Monthly Archives: September 2016

Set Up On All Sides

Sunday September 18th 2016


20160918_134758What a hard day today was. We got to the Angel Tunnel in plenty of time. There was a peace event going on at the Bandshell, which meant the break dancers would be downstairs at Bethesda with their boom box. Cover Story was in the tunnel singing. They always acknowledge us. Great guys, all of them. We got ready and a photographer friend Paul came by to say hello. Our other friend Paul was there, too. It’s always great to see him. I don’t film him because he doesn’t like being filmed, which is why he’s not in today’s vlog.
Cover Story finished up and we set up to play. A break dancer group we’d never seen before started blasting their boom box in front of the Angel Fountain, with the speaker pointed towards the tunnel. It was one of those days again. I called the park rangers, but there’s little they can do to really stop them. We assumed they’d blast their speaker through “Anya,” but right as we began, it got quiet and I could see their crowd disperse as we sang. I never look down when I sing “Anya,” I always look at the Angel, but I could tell. When we finished the first song, we had a nice big crowd and people came forward too. “They’re gone.” I said hopefully. Then I looked. “Oh no, they’re still there.” They were just sitting there on the fountain. I guess the rangers had come. When the break dancers see the rangers they just stop and wait for them to leave. They know they’re not allowed to do what they’re doing, but they do it anyway.
We got a half hour of silence, but I knew at any moment the boom box would start up again. It’s so unfair. Boom boxes aren’t allowed in Central Park. Naturally, the boom box started up during “Gypsy Dance,” four songs into our set. We stood in complete stillness for a long time until the boom box was turned off briefly. We did the same for “Plucking Song,” one of our more quiet and gentle pieces. We stood in complete stillness for what felt like 10 minutes. I heard someone calling my name. It was Marcela, the woman who sings after us. I remembered she doesn’t know we play a bit later on Sundays, but didn’t think much of it.

We got a bit more quiet when all the break dancers left. Suddenly, and without warning, Marcela started her boom box up with the backing track to “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini. Feeling incredibly disrespected, Thoth yelled across the tunnel, “We’re not done yet Marcela, turn the boom box off!” I had to run to the back of the tunnel and ask her to stop. She complained that she can’t start so late. I was very apologetic (despite that it was her who tried to set up on us) but was very firm with her. “That’s just how it is.” I said. She was pissed, cursing to herself, but turned off the music. She acted just like Miriam, the other opera singer who used to sing at the tunnel.

We played another song, but she came over to talk to us. Bad idea! Thoth was seething with anger and let ‘er rip, tearing into how she is an amateur and clearly has no respect for us. “YOU HAVE NO RESPECT FOR US!” he yelled loudly several times at her. He hates being disrespected by other buskers, being older and having done this long than any of them. Of anyone I know, this man deserves some f**king respect. I mean, G*d damn! I had to talk to her while Thoth played two solos to calm himself down. I joined him and we finished our set in relative peace.

We packed up and talked to Paul. He watched the whole thing. “She set up on you, plane and simple.” he said. We went down to 4th St. to have dinner at Risotteria, but it wasn’t there anymore. We loved that place!! Damn! We took the L to Lorimer to have dinner at Santos Anne instead.

Flying to Malaga tomorrow.

Rainbow Unicorn!

Friday September 16th 2016

I’m on a roll with my makeup. I seem to outdo myself each day, somehow! I was inspired by the color wheel today. I am always trying to be as creative as I can be. Tribal Baroque, prayformance and Thoth has given me that. I was always creative, but Tribal Baroque has given me clear purpose; the ability to be creative every day and make a living doing it. It’s a blessing. 87 This is what all little girls look like when they stare at me. This little one turned around like that several times. Isn’t she so cute? Children do what adults want to do, but adults have learned it’s rude to stare. I wonder at what age children learn to be judgmental instead of innocently curious and interested.

9She’s not judging me at all by staring. That’s why staring as an adult is a no-no, because staring at someone means they’re passing a judgment on you. I never stare at people. That’s why when we perform people stare so hard. People have an excuse to stare at performers, because that’s what performers are for. 10Who knew when the Angel Tunnel was being built that two artists in the beginning of the 21st century would be so inspired to be so creative in it. The Angel Tunnel always inspires me to be bigger and more extravagant. It’s the most beautiful venue we play in in the world. Everywhere else we play is much easier to play in, but this space feels regal and sacred. Like a church for creativity and music. It’s a space we have perfectly suited ourselves for, our voices, our music, our costumes. It’s an inspiring space. 4It was a great prayformance for us. The break dancers came down and tried to do a show during our first two songs, but failed miserably. They couldn’t gather a crowd easily. I don’t take it personally anymore. I just sing for my own joy and do my best. I refuse to compete. That’s all I can do. People cheered after each of our songs, even when the break dancers had a crowd. Our crowd was particularly exuberant. I love that. 5We sang for 2 hours and sat with a friend to pack up when we finished. We won’t play tomorrow because the chess tournament is at the tunnel. It’s too chaotic and loud to play. We’ll use tomorrow to practice our loops and bleach my roots for our trip on Monday. We’re going to Malaga for 5 days. We went to Santos Anne for dinner in our old neighborhood near Lorimer St.. It was lovely.

3I really dug my makeup today. So creative, like a rainbow unicorn!

Art Gallery

Thursday September 15th 2016

Today I got really done up again. I don’t know why. Yesterday was so hard, even though I was all dressed up. I did myself up again anyway. Why not? I try to hope for the best and always try to do my best. It was cooler today. No one said anything to me on the train, unlike yesterday.

I’m really enjoying showing off my legs these days, my thighs especially. I’ve never done that before. It’s very freeing and makes me feel empowered, confident and sexy. I don’t usually feel sexy or see myself as sexy.

We were “late” again to the tunnel. The trains were running weird again. Abraham and his brother and cousin were there when we got there, thankfully. The rigs for yesterdays film shoot were still up. Damn! We assumed it would be another noisy, chaotic day, but it wasn’t. Dan Rubin came to photograph.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

It was a slow-as-molasses kind of prayformance. Not in terms of our playing, we had fun singing, but in terms of the audiences response. It was quiet. Crowds? Yes. Clapping and appreciation? Not so much. For basically the entire two hours we played. It was only at the last song we had a rush for CDs. Yay! I think the overarching themes for Tribal Baroque is “Always be yourself” and “Never give up.”

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Dan and I took some shots of my makeup outside the tunnel.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

We were stopped by some locals we always pass in Strawberry Fields. They talked to us and asked us questions. Jaque talked to Thoth and Pauline talked to me. Jaque asked Thoth how we handle being stared at. Pauline asked me all about our lifestyle. It was wonderful. We went to an art gallery opening at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with Dan. A woman we passed on the way looked at me in amazement. “You blew my mind.” she said. An Asian girl did a beautiful dance with fabric. I was very moved by her performance. Thalia, the art curator who we met at Sean’s party last week, asked if we’d like to play. I didn’t have time to put my bells on. We did an improv and interacted with the artwork.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Afterwards Thalia said, “Have dinner on me.” That was unexpected. Some cool people talked to us and asked questions. They had no idea who we were or how we knew about the show.

We had dinner with Dan at the dinner around the corner. Eating when you’re hungry is an amazing experience.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

All I Can Do Is My Very Best

– HOT MESS PRAYFORMANCE, RAIN STORM –

Wednesday September 14th 2016

I had a dream about Michael Crawford. We were friends. He was doing a show in Nashville and I invited him to stay at moms house. He did. I went up into our bedroom and told my sister “Michael Crawford is here.” You can only dream about people you have met.

I got all made up, listening to Michael Crawford sing “Music of the Night.” It’s such a beautiful, sensuous song.  I’ve loved it since I was 10. Michael doesn’t have the best trained, most beautiful voices, but his is one of my favorites. Gentle, boyish, sensual and powerful all in one, especially as Erik (the Phantom). 1The interesting thing about me is I love dressing like and being a fairy pixie fantasy creature, and yet I absolutely love dark, disturbing characters and music. I am a pixie, but if I could, if I had the voice and the body for it, I would want to be more like Erik and have a beautiful baritone voice. My voice is so pure  and I’m so small and pixie-ish. I can’t get away from it.

I put on some little pasties I’d bought yesterday. They’re not pasties, but they’re pretty and they cover my nipples. I put on my undergarment my mom gave me for Christmas. Instead of putting my pink tutu around my waist, I put it over my shoulders. I always find ways to try new things with the clothes I have.

2 4We got on the train and a man sitting in front of me said “You look like a fairy tale.” and then said, “Something my daughter would love.” That made me feel good. A woman asked to take my photo before we got off the train.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Dan was waiting for us at the Angel Tunnel. We were late because we had to walk from 59th street. All the trains were running express. Annoying. Cover Story finished singing and we quickly set up. A film crew was setting up a big, big rig and drilling planks. We assumed the sound would be happening all afternoon. We got through an hour of playing, but the drilling and lack of supportive audience was too much. We played “Sea Expressions” to only Dan. He got some great photos. It seems to be guaranteed that when I get dressed up, we have a bad play.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

We decided to stop an hour early. We’d given all we could give for that day. That’s all we can do. Dan and I did a photo shoot at the back of the tunnel. I felt beautiful, cute and skimpy. It is worth it to dress up on days when Dan comes to see us, even if the day is below average. At least I get some beautiful photos, and he had something fun to shoot. I even took off my top and we shot me almost nude! It was such fun. I feel really safe with Dan. He doesn’t make me feel like an object like most photographers in the park do. He is our trusted friend.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

The two amplified guitarist and drummer started playing really loudly outside the tunnel, as they’ve done in the past. It started raining hard. They had to stop and came into the tunnel. Serves them right. They’re always setting up on people who are playing in the tunnel. Thoth went over to confront one of them. I didn’t know what happened, but he came back and told me the drummer was nice. He even said they would come and talk to us before playing from now on. We’ll see what happens.

Dan walked with us towards the subway. It started raining so hard we had to hide under some umbrellas. We stayed there for over a half an hour until it started clearing. Thoth walked ahead of us and Dan and I walked under my umbrella. We got into the subway out of the rain and went home.

– TWO DAYS OFF –

Monday September 12th and Tuesday September 13th 2016

We spent almost the entire day at home on Monday. We needed it. It was the first day we spent at home since we got to NYC. Very nice. Relaxing. In the evening, around 10pm, we went to a French restaurant down the street for dinner and found a big grocery store. 🙂

Just Keep Going!

– MUCH BETTER –

Sunday September 11th 2016

I got super dressed up today. Sunday is usually our best day at the Angel Tunnel.

4 3 2Thankfully it was much, much cooler than yesterday. There was a pleasant breeze. We walked from 59th street to the Angel Tunnel. The doo-wop group (their group name is Cover Story) was singing when we arrived. They fun and entertaining to listen to. I like clapping along with their music while we get ready to play.

Our friend Chris Monroe, the photographer, came to see us today. “You are a blessing to this space.” he said. He brought back a friend to watch, who also loved us. She was very moved by our prayformance and said a lot of amazing things. I love when people take the time to talk to us face to face and actually tell us how we have moved them with our work. We hear a lot of the same things, but it’s really special when someone has a meaningful, deep and thought provoking question, comment or thought about what we’re doing. It’s hard work to do what we do, so interaction with our audiences are so special to me. When we go for days or weeks without anyone saying anything to us, even when we have big crowds and applause, it gets me very down and sad and depressed. I need to feel a connection with people. That’s one reason I love prayformance. It can instantly connect us with people we’ve never met before. I don’t know how other performers might feel, but I can say for myself it is so important; peoples physical touch, words, tears, emotions, laughter and connection. When I’m singing, I am opening my heart and my soul up to people who pass by and stop to listen. When those people watching and listening take the time to react and respond openly and vulnerably to my expression, it makes my day.

Photo by Chris Monroe

Photo by Chris Monroe

There was a European a man with a camera who filmed four of our songs at the beginning. He was really loving us, too. I hope he’ll send the footage to us. He said he would. The little he showed me was beautiful. Some film makers and photographers don’t respect our personal space, especially at the Angel Tunnel. He really got in the way. I usually hate when people do that, when they get in my personal space. I still don’t like it, but I understand they’re trying to capture a certain vantage point they can’t get it without getting really close. I appreciated when Sean, the Chinese photographer we met last weekend, immediately sent us his footage. That rarely happens. Thank you Sean.

I wonder what it must feel like for people who don’t get the kind of attention we get who see us, especially people who are unhappy with their own lives. I think people who see us and enjoy and love what we do are thrilled to see us successful and happy. Our attention and fame is very natural and organic. We gather crowds and applause and money because we are extremely talented, not because our faces are on a magazine cover, plastered on a billboard or on TV. It’s because we’ve been going out and working for years at this art form. We’ve gone out every day, and will continue to go out for years to come, to play and share our art with people. It’s that simple. We do this thing every single day, and now I share every day in vlog format, too. Everyone who recognizes us in the street or at restaurants recognize us because they saw us play in person. You just have to stick with doing something and good things will happen. Bad things will happen too, but you just have to keep doing it. Keep being amazing, keep being yourself, and don’t listen to the detractors.

THE VOICE MUST BE HEARD

THE VOICE MUST BE HEARD

– TOO HOT-

Saturday September 10th 2016

It was so unbearably hot today. Felt like over 100 degrees. The trains were all messed up, too. It was a hard play. There’s no way to cool down, accept pouring water over your head. Saturdays in NYC are notoriously “blah” for us despite always having big crowds. People said a lot of nice things, I was irritated with the lack of generosity and it was so f-ing hot I eventually stopped putting as much energy into playing. Just when we finished our last song, a woman bought a CD and gave us a *very* generous tip. I was so happy.

I took off my tulle skirt and went out of the tunnel to make a vlog. Some guys with snakes around their shoulders started talking to me. They were only talking to me because I looked cute. They approached me in a creepy way. It was strange. I don’t like being treated like an object. I’m not just a pretty girl a guy can stick his d**k in. I’m a human being. That doesn’t happen to me a lot because I’m so outrageous that most people, men or women, are too scared to approach me. They asked me about my “boyfriend.” “My husband.” I corrected. They asked how old I was. I wish I said “None of you *&#%-ing business, but I said “28.” “And how old is he?” they asked. Again, wish I said “None of your $*#&-ing business, but I said “62.” Then two of them started acting all shocked and reminded me he’s going to be super old when I’m in my 40’s. “Yup, I know that, you idiot. Don’t you think I’ve thought that over a bit before i fing married him? Don’t you think I married him because I’m in love with him and he’s my soul mate?” That’s what I wish I said, but all I said was “Yes, I’ve thought of that.” It’s hard to be confrontational for me. That’s why it was so amazing I went up in front of those break dancers last Sunday and whooped their butts. It’s scary to stand up for myself. I am bold and fearless, I just need to keep reminding myself that.

I can’t believe I can do what I do.