Category Archives: About Me

Protected: Dark, Disturbing Drawings, Light, Magical Makeup and an Inspired Prayformance!

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THE IMPORTANCE OF IMPROVISATION

Wednesday January 25th 2017

Today was special. I listened to music all morning and took a day off from writing my play. Needed to give myself some brain rest. It’s good to do that every once in a while. I worked on a  drawing and danced around after eating breakfast.

The bike ride to the park requires steady uphill peddling, but it isn’t too long, and is good exercise for us. In 30 minutes we’re at Balboa Park. Our friend D. saw us on the road and waved, pulled around a knelt before me as I biked past. I didn’t recognize him at first. He’s a fellow vagabond traveler like us. It was good to see him.

We had a grand time prayforming today. We played a few improvisations, together and separately. You missed out if you missed it. We played a waltz in F# minor that was really beautiful. Simple. It made a woman cry. She knew without us telling her we’ve been doing this for a long time,so we wouldn’t understand how amazing what we do is. I gathered a crowd all by myself singing a solo. I really went for it and explored a few different ostinatos. That brings me a lot of pride to gather a crowd. It’s one thing to play solo in the park, it’s another to stop people by myself. A lot of the time I feel it isn’t me that’s stopping people, it’s Thoth. I’m not as focused in my movements as he is. He holds everything together and I float over on top when we play together. When I play alone, I have to hold it together. It’s a good practice. I used to be so afraid to improvise by myself. These days I’m not being too complicated and realizing it’s not about the violin, it’s about the voice. The simpler the ostinatos I play, the more freely I can sing. Simplicity is key.

I used to only sing other people’s music. I wouldn’t dare improvise. I didn’t believe I could. Now I love improvising. Someday I want to play a fully improvised show. Someday I want to play a full set by myself. I can do things now I could never do when I was younger. Improvisation takes confidence, courage, focus and simplicity. I learn so much when I improvise alone. I see instantly what doesn’t work and what does. It’s good for me to play solos and finish them alone. Before, in Esh and Ee-ay, I would play a solo, but Thoth would take over before it was over, do his solo, and then it would end as a duet. Now I have to get through it alone. I have to come up with an ending, which is the most difficult thing to do when improvising. Thoth told me when we first started playing together, “You’re always looking for an ending.” Musicians who don’t know how to improvise, don’t know how to end. Ending an improvisation requires confidence, especially doing it in public. There is always the possibility that people won’t clap. They didn’t when I first played my solo a few days ago. In a private performance, people always clap. In public, not so much. Performing in public the way we do gives me a lot of confidence.

All I Can F***king Do is DO THE WORK!!!!!!

You know what, F*CK IT! I’m a person who sings music no one has heard before in public parks and I’m living in a world that doesn’t give a SH*T about it, but at least I’m f*ucking doing something!!!!!!! At least I’m trying to do something noble and giving and good! People’s lack of care doesn’t stop me from being immensely successful at it either!!! I’m a f*cking artist! I make art! I try to inspire people! I AM FREE! I wish more people supported it, but ah well! That won’t stop me from doing it, regardless! I can’t control what people are going to do. We are doing more than most people!! Anyone can enjoy what I do, and frankly, they should count themselves lucky!! Every person who ever had or will see us perform live in public is one lucky mother f*cker! In history, people will wish they could have been in their shoes!! People should be falling over each other to help us and house us and put on shows for us, but they don’t! We do it our f*cking selves, and we’re the better for it! I’m proud that we do!! If you wanna do something right, you’ve gotta do it yourself, G o d  d a m n  i t 

The only way to do anything with heart in it, especially these days, is to do it yourself. Most people are too concerned with making financial gain over making anything with soul. We are not. We sacrifice for our heart work, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t successful in our own way. In order to follow your own carved out path, you have to go and do it, and do it fearlessly, and not compare ourselves to the status quo. Just go and do stuff!!! A lot of people won’t get it. That’s fine. (Some do though. We cherish those people. They are special.) I don’t listen to anyone who dissuades me. I don’t let that stop me. We need more brave artists in this world; people who are willing to stick their necks out for art and truth and beauty. That’s what makes life worth living. Not money and fancy houses and cars and that bull s*it! Wake up people! Get your heads out of your butts!  Support art and music and goodness!

We are incredibly successful for being street performers! We get ourselves around the world by ourselves! We are doing enough, giving enough and working hard enough. I get feisty like this because it’s just Thoth and me against the world it seems. It’s so rare for people to stand up for us. Those who do are really special people!( THANK YOU!) We are two people fighting an uphill battle to create a life that is different from any person in this world! We go out and share our art and our music with as many people as we can. People should be grateful, instead of judgmental and mean and condescending as they sometimes are. Thank god that rarely happens!

The best thing to be done is to try and create as much as I can and not think about how little support we have. It’s depressing and debilitating. It’s not how much anyone cares, it’s the work we produce that really matters. I’m a human being and I want to be loved, but creativity is the only thing I can do that gets me through my dark feelings. All artists feel this. I’m not alone. I’m  brave enough to write about it and be vulnerable. It’s can be debilitating to put things out there day after day, year after year and to look too closely at how little energy is received than the energy that is given to do it. It’s a given. Artists give more than they get back. Only the lucky ones, the overrated ones, get more than they give. That is the nature of being an artist, but we don’t have to like it. We want to be loved. We want our work to be appreciated. We are sensitive and vulnerable to criticism. All we want is love and support.

I wish we had more support, but really, F**K IT. That doesn’t stop us from being successful and making beautiful art and music anyway! We don’t need lots of support to do what we do. It would be nice to have more of it, but we can survive without it. When people come see us perform, it makes all the difference for me. There are a handful of people who care enough to make our life feel less lonely and help us in the beautiful ways they do. From giving us a place to stay or coming to see us prayform, to simply commenting on our vlogs and on this blog and supporting us on social media. We can’t do indoor shows or tour with a band, but we can go out to the park and sing every day and support ourselves through that. That is a blessing. Our friends who love us make all the difference. I do wish more people loved us, but F**K it! Some do, and for that I am grateful. We’d need many, many more people like them in order to be more successful, but we don’t have that. We had a handful of supporters, and that makes our life magic, even in the smallest ways. When friends come to see us in the park and stay for the entire time and talk to us afterwards, we feel loved. I wish we had more fans, but F**K it! The few fans we do have do love us and appreciate what we do deeply.

I wish we could perform indoors more often, but F**K it! We don’t have to in order to survive. We do fine performing in public! At least we have that. There is something beautiful about giving our art away and random strangers give back to us out of genuine love of what we do and not by cohesion or force. We are free in public. We are actually pretty famous in Balboa Park and other places we play! We don’t have the influence to get people to come to indoor shows. I actually don’t know how to get people to come to indoor shows. The beauty of public performance is we don’t have to worry if people will come. They always do. It is a much humbler was to perform. I constantly have to look in the mirror of humility by performing in public. That’s why I have so much pride, because I have to believe what we are doing is important, even if it many not seem to be. It is for me. It is for Thoth. It is for those people who truly understand what we’re doing. You know who you are. Thank you.

I wish people supported the vlogs and the blog more, but F**K that too! Despite how frustrating it is at times, it’s not stopping me from making them. I’m doing it for myself. I can’t make people support us more. I can only do the work every day. Work and create and do stuff!!! It is shocking how some people feel entitled to taking our art and giving nothing back, but it shouldn’t surprise me. We are a naturally selfish society. I will always give. I will always hope for people’s generosity. I will never give up. F**k those who think anything other than good things for the work we do. Thank you to those who truly see us and appreciate us. I cannot make anyone like us or respond to us. I can’t control people’s actions. I can only do good works and be a good person. That is all.

 

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.

S A N D I E G O I S B L I S S !

Sunday 16 January 2017

I didn’t do as much good work on my play this morning. Couldn’t think straight. Was feeling sick, and tired.  Yesterday was better. I was more focused. Had more energy. I only have so much energy to stay focused on one thing in the day. I have to move to different projects throughout the day to keep myself creative. I wish I could write my play all day, but I can’t. I have to stop and work on other things. Drawing, writing longhand, reading a book or just relaxing and listening to music. This play could take years to write. I don’t want it to, but that’s what it seems like. There are so many other things I want to create, like new music, which is the hardest thing to do for me.

The park was slow for a Sunday. Not that it matters. It was helpful to have Bill there. Just having one person there helps me get through it. We just keep pushing through, keep going. That’s all there is to do. That, or give up and go home, and that’s not an option. People asked that irritating question, “Do you perform anywhere?” when we had just finished performing a song. Is performing in a park not considered performing? I know they mean performing in a venue. I hope that will happen while we’re here. I believe it will. Performing indoors gives us  the ability to do things we just can not do in the park; try out new music, bring musicians in to play with us, play with our loops, be more theatrical. It gives an audience the opportunity to have quiet and focus on us for however long we do a show. There are so many things I would want to do if we did indoor shows again.

We kept at it today, played through the slow crowd and low and behold, it got better. I’d rather have a slow start and it get better at the end. By the end of our play, people were sitting watching us and cheering. We need so little to be happy. A focused crowd, some fans coming to see us and a comfortable place to live… That’s all. We’re blessed we have that now. Since things aren’t always easy, we appreciate it that much more when it is. We have a wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to play, which is a 15 minute bike ride away. Good friends who come see us. Easy access to food. Our bikes to get us around. A clean, quiet, creative place to work and take time for ourselves. What more do we need? A venue to perform indoors would be nice!

Saturday 15 January 2017

I’m the most focused in the morning. I worked hard on my new play this morning. I’ve been working on it every morning since Christmas day. I’m figuring out more about the world the story is set in. Backstory. It’s fun. It’s dark. I have to write a certain amount of back story before I can write the actual play. I had to go back to sleep until 9am, as I didn’t sleep well last night. I had 4 hours to work before time to get ready to play. I’m being very productive. I’m putting myself on my own schedule. Get up anywhere around 7:30 to 9am, write a page of longhand and work on my play (eventually on the new opera and my novel) until noon. Have breakfast. Sketch, write longhand or read. Do makeup. Play at the park from 3:30-5:30pm. When we come home from prayformance around 6:30 or 7pm, I shower, have dinner and edit the vlog, write a blog and do whatever else I want until midnight. Very productive.

My emotional state before prayformance is very different from how I feel once we start, and when we’re finished. Both here in San Diego and in NYC I am always nervous and on edge before we start. Both of us are. I don’t know what is going to happen. We never know. We can only hope for the best, and usually I don’t. I’m scared the worst will happen. Someone will tell us to stop, harass us or bother us. It never does. We always just keep going. Keep playing no matter what happens. That’s the best policy.

Some of our biggest fans are shy people. This is the case all over the world. The reason I love San Diego is we have the fans and almost all of them stay for an entire prayformance when they come to see us, and they come often. Tori, for example, came twice this week, and said she will be there as much as she can while we’re here. Our friend Bill said he’ll try coming twice a week. Our friend Forrest, who we didn’t see today, usually comes every Sunday. All of these people are shy, and took a while to actually approach us. Our friend Dan (our photographer) in NY was the same. He was watching and photographing Thoth for a long time before he approached him and they became friends. I think we attract shy people to us because our music expresses emotion without words. Shy people are usually super intelligent, but take time to open up and use their words. Our friend Forrest was one of the shyest people we’d ever known. I hope we see him soon.

Our music is intensely raw and emotional. I’m starting to understand that more. That’s how I’ve been singing and performing for years. It isn’t unusual to me or Thoth, but it is loud and raw and emotional. A lot of people can’t handle that much emotion. We are expressing purely what we feel. Nothing between us and the audience. Nothing protecting them, or us. Some stoned people came over while we were playing today. They got too close, but our policy is to ignore bad behavior. A boy in the audience stood near us to protect us and told them to leave us alone. I almost though one of them would try to touch me, but the boy stopped them. I never look at people who are bothering us. We carry on and eventually they leave.

Both Tori and Bill were there today all through the prayformance. It feels good to have two people who came specifically to see us. It’s one of the most wonderful things people can do for us. Just come see us. Talk to us. Pay attention. Acknowledge us. It makes me so happy. We are performing for free in a public park. It’s the least people can do, and I appreciate it so much when they do. We are blessed to be able to perform and live where we’re living. The bike ride there is up a slow incline, but back it is all downhill. The grocery store is just around the corner, as is any restaurant we could want to eat at. It’s bliss to bike around. People call out of their cars, “You look awesome! So cute!” That’s San Diego. We’re actually pretty famous here. We’ve been coming here every Winter since 2010, biking to the park from Adams Avenue. So happy we don’t have to do that anymore. Finally we’re living somewhere we can have fun and go anywhere we want. Hard work does pay off, eventually. Just got to keep doing the work.