Tag Archives: being an artist

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I ‘ M F E I S T Y T O D A Y

Saturday January 21st 2017

I made three, count them THREE VLOGS today. Not that it matters or anyone cares! It’s actually amazing pathetic how much free, beautiful art we give to people and get so little back for it. I think that will always be the case. We’re lucky we make enough to survive. We are public servants who are not duly compensated for our work. We give and give and give. I think some day it’s got to change. People have got to open their f**king eyes and say “Hey wow, you guys are giving a lot! We should support you more!” Yeah, I know. We’re not the most important thing in the world. People have their own lives and problems to attend to. People are busy. Blah. Blah. Blah. No one owes us their attention or money because we share all this beautiful music. Who cares right? Yeah exactly. Who does care? Why should anyone care about us? There are many more important things to care about. There’s that EVIL ORANGE CLOWN MAN for example. We should be paying attention to him, right? Not us poor stupid ARTISTS. Who cares about us? Who cares about goodness and beauty and giving when evil now has the most powerful position in the world! What does free art matter! Oh right! It matters because in history people will be in awe of those who gave their art to the world and got nothing back and they’ll laugh at that crazy orange dictator. They’ll wonder how those artists kept going, kept making art, kept doing something giving and beautiful when no one gave a s**t, just as they marvel at the artists of the past who died with nothing for their art.

I know that our success would mean a change has occurred in the world. The world is completely backwards now. Those who give beauty and do good works are ignored while those who thieve and hurt and mock are given the largest amount of power and attention. It’s absolutely disgusting honestly. The world would need to make a huge switch. I know people are hungry for what we do. I know people love our music. I know what we do is beautiful. I am proud of what I do with my life, but I am sicked at how invisible we are. I make art and share our work simply because I must. It is not for now. It is for history. No I don’t have a big f**king ego about what we do. I’m forced every day to look straight in the face how little anyone cares. Everything I share, everything we do, is seen and supported by so few people. If we had a million people like our biggest and most devoted fans (you know who you are) we would be able to do the things we’ve always dreamed of. We cannot now. We can travel and perform in public resonant spaces. I am grateful for what that gives us, but we are capable of so much more. Having to look daily at my insignificance sometimes becomes too painful. I know what we are and what we are capable of, and we are not doing that. We are surviving, creating the only way we can. We have no other way to share our music or live other then performing it in public for anyone who will listen. I want us to have more options. We are worthy of it.

We are worthy of attention. We are doing something beautiful and completely unique in the whole world. I want to perform our operas indoors and tour the world with an entourage of helpers, our band and a chamber orchestra, as well as other artists and unusual performers to collaborate with. I want us to sing in churches. I want us to be legitimized by and be given thanks by all the public places we have performed in. I want us to have a theater space/school in which to develop new works. I want us to have million of subscribers on our Youtube channel. I want us to have contact with other unique artists of the world. I want us to be able to put on the shows as beautiful and amazing as we can imagine, with no limit to budget. The magic and beauty of what we do now is we manage to make raw art and beauty with nothing but our own willpower. No one makes it possible but us ourselves. Almost everything stands against us being successful. We could stop tomorrow and only a few people would blink an eye for a moment. There is nothing pushing us onward but our love and our need to put out into the world what does not exist.

I am grateful for my husband for holding me up, as he is grateful for me. We push each other forward, despite the darkness all around us, which will eat us alive if we let it. Thinking about the state of the world right now too much leads us down a dark path. At least we have our work. It’s all we have. We have a few dedicated fans. We appreciate them more then they know. Those who are reading this, for example, I appreciate so much. I don’t know what else to do. I am doing what I can. Being creating, being a good person, trying to be patient, being loving and giving. That is all we can do. Just keep going forward. Feel what I feel. Get it out in writing and in words and push onward forward. Don’t give up. Let those few special people’s love for us and our work be enough. Let ourselves, our work, what we are doing, be enough. We are enough. We are worthy of what we dream of.

I AM DISGUSTED!

Friday January 20th 2017

It’s hard to make art in a society that belittles living artists, praises dead ones and encourages people who profit off the misery of others. 

I am reeling from yesterday. God save us. 

How does art even exist in a world like this? Now that an orange clown is our president, It will just get harder. How do we keep going? Why do we keep going? We must keep making art. We must find a way. Creativity is the most important thing in this world. Art and music and creation and imagination move society forward. Artists, despite how almost all of them are treated in life, are the most precious things our world has. Why must we only figure that out when they’re gone? Why must we raise up those who act in despicable way and push down those who give love and beauty to the world. Why must the unjust rule and the just suffer? Why have all the great musicians, artist, singers, comedians, actors and good people suffered so terribly in life? Why? Because our society is backwards. We raise up those who bring us down and and push down those who raise us up. Great art raises our consciousness. Great art raises our hearts and spirits. Art, music and creation is universal.

If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and heard a beautiful piece of music or saw a beautiful piece of art, they would understand it. Art is translatable. They wouldn’t understand baseball or tennis or basketball… or politics. The universe is vibrating with music. Music of the spheres is a real thing. Politics of the spheres? Um, no. Not really. The world needs a big switch, a big change. Something disastrous (like this orange clown holding power over America) could possible be the key to changing people’s hearts and minds about what is truly important. I can’t believe we must be destroyed before it can see the error of it’s ways. People say the Holocaust will never happen again, but did 6 million Jews have to die in order for that to be the case? Does the worse have to happen in order for us to say “Never Again”? How about “Not even in the first place”?

I was FEELING it today my friends. Really feeling it. Distracted by the dreaded inauguration of he-who-must-not-be-named, I was having trouble staying focused and being as creative as I wanted to be. I am sicked, scared and sad at the state of affairs in the world and terrified of what is to come. Scott Levkoff, a fellow artist and creative weird crazy person, made a video thanking artists like us for being such “brave, courageous souls”. It feels good to be seen for the work we’re doing. Just what I needed on this dark day. I want to make an impact, but I felt utterly helpless today. Today something horrible happened I could do absolutely nothing about. I wanted to scream, to fight back, to let my voice be heard. I wish we could have prayformed today, but the torrential downpour kept us away from the park, and me away from the protest. The sky was crying, as my heart was. Walking with the protesters the night of the election results in NYC was so liberating for me. I got the anger our of my heart. “NOT MY PRESIDENT!” felt so liberating to cry out in the middle of the street with hundreds of other people. Someone who was walking in front of me even recognized me. Amazing. I feel so deeply connected to those against the evil clown.

I won’t say his name. That gives him energy. I think the best would be for us to collectively turn our back on him, to ignore him completely. That’s why he won. We paid attention to him. We gave this horrible person exactly what he wanted. I make art for my life. I don’t give energy to evil, soul sucking DICK-tators. I must prayform away this sadness and hopelessness. We must come together to share goodness and love and hope with each other in these dark, dark times. We must believe that love, art, creativity, goodness and compassion with win over hate, greed, selfishness, ego in the end. It must, if our society and our humanity is to move forward. Don’t give up. Keep spreading your light. Listen to good music, tell people you love them, sing and dance in the streets, don’t watch TV, do good works, make good art, spend time with good people, stay focused, stay hopeful, feel deeply. Resist. Love. Laugh, Cry. Be. Hold onto what you believe in and never, never give up.

Personal Realizations, Fears, Thoughts on Theater and Long Term Creative Commitment

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Realizations about Selfishness, Not Taking things for Granted and Needs for Validation

I’ve been having an enlightening time since last I wrote.

I’ve had some kind of catharsis. A realization. A growth. A deepening of knowledge of self. I have many short comings. Many faults. I am not perfect. I am not a selfless, pure soul, always giving and never taking. I have a need to be my rawest, truest, most fucked up self and for everyone to embrace and understand me. I want to be able to expose myself emotionally to everyone. I want to be naked, figuratively, to the world. Yet I also fear that. I fear that people will see what I truly am; a deeply needy, obsessive, doubtful and sensitive human being like anyone else. I fear people’s judgments.

No one owes me praise or compassion or love, or anything for that matter. I don’t deserve constant attention just because I’m talented. Hard work is a given. It is necessary and expected in order to create anything greater than myself. I don’t want to be someone who is selfish and constantly needing outside validation for every small thing I do. I want to be a strong, hard working, creative, inspiring, productive and self motivated person. Also compassionate, sensitive to others and giving. The truth is that sometimes I am not. I can be selfish, inconsiderate, full of myself, needy, lazy, greedy, etc. That is what I can fall back on with such ease if I don’t work every day to combat it.

My deepest fear is that I will turn into my mother. I’ve been watching her and how sick she is for this entire month. It tears at my heart and shakes the core of my soul. It makes me doubt all the positive things I see in myself. It makes me wonder if I am doing the right thing. If everything will be ok. If I will die all alone and unloved. If anyone loves me at all and if I’m not just a bother to everyone around me. I can also doubt myself in a deeply disturbing way. To the point that I wonder if I made the right choice to make a life commitment to something when I was just 21 years old. If I’m following the right path. If it will make any difference for my life or for other people. If it’s worth it. I have been talking to a few close friends over the last few days about my doubts, which have been coming up while we’ve been in Nashville this month. I’m finding that I am not alone in my feelings. A friend last night said “You feel as much trapped with a house then you are without it.” Since both my parents own a home, cars, and have all the trappings of a normal life (even though they were both freaks like me at one point), I wonder if I shouldn’t have the same. I don’t want to settle down though. I want to be free. I need to me more grateful for what I have. I need to remember how blessed I am and I shouldn’t give myself such a hard time.

I am an artist. I’ve always been an artist. I can’t be anything but an artist. I live my life as art. All I do is art. I have needs. I need support. I need love and understanding and friendship and unconditional love for who I am. I need to be able to tell people what I need when I need it, even if they can’t give me exactly what I need. I have people who give me that. I can’t take that for granted. I need to be vulnerable and open and raw and honest in my interactions with the world. That’s how I’ve gotten everything in my life. My friends, my husband, my lifestyle. That’s how I play music.Sometimes I feel like I’m invisible, like I’m an island unto myself. Like no one can relate to me because I am so uniquely me. I have friends though. Talking to my friends has really helped me realize I am not alone and that my problems and fears are not unique. Everyone has the same fears as me, no matter how much they have. The grass is always greener, right? “But you need to remember that for some people you are the greener grass.” a friend said last night. I am living a blessed life with a beautiful husband and some really amazing friends. I can’t forget that or take it for granted.

I don’t talk to many people about my feelings because I fear judgment and rejection and denial. We all do. The beauty of life is to be open and exposed and vulnerable. That’s why certain actors move me and certain singers touch me. It’s as if I can see inside them. The barrier that people usually put up to protect themselves in daily life isn’t there. That’s what I strive for in my work. That’s what I’m striving for in my videos. That’s what I am. I am a vulnerable human soul longing to be accepted and understood by other human souls. I am so blessed that some people do truly understand me. I want to be an inspiration to others, not someone who constantly needs validation from other people. I want to be strong, but sometimes I’m just not. I am weak and vulnerable, open to attack or judgment. I take it hard too. I don’t do myself any favors by writing and performing and living the way I do. I make myself incredibly vulnerable every single day and I get hurt very easily. I can over think people’s words and actions to a highly debilitating degree, especially when I’m not prayforming.

I want never to shut down my feelings because I’ve been hurt too much. I have everything because of my openness. I have gained so much because I have been real with my needs and wants. I face myself every day and try to work through my short comings and faults and make myself a better person. I am thoughtful and pondering and brooding. I think a lot. I question myself. I am honest with myself. I am honest with others. I try not to hide what I feel and think and believe for fear of being misread. I always try to give without expecting anything in return. Sometimes it is impossible! Sometimes I just need someone to listen to me. A shoulder to cry on. Someone who really cares about me and sees me for who I truly am. Someone who can love me for who I am, flaws and all. Thoth gives that to me every day and I give that to him. My friends give me that. I am blessed.

The world is very cold and uncaring. It is easy to cut ourselves off from love. It is easy to be cruel and hateful and incompassionate. It’s easy to build walls around our hearts and our feeling and our emotions. If everyone said what they meant, told people what they needed, loved and gave and cared more fearlessly, the world would be a truly beautiful place. We need to be more loving, more deeply open to each other, especially during these times when the world is slowly caving in on its self. Instead of clicking “like”, I talk to our friends face to face or write to them and tell them we care. We show people and tell people what we truly feel.

On Theater as a Vehicle for Compassion

I have always been obsessed with Phantom of the Opera. It is the ultimate tale of obsession. What has struck me recently is just how f’ing obsessed Erik is with Christine, in the musical especially. Up until the first moment of contact, when he brings her down to the lair, he has only taught her voice lessons. He has never had a conversation with her, or that’s what I’m led to assume. He has only been able to coach her from behind the mirror. She doesn’t even know he’s a real person yet. So for all these months that he’s been coaching her, he’s been lusting after her endlessly. Fantasizing about her… And all this time he’s been designing a lifelike doll that looks exactly like her, which he reveals to her when she first comes to his lair. I didn’t realize how f’ing creepy that is! He’s probably been masturbating to the doll, sleeping with it, maybe even having sex with it. When he finally has her, he shows her this doll in the wedding dress and of course she faints! What Erik wants, more then anything in the whole world, is to marry and be loved by and have sex with Christine! That’s all. That’s his motivation from before the musical started until it ends. Clear, simple, and really, reeeeeeally creepy.

Obsession, lust, desire, revenge, murder has been the subject of so many great musicals, opera, books and movies, yet these are characteristics we as human beings don’t look upon favorably. Isn’t that funny? All the fictional characters I love in theater are characters I’d be pretty creeped out by in real life. I wouldn’t find it endearing if someone made a mechanical doll of me, kidnapped me, hypnotized me, killed people for me, blackmailed me or threatened to kill my fiance. Nor would I like someone who grounded me up into a meat pie or transformed into a murderous maniac. Even gentler creatures who were immensely deformed would probably frighten or sicken me in real life. The arts transform these twisted characters into people we can feel for. That’s the beauty of theater and books and films. We can feel for those we probably wouldn’t in real life. Compassion. Empathy. That’s why I love theater.

I can create and play a character who in real life no one would like, yet through the medium of theater or music or art, you can get to know them and maybe even grow to love them. Same as why I love Erik. He would be an immensely unpleasant person in real life, yet I love him because the works created about him give me a look into his mind and his heart. I can see and understand why he does what he does and feel for him when he looses the only thing that matters to him. Michael Crawford said in his final performance speech:

“It’s wonderful to play a man that you can *care* about him loosing, and if we all cared about each other in that way, it would be a terrific place.”

That’s the beauty of theater, it brings deep compassion, care and understanding out in us.

On Long Term Creative Commitment

I’ve been avoiding social media since Christmas. I’m trying to teach myself to work on things that take long time daily commitment to accomplish. I’m good at things that take a day or two (a vlog, a blog, a sketch, a prayformance, a makeup look) but I struggle with things that take a long time. A play, an opera, a book, a painting etc. Things that can take many weeks, many months, or even many, many years. I tell myself I need to get things done fast, or I won’t get them done. I have only been able to complete an opera because we were commissioned to complete it and Thoth was always there. I have never finished a project on my own. I am refocusing my life to be able to do that. There are many things I want to do in my life. Write a book, a play, another opera, etc. I’d also love to paint a finished canvas. All these things take longer then a day. I must find a way to work incredibly hard without needing any outside validation or anyone seeing what I’m doing. I get so much praise when we prayform. I’m used to that, but it can be debilitating when creating without it feels impossible. I must. It is the only way to create the great work I have in me. I know I have something truly great in me that I can’t even imagine now.

A Struggling Artist

Tuesday July 12th 2016

I’ve been having a hard few days.

I think it’s important to be doing something that isn’t popular, but God damn it can be immensely discouraging!

Not everything has to be mainstream and successful to be heard. Lots of people love our music, even though it doesn’t exist to mainstream or even underground music lovers. Our music and our art is outside of any genre you could put it in. We’re not Classical music, or Baroque music, or Tribal music. We’re not vocal music, or instrumental music or avant garde or performance art or… Thoth’s Wiki article is under the category “Outsider Musicians” and it doesn’t even talk about Tribal Baroque. Tribal Baroque only exists because we do it. The only things that come up when you look up our name are things we created. Our website, our vlogs, our blogs, etc. We have a documentary, but no one even knows it exists. If we didn’t go out in public and play our music, it wouldn’t exist. It’s incredibly fragile and small and insignificant. I have to keep going and doing and creating despite it all. The most important thing is to create. Fuck it if no one is interested. Most people would have given up a long time ago and done something else. We don’t base our success on outside approval. We base it on our desire to make something we feel is beautiful and are proud of.

It’s amazing how people of all generations have made such incredible art and music in their lives and no one paid attention to them. People would even sneer and make fun of them. It seems that all great artists are outsiders in their lifetimes and only find recognition when their dead. Great art is never understood when it exists. It’s too bad really! Thoth is alive now. I am alive now. Tribal Baroque is out in the public daily sharing music with people. We exist now. We won’t exist forever. Our friend Forrest from San Diego put it perfectly. “I get to stand a few feet from you and watch you play. In the future people will wish they could have done that.” I want to create as much as I can while I’m alive so when I’m dead people will have a lot to listen to and read and watch. I think when we’re long gone people will tell themselves, “I would have supported them. I would have gone to see them and been a fan of their work.” But you know what? Most wouldn’t. Most people don’t know how to support something that isn’t officially condoned by others.

I write because I want my feelings and thoughts to be remembered for the future. I want people to know who I was and what I felt. I am a street performer when I should be singing in opera houses and concert halls. I have been shoved aside my whole life. The music I make with Thoth will probably never be heard by the vast majority of the world. I will work my entire life and make tons of art only to die with little recognition. Thoth has experienced the same, so no doubt it will be the same for me. He made 9 albums with his band and on his own even before he met me, all of which were self-released and very few copies exist. All of our 5 albums under Tribal Baroque are self-released, too. No major fanfare happens when we release them. A handful of people buy them, and then they just sit on our website. Easily accessible, but mostly unseen and unheard. There is a vast treasure trove of music for the world to discover someday, if they choose to. And we haven’t stopped yet. We’ll continue making albums until we’re both dead.

We don’t know how to make people like us or pay attention to us. We’re not good at marketing or selling what we do. We’re good at doing it. Honestly all great artists don’t know how to sell what they do. They know how to make art. Making art is the most important thing. What people think about it or how much recognition I have isn’t important, even though it’s hard sometimes to realize that. People put so much worth into what the world thinks about what one does. The most important things aren’t about how much money or fame or recognition one has, it’s about how one doesn’t ever give up and keeps doing what one want despite lack of recognition. That is where I take pride in. I don’t have much recognition for what I do, and yet I keep on doing it. When we’re gone it won’t be, “Wow they were so well respected and famous.” but “Wow they keep performing and singing and making art and music while being underrated and without major recognition or fame. How the hell did they do that?” We do it because we have to do it. Art is life.