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Protected: Struggles of a Unique Creative Artist – When Will Things Get Better? (Weekly Vlog/Blog Update)

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Protected: A SHOW, a Place to STAY and HOPE Again in SAN DIEGO!

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Emotional Raw Feelings, Worries, Dreams and Fears of an Artist/Musician/Creator

Wednesday March 1st 2017

I finally slept well last night. I fell asleep when I went to bed and slept until 10, just to get fully rested. I was able to work on my play again for the first time in a week. Writing is something that keeps my head straight and out of damaging thoughts. It was a really hard day for me. I have a lot of fear about our inability to sell CDs anymore. We used to sell a lot every day and people clamored for them, not anymore. People don’t even ask about them. It has had an impact on our income. Our albums are beautiful, but I know people don’t buy music anymore. They listen on Spotify and Youtube. When I was a teenage if you wanted to buy an album or rent a movie, you went to Tower Records or Blockbuster. Both stores have shut down and disappeared. The first time I listened to “Phantom of the Opera”, we went down to Tower Records to buy it. Now you just look it up on Youtube, as well as countless bootlegs of the show. When we wanted to watch a film version of Phantom, off we went to Amazon to buy a copy. Now it’s all on Youtube. Sure, it’s convenient as hell, but all artists and musicians are suffering because of it. Even though our music isn’t available anywhere but through our website and from us in person, there is no demand for it. We’re going to have six albums out after this new one is released, but it was our very first, the live version from the Angel Tunnel in 2009, that sold the most copies. It was the least good quality of all of our albums to date. It was live. People even complained about it. There is little motivation to release new albums when people rarely say anything about them and we don’t know how to sell them.

This is how I felt as I was doing my makeup. Scared and unsure how we will survive if the one thing that gives us any amount of stability is disappearing right before our eyes. We biked to the park and sadly it was really empty. My hope that the prayformance would cheer me up went right out the window. We played and gathered a crowd, despite that there weren’t many people around, but they just stood there when we finished, or walked away. I realize that a lot of my frustration comes from what other people do (or mostly don’t do.) I can’t control what people do. I can only control myself and my reactions to what people do. Today I felt like I’m wasting my voice singing outside for free for anyone to listen, yet I don’t know of any other way other than doing what we do to make a living and continue to perform and be creative on a daily basis. We should be performing indoors. Playing in public truly is beneath us, but the market is so clogged up with bull shit and untalented hacks fighting for fame and glory, there isn’t any room for our work to be seen other than in the street. We are pushed to the side. Our beautiful, unique and completely original music in the whole world is pushed into the street to be heard. I don’t know of any music or theater festivals that would touch us. We have so little to show for what we do. People have to see our gifts and hear our work for what it is and know in their own hearts we are gifted beyond measure. Is it our fate to be street performers until we die and struggle to be able to continue our lifestyle forever? We like to be able to do nice things for ourselves, but we can’t these days. We have to lay low. Work on our projects, go play in the park, make just enough to survive and lay low. We don’t like lean times. We’ve experience them before, much worse in fact. In Marrakech and Barcelona and Edinburgh and Berlin, even in NYC, and we were always OK eventually. It all balanced out in the end. The deep fear is that eventually we’ll hit such lean times we won’t be able to bounce back. If we were allowed to play our music freely without fear and sell our albums and travel to any city we wanted to, we can take care of ourselves. It’s when the limitations come upon us that we face fears of our work not existing anymore. Even if we were homeless and starving on the street, we would still prayform. People have their own problems. People just want to think we’re these magic fairies who play in parks all over the world and have no worries or woes. People think our life is a dream. News flash friends, it’s not. I am aware how blessed I am. I am. Thoth is here. He will never leave me. My family is here. They love me and will help if things get really bad. We have fans who care about us. Not many, but they do love us. I wish we knew people who had influence who could really help us and lift us out of the life of street performers. We know James Lapine, but even he can’t help us, even though he loves us and he loves what we do. Can anyone help us? People have over the years. Friends who have given us places to live in Barcelona, Porto, Marrakech, Amsterdam, London, Santa Cruz, Oakland, San Francisco, even Portland and Eugene and Gold Beach. People have hired us for performances in Madeira and Malaga and Sao Paulo and ALMOST in Rio and Martha’s Vineyard, even one time in NYC. We keep ourselves alive through our public prayformance. It’s the only thing we know.

Since we didn’t have crowds today, we played four new pieces. One was the new 3/4 we’ve been playing for a while. The ending was beautiful. Just our two voices weaving in and out of each other, like making love with our voices. Afterwards people clapped, sort of, but they just stood there. Not wanting to show their support, but not wanting to leave. It’s as if they are in awe, yet unable to process what they just saw. Our voices are god dammed beautiful! You’d think people would be flocking forward to say something and thank us for what we do and show their support. No. They just stand there. People sometimes say I’m entitled to people’s support, but you know what? People are entitled to watching us and giving nothing back. Taking photos and videos, saying nothing supportive and walking away. The gall people have! Even if our fans can’t give us money, they hold space for us and talk to us and care about us and ask how we’re doing and spend time with us. That is something. There is so little people can do. The most our fans can do is come see us every day, which is amazing. We want to record albums with a band and a string quartet. We want to do shows with other artists, musicians and actors. We want to perform in beautiful venues with great acoustics. All of that requires money and lots of fans, neither of which we have and both of which we don’t know how to gain. This is the year of my Saturn Return. All of the feelings of wanting more success, wanting to be less invisible, wanting our talents to be recognized are coming forward strongly. I’m in a happy marriage, Thoth and I love each other. I am proud of what I do for a living. I am proud I am traveling around the world. I am proud to be working on creative projects like drawing and blogging and writing a play and a book and running two vlog channels. I’m doing the best I can. I get pessimistic because all the work I do seems to not matter. Things have got to get better. They do usually. We had a rough time last year at the same time, and then the documentary was made about us. Something good has got to happen. I don’t have it that bad. If I didn’t have Thoth I don’t know what I would do. He takes care of me. He’s watching out for me through this time. We know how to hunker down and lay low. We don’t like it, but we still have each other. We’re not going to starve or die or not be able to prayform. Everything is OK. I have to stay hopeful. Maybe this year will bring something incredible to us. Something I can’t even imagine. Maybe we’ll get a commission or a place to live and create new works, or maybe we’ll be given a beautiful place to prayform indoors, or maybe we’ll be given the opportunity to work with the people we want to work with. It’s so hard to be positive when the country is so f-ed up. I have to find a way. Thoth has been able to, so I can. I am blessed to be alive. Something amazing is coming. Amazing things have come, but something more amazing than anything before is coming. I know.

Tuesday February 28th 2017

I’ve been having trouble sleeping the last few nights. The night before last I got to sleep at 4am and got up around noon. Last night I got to sleep at around 2am. I woke up sometime when the sun was out and went back to sleep until noon. I finally feel rested. Finally, after three days. I need at least eight hours of sleep to be able to function normally. I wasn’t able to work on my play. I haven’t been able to write for a few days now. I’ve been too tired. I need to be fully alert to be able to write. It takes all of my brain power. Instead I painted my scary faces drawing with acrylic paints I’d been working on for a week. I painted all afternoon. Thoth took the bus to Sprouts to buy groceries. What a sweet husband he is. I started feeling really shitty eventually. Feeling like I’m immensely insignificant and that our work is illegitimate and unimportant. Fear starts to seep into my head. Fear that I’ll be forgotten, fear of Thoth dying, fear of being by myself and unable to cope with it, fear that no one will care, fear of how little anyone cares in general, fear of not accomplishing the things I want to in my life, fear of disappearing, and fear that none of it matters anyway. We have no stability. We have each other and we have our talents, but we have no consistency accept our will to go out and prayform in the park. We can’t be street performers forever. Being an artist for a living is so difficult, but it’s the only thing I know. I’ve never done anything else. I have to count my blessings. At least I can sing well enough to support myself. At least Bunny loves me. At least I have a family that loves me. I’m never going to be homeless or starve to death. All of that said, I want us to be recognized for what we’re doing with our life. We are worthy of more support and less fear doing what we do. All we can do is continue to do it and try to keep hope alive. By the time I’m 30 I will have been prayforming in the street for 10 years. That is the longest time I have done anything. It’s not that nothing has come of doing it either. We’ve made beautiful 6 albums, we will have traveled to Europe 5 (almost 6) times, we have performed in public spaces and rare private events all over the world, we have friends all over the world, we have created something that is incredibly unique, we’ve performed in front of thousands of people, we even have some dedicated fans who read this blog and the vlogs with open, nonjudgmental hearts. I want for us to be able to be so much more than be street performers. It’s hard to be grateful for what you have when  you want so much more. I need to count my blessings and not give myself a hard time.

Thought and Feelings of a Living, Working, Struggling Musician, Artist and Performer

Saturday February 18th 2017

Hi friends! I’m sorry I’m getting so behind on the blogs these days. Sometimes, like now, I become hyper focused on drawing and writing and have zero interest in blogging. I know there are a few dedicated readers who miss it when I don’t write consistently. I’m sorry. It’s hard to keep it up just for a few people, though that should be motivation enough because I know those few people love and care about us very much. It’s sometimes just hard to keep everything going when I think too much about how insignificant it is. My talents are numerous and I have a skill set that many people would die to have (I didn’t say that, a friend did), but being talented doesn’t make it any easier sometimes. Being talented makes life harder I think. When you’re talented, your able to see the way things are more clearly than others. I talked to our friend Bill about it tonight after prayformance. What is the point of it all, when neither Thoth or I have anything to show for what we’ve done? He said it’s not about the result, it’s about doing it. Thoth said the exact same thing last night. Creation is the process of the soul. Bill said something else significant too. He said maybe we look down from somewhere before we’re born and say, “That would be the best life for me to increase my spirit. A life of making art every single day and getting no physical rewards for it, possibly for my entire life. That would make me a better person and a purer soul.” The challenge to create not for gain but for increasing  something completely invisible, personal spiritual power. Thoth said something similar last night. Making art isn’t about the result, it’s about increasing ones self. The goal is not the  end result, the goal is the process. The goal is doing the work. The trick is turning away from a world that looks for physical rewards as being the only reason to work hard on anything and doing it simply to increase the self. Harder than it seems! To create simply to create, just as nature does. We are so like nature.

Oh man, today was tough. This whole week has been tough. It was supposed to downpour yesterday when we were supposed to play, so we didn’t go out. That left us with three days off and only one day this week of playing. Ugh. Tuesday’s play was magical, but those damn park rangers! We’re scared to play now and there is nothing we do will change that. Nothing anyone else can do about it either. We have no legitimacy at the park or anywhere we play for that matter, yet we’re doing something people love that is unique in all the world. We’re these illegitimate street performers wandering around the world pushing our way into places we’re not really allowed to play, but really we’re uniquely talented, underrated artists who just need a opportunity to shine. The best thing anyone can do is to come see us prayform all the time, like Tori and Pascual and Bill do, and as they did today. Of course on the day we decided to go out to play, today, it was raining as we got on our bikes and it poured as we biked up the hill to the park. Thoth was in a really bad mood on our days off, so it made him feel worse. “What the f**k are we doing?” I thought to myself. Thoth was thinking the same, no doubt. The hallways were crowded with homeless people. We had to wait and I had to ask them to move. They ended up listening to us play.

I am so f**king tired of playing scared. Having our friends there makes all the difference. We will always be scared and we’ll always have to battle that fear every day. Sometimes it’s worse than other times. Every day we face the fear anew. Each day it’s, “Will we get harassed by the park rangers today or not?” We shouldn’t have to be afraid. When that park ranger bothered us the first time, he ruined our peace of mind. We have to be strong and try to not let it affect it, but it threatens our whole lifestyle here in San Diego. This is our winter home and if we can’t play in the park anymore, we can’t be in San Diego. Getting through this season without another incident wouldn’t change anything, because next January we’ll have to face it all over again. Why do we have to be afraid to play our beautiful music in a public space? We should feel loved and protected and cared for. Our fans and friends do that for us. The park rangers do nothing but scare and intimidate and harass us. I don’t even think they can do anything to us other than that. F**k.

Today was one of those prayformance we really had to push through. It was one of those prayformance I just wanted to sit down and cry. I know you my friends only wish the best for us and believe we will find success, but I have no illusions, or delusions, about it. I look at Thoth who is 62 and no better off than me. A man of great knowledge and skill and talent who may never see any rewards for his work, other than that he manages somehow to do it until his death, and that he has me. I know any of you who are reading would do something if you could. Sometimes I believe success will come. One could say we have found success by simply by finding a way to live a creative life, but I’m imagining something more significant. Even after having played for an hour, we still didn’t feel better. The rain and the lack of donations didn’t help my mood either. January and February are notoriously rough, and it’s hard not to let it affect our moods. It will be this way always. At least we get to play. In NYC or pretty much anywhere else we wouldn’t be able to play at all during these months. We just have to weather it and push through. That’s all we can do. Sometimes it feels like everything is hanging on by the smallest thread, and no one can help us. It could so easily fall apart, but so could anyone’s life. Bill said something else interesting. No one is safer than us. We just live that truth honestly. We are not safe. We have no possessions. People try to make themselves feel safe with money and houses and cars, but we have none of those things. We have our work, we have each other and we have our gifts and talents to do the work we need to do. That is worth more than anything in the world combined. Those who see that are our friends.

Thursday February 16th and Friday Feb. 17th 2017

“Solice” by General Fuzz and “Miss You” by Trentemoller have been my soundtracks all our days off this week. I can’t stop listening to them. The song “Solice” is eerie and goes well with the play I’m writing a plot for. I got the plot for “The Land of Deadly Echoes” basically finished and turned it in for Thoth to read. I painted for a few hours and once Thoth read the plot, he told me a few things didn’t quite work, which I fixed. He read it again and said it was good. I was so happy. I finally finished the plot synopsis for my play!! 1 month and 3 weeks of work every morning. I almost gave up a few times. Now I have to write the play, which will be even more difficult! I made a vlog of my new drawings for you, with concept sketches for my characters from the play called Fray Wrathanian and Ashen Delency. I started drawing a scary face using the dark paints I bought on Wednesday to start painting the sketches I’ve done over the last week or so. Painting is challenging for me. It isn’t as precise as drawing, but I’m learning white paint can be used to tidy things up. It’s a challenge to try and make faces look scary. On Friday I started adding other faces to my painting. Drawing is a stress reliever for me.

I started drawing a scary face using the dark paints I bought on Wednesday to start painting the sketches I’ve done over the last week or so. Painting is challenging for me. It isn’t as precise as drawing, but I’m learning white paint can be used to tidy things up. It’s a challenge to try and make faces look scary. On Friday I started adding other faces to my painting.

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.