Grimes Poznikov (August 5, 1946 – October 27, 2005), known as "The Human Jukebox," was a fixture of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a street performer, who would wait in a cardboard refrigerator box until a passerby offered him a donation and requested a song. He would then open the front flap of the box and play the requested song on a trumpet, kazoo, or one of a number of other instruments.
Posnikov was born in Neodesha, Kansas to Albert Poznik, a lawyer, and Bernie Poznik, a performing artist and singer. From an early age he learned to play any musical instrument from piano to trumpet and drums. He graduated from Neodesha High School in 1964 and continued his education at Cornell College, graduating in 1969 with a degree in psychology.
After graduating from college, Poznikov taught elementary school in Chicago, Illinois for three years. While teaching, he became involved in the peace movement and he was arrested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago with other anti-war protesters while blowing "America the Beautiful" on the trumpet. In 1972, he set up a trailer during the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami, Florida, calling it the "American Lobotomy Machine". He and other peace demonstrators sat in it for hours, pretending to be brainwashed into being "good Americans."
Poznikov was arrested several times for selling marijuana. His teeth were knocked out by police during the last arrest in the late 1980s, ending his ability to play trumpet. He later suffered from schizophrenia, began abusing drugs heavily, and ended up living on the streets. He died on October 27, 2005, of alcohol poisoning.
- Fagan, Kevin; "Human Jukebox's pen makes way back to girlfriend"
- Fagan, Kevin; "Grimes Poznikov -- Wharf's famed 'Human Jukebox"
- Fagan, Kevin (1 November 2005). "Grimes Poznikov -- Wharf's famed 'Human Jukebox'". SFGate. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Fagan, Kevin (12 February 2011). "Human Jukebox's pen makes way back to girlfriend". SFGate. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Broken 'Jukebox' (San Francisco Chronicle Article, December 8, 2002) at the Wayback Machine (archived March 7, 2004)
- on YouTube (4:20 mark)
- on YouTube
- Picture, September 1987