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Discouraged Artist Thoughts

Friday February 3rd 2017

This blog is an honest reflection of my life. No fancy talk. No falsehoods.

This morning I was just sitting and staring at the manuscript for my synopsis of the play and I couldn’t think of anything to write. I wrote a little, but I felt like a complete idiot. Yesterday I felt like I had a great plot, now I feel like I have nothing. It’s not true, but it is how I feel. I get so discouraged when Thoth reads my stories and challenges and questions my choices. He’s only trying to help me, but I feel broken down and worthless. I’m lucky to have his help, most people have to figure this stuff out on their own. I cried I was so frustrated. I made the vlog today to be as long as needed. People don’t watch it anyway, so why do I care to make it short and entertaining? It’s only for me and Thoth. I also got up late, so I didn’t have as much time to work on the things I wanted to work on.

We got to the park and I was prepared for no one to stop and watch us, like yesterday. I felt completely invisible. That’s how I feel when we’re not prayforming. To my surprise, two young men passing us asked, “When are you starting?” It was Robert, an actor who came to see us last year in Balboa Park and said, “You’ve given me inspiration for the entire year.” I was so flattered. I saw our friend D., who gave me a very sweet hug. I asked him, “What is the point of life?” and he said, “There is no point. Only that which we assign to it.” Thoth agrees. We assign prayformance and each other as our reason to live, so I guess that’s the point.

As we began singing, people did not stop. For the second piece, people stood on the other side of the railing, watching from a distance. That is never good. When people watch us with some barrier between us and them, there is no interaction or support, just us giving our music away to them and them taking without giving anything back. It’s energy depleting. People don’t think about it. I couldn’t smile. During our third song, a little girl with her family stood stock still within a feet of us. Her mother knelt down next to her, also very close, clapping her hands. We felt crowded and I felt very objectified. The last two days I’ve been remembering a quote Erik says in my favorite book Phantom by Susan Kay. “I no longer had to prostitute my skills in order to eat.” That’s what I felt like. We’re prostituting our skill in order to survive, and we’re not even being duly compensated for our service. I love singing in public, but it is our livelihood. Sometimes I’m absolutely terrified we won’t be able to live anymore doing this.

Robert and his friend came to watch us, as did Pascual, during our new piece, “Bird Song” (which we improvised on for almost 8 minutes). I left the entire, uncut version of it on the vlog. A bunch of people stopped to watch. When fans come and stand near us to watch without fear, it gives permission for other people to do the same. A bunch of people came up to us afterwards to us, speechless. They couldn’t understand how they could have just stumbled upon something so beautiful. One man wanted to know who we were and what we did other then this, as if we must be famous or something. We’re famous in a certain way, but that’s from street performing all over the world just the two of us for the past 8 years. We just happen to be really f**king talented and good at what we do. That’s all. Haven’t been discovered yet, nor will we likely ever be. Probably only when we’re long gone will the world truly understand what we’re doing.

I felt much better after that song. Robert said he loves my blog because it talks about the struggles of being an artist. “If you guys are still doing this and performing your opera, then I have no excuse!” he said. That was interesting to hear. I imagine our life would be an inspiration to others, but people don’t say that much. Despite all the difficulties of making art in this world, we still go out and do it every day together and we don’t give up. Most of the time I feel like people don’t give a flying f***. I finished feeling much better then I did when we started. I hope I can get some work done on my synopsis tomorrow. i can’t give up on it. Our friend Chris wrote to me yesterday:

Hi Lila!
So awesome that you are forcing yourself to work on your play and work out these ideas! Good for you! As always I have such respect for you as an artist. Don’t stop writing. I wish you all the best!

Just a little encouragement is so helpful!

 

A Really Hard, Emotional Day For Us.

Sunday October 4th 2015

It’s been a pretty relaxing few days (despite me being sick), but today and yesterday were nightmarish.

Yesterday, we got a message from the friend we were going to move in with on Monday. He said we can no longer stay there because his roommate had suddenly changed his mind. It practically made Thoth faint when I told him. I frantically started posting on Facebook and calling the people who had offered us places when we first needed it. We were contacted about another place to rent, but this guy changed his mind, too. I never should have posted all that drama on my blog.

Thoth and I took a walk to see the bridge. It was a beautiful day, but our minds, hearts and stomachs were turning over with fear. Being near the water calmed us for a while.IMG_20151004_152044311 IMG_20151004_152530625 IMG_20151004_160554068 IMG_20151004_152133933Once we went to find food, I started crying. I felt so immensely alone and with nowhere to turn. I was wondering if I would get to the point of crying eventually. I knew that would happen if all the places we could have lived in fell through, and they did. People can be so insensitive and uncaring! We are always at the mercy of strangers perceptions of us, but now more than ever. It also broke my heart what a beautiful day it was and we weren’t prayforming! I’m feeling much better (health wise), but I’m still not well enough to sing.

Thankfully another dear friend is going to pick us up tomorrow and take us to her friends place for a few weeks. At least it’s something, but we still need a place until December 1st. I guess you can say we know who our true friends are now, but I also know how hurtful people can be.

I’ve learned some hard lessons the past few days. I wonder if I should write about such personal things on my blog. I want to write about everything, however, I know that people who don’t like me (or hate me) can try to use things I say against me. It’s horrible, but it’s true. I shouldn’t have to be afraid to write openly about my perspective of difficult personal situations, but I have to protect myself. I’m naturally a very over sharing person, but I never knew that might hurt us. A stranger can read the same thing our friends or fans read and make immensely negative, hurtful judgments about us. People do that every day, all the time. I can’t control it. I can only be myself. I have no intention hurt anyone. We do something that is unusual. I have confidence and pride in it. We don’t give up. We are successful, independent artists. People will hate us for that. The more successful you are, the more people can hate you.

All we want to do is do our art and have a safe place to live. We’ve worked very hard for a long time to establish ourselves as trustworthy, considerate, kind and good people, which we are. I know we are good people and I know people love and care about us, but this time is definitely very trying. Keep us in your thoughts please. We will survive. I don’t how I’d get through this without my beautiful husband.

Do You Give Up Yet?

Saturday September 12th 2015

Today was so hard. The past few days have been hard. IMG_20150912_143148125 Our ride to the park is long, too long for my taste. It gives me a lot of time to think about the current state of our lives. We feel very alone right now. We had this incredible time in Martha’s Vineyard debuting our opera, but that’s over now, and there wasn’t anything said about continuing it in the future. We filmed a beautiful movie last year, but we don’t even know what’s happening with it. People are always asking us about it and I don’t know what to tell them. It makes me sad. We have changed, our music has expanded, but our lives have not. We still rely on public performance to make a living, and that is so scary and difficult. The tunnel feels like a lost cause to us. It has a lot of dark energy in it. Adjust to New York is music harder this year. It feels like we have nothing to look forward to. We always have to work to bring the light energy back. Last year at this time we had a lot of exciting projects planned. A new album, an opera commission and a new film. All of them had promise, but now we’re back to where we started. When will things really take off for us? I want us to be touring our opera with a crew and a manager!

I was feeling so sad I started crying on the subway. “We were so happy in Martha’s Vineyard, but we’re not now.” Thoth said. “Why can’t we always be happy?” I cried. We got to the tunnel and just as I was feeling so shitty, we saw tents set up around the Bandshell. “That means the Afrobats are downstairs. Fuck!” I said and started crying more.”It’s like the world is saying ‘Give up,. Just give up.'” Of course they were downstairs, and Miriam was singing the same old songs out of tune as usual. “I’m so sick of it.” I said. “In mythology it’s the final task that is the most difficult, then something extraordinary happens.” Thoth said. IMG_20150912_143928694 IMG_20150912_144211494 IMG_20150912_144341188 This is my “I am so fucking over it” face. IMG_20150912_144401398 Thankfully the Afrobats and Miriam left when we were about to start. When we have quiet and space to prayform, everything is fine. We almost got through the first half of the opera and the Afrobats came back. Three people who were in a group bought both of our CDs and said they’d come to see us. Carlos showed up, too. He’s a big fan. We decided to play another piece when a man whispered in my ear, “We have a wedding here.” “Can you give me a moment until we’re finished?” I said. Just as we completed the song, all the wedding party had arrived and the best man told us the bride would be walking through the tunnel in a few minutes. “How long are you going to be?” I asked. “It’ll be quick. Maybe 10 minutes.” he said. “Do we have to move our stuff?” I asked. “Yes. I’m sorry.” he said. “Is there a problem?” the groom said a little forcefully. “No, they’re just about to move their things.” the best man said. I’m always surprised they don’t offer us something in compensation. IMG_20150912_162754013 IMG_20150912_162927183Just as we’d pulled our things to the side, our friend Kim and her new baby arrived to see us. Sadly we were not able to perform anymore as the wedding went until our end time. Carlos bought our new CD and thanked us for our music. He was watching us despite the Afrobat’s racket in the background. I peeked around the corner to see if Marcella had arrived, and she had. Thoth went to say hello to her. “She showed me the pictures of the injuries she got from Miriam. You should see.”” Thoth said when he came back. I went over and gave her a hug and she showed me the pictures. I couldn’t believe it! “I’ve missed having you both here. You’re not just performers, you’re artist who really care about your art, and about others.” she said. “I’m grateful to hear that.” I said and hugged her. Despite everything, some people truly know who we are and the good we do for others.
IMG_20150912_171652477 IMG_20150912_171746530I’m thankful at least for our hour of singing.

Jadelyn made us soup at home. “You have more energy than most people. You go out and perform 5 days a week!” she said.