Wednesday June 29th 2016
I got all dressed up for the first prayformance after the weekend. I’m going to dress up every day this week and see what happens. Usually I’ve been keeping it simple at the beginning of the week. It’s taken be a month and a half to start dressing up again. I really like this look. Tonight started out great. I was having a lot of fun playing. After the third song though, we heard a tuba and I thought “Oh shit. I hope there isn’t a band out there.” There was. We tried to sing one of our quieter pieces, “LA’s Waltz” over them, but I was miserable. I immediately went out to talk to them because they had stopped playing, but they started up again. I waited for them to finish and then ran over and talked to them for a while. The guy I talked to was nice and said they’d do one more song and go. I was upset and told them it was rude they’d set up on us. They knew we were there as he said he’d seen us and they heard and saw our crowds. He claimed they used to play there, but we’ve never seen them before and we’ve been coming to Lisbon over 6 years. They claimed they’d stopped playing in the street for a year because they always got fined by police (for being too loud.) They ended up playing two more songs, which I was so irritated by, but then they left. I hope they never do that again. Everyone has the right to play where they want in this city, but there is such thing as being courteous to other performers. It is the rudest thing a busker can do to set up on another busker. I’m glad I have the camera and the vlog so I can get this kind of stuff on film and share it with the world.
We were able to play for a bit longer, but we weren’t feeling so hot. Thoth was angry and hurt and had a lot of rage in him. When we get set up on, it reminds us we’re not safe. We haven’t felt this way for at least a year. I never get angry like this in Lisbon. Things like this happen in Central Park all the time, but not here. We feel loved and protected by the businesses who have ordained and approve of our presence in the space. In Central Park and Balboa Park we’re on our own, but we’re on our own here too. It’s just an illusion. When this happens, it makes me long for us to be able to play indoors. We would never be set up on if we were performing indoors exclusively. We would have more respect. When that happens, it also kills me how the audience couldn’t care less. Nobody goes up to the other group and tells them to buzz off. I have to do it by myself. It’s scary. I never know how they’ll react. I was glad they were nice, but I was angry and felt hurt by their actions. Even when someone says not to take it personally when they set up on us, I take it personally. We would never do that to someone else. We always look around and see who else is playing. Buskers should work together. That’s the only way busking can survive as an art form. Buskers can’t be fighting for space. I never like confronting other buskers. It’s uncomfortable, but I’ve done it a few times now. I don’t raise my voice, I’m just straightforward and tell them my feelings have been hurt. Most buskers you talk to in New York especially in a confrontational way, aren’t nice at all. They’ll just ignore you, or worse, be aggressive and nasty. It’s horrible. It’s one of my least favorite things to do. The thing is I had been so happy just one song previously.
We are doing a unique work and we have a right to be heard. That doesn’t mean everyone else doesn’t have the right to be heard, but everyone has a right to respect. I’m not disrespectful of others. I don’t think we’re better than anyone else either, but we do put a huge amount of effort into making our work what it is. We don’t play very much either. Two hours a day, five days a week. It’s not asking a lot for us to have space for our work to be heard. Nothing is going to stop us. No matter what gets in our way. I am fearless when standing up for my art. Thoth is fearless. We don’t stop. We don’t falter. We continue doing our art. We will die doing this art. We believe in it. It is everything to me and Thoth. We will never ever stop until our last breath. Nothing anyone does will stop us.
Here’s the Tribal Baroque vlog.
And here’s my vlog about it.