Music show

The melodious Cat & Canary Music Show crew, with Cookie in tow, take to the streets – Daily News

“And in my hour of darkness,

She’s standing right in front of me

Speak with wisdom …

So be it”

Music from Bose portable speakers mixed with the sounds of traffic on Sepulveda Boulevard on a sunny afternoon in Mission Hills, as Julieanne Gerard and Deborah “DJ” Murphy sang “Let It Be” by The Beatles.

Cookie the cat was resting peacefully in his stroller as the couple serenaded him. A large red bow graced her neck as her sparkling green eyes gazed at her humans as they performed an impromptu concert on the sidewalk outside the Olivo Mall at Mission Hills.

The Cat & Canary Music Show couple sang, danced – with Murphy playing spoons on some of the numbers – as pedestrians and passing motorists smiled and handed them donations for their efforts. The duo perform songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Before meeting at a shelter, Gerard and Murphy were homeless. Now “best friends”, they bonded around music.

The Cat & Canary Music Show starring Julieanne Gerard and Deborah “DJ” Murphy performs on the sidewalk in the 10400 block of Sepulveda Blvd in Mission Hills on Thursday, May 20, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

“I worked in aerospace for 32 years,” said Gerard, before a toxic relationship derailed his finances and his life. “I found myself homeless,” she said.

For a while, she and Cookie lived on the beach in Santa Monica. “We were starving,” she said.

She used her last 50 dollars to buy a second-hand speaker and started performing on the pier and promenade.

Eventually, they landed at the LA Family Housing shelter in North Hollywood. There, she met her new roommate, Murphy, who prefers to be called a DJ while he performs.

Murphy lived in his car or on the streets for almost a decade before finally landing a place at the shelter.

“I was taking care of an older man in 2009. He passed away and I ended up in my car,” Murphy said.

Murphy shares Gerard’s passion for music. Once upon a time, she owned up to 400 record albums. “I listened to them all in my room,” she said. “It was a way of escaping my dysfunctional family.”

She sang to escape, she said, and she memorized the lyrics to songs that brought her sanctuary.

Julieanne Gerad sings during a street performance in Mission Hills. Gerard and Deborah “DJ” Murphy are The Cat & Canary Music Show performing in the 10400 block of Sepulveda Blvd on Thursday, May 20, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

Gérard, too, has sung all his life. Although she never received formal vocal training, her love for music sparked her desire to try her luck on the streets.

“We’re not going to win people over with our musical prowess at this point,” Gérard said. “This is not our goal. our goal is to spread happiness and bring back memories to people with the music we bring.

Gerard exited the shelter and entered an apartment near downtown Los Angeles.

She saved a year and a half to buy her first Bose speaker. “Now I have two,” said Gerard proudly.

For Murphy, it took some encouragement from Gerard – and the gift of her original $ 50 speaker – to blackmail her.

Murphy has spent years finding bottles and cans to recycle, in an effort to earn some extra cash. It was raining. Murphy was broke.

She plucked up the courage, grabbed her speaker and stood under an awning in a dollar store. Songs were pouring in. And a few dollars, too, just enough for a pack of cigarettes.

She was addicted.

“I just want to do it. It’s not the money. I just want to let off steam. I will come here whether I get a dollar or not, ”Murphy said.

Cookie the cat sits in her stroller as The Cat & Canary Music Show starring Julieanne Gerard and Deborah “DJ” Murphy performs on the sidewalk in the 10400 block of Sepulveda Blvd in Mission Hills on Thursday, May 20, 2021. ( Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

Gerard saved Cookie around the same time. “I bought it from people who had it in a car. She was tied with a rope around her neck, ”so she bought it for $ 20.

“I love him so much,” she said of the healthy feline, now 8 years old. The pair are inseparable. “He’s my baby,” Gérard said.

And it is above all a good audience. During this performance, she fidgeted and began to get out of her stroller before a soft hand stopped her. Catnip was sprinkled on his blanket as well. Cookie sat down with a purr.

“We were exclusively in Santa Monica, but the work died down with COVID,” Gerard said between songs. “We hope to return to Santa Monica soon, but we will always come back to the valley because we have a lot of fans here and they come to greet us. I think we would miss them too much.

Murphy, who now lives in an apartment in the San Fernando Valley, loves to play. “I would do this at home, but I would probably be kicked out of my apartment.”

A white sedan pulls up near the performers, a well-groomed woman’s hand sticks out of the car window, waving in sync with the music before offering a donation to the hard-working singers.

Deborah “DJ” Murphy plays spoons while performing on the streets in Mission Hills. Murphy and Julieanne Gerard are The Cat & Canary Music Show performing in the 10400 block of Sepulveda Blvd on Thursday, May 20, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

Murphy rummaged in his bag for a cigarette and a few spoons, to play the next song.

Her eyes closed as smoke escaped her lips, her hands rhythmically tapping the spoons together, accompanying Gerard’s song.

The duo hope to work at parties and corporate events, but for now, a sidewalk is the only stage they need.

“We sang to each other in a house. It is a blessing to be free.