Monthly Archives: October 2015

No Quiet

Friday October 30th 2015

I love trying new things with makeup. la la3 la5
If we could only have a little quiet. I know it’s not always going be quite, it’s a public park. But our music is made for the park. It’s supposed to be an oasis from the city, a retreat from the noise, a sanctuary from the chaos. That’s what our music is. Gentle, calm, soothing, yet we have to make such effort to be heard. It’s high time we started performing in theatrical venues. The Angel Tunnel isn’t what it used to be.

There are two groups that play the tunnel these days who don’t know us or care much that we’re there. The duo that comes more often is unamplified, but one plays box drum so it’s very thumpy and tiresome. The group that comes less often does the same thing (guitar and drums), but they’re amplified. Today they started up in the middle of our set. We had to stop because it was too loud. It’s so frustrating. Usually it’s only the weekends that are noisy, but now it’s every day. I tried expressing how unfair it is for them to set up on us, but they don’t listen. How would they feel if someone started playing close to them who were louder? They wouldn’t be able to play and they wouldn’t like it either. It’s the law of the jungle out here.

A woman named Joanna came up to us. “I came specifically to see you. I’ve been looking forward to seeing you for 2 weeks.” she said. “We can’t play because of the noise.” we said. She was disappointed, but stayed, hoping we could play another song. A young man asked when we’d be starting again, too, and I told him we couldn’t because of the noise. For a moment, I thought he would go over and ask them to stop, but he didn’t. Wishful thinking. We waited, and thankfully the group stopped and Joanna got to hear 4 more pieces. The unamplified group had left, so for a moment it was quiet and we had a huge applause after “Pentagram.” We thanked Johanna for staying with us. “You deserve so much better. Your music is sacred.” she said and gave me a big hug.

 

Alien Love Goddess!!

Thursday October 29th 2015

I was antsy to prayform after being trapped in the house all day during yesterday’s storm, so I really went full bore with my costume and makeup. I think “Alien Love Goddess” is a suitable title for today’s look. I’m quite pleased that in addition to singing I create all my looks myself.unnamed-4

Someone dropped a note in our case after “Anya.”

“Thank you both, hearted heartfullness! So beautiful to see you in the beauty wood today. I’ve been a fan for years and always freshly grateful for your energy.” -Bethany I.

A couple bought a CD that were really loving our work. “Your music is amazing. Your voice is haunting.” the husband said. I love when people really get us after their first listen.unnamed-1

Dan Rubin came to see us and take pictures. I was glad to be so prettied up. “Your makeup is extra special today.” he said. “You’re all coordinated.” Dan is the most prolific photographer of our/Thoth’s work. He’s taken pictures of Thoth since he first started performing at the Angel Tunnel in 1999. We are so lucky that he loves us enough to come out to see us two to three times a week with his camera. That’s more than anyone does in the world, as far as I know. Despite how great he is at making amazing photos, he’s incredibly humble. There aren’t many photographers like him. We’re lucky to have him in our lives. “The feeling’s mutual.” Dan said.unnamed-2

It was a pretty slow day, and quite noisy around the tunnel, but I gave it my all. I remembered my favorite actor and how he always gives it his all despite whatever is happening. I know that people are mesmerized by us, but most of the time they quietly watch and don’t say anything. Our experience of a prayformance is so different from what the people watching experience. We have to transmute all the energy around us into a heartfelt, emotional, soulful musical performance. It’s hard work. unnamed-3

When we got home, we got some sweet messages from people who had seen us in the park today.

“This afternoon I was passing by Bethesda Fountain on my way toward the stairs to street level, doing the typical New Yorker Who Won’t Slow Down thing, and then I heard you guys in the “Angel Tunnel” and was quite literally stopped in my tracks, where I remained for a while, somewhat slack jawed and in awe. Keep on doing what you’re doing, altering the course of people’s lives, if even for just ten minutes at a time. You’re stunning, brilliant, and rejuvenating.” – Jodi V.unnamed-6

“Tribal Baroque, your exercise is beyond the scope of imagination of most people on the planet. You guys vibrate on a plane that is astounding. You present yourselves in the most vulnerable environment a performer can choose. The street. No filters of posters, brochures, ticket takers, theatres, all the shit that gets people ready for an event. You guys are the it, the raw beautiful it no holds barred, It’s astounding really. Magic. Some people will take years to process what they have seen when they see you. Some people not at all. And some people get it immediately and can’t believe their good fortune that you exist and perform with this abandon that is tethered to the earth and stars! That is all!” – Howard B.unnamed-7

It’s good to know how much people love what we do! Thank you!unnamed-8

“I thought you were a doll.”unnamed-5ALL PHOTOS BY DAN RUBIN

We are Magical Beings

“Are those your real eyes?” “You’re so pretty you almost made me loose my balance.”

Photo by Dan Rubin

Photo by Dan Rubin

We have affected many people in a positive way just by going out in the world and being ourselves. Through our hard work and perseverance we have attained respect and admiration from many people. It is possible to have success by being yourself. When I was younger, I had dreams of being what I am now, but I had no idea how to do it. There is no guide book. The best advice I can give is to follow your heart. I don’t have any idea how I was so blessed to stumble upon Thoth almost 7 years ago. It brought together all the things I could do (singing, violin, costuming, makeup) and it completely changed my life. I now find so much joy in writing and creating new music, makeup looks, costumes and stories. It’s what I thrive on, but it isn’t without it’s challenges. Writing music is like a birthing process, but singing is always effortless. I can sing and be whoever I want. I have embraced my feminine, etherial, puckish self. That’s where I feel most happy and free. I love being a small, angelic creature that transports people into magical lands. When Thoth first started mentoring me, he suggested I think of myself as a superhero. As I grow and learn, I gain more strengths. I always have weaknesses, but I attain more power and individuality as I grow. The most painful experiences are what gives us the most power.

Photo by Dan Rubin

Photo by Dan Rubin

It’s really important to tune out the negativity. Easier said than done, I know. I will always strive to be the best artist I can be. I have achieved something I never thought I could do. We wrote our own opera. Isn’t that amazing? We wrote the story ourselves, the music, made the costumes, the choreography, and we go out every day and perform it. It’s amazing how much you have to strive on a daily basis, but when we experience the joy of performing, it’s worth it. I am so happy I have this work. I am so happy I have such an amazing husband. I am so happy I am who I am. I am so grateful for all the times of pain and difficulty. I am so grateful for the times of bliss and happiness. Life is a winding, unyielding road of ups and downs, but having a discipline gets us through it. Having a dream, a vision, a belief I can hold to pulls me through anything. I believe in Tribal Baroque. I believe amazing things have and will continue to happen for us. In the darkest moments the light shines the brightest. It doesn’t matter if everyone doesn’t see it, but we have to. We have to hold onto that dream, that love, that faith that everything happens for a reason and we will get through it. We are much more magical and beautiful than we will ever know.

“Just when I thought the day could not be any more magical, we were treated to a surprise performance by Tribal Baroque (an opera-singing, violin-playing duo). They’d rolled up on hand-decorated bicycles. The angelic girl was a flower fairy (with sparkling jewels on her painted face); and the mystical guy could best be described as a Buddhist Roman soldier. Trust me. Their ethereal, heartfelt performance brought tears to our eyes.”

– from http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/may/06/diva-garden-party-potentate/

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.28.14 PM“We sat for 2 hours last Saturday and watched the prayformances, and the reactions of people passing by. It’s an amazing way to spend the day. The music is unique, spiritual, and sublime.”

– from http://itsshortytime.com/2014/09/27/98-thoth-and-tribal-baroque/

Here’s a beautiful photo journal I found from a few years back you might enjoy. 
 http://www.stephaniekskinner.com/#/new-gallery/

Photo by Stephanie Skinner

Photo by Stephanie Skinner

Sucked Dry

Sunday October 25th 2015

“Your music is beautiful and haunting.” a woman said while I was taking pictures of myself before prayformance.IMG_20151025_210939The break dancers were downstairs all day while we played. They suck everyone dry. It wasn’t easy, but we got through it. We always give %100 but it’s rare an audience gives back as much as we do. I’m grateful I’ve learned how to persevere even when it’s hard. IMG_20151025_144946205We rushed to have dinner and went down to 47th street to see a one woman show called “Kick.” It’s an off-Broadway show our friend Wendy Taucher produced. She gave us comps. We don’t usually go see shows after prayformance. Nobody had any idea why we were so dressed up.

Chaotic Day

Saturday October 24th 2015

Today was crazy in the park.

IMG_20151024_183056 We were all set up in the center of the Angel Tunnel and three pieces into our set, when a group of Asian women started singing “Amazing Grace” inside the tunnel. REALLY?! We got into stillness for our next piece. Thoth let them sing a verse, assuming they’d stop. Thoth started and we went through “Gypsy Dance” but they still hadn’t stopped. REALLY?! We got into position for “Plucking Song” but they still hadn’t stopped. They were just repeating “Amazing Grace” over and over again. Thoth began improvising and singing loudly in their direction. He then moved towards them and continued singing loudly until they had to stop. Everyone, including the choir, clapped and cheered. It was that kind of day. IMG_20151024_182402 A photographer name Ashley and her fiancé were sitting in our audience and saw everything. “Some people are so rude. You even let them sing a verse.” Ashley said. “I guess they don’t know the protocol.” her fiancé said. Before they left, Ashley came straight up to us and said something like, “I do corporate photo shoots during the week. It drains my soul, but it pays the bills. Photographing you makes me feel whole. Thank you.” I’m paraphrasing. It’s amazing we’re able to hold space on such a chaotic day like today. IMG_20151024_182717Further into the prayformance, a man was looking at our sign. “Do you have a question?” Thoth asked. “Is this based on any religion?” “No.” we said. “I’m a native New Yorker, and I’m very impressed by what you’re doing.” he said.