Such a bad morning. Every morning has been bad. No work done. Just worry and fear and sadness. Until we have a good prayformance, there will not be a good day. I did dark makeup, which my mother calls “ugly” for some reason. It’s all a matter of perspective. If I listened to everyone’s opinion, I wouldn’t be able to be myself anymore. I have to do what feels right for me. Dark felt perfect for today. Even while I was doing it, I wasn’t sure why I was doing it. So little hope these days. It was another hard prayformance. People acting the same. Tori was there, watching over us. We play, people gather, we finish a song, people clap, we say this is all original music and we have CDs and people continue to stand there staring at us. Unless other people come up and talk to us and ask about our CDs, people seem unsure of what to do. I sense that everyone wants to know more about us. The curiosity is rampant, but us saying people are welcome to come talk to us does nothing. It’s almost as if I could say we’re from the planet Flaberdambibbits and we’re singing the language of the Slamkabet Jaberbams and it would make no difference. People stand there like brick walls. It’s so frustrating. It’s been so long since audiences have stepped forward and interacted with us fearlessly.
A woman came forward and said it’s clear how much we love what we do and we’re not doing it for the money. Easy for her to say. 🙂 That is the truth in a general sense, but not for me right now. I came up with a brand new solo out of the blue, as did Bill. He sprained his ankle on Monday, so we were shocked to see him limping over. That is dedication. What would we do without Tori and Bill right now? They are so dedicated to us! Tori comes every day we play, Bill comes every weekend. Only Dan in NYC comes to see us with as much dedication as they do. I never take that for granted. It gives me the most motivation to know someone has taken time out of their day for us. They care about us that much to take a chunk of time regularly to come out and support us. Amazing.
Thoth’s very strange solution today for getting CDs out of our hands and into other peoples hands was to say they were free. We did give away a few download cards and people came back to his violin case and gave a donation without being asked surprisingly. Thoth believed that might be the solution, but I wasn’t so excited about it. He says I need to let go and allow things to happen as they do. When I hold onto things too tight, it doesn’t allow things to grow. I can’t dwell on money because it won’t allow it to grow. When I can let go, it will grow again. Seems so counter intuitive. Thoth is so happy after a prayformance. I need to remember how lucky I am to have him. I can never take that for granted. I love him so much. I love when he is happy.
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.
Sunday February 19th 2017
I wake every morning from around 8am (9am the last few days) and work on my play until noon. I can only write about one page before my mind starts to get soggy. The idea to create something is much smaller than the actual task of creating it. I came up with the idea for this play while we were in Nashville over Christmas and I’m now finally getting to writing it, after backstory writing and plot creation. I can’t imagine writing or creating something that takes years and years to create. Well, that’s kind of what prayformance is. A lifelong creative project. I don’t see it as a project though. Prayformance is my life. A lifelong creative process lets call it. As my life is.
I’m having fun trying different kinds of makeup and costumes. I can mix black makeup and a light costume/black makeup and a black costume/light makeup with a black costume/light makeup and a light costume. It gives me more things to work with. A larger pallet. I used to only wear light makeup and light clothes, which gave me a certain look. Wearing dark makeup or dark clothes adds something different, and always wearing anything black makes my light hair pop out.
Today’s prayformance was so much better than yesterday’s rainy day prayformance. Seven people came to see us at Balboa Park. Bob, the sweet homeless man who’s come to see us for a while now, Bill, our cheerleader, Tori, our sweet, amazing supporter (who loves to draw us), Pascual, our shy, gentle protector, Sister Ida and Sister Yeshe, our dear friends and Skylar, a girl who was filming us for a documentary she’s for school. All are friends we cherish. As I’ve said before, it makes all the difference when people come to support us. Skylar discovered us last night and asked if she could film us for a documentary. I said yes and she wrote the questions last night and drove and hour from school to film us today. Amazing. Who does that? Who actually does what they say they’re going to do? No one. And she’s just a college student. 25 years old! Amazing. She filmed us all afternoon. I gave Pascual the camera to film several songs. Our improv was super cool. We did a funky part. I’m glad we got it on film! Someday this stuff will be legendary. It already is. We had a lot of fun today. No fear. Just fun singing and playing. Skylar will come to film interview questions tomorrow before we play. We’re going out tomorrow because it’s a holiday. We haven’t been playing enough. That’s February for you. My birthday is on Sunday!
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.