Monthly Archives: April 2015

Girls Day Out

Tuesday April 28th 2015

Today I had a girls day out! I’ve never had that before! It was so much fun!

My friend Mel picked me up at 11am and drove me to her hair salon with a friend of hers.

Before.

Before.

Everyone at the salon knew me because Mel had been talking us up forever. She’s a big fan of our work. She bleached my roots and made my hair into a frothy, multidimensional cloud of lavend-ery silver-ish white. I love it. She did it as a going away gift for me. Mel is awesome. She works at The Mermaid Salon on Mira Mesa Blvd. If you need hair done in San Diego, go to her. She’s the best. I’m kind of partial though, because she’s such a close friend. 🙂 She even poofed up my hair. “You look like an angel.” Tasha said when she arrived.

After!

After! That;s my friend Tasha in the background.

I feel like such a pretty unicorn princess!

I feel like such a pretty unicorn princess!

Thank you Mel!

Thank you Mel!

Tasha came and picked me up just as we finished. Everything worked out so perfectly! She texted me last night wanting to have girl time and was going to be right down the way in La Jolla. We drove to North Park to have lunch and talked about relationships, like girls do.

We walked around North Park until we found a sushi place to have lunch. It was noisy inside, but the food was surprisingly good. Our waitress had pink hair, so of course I had to take her picture.

We drove back to the house and Tasha hung out in our room until time to go to the women’s dinner with Bassemah. Tasha, Thoth and I all lay in the bed relaxing and talking until it was time to go. Bassemah drove me to the dinner, with Tasha following behind. It was a day of girl time bonding. It something I’ve always wanted, girlfriends I can talk to. The house where the women’s dinner was was right down the street from home, and it was stunningly decorated. The backyard was amazing. There was a big tree in the middle with about 10 people all sitting at a table in the back with tons of food spread out. I had a good time chatting and meeting new people. One woman had seen us perform in the park and I showed everyone our music video.

We only stayed for a bit over an hour. I hugged Tasha goodbye. We’ll see her on Sunday. Bassemah drove me home and we talked some more in the driveway. She’s such a beautiful person, so is Tasha. We’re so lucky to have friends like them.

 

 

On Being a Unique, Creative Artist in our Modern Society

Photo by Jason Bang.

Photo by Jason Bang.

The hardest thing in life is for us not to get down on ourselves. Though we experience dark, depressing days feeling unimportant, unheard, and undervalued, we continue to do our work because it makes us happy. The sadness and pain is worth the price because there are moments of such blissful joy when we get to prayform fully, like yesterday. I know how hard it is the stick to your guns. We are doing something different than anyone in the world. There is no “Prayformance Guide Book.” There is no one to tell us the right or wrong way to do this. With opera, you go to music school, you audition for and win competitions, you find vocal coaches and mentors, you get small roles in opera, then larger and larger ones until you’re successful. For violin you go to music school, you audition for orchestras and practice and practice until you’re first chair. There are no rules for what we do. It is the first music of it’s kind. There’s no Tribal Baroque Competitions or Tribal Baroque Schools or Tribal Baroque anything. There’s just us. Thoth, and me. That’s it. I could have gone off in to opera or musical theatre and have had an easier time of it, simply because pursuing an already exsisting musical genre is easier. We’re creating a new genre of music. People love it, but it make take beyond both of our deaths for it to really catch on, if it does at all. I sure do hope that’s not the case, but it takes a long time for something different to truly make an impact. I mean who knows, maybe tomorrow everyone will be wanting to learn how to do what we do. Sometimes I wonder how we keep going. It’s because of days like yesterday. The support. The love. That feeling of deep awe and respect of what we’re doing. We can get through anything because we know if we gave up, we would never experience that again.

OK. New subject.

I can’t believe that celebrity judges on TV make a living out of insulting people! I couldn’t bare to insult someone, even if they were truly horrid at singing. I have an immense sensitivity to it because I’ve experienced it personally. I can step into other people’s shoes and truly see how a mean word can affect them. We need to be kind to each other! I hate that the arts have turned into a competition. Because of the uniqueness of our work, it’s hard to compare it to others. When it’s compared to others, people say things like Cirque Du Soleil or Dead Can Dance or The 5th Element (all things I like.) The middle schoolers always yell, “Look! It’s Lady Gaga!” whenever we bike past them to go to the park. It’s just the same old bullying behavior. I’m so glad I’m not in middle school anymore. I would love for us to be able to perform at schools and talk to kids about embracing who you are and being yourself. I think we’d be good examples for kids. Bullying behavior, be it on social media, in schools, etc. needs to stop. We need to accept those who are unique and not leave them out. We need to champion those who are unique and give them a voice. These talent shows on TV make so much money out of mocking, shaming and insulting people. It’s disgusting, and it needs to stop. We need to have compassion and understanding for each other. It’s the work we do that has truly enlightened me to this fact. It takes so much bravery to just be yourself in this world, but it shouldn’t. I felt so alone and alienated when I was in school. I was the weird, creative kid. I listened to the Paganini Caprices when I should have been doing my math homework. I went to school dressed in tutus and my grandfather’s old tuxedo. I was a black sheep. I was unique. I am unique now. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t meet Thoth. He is the champion of black sheep.

What a Transcending Prayformance!

Sunday April 26th 2015

Today's look.

Today’s look.

Someone pulled us over on our bike ride to the park to give us a tip. “I’ve seen you many times and was never able to tip you. Here.” he said. That’s never happened before.

Today’s prayformance in Balboa Park was beyond words. I can’t describe it.

Support. So much support. Love. Care. Understanding. All the things we were needing. All the things that make us feel like we’re doing something worthwhile with our lives. All the weariness in me melted away. The words people said filled me with humbleness and awe.

“Balboa Park is called the crown jewel of San Diego, but you are the crown jewels of Balboa Park. The park should be sponsoring and promoting you. Your major success is long overdo.” a big fan named Jason said to us before we started.

Bill came at 3:30, just as we started.

“Aren’t they transcending?” a belly dancer in the audience said when we finished. “Yes they are.” someone replied.

Forrest arrived after our first piece and was standing to the right of us. Usually he sits in his favorite little spot to the left of us next to the bars. He took the spot once the person who was standing there moved. Bill always stands to the back. Jason stayed, too. All three of them watched us for the entire 2 1/2 hours we played. People even sat down and watched us. We didn’t have to gather a crowd after every piece, people were waiting for us to play again. This always happens when we’re about to leave places. Everyone comes to see us because they know they won’t see us until next year. I am gobsmacked how many people come to see us. Even Sister Yeshe and Della stopped by to say hello. They couldn’t stay, but they stopped by! It means so much to us that people are aware of our existence and make a point to come see us. Sometimes I feel invisible, but I’m not. People love what we do and people will always love what we do. It transcends race, religion, gender, age, and even musical preference.

 We really, really went for it today. We made and video of the entire thing. Maybe we’ll post it so people can see how the opera has evolved! It was such an amazing day! God I wish I could explain it clearly! I’m so bad with words. Having a group of people stay the entire afternoon really helps us. God, I need to stop using REALLY so much! Really really really really really! I felts so good. I need to stop saying SO so much too! Ha! SO SO SO SO SO SO!!!!!

There was something magical about today. The feeling of people’s love and support was staggering. When we finished a piece, people clapped and clapped and clapped, like we were performing in a theatre. They actually clapped! Like seriously majorly supportive, loving, incessant clapping. I don’t even remember the last time that happened? Speaking for myself, I do love feeling supported and loved. I know Thoth does, too. He’s able to prayform fully and passionately with or without it, but I need applause and an audience to truly put my all into the work. It’s still beautiful when we don’t have a big crowd around us, but when we have many, many of attentive eyes on us, my energy shoots up and I give it %150. That’s the reason the Martha’s Vineyard show was such a success. There were 250 eyes focused on us and the way they cheered. Oh please. Yes. Give me that every single day for the rest of my life and I would die a happy woman. That’s what our work is made for. Focused attention from a lot of people. We don’t get it all the time, but when we do, we EAT  IT  UP!

We played the entire opera and then continued with some older songs we haven’t played in a while. I no longer felt like I had to move in a certain way. I realize that when doing our older work, I mirrored Thoth a lot. I didn’t know when else to do. I was being safe. For this new work, I feel I’m coming more into my own and individuating. I will continue to do so as the years go by. When I think about it, I was so ready for us to create a new work, but I didn’t know if I could. Now I know that I can. The opera was so different 4 months ago. The transitions were awkward and I wasn’t comfortable with the new ostinatos or the endings. Things take time to come together, especially with our work. We have to take it out in public as soon as possible, even though we’re not completely comfortable with it. For the first few months we would play a new piece, then a few older pieces, than a new piece. We would end up only playing 2 or 3 new pieces per day, which caused some pieces to advance faster than others. A few months ago I told Thoth we needed to play the opera the entire way through every day, and we did. It was uncomfortable at first, but it began to take roots and solidify within a few months. Amazing. Now I know how it works and we will use the same process when creating another opera in the future.

Forrest, Bill and Jason stayed behind to talk with us when we finished. I told Forrest how our week went. “I really hope I’m in a better position next year to help you.” he said. Such a generous and supportive friend! “I’m so lucky to be able to see you. In the future other people will wish they could.” he said.

Jason and I talked about the thuggish break dancers we have to deal with in New York. He follows our travails through our blogs so he knows about the encounters we’ve had with them. He really understands how horrible they are. He even told us about a video he saw of them when they jumped on a man who kicked their money box in Union Square. What thugs! I told Jason the best way for me to deal with them is to try to make the best of it. “It’s like they’re in a gang and you’re on their turf.” Jason said. I told him how I tried talking with them a few years ago and they all of the sudden called me a racist. “The best response to that is, ‘Well you’re a poo poo head.'” Jason said. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to talk to anyone about them like I did with Jason. He really gets it. He and Bill started doing this hysterical skit pretending to be us. Kind of like a Tribal Baroque parody. I’ve never seen anything so funny. I wish I got it on film. I wish someone was filming our every move!

Here's a shot of Thoth on his bike after prayformance.

Here’s a shot of Thoth on his bike after prayformance.

Sweeties together.

Sweeties together.

Someone else who had seen us perform at a party saw me outside the grocery store and gave me some money, too. Wow.

We got home and were bombarded with invites for our days off. Our friend and fan Mel is picking me up on Wednesday to bleach my hair at her salon as a going away gift. Last year she came to the house to do my hair, but I’m pretty good at it now with Thoth’s help. She’s such a generous person. How lucky I am to have a hairdresser for a friend! I wish I could put her in my pocket and have her travel around with me. I also was invited to a woman’s dinner on Wednesday night. Bassemah is gonna pick me up. We have to film the opera in a studio we rented on Thursday. Another friend and fan, Sister Yeshe, said she and Sister Ida wanted to treat us to dinner before we go. We planned for Saturday. That will be fun. We’ll be pretty busy until we leave! That’s always what happens. At least we have tomorrow and Tuesday to rest.

Singing to the Canyon

Saturday April 25th 2015

Today was a mixture of emotions. We got dressed up to play for a party in South Park. IMG_20150425_173925914
I had no idea where we were going, but Thoth said he did. We left a half hour later than we wanted. My legs were tired even before things started going downhill. My contact was hurting so I took it out when we stopped. Naturally it fell. We tried to find it, but couldn’t. I have more. Once I realized we didn’t really know where we were going, I got pretty mad at Thoth. We hit a few canyons we had to go around which led to us going up a lot of hills for no reason. We were on bikes. After the third time of having to go up a major hill I lost it. “I can’t do this anymore! Why did you say you knew where we were going when you didn’t? We have to perform and I’m exhausted!” I sobbed. “You have to do it. Just think about something else,” Thoth said. “It’s worth it.” “I’m so sick of everything being so hard.” I cried to myself. “When are things going to get easier?”

Finally we found our way to Jane’s house. It took us an hour. God that sucked.

I still looked fabulous, though, sweat and all.

Getting ready to play.

Jane showed us to her room to get ready. She and the guests were very welcoming. It was an amazing house. We took a little rest before going to the patio to sing. I hugged Thoth. “I was mad at you but I’m not mad at you anymore.” I said. “It’s good one of us was able to hold it together,” he said. “Imagine if both of us started crying.” “That’s what’s good about us. We hold each other up.” I said. The patio she wanted us to sing on was above where the guests would be watching. Of course there were no acoustics, but I didn’t push my voice so it was fine. I have every confidence that people will love us, so I really went for it. I find the more we go for it, the more people like us. Some walkers stopped way down in the canyon to watch us. I waved at them after a piece and everyone laughed. We went down to sing near a tree for our encore “Scottish Song.” We sang around the tree and I held Thoth around his waist near the end. Very romantic.

After singing.

After singing.

I’m finding that when I have an idea for a movement or a vocal passage, I don’t hesitate anymore. I know later I will regret it if I do. I also know that the audience is hearing the entire arch of the song. They aren’t nit picking it and they aren’t judging us. They’re enjoying it. I have learned to let go of what I might see as imperfections to the point that I don’t seem them as that.  Everything that happens in prayformance is supposed to happen. Prayformance is great because it’s flexible. We can do it anywhere. There was a little gravel path and Thoth put it to creative use, as did I. I no longer feel like I’m hiding behind him. I feel like I’m finally my own creative self, which in turn increases what we do together.

When we finished, people bombarded us with praise. Everyone loved it.

Our host Jane.

Our host Jane.

Oh, and there was this.

Yes, they had baby chicks.

Yes, they had baby chicks.

AWWWW!!!!

AWWWW!!!!

CLICK TO WATCH THE VERY CUTE VIDEO!!!

CLICK TO WATCH THE VERY CUTE VIDEO!!!

A woman named Barbarella said it was “soulblowing.” She and her husband want to make a documentary about us. OMG! Just a few hours earlier I was crying about going up a hill. I realized, “This is my life. My life is a hill. I have to go up it and sometimes I really don’t want to and I don’t have the energy, but then once I will myself to go up it, I get rewarded with love and support of our work.” They produce and host Sound Pulse TV and she writes for the San Diego Reader and they just launched The Artist Odyssey. Pretty awesome. They’re very connected with Martha’s Vineyard, too. I made a video.

We ate, socialized, were paid and packed up to bike home.

How do I look? Pretty good.

Double checking the look for the ride home.

It was going to rain any moment, but we made it just in time.

Cool house we saw on the way home.

Cool house we saw on the way home.

The bike ride was far even when going straight home. That’s the trouble of San Diego, we need to live in a place that’s bikeable to the park and the grocery store. Otherwise we become unable to do things we need to keep ourselves happy, healthy and alive.

Overall, it was an incredible day. Thank you Jane for including us in your party!