Monthly Archives: November 2014

Cursed at by the Afrobats

from Instagram.

from Instagram.

Saturday November 29th 2014

Another really cold day, but it’s the last one of the season for us. Thank god.

When I got up, we booked two nights at a hotel in Long Island City for Monday and Tuesday. That will be a nice break. We’re leaving the city on Wednesday. Back to Oakland for December, then San Diego in January.

We took the subway to the park. As we were headed towards the tunnel, we past one of the breakdancer groups at The Bandshell. I recognized one of them as one of the Afrobats who cursed at us last year. I smiled. No reason to be rude. Suddenly, he started cursing at us again. Here’s the paraphrased comment. “There are those ass holes that put that video of us on Youtube! Look at that fucking pink hair!” He continued to curse at us as we walked by. I was taken aback, but we just kept moving. Thank god we have laws. He’d be coming at us with knives if there weren’t any! I couldn’t believe he was being so nasty. What had we ever done to him? It’s them who turn their boom box up and curse at us if we ever call the police to stop them (which we have every right to do.) I even tried reasoning with them last year, but they wouldn’t have it. “So hateful.” I said as we descended the stairs into the tunnel. I didn’t really understand what he was talking about, so we discussed it while we set up. “I filmed them last year while they were playing their boom box and had a noisy drummer and that same guy came over to me and said something stupid, and I put it on Youtube. I guess that made them mad. I guess they think there’s something wrong with us for putting their rude behavior on the internet.” I said. They’re not allowed to use amplification in the park!

A woman came up to us and said they were having a wedding. I never like hearing that. A wedding means we have to stop. She said the bride would be walking down the stairs, through the tunnel and go off to the right for the ceremony. She asked if we could move our stuff over. Are you kidding me? “Sorry, no.” I said simply. She was nice about it, though. She ran over to Miriam, trying to talk to her while she was singing, like all wedding organizers do. The bride walked through the tunnel and past us. No big deal. There was absolutely no reason for the wedding planner to bother us. Why do weddings done in public spaces feel like everything needs to stop for them? Do it indoors!

We started on time (yay) and had a pretty good day. Not as good as yesterday, despite it being freezing yesterday, literally. People just aren’t as generous on the weekends. Don’t ask me why. It felt balmy today compared to yesterday, and it was only 41 degrees. It probably wasn’t 41 when we were playing, though. We got through the day easily enough and packed up to go home. I saw a guy dressed as a Jedi with an orange light saber at the back of the tunnel. He and someone else were filming a roll playing scene. It was pretty cool. The light saber made swishy sounds every time it moved. We went home and ate dinner and I talked to my mom. She said she’s proud of me for getting through such cold days.

Unbearable Cold

From Instagram.

From Instagram.

Friday November 28th 2014

Oh my God. It. was. so. cold!! But we did it!!! We deserve gold stars!

We knew it was going to be below freezing today, so I didn’t even look at the temperature. It would only scare me. Miriam was singing along to a music-minus-one CD at the tunnel. She’s never sung with any backup before. Despite me being against those things, it did help her keep time and pitch better. Now we’re the only ones in the tunnel who don’t use amplification. I was freezing even before we started to play. Miriam’s son was still singing when it was our time to play, then she started strumming the guitar and singing. “What is she doing?” Thoth asked as we were getting ready to sing. “I don’t care what she’s doing.” I said. I was irritated! After, “Anya,” Thoth didn’t think he could continue on. We were so cold. “We only have three more prayformance here. If we get to “Plucking Song” and we’re still freezing, we should stop. We need to try. ” I said. Once we finished “Gypsy Dance,” our fourth song, we felt warmer. People were very generous, which helped. We were able to get through a full prayformance until the sun was setting, then we finished. I felt so proud of us. “That’s a record.” Thoth said. We’ve never played in a colder temperature. We took the train home and ordered Indian food for dinner. God, I can’t believe we did it!

My poor baby sister called me close to midnight, sobbing. She had a hard day at her job. My poor baby. I want so much for her to be happy.

Thanksgiving Prayformance

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Thursday November 27th 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had a nightmare just as Thoth woke me up. We were trying to hide and someone was shooting at us. Weird.

We got dressed in as many layers as possible. It was going to be freezing outside, literally. Usually we don’t play at that temperature. It’s going to be worse tomorrow! We passed our friend Stephen on The Mall. He walked with us a little ways, then went off. “I’ll see you soon.” he said. Miriam was there setting up as we arrived at the tunnel. I had been meaning to ask her why her son sang into our time the other day, so I did. “The Boyds went late.” she explained. “They usually don’t.” I said. I told her these next four days were our last at the park until next year and that I was looking forward to playing. Stephen came down into the tunnel and sat with me while Thoth looked for some newspapers. He asked me what I was listening to. “Sweeney Todd.” I said. We talked about the kind of music I like. Thoth came back with a mop and mopped up the water on the floor. As Miriam sang, barely anyone stopped to watch her sing. The stairs were wet so people didn’t sit down. She stopped about 15 minutes before she usually does and cuddled in the corner with her son. I could tell she was sad. It wasn’t a good day for her. There were plenty of people out, but it was very cold. I knew we’d have a good day. As we began “Anya,” not many people gathered and my fingers and toes were painfully numb. It was horrible. I was sad. Once we started “Romanza,” it got better. Suddenly we had crowds, big ones. There were a lot of school groups around. It’s incredible we can gather such big crowds, even when it’s freezing. It made the cold more bearable. It ended up being a good day. I’m really happy we got through it.

We took the subway to 14th Street and went to TGI Friday’s for dinner. It was very filling food. Thoth was incredibly hungry. Poor baby. We wobbled our way back to the subway and went home. I checked my messages and saw that Jamie DeWolf has put up the gig for Tourette’s Without Regrets on December 4th… and we’re the featured act! “They killed it last year…” Jamie wrote. How sweet! We were featured last year, but no one knew who we were yet. Jamie says people are still asking about us. I’m really excited about performing there again. The applause was deafening. Someone even filmed on of our song and put it on Youtube. Jamie loves us and the burlesque crowd really gets us. Last time we weren’t prepared for how loud it would be, but this time we’ll bring ear plugs. Our friends Chris and Khalil are taking us this time. I think they’ll love it. I can’t wait to be back on the West Coast. (We’ll be there from December 3rd to the end of December, then we drive to San Diego for the winter.)

Dark Musicals

Wednesday November 26th 2014

My favorite musicals have always been about dark, disturbing subject matter. Phantom of the Opera is about a deformed, murderous outcast who falls in love with a beautiful young singer. Sweeney Todd is about a sadistic, cannibalistic barber. Jekyll and Hyde is about a scientist who develops a split personality for the sake of a scientific experiment. Urinetown is about a town who’s water completely dries up. Into the Woods is about various fantasy characters learning difficult, disturbing life lessons. Candide is about two young people who learn through various horrific incidents (rape, torture, murder, etc.) that life is unfair, unjust and unkind, but they must do the best they can. Les Miz is about poor people who are all murdered fighting a hopeless battle against the government. West Side Story is about two people from different cultures who fall in love, one of which is murdered at the end. Dark musicals go into places of the human mind that fascinate me. They challenge and excite me.

My two favorite musicals have always been Sweeney Todd and Phantom. Both characters fascinate me. They aren’t good people with good intentions by any means. Both are murders. Both have distorted views on the world. Both think and act in ways I never would. If I met either of them in person, I’d probably be absolutely disgusted and terrified. So why do I commiserate with them within the context of the show? I think it’s because you get into their head and realize why they do what they do. They are both anti-heroes. They do evil things because evil is done to them. Erik, for example, extorts the managers, blackmails Christine, and murders people left and right. He even gets away with it! Yet, in the show, you see he is actually a sensitive musical genius with a simple desire to be loved. It’s therefore easy to feel compassion for him. Sweeney Todd slits people’s throats and baked them into pies, but in the show he is falsely imprisoned so a lecherous old judge can have sex with his wife. See? Bad is done to them, so you feel for them. Well, I do anyway.

More later.

A Teaser before Thanksgiving

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Tuesday November 25th 2014

We went out to play today! We usually don’t prayform on Tuesday’s.

I wasn’t expecting anything, but I would rather play today than take three days off. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so we won’t be going out then. Once we were all dressed and went outside, it wasn’t as nice as we were hoping. It was cloudy and kind of cold. On our way to the subway, we almost turned back and went home. “We should go out and play a little.” So we did. The usual people were performing at the tunnel when we arrived. I went down and said hi to Miriam, then went to sit with Thoth and wait. When the Boyds finished, we set up in the front while Miriam sang in the back. Dan came to photograph us. We went out near the lake and took pictures, then we went back to the tunnel. I got angry because Miriam’s son Tristrum wasn’t finished singing until around 3:10. We start at 3. I don’t like when people push into our time. We don’t do that to the other performers. They’ve been doing that for a few days now. I need to ask Miriam next time not to do that. Both Dan and his brother Josh were waiting for us to begin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

We got started right away. We had crowds all afternoon. It was quite busy for a weekday. It seems like families are already arriving for the Thanksgiving holiday. Dan and Josh stayed the entire afternoon. They’re such supportive fans, some of our biggest in the world. I love having them at the tunnel watching us. I always love when friends come to see us. To know they took time out of their day to see us makes me feel loved and appreciated. I hope we see more friends before we leave. Dan comes at least once, if not a few times a week to document us at the tunnel whenever we visit New York. He’s such a good friend. Josh slipped us a nice tip before “Pentagram.” He’s so sweet. My voice felt great. I had fun singing. Thoth was feeling sad in the morning, but he felt better as we played. He always feels better when we sing together. I love him so much. I’m so connected to his feelings. I want him always to be happy! We finished just as the sun was setting. Dan and Josh sat with us while we packed up. “You look like you’ve lost weight,” Josh said. “Congratulations!” Dan said the same thing when he first saw me. It makes me feel good. A man and his little son who’d seen us prayform before came to see us again, but we were all packed away. The man’s friend was fascinated with us. “You are true artists.” she said. She didn’t even know what we do.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Dan and Josh walked with us to the subway and Dan took the subway with us to 14th Street. I think that’s the last time he’ll see us prayform this year, but we’re having dinner with them both on Monday. I’m looking forward to it. Josh is going to take us to the airport on Wednesday. We went to La Bonbonneure for a yummy dinner. I even got pancakes for dessert. Yum! We said goodbye to the people who work there. “We’ll miss you! You’ve made us happy. We love you.” the woman said. So sweet. We took the train home and settled into our room to rest. “This was our teaser for Thanksgiving.” Thoth said. Snow day tomorrow!

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.