder and Tejon Streets. "I've been performing on this corner every day for seven years, even in winter with snow on the ground," he says.
His strong, soulful voice belting out '60s rock, love songs and gospel draws a diverse and loyal crowd. Today, two Vietnam vets share their desperation with LaFrance, whose own face bears scars from the war. "Why is it that so many of us are destitute?" he asks.
A policewoman rides by on her bike and waves. "Hello, Joan," he yells. "You're looking good in that uniform."
A couple of bikers, a TV anchor, and a mom with a toddler all stop to say hello. Some bring coffee for the singer; some bring cigarettes. Occasionally someone drops a dollar in the guitar case.
A young artist shows LaFrance his latest sketch. Students stop to toss quarters in his case. "I've watched them grow up," he says. "A lot of my young friends are responsible for my well-being. But when I see a destitute person, I give 'em some of my money. We look out for each other."
-- Story and photo by Jane McBee