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Putting on Ayers

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez revisits the story of Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless musician he befriended in Skid Row a few years back.

Ayers received formal training at Juilliard, one of the finest musical conservatories in the nation, but later fell victim to homelessness and mental illness.

Lopez first documented Ayers' inspiring story in his column for the L.A. Times. He later published a best-selling book based on the encounters, which was the subject of the film "The Soloist."

In this 2010 segment of "SoCal Connected," Lopez checks in to see what Ayers is up to. He takes us on a tour to a studio in Silver Lake where Ayers recorded the album "Putting on Ayers."

Over the years, Ayers has continued his love for music and the arts through the guidance and mentorship from violinist Robert Gupta from the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

"Music is a way for him to make his visceral imagination real," said Gupta.

Recently, Ayers was awarded a prestigious award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness for helping de-stigmatize the disease and humanize the millions who fight it daily. Proceeds of the album went to fund arts programs at mental health agencies nationwide.

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Nathaniel Ayers, musician
  • Robert Gupta, L.A. Phil

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