The Uke World welcomes all comers, and Ukulele Ray provides a solid anchor for the ridiculous end of the spectrum. And the thing about Ray is, he's the real deal. A charming nutcase who knows himself to be one, and gladly shares his self-awareness with anyone who'll listen.
Ray is also the Mad Genius behind the LunchBox-a-Lele, and the subject of this complimentary profile in today's SF Chronicle:
Wherever there is a lunch box, Ray sees "playable art," whether it's Bugs Bunny, SpongeBob SquarePants or Betty Boop, or for the more macho ukulele players, a Harley-Davidson, Fender or Michael Jordan model. And if someone still has that classic Snoopy pail or Partridge Family lunch box from grade school, he or she can send it to Ray and have a custom ukulele made. The instruments range in price from $100 for a small soprano uke to about $300 for a double-necked soprano and baritone ukulele.
Okay, so here's the thing. A lot of cultural bullies out there still see ukulele players as playground wimps whose lunches are begging to be stolen. And if you carry your lunch in a uke that cost you a couple hundred bucks, aren't you asking for twice the pain? I'm just saying...
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