Monthly Archives: August 2015

Last Day in Amsterdam!

Monday August 31st 2015

We got all our chores done. We did our laundry last night and Thoth helped me bleach my roots, too. Today we went grocery shopping (so we have food on tomorrow’s flight), returned the bikes and had lunch. It was all rainy and cozy. It was nice walking arm in arm. We were worried we’d have trouble making our bus connection to the ferry once we arrive in Boston tomorrow night. If we miss the bus to Woods Hole (to catch the last ferry to Martha’s Vineyard), a friend will pick us up and drive us there. It’s good we have a backup plan, and our people in the Vineyard have a plan C if we miss the ferry. I’m glad we got that all sorted out! I wrote down our travel itinerary and was even able to print off our boarding passes and bus tickets, thanks to Marja. I can’t believe we’re going to be in Martha’s Vineyard tomorrow night! “I hope you can come back next year. You’re always welcome.” Wim said.  “Thank you! You are so sweet. It’s good to feel welcomed!” I said.

Goodbye Amsterdam!
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Last Day Playing in Amsterdam

Sunday August 30th 2015

I don’t ever want to play in Vondelpark again. It’s so fucking horrible there. My voice gets injured by the lack of acoustics and noisiness. I was so glum, I couldn’t even smile while we played. Thoth was in a much better mood than I. At one point, I was ready to throw my violin on the ground and cry. When we finished, I threw my case down and accidentally broke Thoth’s spirit catcher. He got angry with me. I was in such a horrible mood. I’m such a spoiled brat. A man passed by and asked what we do. “She’s not in a good mood.” Thoth said. “Why, may I ask?” he asked. “I don’t like playing here.” I said. He said he’d follow us to the Rijks.

I was in a better mood when we got there. IMG_20150830_183057661IMG_20150830_183111146 Our friend Ben, the violinist who plays there, is always very accommodating to us. We only had to wait 45 minutes. His opera singer friend was singing and then a string quartet would play. Despite that the acoustics are better than the underpass in Vondepark, it’ still too noisy to really hear ourselves. There’s no subtlety. We had a good crowd in both spots, but I wish people were more generous. Oh well. It’s our last day.
IMG_20150830_201736859 We biked to have sushi as a reward. The waiter said they didn’t accept change over 20 and Thoth got mad. “What if we didn’t have cash?” he said. They allowed for it, but it makes us never want to go there again. IMG_20150830_201745533We grabbed some dessert and went home and I finished watching “The Shining.” Packing and organizing day tomorrow for our big trip to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday.

Playing for Wim’s Art Instillation

Saturday August 29th 2015

Playing at Vondelpark bummed me out today. I was hoping we’d to sell some CDs, but we didn’t sell as many as last Saturday. That space is so hard to play in. Thoth says he loves singing with me no matter what is happening. His only sadness comes from fear of people stopping us. We decided to pack it in early. We had to be home by 5 to go to Weesp with Wim and Marja for a performance. When we got home, I was so sullen and sad. “It’s a very ‘Fuck it all.’ kind of day.” Thoth said.IMG_20150829_160746548

We arrived at the studio in Weesp and ate something before I put on more makeup. I sat with Wim and Marja and told them how I was feeling. “Why is life so hard? It seems that life doesn’t get easier, we just learn how to deal with it better.” I said. “Exactly,” Wim said. “You learn to stop giving a shit as you get older.” Marja said 7 people had dropped out from coming at the last minute. “You never know who is going to come.” she said. That didn’t make me feel better.

I went into our little dressing room where Thoth was napping. “I don’t want to play.” I said. “You mean now, or in general?” he asked. “Now. Nobody is coming. We’re doing this for Wim.” I said. “It’s very little of him to ask in exchange for letting us stay with them for 2 weeks.” Thoth said. “At least he will enjoy it.” I said.

It ended up only 6 people came, including Wim and Marja, but we actually had fun. The lighting was perfect and I hid in a little door and Thoth went “looking” for me while improvising. “You’re really good at it.” Wim said later. We played 4 pieces from the opera, and I wanted to keep playing. Every time we finished a piece, the 6 people in the room cheered. I could tell everyone was enjoying it immensely, especially Wim. He’d built this structure with us in mind, so it must have been magical to see us performing around it. It’s a great set for us, and he was wandering around turning things on and off, which added to the intrigue. It was fine having so few people watching. Just so long as they’re enthusiastic, it doesn’t matter.  It’s so weird to have a bunch of people watching us in public and they clap so hesitantly, or sometimes way after the fact, or not at all.

The gathering.

IMG_20150829_215936202Me, feeling better.IMG_20150829_220820365

Thoth. IMG_20150829_220833006

Wim was very pleased.

Wim

Wim

We sat with everyone and talked, then once the guests left, Marja played the film she took of us. It was the first time we saw the opera as it is now. It’s beautiful, and it was wonderful hearing Wim and Marja’s comments. They were very into it. Marja films us really well. She knows how to follow our movements without getting in the way, and her camera phone takes great footage. We’ll post it after the show in Martha’s Vineyard.

It was midnight when we got home and flopped in bed. One more day of playing tomorrow, then we pack on Monday and leave Tuesday!

A Day That Starts Out Disappointingly, Ends Well!

Friday August 28th 2015IMG_20150828_170944899IMG_20150828_171130684

We went to Vondelpark to play. I did my best, but it wasn’t a successful play. Busking can be a pretty thankless profession. My mood is better than it was a few days ago, but after playing I was in a bad mood again.

We biked to Rijksmuseum and a cellist we knew was playing. IMG_20150828_181116098I wasn’t necessarily interested in playing anymore, but the cellist stopped after a while and let us have a go. I let Thoth play a solo to see if anyone would stop to watch. IMG_20150828_182144165They did, so I joined him. Our violinist friend showed up and watch us play. We were scheduled to meet him for dinner at 6:30, but he wanted us to play more. He’s a supportive fan. People continued to stop and watch and didn’t leave when we finished, so we continued to play. That made me feel better. It felt good to hear our voices.

We packed up and went with our friend to dinner. It was nice. I hadn’t eaten all day.

We had to get home by 9. We had an interview with Gwyn for a of newspaper running a story about our show in Martha’s Vineyard. That’s coming up in just a few weeks. She wrote the best article I’ve ever read about us last year. This one will be different. Hopefully it will inspire more people to come.

We have a very busy few weeks ahead. Prayformance in Vondelpark tomorrow, then performance at Wim and Marja’s art studio that same night. Prayformance in Vondelpark and Rijksmuseum Sunday. Pack Monday, fly to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday. We have another newspaper interview scheduled on Wednesday September 2nd, then we play the opera for Sarah and James on Thursday the 3rd, then we perform the opera Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th. Then we fly to New York on Tuesday September 8th and our first prayformance at the Angel Tunnel is on Wednesday September 9th. Whew!

Possibilities of Life

Wim, Thoth and Me. Photo by Marja Van Putten

Wim, Thoth and Me. Photo by Marja Van Putten

In childhood, most parents and authority figures try to tell us how to live life “correctly.” They try to lead us down a narrow path that is socially acceptable. Be a good student, get good grades, go to college, get a good job, blah, blah, blah. When we grow up (especially for creative individuals like myself) we learn that life isn’t that simple and straight forward. Now I know that there is no one way to reach my goals. There are many varied possibilities, all of which I must decide for myself. Not one person in this world will find satisfaction and happiness in the same way I will, not even someone who wants something very similar. As children, we’re made to think other people can tell us the right and wrong way to live, but it’s all a sham. It’s all bull shit. My path is completely different from any person who has or will ever live. That’s the beauty of life. It’s all a big mystery. All we can do is inspire each other to not give up and keep trying our best.

If you have a dream, go for it. Don’t let anyone take it from you. I know this has been said a million times before, but life is what you make it. If you want something, don’t stop until you get it. People will try to bring you down. You will bring yourself down. I’m really good at getting down on myself and thinking I’m a complete fuck up. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing half the time, but I just go for it. I don’t let my uncertainty get to me. Sure I have bad days where I can’t take life for another second, but I take those days for what they are. I move past them. I am not immune to sadness, mood swings and depression. They make me who I am. I take all of that and I continue to make music.

I’m counting my blessings today. Despite that I was one fucked up sad fuck for a week, I am living in a great city and staying with great friends and I’m able to travel and perform for a living and I have a husband who loves me dearly.