Oak Park is home to many musicians and performers, but none have a stage like Nathaniel Anderson.
Anderson, 60, has performed for thousands, but his audience does not sit still. It zooms by and catches just a glimpse of his act on Harlem Avenue, outside Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish.
His amplifier sits alongside aquariums and a sale sign for duck feet — a chew toy for dogs. There's no light show, only a grudging sun. There are costume changes: Santa suit, gorilla outfit, or a big monster head.
His act is meant to attract attention to a pet store trying to be creative in its marketing. But for Anderson — who once sang and danced in polyester suits and platform shoes for a singing group that covered Temptations and Spinners tunes — it's a second chance at performing.
"It's a joy just to perform," said Anderson. "People see me and they blow the horn or give me a thumbs up. Making people happy is a beautiful thing."
Anderson can be seen in the afternoons on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays strumming blues rifts on his guitar and giving motorists pause.
"Strange and weird are probably a little more effective," said shop co-owner Scott Arient regarding his promotional strategy. "I've had a lot of people come in and say, 'I saw that gorilla and I had to stop.'"