Here’s Kierra, 15, with her side-swept bangs, backpack and flashing a metallic grin; she’s one of the rad ones. Why? Cause she unafraid to throw herself out there, whether it’s photographing weird stuff or camping out by Lily Lupine and Fern singing and playing ukulele.
“I like street art a lot,” she says of one of her photos that captured a graffiti depiction of Frank the Bunny from the movie, Donnie Darko, on a utility box behind The Cutting Edge.
“I was hanging out back here with my friends to go look at the water and I turned around and there it was," she said. "Donnie Darko is one of my favorite movies, so I think this is one of the cooler [examples] of graffiti in town.”
She took her film SLR camera, one of 10 old-school and digital cameras she has acquired.
'Some people ask me if I’m going back to England,' she says, (as if she’s stuck here and can’t get a fare back).
“So I zoomed in on it and I just wanted an angular shot.”
We snapped a shot of her with the graffiti behind her, but then a swarm of bees made it clear we weren’t welcome as Kierra hightailed it.
“I have a bee phobia!” she said, running ahead. “When I was little I sat on one.” As we segway onto the topic of fears, she admits, “Another one of my big fears is everyone is going to think I’m a tourist.”
It makes a little more sense as she whips out her ukulele.
“A lot of people come up to me and ask me directions when I’m in the middle of playing,” she explains. “It’s a little annoying, but sometimes they’ll wait until I’ve finished playing.”
She goes on: “I can’t read music, so the fact that it has four strings makes it so I can play it a lot better,” she says.
She started only four months ago, unbelievably, because when she plays, she owns that instrument, her voice lilting somewhere between Edie Brickell and Carly Rae Jepsen. Now, busking on the street for fun, she averages about $50 in tips in about two hours of sitting and playing. Not too shabby.
The hand drawn sign propped in front of her when she plays says: Saving Money For England.
“Some people ask me if I’m going back to England,” she says, (as if she’s stuck here and can’t get a fare back). “And I’m like ‘No, no going to England…hopefully, not coming from…back to England, I don’t know,” she says dissolving into high-pitched giggles. Slight confusion aside, she’s got a plan.
The ukulele tips, along with her paycheck and tips working at Zoot Coffee are all pooled into a fund to spend her junior year in England. She plans to take several general courses over there to supplement her U.S. coursework, but mostly, she just wants to travel.
“My dad’s English, so where I’d be going is right near where he was living when he was younger," she says. "He traveled everywhere and has been all around the world. I don’t know, I just need a new environment for a little while.”
When she talks, that dissolving-into-high-pitched giggles thing happens frequently, especially when she’s talking about things that might seem unabashedly innocent. Going through another one of her photos, she shows one she took at Planet Toys in Rockland.
“This one was done with one of my toy cameras with a fish eye lens," she says. "It's kind of dark, so you can't see it that well. There were toys everywhere like a big pile of them and I thought it looked really cool, like this emporium of happiness and childlike wonder.”
As she finishes that sentence, it sounds as though she is laughing through helium. It’s wicked cute and she doesn’t even know she’s doing it.
Keep with us for more on The Hail To The Rad Kids series, featuring teens in the Midcoast who you’re just going to want to get to know.