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DOING THE WORK AND TRYING TO LET GO OF EVERYTHING ELSE

Sunday February 5th 2017

We knew without a doubt today would be slow in Balboa Park, it being Super Bowl Sunday. The world is so backwards and twisted my friends. People would rather watch men in helmets giving each other concussions rather than watch two special people make love with music. To each his own I guess, but I wish the world loved music more then it loved sports. It just shows me how backwards it all is. Sports don’t make any sense to me, as it wouldn’t make sense to aliens. Music would. Music transcends all boundaries.

There was no one in the park. At least Ian would be there to witness us and record our prayformance and interview us for his podcast “Messages from the Multiverse”. Bill and Tori said they would come as well, so we would at least have three audience members. Ian arrived and set up. Bill and Tori arrived during our first song. They’re getting to know each other. They’re the only fans who have come to see us and we’ve been in San Diego for 5 weeks. Usually by now all of our friends have come to see us. It makes me sad. People seem to loose interest so fast.

Thoth told me to let go when we started. Let go of audiences. I did. I just sang beautifully and let everything else go. My voice was crystal. Sometimes my voice surprises even me. I sing higher than usual and do things I don’t usually do. I don’t know if other people who listen to us regularly notice. After playing for an hour, we had a nice size crowd. I did a solo and Thoth did a solo. I could hear people applauding for him. When I came back, he was talking to the audience and they applauded again. I filmed it. That rarely happens.

A woman in the audience offered to film one of our pieces after Thoth spoke. Turns out she was a big fan who’d seen us in New York City. It’s interesting when someone says they’re a big fan of ours and they’ve never spoken to us before. Here we are. Right here. If you love us, talk to us. How can we know if you don’t tell us? Someday you won’t be able to. It does nothing but good.

Tori and Bill stayed behind with us and Ian for our hour long interview, which was lovely. I’ve gotten better at letting Thoth talk. He always lets me talk. I’m learning to embrace myself more and try to get away from negative thinking. It’s a lifelong process. The podcast will be released in a month I think. I’ll share it here when it’s finished. Ian asked me how people can be more creative. I don’t have an answer to that other than J U S T  D O  T H I N G S. 

Tori said something amazing. That we’re some of the most beautiful things in the universe! What an amazing thing to say. I was in shock actually no one has said that to me before. I was so honored, but it will take some time to sink in.

Saturday February 4th 2017

This morning I had the worst time with my play synopsis. I just sat there staring at it, unable to write or think of what to do next. I told Thoth this and he talked with me about it for over an hour until we punched a hole of some kind through it. I don’t want the stories I write to be cliche, so I over complicate them to the point where they don’t make sense. Thoth helps me to simplify. I tend to do that in all aspects of my creativity. I tend to over play or over sing when we improvise too. I have to learn to pull things back and make them simpler and more straightforward.

Breaking through this morning with Thoth helped me feel better as I got ready to play. As we played today, I wasn’t into it. I felt like I wasn’t performing well. Bill and Tori were there, and I felt like I was disappointing them. It’s been a bad week. Very slow, and right after paying rent. Scary.

Today was “permit” day in Balboa Park. We don’t follow the rules. We never follow rules in that regard, we just play. In every city we prayform, accept Lisbon, we are not sanctioned to perform there. However, First Amendment is on our side and people love us. We bring people to the park to see us. Today a ranger who years ago used to make our lives hell in the park showed up out of nowhere and asked if we were having a good time, then he left. That was it. Thoth almost had a heart attack, but I was happy he didn’t bother us. He can’t. I don’t know why we should ever feel afraid of anyone stopping us from doing something that isn’t hurting anyone and is giving many people a lot of joy in the park. A few years ago a fan said Balboa Park should officially sanction us. Fat chance of that happening. See how cynical I’ve become?

It wasn’t until the end of prayformance when we did an improvisation that I felt better. Sometimes improvs just click and feel really good. It makes me feel good when we end on a high note. Long improvisations like these are a testament to my growth. I couldn’t come even close to doing this when I was a teenager. Now it’s a fun, carefree and wonderful experience for both of us. Thoth trusts me more than he ever had before. It takes so long to learn how to do things. I never ever thought I could learn how to improvise, and I still don’t think I’m as good as I want to be, but that’s me never being satisfied and giving myself a hard time.

Our friend Tori wrote something wonderful in my journal. Here’s a little of it: “You two are a force of nature. Your raw, natural love and toil will be known, as surely as every other natural force is recognized.” It touches directly on my issue that things take so long to come to fruition in our life and my anxiousness to do more than I can do in one day. That will be the case, because we are making a creative impact on the world as much as two people alone can. One human interaction at a time, one song at a time, one improvisation at a time, one vlog at a time, one blog at a time, one prayformance at a time, one day at a time, . Some people, the ones who really understand us and love what we do, are able to wait and believe.  Thank you.

Where Was Our Audience?

Wednesday October 26th 2016

I got up excited to try a new darker makeup look today, which I did. Thoth said I looked Gothic.

14877626_1304611286240179_1965718109_n 14825828_1304610189573622_432961630_n 14874836_1304610779573563_241804225_n 14877010_1304610616240246_599710624_nWe got to Central Park in the cold and to our surprise the Conservancy was setting up for their big fundraiser (which blocks the back of the Angel Tunnel where we play.) We knew that would negatively affect our week as the break dancers would come do their thing downstairs. Annoying, as always.

Cover Story finished as we got ready and Herman, one of the singers, came over to hug us and say hello. While we stretched he said, “Your eyes are mesmerizing.” It’s nice that someone at the tunnel likes us. Once we began, the Afrobats started up, playing their boom box quietly. I was sure our day was ruined, and I was right! It wasn’t just them, people didn’t clap while we played really at all or gathered– or tip us or anything. It was as if everyone was ignoring us, or worse, they were just deaf and blind to the beauty that was right in front of them.

On these days it’s especially hard because no one points out or even openly recognizes what’s going on. No one says, “Hey I’m sorry no one is clapping for you guys, you’re amazing, and to play while those assholes are doing their stupid show is incredible! They’re hacks. You guys are original and unique, and you don’t give up! Inspiring! Thank you!” No one says that. They don’t even notice, even though it’s happening right in front of them. A woman said something like that to us back in the summer of 2013 when the Afrobats were doing show after show and we weren’t stopping.

Not only didn’t most anyone clap or tip us today, they didn’t even watch us. It was pretty shitty. We’re doing the best we can and no one was even watching us. I know within myself that we’re doing something the world has never seen and when we’re dead everyone will wish they had supported us, the same as they wished they supported all the other great artists of the past. It actually felt amazing to sing full voice over the Afrobats show. We’re not trying to bother them, but we know how much it irritates them to hear us. They really do hate us for some reason. The other day Ravon (one of the two Afrobats) said “Hey homo!” to Thoth as we were passing by into the Angel Tunnel. They have a deep seated fear and disdain for us, and there is no way to talk to them. Maybe if someone else did, but they don’t listen to conflicting opinions. Well, no, they don’t hate us. What am I saying. They don’t even know us. How can they hate two people they don’t know. They hate something in themselves, their inability to be more free and open, and we threaten and frighten their masculine, ghetto street cred or something like that.

We played through it though, and got through it. Glad when it was over. Yuck. Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain, so we can take a day off to recuperate. When we finished, Marcela set up her stuff and her boom box literally right on top of us. So rude. We had to drag all our stuff out of the way it was so loud. People clapped louder for her than they did for us all day. It was too painfully ironic for us. “We’re doing the best we can. Society is the way it is and we can’t change it. It’s just going to get worse. We can only change ourselves. We succeed by doing our work. Fuck everyone else. When we’re dead no one will care we did this work, but it will be great benefit to us karmically, spiritually, emotionally, and in every other way.” I said. It’s true.14800912_1304611506240157_1592994180_nThe thing that’s hard about a first prayformance day being bad is that I was so creative this weekend. I was in my own little world creating this headdress, and then having that lovely lunch with Marianne made me feel that much better. But then to go out in the world and see how little anyone cares what we do creatively is so hurtful. I won’t forget Marianne saying me writing about the bad days is even more inspiring than the good days, because it shows me as very human. I am human. I know everyone has problems and frustrations, but mine are just as important as anyone else’s. I’m so glad I have this blog and the vlog to get things out there.

At home Meli, Amy and the guests from France were hanging out. It felt so homey and sweet. I love coming home to Meli’s place. It’s the best place we’ve ever stayed in NYC. Going home actually cheers me up. I’m going to miss it here so much. I cleaned my face and went to get chicken for our dinner. I watched the people making our food and thought how lucky I am to have my life. Amy was in love with my new wire headdress and wants me to make her one. “You could be a costume designer.” she said. She’s so sweet and enthusiastic. It made my day. She told our other roommate J.P. about it. “She made this headdress that you would see at the Met.” I heard her say. So sweet. We ate our dinner and went upstairs to work until bedtime.

Tuesday October 25th 2016

Again, Thoth was in a bad mood when I got up. Poor baby. Depression sucks a**, doesn’t it? We got dressed up (I wore my new crown) and we went to 81st Street for lunch with Marianne, one of our biggest fans. She was waiting for us when we arrived. We talked and ate and she gave us designer clothes she didn’t want anymore. She’s been reading my blog for three years and watching the vlog since I started it in 2014. She loves our honesty and bravery going out every day and being ourselves. It inspires her. She says the vlog is more interesting than most things and deserves more attention, as well as us. It completely cheered us up. Thoth had gone to lunch feeling sad, and left laughing and smiling, all because of Marianne. I went to 23rd Street to get more things to make another crown at Michaels and went home. I edited the vlog and blog and sewed hair clips into my tiara until 1am. Being creative is my reason to keep going.

A Hard Day

Wednesday September 28th 2016

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

We knew it would be a tough week this week. Rain and wind every day until Sunday. Quiet days are usually the best days for us. A mother and her son from out of town sat across from us on the subway. They were fascinated by our outfits and asked us what we do. “Your outfits are intriguing.” the mother said. She looked up our website on her phone and they got off the train, the son pawing at the phone saying “Let me see!”

Dan, our photographer, was waiting for us at the park. Cover Story wasn’t performing as usual when we arrived. Instead, our guitarist friend was playing. A girl with a violin and amplifier was standing really close to him. I could tell she wanted to play, but Carlos wasn’t stopping to talk to her. We got ready and eventually she came to talk to me. “There’s a schedule of performers here.” I said. “I know.” she said. When Carlos was finished, we went to say hello and set up in the center to play. The girl sat to the side and waited for less than half of our first song, but eventually left.

It was chilly, and I was under dressed. We played our entire set, even though crowds were less than “blegh” all day (not much enthusiasm or clapping.) A few people were deeply impressed by us, but I was on the feisty side and the annoying questions one person asked I answered sharply. (“Are you studying?” and “Are you performing anywhere?”) We gave so much today. We always do. People should count themselves lucky to be able to see us perform in public. We are doing something no one else in the history of the world has ever done. It’s nice to have Dan with us on days like these. At least he is paying attention. We tried playing with the loop Thoth had created for us, but it wasn’t loud enough to really add anything. It was disappointing. We walked to a Chinese/Japanese restaurant when we finished to have dinner with him.

Tuesday September 27th 2016

Today we stayed home all day and went to 23rd St. for dinner at Olive Garden.

Monday September 26th 2016

Thoth and I snuggled in bed for a long time this morning. We were feeling very proud of what we’ve accomplished in our lives. However, Thoth said he had a few episodes this morning. He’s been having them since we were in San Diego. This was the first time I was close to him when he had one. His heart was beating double the speed. We don’t know why he has them.

We went out to 4th street to find somewhere to have lunch. We found a sushi place to try, but Thoth had an episode as he put the first bite of sushi in his mouth and had to spit it out. He lost his apatite, and strangely so did I. I finished more food than he did, but we didn’t eat the rest of the day. A hard day for both of us.

A Self Portrait: Being Creative is My Life

Tuesday June 28th 2016

Creativity is my life. It drives me to the edge and then pushed me over. Being creative makes me crazy. One day I’m blissfully happy and think the world is my oyster, the next I’m so depressed I want to die. That’s how it is to be an artist. I wouldn’t want it any differently though. I feel like I’m balancing out a bit more these days. Not all people can live like we do. We’ve had to push through so many painful and difficult times together, but it’s only made us stronger as a duo, and as a couple. Our love is reinforced by our travails. The more anyone tries to push us down, the harder we fight to push ourselves back up, and we always win, because we always keep doing what we love to do. It is a gift and a privilege to be able to be an artist. I always knew that’s what I would do. There were never any other options. I always was a singer and a creative person. Thoth is so incredible to me because he’s still creative and plying his musical and artistic craft at 62 years old. Most people give up by then. I’m going to be creative until I die, too. It’s creativity or nothing at all.

I drew again today! I haven’t drawn in a few years. Drawing is very meditative and calming for me. All my fears leave my head and I can focus exclusively on bringing out emotions and expressions using lines on paper. I had a strange epiphany years ago in regards to drawing. I’m trying to bring the person I’m drawing out of the paper. It’s immensely satisfying when I do. I get better every time I draw, and the skills don’t leave me. If I keep drawing, I’ll keep getting better. Drawing is my second favorite thing to do. I’m so happy I can be creative. I’m the most  creative when I feel safe and stable. Creativity completely goes away when I don’t feel safe. I feel very stable now. It’s more important for us to play regularly than travel to new cities. We’re happier when we’re playing.

I am a living, breathing work of art out in the real world bring real art to people. I will always be creative. I will always make beautiful music and art. I love using all different things to make art. Makeup, clothes, hair, acrylic paint, mechanical pencils, paper, my voice, my violin… It’s all used for the same purpose, to be creatively expressive. Everything is done solely by me and Thoth. There’s no prep team, no makeup artists, no hair or clothing designers, no publicity team. It’s just us and our art. It’s raw, it’s organic, it’s acoustic, it’s real, it’s honest. There’s no fakery or falseness in anything that we do. Some like it, some don’t. Who cares. We do.

We were sitting in a restaurant tonight having a really fantastic meal together at a place called Sacramento. We last went there 2 or 3 years ago. I felt a rush of memories and was awash with feelings of gratefulness. We were sitting in that restaurant 6 years ago feeling so successful and happy, and it is like we’re back at that level again. Lisbon is where we first found success together as Tribal Baroque. Of all places, Lisbon is our city. It’s one of the only European countries that allows for street performers to do what they want. Most of the rest are shut down. People think America is so free and open for people to pursue what they want, but it’s not true. Here the police and the security guards all like us and don’t harass us. Anyone with a brain knows we’re good for the areas we choose to prayform in. We’re bringing free, original art that no one has seen before, I mean come on. We’ve been blessed to have found a few places to play in the world. Here in Lisbon, the Angel Tunnel in New York and Balboa Park in San Diego. People appreciate us much more in Lisbon and San Diego, even though we do very well in NY. I don’t think we’ll ever settle down though. I’d go crazy! I love moving around. It’s good for our minds.