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Makeup Singing Acting Prayformance Vlogs

Tuesday February 21st 2017

We usually wouldn’t prayform on a Tuesday (or Monday), but I wanted to. We needed to play a full four days. I love challenging myself to do completely different looks every day. I’ve never used to use red or black, now I fearlessly wear ANY color! I went for a reddish look today. Bloody. Like a bullet hole in my head and bloody tears streaming down my cheeks. Pretty, but a little creepy.

I assumed Tori would stay home today, but near the end of the prayformance she surprised us by arriving with a friend and a sign they made for us. Usually I take a slow day after a really energetic few days of playing badly, but I didn’t today. I did realize why I can get really depressed when peopled don’t respond (clap) for our work sometimes. That almost happened after Anya today, but people did clap. When there is no one leading the applause (it’s been a long time since that happened) people sometimes don’t know if they should clap. I know what we’re doing is just as beautiful as it was when tons of people were clapping and cheering. Our work is never less beautiful, the audiences and the days just change. We pushed through it and it got better. When Tori and her friend and Chet came to watch near the end, suddenly everyone had gathered in front to watch. If there aren’t people standing in front of us, people stand way off to the sides. It’s makes the biggest difference when people come and watch us in front without fear. It gives other people permission to do the same.

It’s amazing we can do this work and somehow survive and thrive and have a certain kind of success. Yes, January and February are notoriously slow financially, but it will pick up again in March. We just have to weather the storm, as we always do. My birthday is on Sunday. I’ll be 29. Si*t! Almost 30? Me? I don’t feel a day older than 17. It’s just a number anyway. Being home in Nashville made me completely feel like a teenager again. I haven’t lost that. I don’t think I ever will.

We have such good friends here in San Diego. I don’t know why here. More people come to see us prayform here than anywhere in the world. On Sunday we had 6 or 7 people who were fans that all came to see us play. Some of our most diehard fans are in this city. We don’t have fans like that in New York (only Dan and Josh) or in Lisbon. People come to see us, yes, but not with such consistency and dedication. We are part of people’s lives here. Even people who don’t come to see us as much we know love us and think about us. That’s why we can feel so alone in NYC or even Lisbon. People may love our work and think of us, but we have little to no connection with them. I feel like an island in New York. It’s strange because it’s the Angel Tunnel that Thoth played in for so many years. We’ve been in Lisbon a long time too, almost every summer since 2010.

Monday February 20th 2017

I was inspired by our friend Tori to try a mixture of a dark and light makeup look today, plus I wanted to be all dressed up for our interview with Skylar in Balboa Park.

Skylar met us at 2pm at the Globe theater. Barb and David had 4 or 5 cameras last year and two or three helpers. Skylar had only one camera and herself. She says it will be finished in the beginning of March. I’m so excited to see it! It’s really interesting to do documentary interviews. It makes me feel that our life is incredibly significant. Why do documentaries of our work get made in this city? Tori came and Skylar watched and filmed most of the prayformance. Bill came. He said he might, and he did. We had a lovely time. These days we really need to prayform. Taking days off is too painful. I get to work on my creative projects, but Thoth has been so scared and depressed it’s better we go out to play.

We had a lot of fun today. I’m having a blast singing solos. I’m not scared of them anymore. Singing solos takes a lot of bravery and guts! It feels like I’m getting the hang of it though. Solos are very different from duets. They take a lot out of me and tire me out quicker. I don’t know how Thoth did it alone for so long. 10 years, but doing solos these days made me feel that someday I may be able to do solo prayformances when Thoth is gone. God. I wonder what I will do when that happens. We never know what life will bring us. I just have to focus on today. Maybe he’ll live forever.

 

Freedom of Artistic Expression Under Threat in Balboa Park

Friday February 10th 2017
When I speak of “support”, I’m not speaking of people giving us money, I am speaking of people helping us and showing their support of our work in a variety of ways.
Three examples from today of what I mean:
-Complimenting our work.
Without being asked, a man at Balboa Park said he loves our CD and he still listens to it. He said it sounds like a soundtrack to a movie. That was incredibly encouraging for me before we started playing.
-Standing up for us.
I wrote something yesterday on Facebook about how artists aren’t supposed to talk about how hard it is to be an artist. A stranger said I was being arrogant, but our friend Risha stood up for me.
“Lila Angelique actually IS a great artist who inspires and creates beautiful things. Who are you to dictate that she can’t have a sense of self worth and know this about herself??? She was born gifted and has spent so much time and energy cultivating and developing these gifts in every way she knows how.”
Her words canceled out the stranger’s meanness. It helps so much when people stand up for me, even if they’re not %100 with what I’m saying.
-Helping us.
Today in the park, after we got stopped by a park ranger and a police officer, our friend Tori sat with us while I was hanging my head in despair and then said she would help by watching out for park rangers when we started playing again. She comes almost every day to see us and wants to help us.
Other things people can do to show their support:
Coming to see us prayform in public (staying the entire time and clapping is most appreciated) Talking to us after prayformance
Commenting on our online vlogs and blog
Sharing our videos with their friends
Sharing our music with their friends
Etc…
None of these things require money, and they are some of the most helpful things people can do.
Today the dreaded thing happened. We were in the middle of playing our second piece in the park when a park ranger truck rolled by. He stopped, turned his lights on and stood in the corner with a policeman and watched us. He walked past us. We had closed our violin cases, so there was nothing he could do. He stood in the corner and flashed a flashlight at us and motioned us over. He threatened us with a ticket for not having a permit. He claimed we have to go to the lottery (which happens the first Saturday of every month) to get a permit in order to collect donations. We don’t need a permit to express our artistic free speech. That is unconstitutional. The ranger claimed that once he saw money exchange hands, it was no longer freedom of speech, but commerce (which is also completely false) and he had no rules to back up his claim. He gave us a verbal warning, because we’re “awesome” and we spent an hour talking to the other buskers about it. At first, I was utterly broken and disheartened. While the officer spoke to us, everything broke apart in my mind. We wouldn’t be able to perform in Balboa Park anymore, so we wouldn’t be able to live in San Diego anymore. I guess the rangers would rather see us be homeless rather then share our music freely with park goers. I told Thoth I wanted to play again, even just a little, to try and get rid of these awful feelings, so we did. Tori watched out for park rangers, so we wouldn’t have to play scared. I thanked her. “Thank you for being brave enough to continue.” she said.
Now we’re scared. We know the rangers are trampling on our rights to freedom of speech, as happened in 2009 when we were arrested for prayforming Central Park. If we get a ticket, we could fight it in court, but we’re only here until the end of April. The rule of permitting buskers is unconstitutional. Someone needs to fight it and get it disbanded. A fan said he is going to start a petition to get the park to give us a permit, but I don’t know if that will happen, or even work. Why should we be afraid to prayform in Balboa Park? We’ve been giving our work to people for free at that park every winter since 2010. We have a following here and park goers love us. The park should thank us for the work we do, not threaten us with tickets. A fan, who is wanting to create a petition, said this about our work in the park:
You are an immeasurable asset to the park and the city while you are here. Undoubtedly tourism satisfaction experienced while you are in residence spikes, and you have extreme world appeal with the amount of ambiguity throughout the work, and all of it basically for free. They are actively placing you into poverty for no quantifiable reason other than control.
Balboa Park should welcome Tribal Baroque and thank us for what we do here. We are not doing anything wrong. We are not breaking any law. I need to learn that no one can control how I feel, even if they are trying to assert their authority over me. If I am breaking no laws, they have no right to detain or harass me. Period. I need to learn to control my emotions when confronted by authority. I need to be strong and stand within my joy. Just a moment before the ranger arrived, I had been feeling utterly at peace and happy. That ranger was trying to bring me into his realm, and I let him. I got sad and depressed, but no one can make me sad or emotional accept myself. I have the power to assert my constitutional rights and continue singing and performing in the park, no matter what rule there is against it. As long as I am not breaking a law, I have the right to do what I do in Balboa Park. I am not taking anyone’s money, they are freely giving it to me. I am not selling anything. I am flexing my rights to freedom of expression. Just because people give us money for our art doesn’t make it any less a first amendment right.
(Check out the Tribal Baroque vlog with footage of the ranger bothering us : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r02m_VZpAUw&t=3s)
(Also, check out my vlog talking about our work as freedom of artistic expression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9BCX5xaBKk)
Thursday February 9th 2017
We took the day off today and I had a very difficult time. I couldn’t get my writing together and I tried watching an online lesson about breaking into the “New Music Industry”. The speaker said “Doing it organically takes too long and is a waste of time.” That is how we live our lives, organically. Like our friend Tori said in her note on Sunday, You are a force of nature, taking it’s time, making its natural mark.” So is our lifestyle a waste of time? Why do I watch these things? I’m trying to learn something and all it does is depress me and cause me to go limp for the day creatively. I just stared at my new drawing feeling worthless and hopeless and wondering what the god damn point of it all is. I asked my friends of Facebook and got a multitude of answers. Thankfully we had dinner with Tori and Michael and they cheered me up.
“You are masters of the realm beyond.”
Wednesday February 8th 2017
I am so keen to fears and worries about the future. Our lifestyle is on the edge. We became aware that we are not moving CD units like we used to, and I got very scared. CDs are becoming extinct. It was a problem that has been sitting in the background of our lives all year. We didn’t move many units in Lisbon or NYC either. We have to find another way. I had a difficult play, but when we got home, I started drawing again and felt better. Thoth came up with the idea of having download cards of all of our albums available at the park. He ordered 100 for us.
Tuesday February 7th and Monday February 6th 2017
I was immensely creative on our days off. I drew two pictures of my characters from my play, and I wrote productively both mornings. When I am creative, I feel like my life has a purpose.

A Week of Creative Expansion and Creativity (Last Week in NYC)

Sunday November 27th 2016

Our last prayformance at the Angel Tunnel is always bittersweet. We don’t miss New York when we’re not here, but we do love the Angel Tunnel. It’s the most beautiful venue we play in in the world. It’s like a church for us. We dress up for it and we always expand a lot when we’re here. I never know how I will grow when I’m here, and I always feel a need for a big change when I’m here. This year I expanded into a darker realm. I’m very happy with what it’s been doing for my acting in prayformance.

Paul talked to us at the tunnel as we waited to play. Cover Story was there. We were glad that we’d be able to say goodbye to them. I hugged each of them and thanked them for their professionalism and kindness. We’re going to miss them. I never got tired of their performance. They were a pleasure to listen to as we got ready to play this Fall. Great group of guys. They know how to put on a show and they’re acoustic, which we highly appreciate. Our friend Chris and his daughter Owen came to see us play. Paul and another gentleman who’d watched us a bit last Sunday talked to us as we got ready. We had a nice pre-audience for our last day. I like when that happens.

It was a brilliant prayformance for us again. This whole week I’ve been giving %110 of my energy and expression into the prayformance. After today we get an entire month to rest our bodies and voices. We need it. I don’t know how actors perform 8 days a week on Broadway. 5 days a week at full speed is too much for us. It’s like singing an opera 5 days a week for 2 hours a day. Playing the Phantom is hard, but he’s only onstage for 30 minutes of the show.

I made another vlog outside the tunnel while Paul talked to Thoth for the last time. We’ll miss Paul. We’ll miss the tunnel. We won’t miss the grind and the people and the city though. This city is too hard and rough and uncaring for us. Paul complimented me on how much better I’ve become in prayformance. I appreciate that he recognizes that. We went home and Meli made dinner for us.

Saturday November 26th 2016

I have a routine I get into in every city we travel to. I’m ready, and have been ready for weeks, for that routine to change. I’m an artist. A certain amount of routine is important in order to maintain focused creativity, but too much can kill it.

Dan Rubin came to see us for the last time. Tomorrow is our last prayformance at the Angel Tunnel for this year. We never know if we’ll be able to come back. It gets harder every year. Dan and I took some pictures outside of the tunnel before prayformance. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. ALL PHOTOS BY THE INCOMPARABLE DAN RUBIN.

Paul was there to lead the applause again. What a big help that is for us! Having both Paul and Dan there is so nice. We have very few fans in New York, but the few we do have are more priceless to us and our work. They keep us going. We both sang and acted and danced and violin’d our asses off. Our friend Marianne surprised us at the end. She got to see “Wet Tango.” “That was the most amazing Tango I’ve ever seen.” she said. She is so supportive and enthusiastic. I made another acting vlog outside of the tunnel and Dan went with us to have dinner. I took crazy pictures on the subway home.

Friday November 25th 2016

I worked for hours on my makeup, despite how little it matters to the prayformance. Doing this little complex wispy looks has to be done only because I want to do it. Nobody cares if I do. People don’t even look or say anything about it. The challenge in prayformance is to challenge ourselves every day. Most street performers don’t. They don’t have to. They get complacent and do the same thing over and over just to make money. It has nothing to do with being creative or being self expressive. Our work has everything to do with that. I do it because I need to.

15239405_1336986026336038_747752881_n15218391_1336942759673698_1914271148_nWe went to the park both feeling depressed and uninspired. Yesterday’s very bad Thanksgiving prayformance was a big let down for both of us. We expected nothing for the rest of the weekend, and this is our last week in NYC before we take a month and a week off in Nashville.

We talked about me learning how to be a soloist. That is something that truly terrifies me, the idea of going out and prayforming by myself. Imagine though how empowering it would be for me to be able do that? I’d have to create a repertoire of my own first. Just in the past year creating my solo has giving me incredible confidence. I couldn’t (nor would I dare to) perform solos 8 years ago. It takes so long to learn! It’s taken me years to become the person I am today. Confident and independent, and I will become more so as years continue to pass.

We didn’t rush to the park to be on time, even though we were anyway. No reason to sit there waiting to play and get cold. Paul was there. He knew it was our last weekend here. “I’ll be here all weekend for you.” he said. He is our biggest fan and dearest friend in the park, besides Dan. Paul helped us have a better day today. He stands hidden in the corner and leads the applause. It helps more than he knows. He is such a big fan. Not just of ours but of Thoth’s. He’s known Thoth for years. A young man sat and watch half of our prayformance. I had to see if he knew us before he ran off. Of course he did know us, and said we are inspiring. I felt inspiring today. I can only hope I am. I really sang and acted and expressed myself more deeply today. More than I usually do. I was very proud of what I did today with the prayformance. I just went for it. I grit my teeth and just f**king went for it.

I made an acting vlog outside of the tunnel with my back to a carved sandstone pillar. Today’s was more emotionally devastating and I used more emotive sounds and gestures. I thought as if I was in emotional pain that became physical. Using this deeply emotional acting side of me has brought out some amazing things in the work we do. It’s incredible how I can constantly grow and expand.

We had burgers on 42nd Street for dinner. So lovely!

Thursday November 24th 2016

Today, which is supposed to be the best day of the year for us, I did myself up. I’m going to do dark makeup all week, just to see what difference it makes for me. My sister said she loved the vlog I posted last night. “I couldn’t tell if it was real or not.” she said. I decided I would post one every night this week, just as a challenge for myself.

I was continuing to feel incredibly inspired and turned on. I’ve been watching a lot of “Phantom” clips. 🙂 It always does that to me. (Turns me on I mean.) On the train I was taking pictures of myself making crazy faces. I feel changed, different.

15207938_1336240776410563_1995833725_nIt was busy at the park. Only Kishan was outside of the Angel Tunnel doing bubbles. No other performers or noisemakers. It looked like it would be a great day for us. As we started though, the audiences fell flat. Both of us felt it. For three or four pieces people didn’t clap at all. It got a little better when the darkness came and we turned our light on. A group of people watching the solo section of our opera clapped really enthusiastically, but that was the only enthusiasm we had for the day. Also Lee, the ballerina, decided to perform right outside of the tunnel just when we started. She is using a boom box now, which just ruined our day. I hate asking people with boom boxes to move. I never know what they’ll do or how they’ll behave. I hate confrontation. When we had 20 minutes left, and Lee seemed to be taking a break, I went over to Lee. When she saw me, she turned the boom box off. “I thought you guys were finished. I’m sorry.” she said. Just then it started raining. Great. We finished our prayformance to no audience and no applause. How depressing.

 

We went home and had another simple dinner. I made another “acting” vlog in the bathroom. This one was more emotive. It’s a mixture of real feeling and acting. This character is someone I’ve been playing in private since I was around 10 or 11 years old. I’ve never filmed myself doing it or shared it with anyone. A lot of the scenes I’ll do in private are much more erotic than the ones I post online, but it is the character. He’s a man who’s lived his entire life alone and has never known love or acceptance. He struggles with his suppressed emotions and his ability to feel. He hates everyone and everything because everyone hates him, but deep down he just wants to be loved for himself. He was abused and unloved in childhood. The only thing that brings him joy is his music.

Wednesday November 23rd 2016

I was so inspired today. Inspired by Michael Crawford and Phantom and darkness and morbid fancy. I did another dark look using only black eye shadow and glitter. This type of look changes how I perform.

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It wasn’t the best day, but I was extremely inspired. I literally cried during “Plucking Song.” There were tears pricking my eyes. I watched a clip of Michael last night talking about when he had to sneeze at the organ during “Phantom”. Instead of sneezing, he stayed in character and made this gruff, growling sound. People loved it. He used what he was feeling for the character. I can use everything I am feeling and experiencing for the prayformance. Just as long as it is coming from a genuine place within me, all the better. That’s the beauty of what we do. I can do whatever I want in the context of the work. Whatever I’m feeling, experiencing, or am inspired by can be used to increase and expand the work for me.

We went home and had a simple dinner. I was inspired to make an “acting” vlog. I’ve never done that before. It was amazing to try, and took everything for me to watch and edit. I felt vulnerable posting it to the wide world. Acting is very specific and personal to me.

A Day of Peace at the Angel Tunnel

Thursday November 3rd 2016

I did no makeup at all today. It’s been a few months. No reason to unless I really want to and I feel up to it.14914838_1313273688707272_976931981_nWe had an incredibly quiet and serene prayformance at the Angel Tunnel today. I don’t know how we do it. I know it seems odd, my life, to those who don’t live it. Why do I get up every day and spend two hours doing makeup and two hours singing and playing violin in a tunnel? Well, because it’s the way I have found for my talents to be used to their best ability and make a living doing so. Finances aside, it’s a way for me to constantly try new things and challenge myself to be bolder and more outrageous. I have grown to learn wearing makeup and a costume has nothing to do with the audience, it has everything to do with my desire to be self expressive. Just as long as we sing, people love what we do.

I really played it very low today. Didn’t sing much or sing very high or do any outrageous movements or facial expressions. Mostly I had my eyes closed and was just enjoying our music. I don’t have to do anything if I don’t want to. I prayform because I want to, but the degree to which I prayform is up to me. I can sing high, low, wear makeup or not, wear a costume, or not, play violin or not. It doesn’t matter in what way I prayform, just as long as I am doing it. I just have to do it. Being a sensitive, emotional wreck of a human being is what makes it hard, but also what makes it amazing. I feel everything. I’m not a boom box. I’m not a robot. I’m a living, breathing soul in a physical body. My expression is what I have at hand, my vocal chords, my makeup, my pencils and drawing book, my computer. I realized today how blessed I am to have the gifts I have. I sing like an angel. I am an angel in training, as Thoth says. I want people to appreciate our work. I know it’s one of the most unique things happening in this world today, but I know not everyone will. In the future they’ll wish they did. It’s interesting to know that so fully and clearly. The most important thing is I am living my life the way I want to and I am doing it with someone I love more than anyone in the world.

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