I was so relieved to buy the rest of our flights to Europe today. It is the most stressful thing I have to do all year. I’ve found an easier, and less expensive way to do it, though; buying one way flights to every city. We have to go to Europe in order to be able to keep performing through the summer. Thus far, we’ve not found a place to perform in the USA during the summer. We’re lucky we can fly ourselves around Europe without anyone’s help, but I wonder if the day will come we won’t be able to anymore. It’s a big investment. Going to Europe is just part of our lives now. It’s not something I necessarily look forward to. Adjusting to a new time zone and schedule is tricky. There are lots of things I love about being in Lisbon, though, but it’s not all fun and games. It’s hard work. We travel because we want to, but also because it’s necessary for our stability. If we sat around all summer and weren’t playing, we’d both go insane. Prayformance is what makes us happy, so we go where we can prayform.
I try my best not to get too excited about things anymore. I know that life is hard and no matter how good you are things can go wrong. What would be exciting would be to be offered a comfortable, safe, convenient place to stay in New York every Fall with kind, compassionate, creative and loving friends like we have everywhere else we travel to. What would also be exciting would be to be flown to new cities to perform in concerts, hotels, festivals and events. We were so lucky back in 2010 when we were flown to Madeira and put up in a fancy hotel for a performance and fed every night. That also happened when we were flown to Sao Paulo for a festival and when we were flown to Martha’s Vineyard in 2014 and ’15. If only things like that happened more often. I think the last time I got excited was in 2014 after our first performance in Martha’s Vineyard and Sarah Kernochn offered us an opera commission.
We spend most of our time going to the park, trying to create as much as we can, and worrying if things will be OK. It’s rare when things go right and something exciting happens, but that’s life. Life is hard. That’s how it is. We have to continue to work hard in order for those amazing, exciting and magical things to happen. If we didn’t continue to do the work and make investments in our work, nothing would happen. I am very proud we continue to push forward, even when things are stacked against and life is so fucking hard. The fact we’ve made a life for ourselves is a fucking miracle.
We fly to Lisbon from SF on May 17th. We fly from Lisbon to Amsterdam on August 1st. We fly from Amsterdam to London on August 16th. We fly from London to NYC on August 31st. We have somewhere to live everywhere but New York. We’ve been to NY more than anywhere else, but we’ve never found friends who can house us when we’re there. We have friends to stay with in Lisbon, Amsterdam, and London. We’re lucky, but that’s because we worked hard to make that possible for us.
I always look forward to Sunday’s in Balboa Park because we usually have friends who come to see us and big, generous audiences all afternoon. Today was a bad Sunday. I wish I never had to say, “We had a bad day.” but that’s just how it is. We got there and it seemed pretty busy, but we never know if it will be a good day for us. I was disappointed once 3 o’clock rolled around and our friends hadn’t come. Forrest and Tasha help make Sunday’s great because they camp out for the afternoon and lead the applause. The sign of a bad day is when we go through a few songs without being tipped. Lack of tipping doesn’t mean a lack of audiences, it means the audiences aren’t being generous or appreciative.
Our friends Joe and Molly from Martha’s Vineyard came to see us. It’s nice when friends come and show their support. We hadn’t seen them since our show there in August. They were curious if Wendy had set us up for another show for us in Martha’s Vineyard this summer. I was sad to say she hasn’t. I was very honest about how I’ve been doing and Joe was very compassionate. “I love your music, and I love you.” he said. Joe and Molly helped make our shows in Martha’s Vineyard possible. They saw us at a little casual concert our friend put on for us here a few years ago and got us in touch with Wendy, who set up the shows. I hope we can do another show there someday.
I got up at 9am and went for a jog. It was a beautiful morning. There were other people out jogging, too. I got down the street, and fell. Again! I scraped the other knee, worse this time than last. I didn’t cry, I was more annoyed than sad. Not again! That means another 2-3 weeks of discomfort and healing time. I got up and continued running, unlike last time when I walked home crying. I need to find a way to protect my knees when I run. I talked to my sister when I came home. She told me a successful Youtuber made a video every day for 4 years that no one watched before he became successful. That was actually encouraging to me. She told me a friend of hers watched every single one of my vlogs the other day and really liked them. She’s very proud of me for vlogging and blogging every day.
I made myself up today, it being a Saturday. Thoth told me Jim wanted to come and help us at the park. We decided to go there together. We got to our spot in Balboa Park and set up while Jim parked the car. He found a spot quickly and set up our cases in a different way. I was nervous about it working, and I didn’t want to be distracted by it not working. We started playing, and immediately people walked through our space, even a bicyclist biked through! I wish I had it on camera! I feel like I should film the entire time we’re out because I always miss the cool stuff!
I was immensely distracted by the cases being on either side of us, so I moved them to the front. I didn’t like having to look at how little we were being tipped that day. If someone wants to give, they will no matter where we put the cases. I feel safer with them in front of us, and I don’t have to look inside them all the time. The whole thing put me in a bad mood. I know Jim was trying to help us, but it didn’t help. We had nice audiences, but because I was in a bad mood I didn’t enjoy it so much.
Some people talked to us when we finished and one said, “I hope you make it.” They were very impressed by our work. Sometimes I feel we are worthy of so much better, but we have good days, I couldn’t be happier. We put everything into this work. We sing our butts off and sometimes people don’t even clap. It’s tough for me sometimes. I think someday people will be completely flabbergasted that we play in public parks, feet away from our audiences and they didn’t have to pay us. Completely flabbergasted.
Our friend Mitch came to say hello and Jim went to get the car. He knew I’d been upset about the different case set up, but he’s totally chill about it. He’s a good friend. He treated us to the vegan restaurant next to home. It was nice he spent the day with us. I hope I enjoy tomorrow better.
We got there at 3pm, as usual. The elders group that’s open next to where we play, asked if we’d start when they close at 3:30. We waited, and a magician started playing in his usual spot near us. A group of Asian people gathered to wait for us to start. We told them we’d start a bit later, so they bought a CD and went away. We decided to wait until the magician finished his show, as we wouldn’t like if someone started playing as close as we were to him. He played for 45 minutes, then we started.
When we tuned our instruments, the Asian group came back to watch, as well as another group of people. We played 5 songs while he took a break. While we were playing, I realized my violin sounded odd. I noticed the bridge was pushed back. Thoth fixed it, but it didn’t change the sound. As we kept playing, I realized my violin is cracked. I remembered the case falling off the bed the other day. That’s how it probably cracked, but that was on Wednesday, and when we played yesterday it didn’t sound this way. Anyway, it made me very sad. A cracked violin means a lot of money to repair it. Fuck.
The magician did another show and we took a break. I was sad about my violin, but some men took pictures of us and complimented us. We played another set when the magician finished. Such big crowds today, despite my distraction. Our friend Mitch watched us for a while and walked with us to the car. Thoth told me one of the performers said no one can play when we’re up here. Well that’s nice, thanks. At home, Jim gave us some ideas about how to set up our cases differently tomorrow. No one’s ever done that before. He is trying to make a living at his art, so he understands the struggle. It’s nice to live with people who understand.
My sister will be here next week, so will my mom, and our birthday party is next Friday! Yay!
What an unexpectedly great Thursday in the park. We got there late, as I was at a loss deciding whether or not to go out. It was dark and cloudy out and I really wanted to work on our opera. I’ve found the name of my male lead character, finally. I’ve been saying it a lot over the past few days. I won’t say on here yet. Whenever we go out, we never regret it. We always regret when we don’t go out. We got to the park, and it seemed slow out, but we had a great day. A wonderful day actually! I’m always surprised by it. Audiences congregate around us, whether there are people out or not.
Instead of just one, I made two vlogs tonight. One for our channel, and one for mine. No one’s going to do it if I don’t. It works better that way. Makes things more clear. It’s a lot of work and who knows how long I can maintain it, but for now it feels incredibly productive and worthwhile. Enjoy!