Monthly Archives: May 2015

OMG Amazing Prayformance Tonight!!!!

Saturday May 30th 2015

I was inspired with my makeup and hair. I’m going for “Angel from Outer Space.” I put a bunch of random things on my face and pinned some necklaces in my hair. I don’t plan my looks, but they usually turn out right. I even clipped some lights in, too. We saw Victor (the manager of Gardenia) when we arrived at the space. “Would you like us to turn the music off?” he asked. “We’re still getting ready.” Thoth said. He went down and told him about the scarf salesmen who are annoyed with us. Victor laughed. He thought it was funny. “You’re artists.” he said.

A couple (who had come to watch the end of our show yesterday) arrived when we started and stayed the entire 2 hours. We had a crowd before we even started. Thoth and I had talked about increasing the energy of “Esh,” which we did tonight. Just like that. We figure things out when we perform in public. There’s nothing like it. If something isn’t working, we can immediately fix it. We have to. I was much more focused and energetic and theatrical tonight. Without an audience it’s not the same. All of the issues I was having with the opera last night melted away. Something changes in me when we have an audience that’s cheering and clapping. To my astonishment, we saw the woman who used to come watch us all the time a few years ago. I don’t remember her name. She has orange hair. When I saw her, I ran towards her and we embraced. She doesn’t speak much English, but she absolutely adores us. After our last performance in Lisbon in August 2012, she was hugging us and crying. I didn’t know if we’d ever see her again. She asked how long we’d be here. “3 months!” we said. “I’ll come see you again tomorrow!” she said. She stayed for another song and left. “The only way we would have seen her again is if she walked by and saw us, and she did.” Thoth said. Life is amazing, isn’t it? For the entire 2 hours we had big audiences. By the end, people were piled on top of each other trying to see us. I love this space. It feels protected. It feels like a stage. Especially when we have big audiences blocking the entrances. On a good day, we block the entire street because everyone wants to see us. The test that our music is captivating people is if we can stop them in their tracks in the street. I think we have some of the best audiences here than anywhere in the world. I wish our fans from other parts of the world could see us here. I know they would love it, too.

We were so happy, we went to the thai place for dinner. The owner has known us since 2010. We actually sat outside his restaurant when we first came here looking for Pensao Atalaia! He wanted all our change. Once we counted it, we gave it to him. All restaurants here want our change. In New York, we have to go to a bank and get the money changed.  We had a nice dinner. There were lots of people drinking in the street. It’s such a fun atmosphere. People stare so openly at us. I love it. Things have changed so much for us, and we’ve only been here one week! I’m so proud of us!

Dinnertime. :)

Dinnertime. 🙂

Another Surprise at the End!

Friday May 29th 2015

I’m finally sleeping well. It’s makes a lot of difference. I woke up at 11:30 today. I dyed my hair pink and we had a late lunch. At 6 o’clock we got ready to play.

Pretty before playing.

Pretty before playing.

There was a stiff breeze and I was underdressed. Once we got to the space and set up, Gardenia turned their music off when we started. Amazing. Why is it I’m so gobsmacked when people are respectful towards us? We deserve respect! Performing in the street is such a humbling experience. I know I’m good at what I do, but I have to constantly convince others when I prayform. Though it’s harder, it’s better to be undervalued than overvalued.

For the first hour and a half, our crowds were pretty small and didn’t clap much. They didn’t clap at all after “Ee-ay.” “It’s hard not to get discouraged.” I said to Thoth. “I start doubting myself and wondering if I’m any good. I’m aware of it and I’m trying to tamper my thoughts, but it’s really hard.” I said.

Suddenly we had a crowd when we started playing our old pieces around 10pm. That happened last night, too. People come into the space to watch us. A couple stood in the corner and watched us for the final half hour. I felt much more energetic and engaged with the music. We had cheering after every piece. It made me doubt the quality of the opera. It doesn’t have the same energy as our old pieces. I talked to Thoth about it when we finished. “Is the opera good?” I asked. “Yes.” Thoth said.

Happy after playing.

Happy after playing.

Here’s what we talked about.

The reason people love our old music is because it’s trancy. Every ostanito is repetitive, but it’s full of passion. We dig into it. With our new music, we’re not trancing. We’re too focused on creating variety and telling the story, which is pulling us away from the music. We’re jumping from one ostanato to the next too fast. We need to find the trance. The theatricality and the story comes from the music, not the other way around. Unless we’re completely comfortable with the music, we won’t tell the story. The reason we’re so playful and theatrical and silly with our old music is because we’re utterly comfortable with it and we love playing it.

Thoth being stupid.

Thoth being stupid.

Such a Surprising Prayformance!

Thursday May 29th 2015

Today was nice! We walked down the hill towards Rossio to look for a fan for our room. It’s hot even now and it’s only May. I think we’re in for a hot summer. We were unable to find a fan. We will eventually. Does anyone in Lisbon have a stand up oscillating fan we can use? We walked back up the hill and had lunch at our regular spot around the corner from home. We were tired! I took a shower, got dressed and we walked to Rua Garrett. People stare at us so much here, more than anywhere in the world actually. I think it’s because I look incredibly different from everyone. It’s kind of how it was in Marrakech. No one has light skin or hair (and I play both those things up a lot.)

At our spot, a security guard saw us and said something to Thoth in Portuguese. “He asked if we’re the ones playing here.” Thoth said. “How do you know?” I asked. “It was how he motioned to the space and his mannerism. He was very friendly. I think the manager of Gardenia told them about us.” Thoth said. “It seems like it because they’re not bothering us even a little.’ I said. We set up to play. “I’m not scared anymore.” I said.  The years we’ve performed here before have paid off.

The first audience that gathered when we started at 8:30pm was pretty big. A woman said she remembered us. “You guys are fucking amazing.” she said. She asked if we’d like footage of our performance. “Of course.” we said, so she stayed and filmed us. A man and his wife recognized us from when we performed here years ago. He bought both our CDs. We offered to give him a discount, but he wanted to pay the full price.  “I want to help keep you alive.” he said. He has our first CD, “Love and Devotion” from 2 years ago. He said he’ll invite us for dinner at his house sometime. That would be nice! After that, our audiences thinned out for a while. I wanted to stop early, but we finished the opera and played some older pieces. We played “Bolero” and suddenly had a huge audience. We played “Heaven Scent” and everyone came into the space to watch us and listen. It was like old times. Funny. We played a few more songs, but it was 10:15pm and we were exhausted, so we stopped. People didn’t want to leave! Funny. Today was our first slow day and it was the first day lots of people came into the space to listen. Thoth says once people start coming back to see us, that will happen more. I like when people are close to us. The woman who filmed us stayed the entire time! Wow.

We peeked in a new burger place. The hostess said a man was going on about how he was enchanted by a woman dressed in white with things in her hair. “That was you.” she said. “Yes.” I said. We’re famous here already. It’s amazing. We went to Nood for dinner. There was only one other couple there. The people who work there are all our friends. We’ve known them for years. We got some ice cream bars and Thoth got a glass of Port and we went home. This is how life should be!

Getting Ourselves More Situated

Wednesday May 28th 2015

On Monday I had to get up “early” (i.e. at noon) for us to go talk with Victor, the owner of Gardenia, about prayforming at our spot. I was incredibly tired, but our discussion was good. He was welcoming for us to play, but said the Fruit Bar would stay open until 9pm in June and 10pm in July and August. He even invited us to perform in the window of Gardenia one night. That might be interesting. It seems like things will work out. We had to change rooms when we got home. I was being bitten all over by a mosquito. This room is much better. The bed is more comfortable and the internet signal is strong.

I got a message from someone in the evening with the possibility of a room for rent in Barrio Alto. We tried meeting with them, but they didn’t show up. What a waste of time. At least we’re not in a desperate position. It feels like being teased at the prospect of staying in an apartment. We’ve always stayed at Pensao Atalaia, but it has its limitations. There’s no air conditioning here, not even a fan, and it gets up to 100 degrees in the summer. That makes the room hard to relax in during the day and sleep in at night. It’s also noisy because of all the bars around, and in order to stay cool we have to leave the window open. We’ll have to buy a fan or a portable air conditioner. That will help. We have been given daytime access to a small room with a fridge, but it doesn’t have any of the necessities like utensils, plates, a stove or an oven. That causes us to have to eat out all the time, which would be ok if it was for a short time, but we’re here for 3 months. I don’t mind dining out after prayformance sometimes, but having to go out every single night is expensive. If we lived in an apartment, they’d have all the things we need readily available. We are grateful to have a safe place to live in a good location. Vonda and Maria are very kind and do what they can to help us. They’ve known us for years. I prefer living with people who know us and our work. Maybe something will be offered to us one of these days.

We tried going to the mini preso to get dinner on Monday, but it was too crowded and there weren’t many options. I was trying to save money. We got a salad, but it was icky and I was still hungry. We ended up going out to dinner anyway. I’m irritated we have to go out to eat on our days off. “I’m old. Who knows how much longer I have to enjoy life. There’s no reason for us to go into survival mode. We’re doing well. Let’s enjoy ourselves.” Thoth said. I was still kind of irritated about it on Tuesday. We went to Lost In for lunch and it didn’t make me feel better. It used to be a relaxing place but now with construction all around it’s changed for the worse. The food isn’t good anymore either. We won’t be going there anymore. It made me sad to loose one of our favorite places. Everything changes.

We stopped at the park to look at the view before going home.

We stopped at the park to look at the view before going home.

See the castle? We need to go up there one of these days.

See the castle? It’s up on the hill. We need to go up there one of these days.

We got to prayform tonight on Rua Garrett. It was the first time we didn’t feel nervous. Gardenia even turned their music off when we started. It’s so easy to play there. That’s the thing that’s so wonderful about living here. The acoustics in the space are incredible, there are tons of people on the street and it’s so close to home. We’re very lucky to have found it and be able to play there. Every time I hear the acoustics, I feel such gratefulness. I wish everything could be that easy. To live in an apartment in Barrio Alto with all amenities included that is close to Rua Garrett. It’s not a lot to ask for. Things happen in their own time, and in the end we are immensely blessed to have what we have. IMG_20150527_141537860

This is The Grate. Air blows up from underneath it and your skirt blows up. We're the only people who do it on purpose.

This is The Grate. Air blows up from underneath it and your skirt blows up. We’re the only people who do it on purpose. 🙂 So naughty!

We went to a new Indian restaurant around the corner from home for dinner. It was delicious! Someone recognized us and a lot of people were staring at me. Maybe they recognized us, too.

The Best Prayformance Since Arriving in Lisbon

Sunday May 24th 2015

Before going out.

Before going out.

I was feeling better today. More relaxed. I got dressed all pretty. I had to show you the view we pass every day on our way to our spot. ———->>>

That’s the ocean out there. We always travel to seaside cities. Barcelona, Porto, Lisbon, New York, San Francisco, San Diego, etc. We feel trapped inland.

We got to our spot around 8 and the Juice Bar and Gardenia was already closed. Once the guard left, we set up and got started playing. We were scared the guard would come back and bother us, but he didn’t. At first, our crowds weren’t that big. I wasn’t expecting anything, as we’ve experienced Sunday’s being slow in the years past. Man, were we wrong. After a half hour of playing, we had the entire street packed with people trying to look in and watch us. We stand in the center now with our case in front of us. We used to have to play one on either side. I think being in the center creates more focus. I finally started to relax and had fun and be more animated. We finally got to play through the entire opera! I was so happy and relieved that we got through the entire weekend without being bothered. That’s what I hoped would happen! IMG_20150524_141859530 Our spot. IMG_20150524_142120935After prayformance poses.
IMG_20150524_142158009A man selling scarves on the sidewalk across from us came and sat next to us. “How long you play here?” he asked in broken English. “8:30 to 10.” Thoth said. “It very hard for me people looking at you. They don’t look at me.” he said. I immediately got annoyed and continued packing up. “That’s because we’re good at what we do.” Thoth said, but the man didn’t understand. “It very hard for me.” he continued saying. Thoth shrugged his shoulder and the man walked back to his scarves. We laughed about it. “It very hard for me.” I said with the man’s accent. Just as he left, a man and his young child came over to us. “We came just to see you.” the man said with the little girl clinging to his leg. “She wants to be just like you when she grows up. She told me I should get a skirt and dance around.” he said. How cute! “To think, in the same moment that scarf salesman was whining at us, they came over and said how much they love us!”

We wanted to go to the burger place down the street from home, but the line was too long, so we went to Nood again. I didn’t mind. Some people we hadn’t seen in a while were there. it really felt like old times. It was midnight before we got home.

We went home and I talked to my sister on Skype. She was very talkative and excited. I told her how happy and relieved I was. She was happy for me. I took a picture of Thoth holding Bunny. Sometimes, now that I use the camera phone, I’m able to get the sweetest shots of him. IMG_20150524_155449750Good night Bunny!