I ‘ M F E I S T Y T O D A Y

Saturday January 21st 2017

I made three, count them THREE VLOGS today. Not that it matters or anyone cares! It’s actually amazing pathetic how much free, beautiful art we give to people and get so little back for it. I think that will always be the case. We’re lucky we make enough to survive. We are public servants who are not duly compensated for our work. We give and give and give. I think some day it’s got to change. People have got to open their f**king eyes and say “Hey wow, you guys are giving a lot! We should support you more!” Yeah, I know. We’re not the most important thing in the world. People have their own lives and problems to attend to. People are busy. Blah. Blah. Blah. No one owes us their attention or money because we share all this beautiful music. Who cares right? Yeah exactly. Who does care? Why should anyone care about us? There are many more important things to care about. There’s that EVIL ORANGE CLOWN MAN for example. We should be paying attention to him, right? Not us poor stupid ARTISTS. Who cares about us? Who cares about goodness and beauty and giving when evil now has the most powerful position in the world! What does free art matter! Oh right! It matters because in history people will be in awe of those who gave their art to the world and got nothing back and they’ll laugh at that crazy orange dictator. They’ll wonder how those artists kept going, kept making art, kept doing something giving and beautiful when no one gave a s**t, just as they marvel at the artists of the past who died with nothing for their art.

I know that our success would mean a change has occurred in the world. The world is completely backwards now. Those who give beauty and do good works are ignored while those who thieve and hurt and mock are given the largest amount of power and attention. It’s absolutely disgusting honestly. The world would need to make a huge switch. I know people are hungry for what we do. I know people love our music. I know what we do is beautiful. I am proud of what I do with my life, but I am sicked at how invisible we are. I make art and share our work simply because I must. It is not for now. It is for history. No I don’t have a big f**king ego about what we do. I’m forced every day to look straight in the face how little anyone cares. Everything I share, everything we do, is seen and supported by so few people. If we had a million people like our biggest and most devoted fans (you know who you are) we would be able to do the things we’ve always dreamed of. We cannot now. We can travel and perform in public resonant spaces. I am grateful for what that gives us, but we are capable of so much more. Having to look daily at my insignificance sometimes becomes too painful. I know what we are and what we are capable of, and we are not doing that. We are surviving, creating the only way we can. We have no other way to share our music or live other then performing it in public for anyone who will listen. I want us to have more options. We are worthy of it.

We are worthy of attention. We are doing something beautiful and completely unique in the whole world. I want to perform our operas indoors and tour the world with an entourage of helpers, our band and a chamber orchestra, as well as other artists and unusual performers to collaborate with. I want us to sing in churches. I want us to be legitimized by and be given thanks by all the public places we have performed in. I want us to have a theater space/school in which to develop new works. I want us to have million of subscribers on our Youtube channel. I want us to have contact with other unique artists of the world. I want us to be able to put on the shows as beautiful and amazing as we can imagine, with no limit to budget. The magic and beauty of what we do now is we manage to make raw art and beauty with nothing but our own willpower. No one makes it possible but us ourselves. Almost everything stands against us being successful. We could stop tomorrow and only a few people would blink an eye for a moment. There is nothing pushing us onward but our love and our need to put out into the world what does not exist.

I am grateful for my husband for holding me up, as he is grateful for me. We push each other forward, despite the darkness all around us, which will eat us alive if we let it. Thinking about the state of the world right now too much leads us down a dark path. At least we have our work. It’s all we have. We have a few dedicated fans. We appreciate them more then they know. Those who are reading this, for example, I appreciate so much. I don’t know what else to do. I am doing what I can. Being creating, being a good person, trying to be patient, being loving and giving. That is all we can do. Just keep going forward. Feel what I feel. Get it out in writing and in words and push onward forward. Don’t give up. Let those few special people’s love for us and our work be enough. Let ourselves, our work, what we are doing, be enough. We are enough. We are worthy of what we dream of.

I AM DISGUSTED!

Friday January 20th 2017

It’s hard to make art in a society that belittles living artists, praises dead ones and encourages people who profit off the misery of others. 

I am reeling from yesterday. God save us. 

How does art even exist in a world like this? Now that an orange clown is our president, It will just get harder. How do we keep going? Why do we keep going? We must keep making art. We must find a way. Creativity is the most important thing in this world. Art and music and creation and imagination move society forward. Artists, despite how almost all of them are treated in life, are the most precious things our world has. Why must we only figure that out when they’re gone? Why must we raise up those who act in despicable way and push down those who give love and beauty to the world. Why must the unjust rule and the just suffer? Why have all the great musicians, artist, singers, comedians, actors and good people suffered so terribly in life? Why? Because our society is backwards. We raise up those who bring us down and and push down those who raise us up. Great art raises our consciousness. Great art raises our hearts and spirits. Art, music and creation is universal.

If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and heard a beautiful piece of music or saw a beautiful piece of art, they would understand it. Art is translatable. They wouldn’t understand baseball or tennis or basketball… or politics. The universe is vibrating with music. Music of the spheres is a real thing. Politics of the spheres? Um, no. Not really. The world needs a big switch, a big change. Something disastrous (like this orange clown holding power over America) could possible be the key to changing people’s hearts and minds about what is truly important. I can’t believe we must be destroyed before it can see the error of it’s ways. People say the Holocaust will never happen again, but did 6 million Jews have to die in order for that to be the case? Does the worse have to happen in order for us to say “Never Again”? How about “Not even in the first place”?

I was FEELING it today my friends. Really feeling it. Distracted by the dreaded inauguration of he-who-must-not-be-named, I was having trouble staying focused and being as creative as I wanted to be. I am sicked, scared and sad at the state of affairs in the world and terrified of what is to come. Scott Levkoff, a fellow artist and creative weird crazy person, made a video thanking artists like us for being such “brave, courageous souls”. It feels good to be seen for the work we’re doing. Just what I needed on this dark day. I want to make an impact, but I felt utterly helpless today. Today something horrible happened I could do absolutely nothing about. I wanted to scream, to fight back, to let my voice be heard. I wish we could have prayformed today, but the torrential downpour kept us away from the park, and me away from the protest. The sky was crying, as my heart was. Walking with the protesters the night of the election results in NYC was so liberating for me. I got the anger our of my heart. “NOT MY PRESIDENT!” felt so liberating to cry out in the middle of the street with hundreds of other people. Someone who was walking in front of me even recognized me. Amazing. I feel so deeply connected to those against the evil clown.

I won’t say his name. That gives him energy. I think the best would be for us to collectively turn our back on him, to ignore him completely. That’s why he won. We paid attention to him. We gave this horrible person exactly what he wanted. I make art for my life. I don’t give energy to evil, soul sucking DICK-tators. I must prayform away this sadness and hopelessness. We must come together to share goodness and love and hope with each other in these dark, dark times. We must believe that love, art, creativity, goodness and compassion with win over hate, greed, selfishness, ego in the end. It must, if our society and our humanity is to move forward. Don’t give up. Keep spreading your light. Listen to good music, tell people you love them, sing and dance in the streets, don’t watch TV, do good works, make good art, spend time with good people, stay focused, stay hopeful, feel deeply. Resist. Love. Laugh, Cry. Be. Hold onto what you believe in and never, never give up.

A N I N S P I R I N G L I F E S T Y L E

Thursday January 19th 2017

I just finished my first diary in 10 years. 160 pages in a month and a half. WTF. I’m gonna have lots of diaries by the end of the year. 🙂 That’s why I haven’t kept a physical one in so long. More sh*t to carry around. We went to play today. Thought it would rain, but it was sunny. We can’t stay home on a usual prayformance day when it’s sunny. We’re improvising a lot, as I wanted to. Thoth had more fun with it today. He was in a much better mood. My poor baby gets so emotionally inside out when the weather changes. He is such a sensitive soul. I love him so much.

Sometimes I feel so strong, other times I don’t feel strong at all. Today I felt strong. Today I had fun and believed in myself. I did yesterday, too, even though Thoth wasn’t doing well. I love trying new things. I love improvising. Prayformance, the act of doing it, our day leading up to it and after it, is so good for us. It gives us purpose and happiness, as nothing else does. Writing, drawing in the morning. Singing and breathing in the afternoon. Writing and drawing in the evening. It’s a perfect, all-day-creative day. Some days are more of a struggle. Some days I wonder why it has to feel so hard, other days I can’t believe how blessed we are. I love the freedom of our life. The spontaneity and the discipline of it. The humbleness and the giving of it. The raw and openness of it. The simplicity of it. Balboa Park is an easy and painless place we play for 4 months out of the year, especially right now living downtown. NYC is much harder. Lisbon is pretty painless too. It’s getting there that’s hard and where we live. We’re living in such a beautiful place now.

I’m loving the vlog these days. I love this video I made of us singing after prayformance today. I think it’s beautiful. I discovered if you play the video at different points in a few different tabs the harmonies are really pretty. I wish I had been vlogging this consistently when we first started traveling at the end of 2009. We have some random footage, but not of our time starving in Marrakech… or our week in depressing Athens or our fully paid trip to and performance in Madeira, or when Thoth danced on the ferry to Greece or our first trip to Amsterdam or our fully paid for trip to and performance in Sao Paulo for a festival, or our all night and all day drive from Texas to San Diego, or…… I need to write a book about our travels. I’ve been working on it over the years. There is footage of us playing in every city we’ve ever played in. If we got famous enough, it would be amazing if every video ever filmed of us (on people’s camera phones, etc.) were sent to us and we could make a documentary using their footage. That would be amazing.

I have so many dreams for the work we do. I believe in what we do. I believe creativity and art and imagination are the most important things we have.

I M P R O V I S I N G

Wednesday January 18th 2017

This morning we decided we’d go out to play at the park. It’s supposed to rain the next five days so today might have been the only day to play. I wrote on Facebook and Tori said she’d drop all her plans and come. That made me feel good. At least one person. Been listening a lot of Bobby McFerrin, so I suggested to Thoth we do a completely improvised set today in Balboa Park. It would get me out of my comfort zone, be challenging for me, and wouldn’t matter to anyone else as it would be slow in the park. The idea completely depressed Thoth. “It’s too much work.” he said and then went around the house silently until we left for our bike ride to the park. He had a really hard day today. Poor baby. It wasn’t just that, it was super low pressure today, before the rain.

I want to try new things. We can do whatever we want in the park. There’s no expectation. The thing is, improvising completely new ostinatos causes me to not hold them as consistently as I do in our usual set, which causes Thoth to not have as much fun and feel lost. We also don’t move around. He likes to dance and get his blood pumping. I’ve don’t felt the need to move as much. I’m more focused on the music, he’s more focused on the whole physical act of it. Moving, breathing, expelling sound from his body. Sometimes I just like standing there and singing. Most improvisational musicians, if not all, simply stand (or sit) and sing or play. It’s not so much a theatrical show they’re putting on, it’s music only, like Bobby McFerrin does. There’s nothing wrong with that. Thing is, if Bobby McFerrin stood in a public space and did what he does in a theater, no one would stop to watch him. Getting people to stop to watch us in a public space requires a certain amount of theatricality. I naturally revert to being still, while Thoth naturally moves. I was trained from childhood to stand and sing, or stand and play violin. Even after 8 years of dancing and singing and playing violin, I still like to stand and sing. I am a singer after all. My gift is my voice. Thoth’s presence in my life has challenged me to do things that don’t come naturally to me. I’m actually quite reserved in my movements and facial expressions naturally. I have to push myself to move and express myself physically.

As a compromise for our prayformance, we played a few improvs together and each did two improvised solos. That took me completely out of my comfort zone. I’m used to having Thoth there. Playing alone shows me my shortcomings, or what I see as shortcomings. No one clapped after my first solo either. I have a lot to learn, but I am young and have plenty of time. I’m so good at giving myself a hard time. I was proud of myself for doing it. I need to do solos every day. I want to be able to gather big crowds on my own, like Thoth does. The true miracle of Tribal Baroque is that we gather a crowd in a public space and some people give us donations, enough to keep us alive and safe and traveling so we can continue to prayform. I couldn’t do what I do now 8 years ago. Not ever. I don’t know anyone who does. The important thing is to get outside my comfort zone and just do things that scare me, like doing solos.

It’s amazing we can do this. We don’t owe anyone anything. The only thing we owe is to ourselves and to our creativity. We don’t work, we play. We figure out problems, we challenge ourselves, we grow. We do stuff. We do stuff every day. I get to go into one world of writing in the morning (my new dark play/story) then I can go into the world of art or reading or whatever creative act takes my fancy, then I can go into the world of public performance. All of that rounds out for a productive life that I am proud of living. I am proud of the life I live, the bravery and faith I must have to do what I do. The skills I’ve learned, the problems we’ve solved. We make it work. We want to be creative, so we’ve made a creative life.

C R E A T I V E T I M E

Tuesday 18 January 2017 Much better work on my play today. Every day, when things go well, I get a little more of the character’s stories figured out. When it’s fun, it really is fun and stimulating. I’m happy to be working on a fantasy land and story again. It’s been a long time since I was focused like this on a new story. This story, the characters and the land they live on is darker, more grotesque and frightening. I love piecing the world and their lives together. I’m answering a questionnaire, which challenges me to figure things out about them and their families and their childhoods. Fun. It can be whatever I want, because it’s all from my imagination. I am only limited by my imagination. Doing this kind of creative work works out my brain in a wonderful way. Every morning for a few hours writing, then reading a book and drawing. It’s great.

We went shopping for food for the next few days. I worked on my drawing for the rest of the afternoon and evening until I finished. Thoth made salmon and mashed potatoes for dinner. Yum. Our dinner last night wasn’t so nice. The lady who got us our food was a b**** and really ruined our evening. We are strongly affected by people’s negativity. Ugh. We were both glad to have a delicious meal. The inauguration is on Friday. If we don’t go out to play because of the rain, I want to join the protest in the park. It’s not far from the loft. God save us all. All we can do is continue to create and be ourselves.

Monday 17 January 2017 Doing something that takes daily focus and commitment is a challenge. If it were easy, everyone would be creating masterpieces left and right. I feel so incompetent today. I’m really great at giving myself a hard time. I’m my biggest critic. Working on my play and I can’t figure out the plot. Hard work is a given, as someone told me recently. I love working hard, but I hate feeling stumped. I have some dark characters and an intriguing, dark world I’m working on, but no driving goal or desires for the characters. That’s the common failing for young writers. No plot. It’s hard to make a decision, as I can choose it to go any direction I want. Having the freedom to choose anything makes me freeze with fear. I want it to go the way I want it to go. I want it to be dark, and it’s tough to let go of preconceived ideas constantly. Letting it flow. It’s not based on anything. I have a friend who writes plays about already created, famous characters. I understand why he does that. It’s much harder to create a story and a plot and characters of your own. I haven’t really even started on the play yet. I have to know who I’m writing about. Who they are and what world they live in. Does anyone have advice on story creation? Thoth is helping me, but he isn’t doing it for me. I don’t want him too. I just want to stay focused and finish it. I know the creation process is hard. Thoth has been writing a book since 2012 and never talks to anyone about it. I don’t know how to do that.

We took a wonderful bike ride to the wharf to clear our heads. I love biking around downtown. It feels like we’re at Wim’s apartment in Amsterdam again. Downtown San Diego is beautiful. Sunny and beautiful. I am so happy to be living here. It’s so convenient and easy to go wherever we want. Getting out of the house is helpful. I went back to my drawing when we got home. I love being creative on our days off.