Saturday February 25th 2017
Sh*t. I was awake in bed from 11pm until 2am. I couldn’t sleep because our housemate coughs a lot (and because I’ve over sensitized myself to the sound). It’s nightmarish when I can’t sleep. I feel so alone and isolated. I tried getting up to ask him not to cough, but he was asleep. At 2am I got up and wrote him a note and put it on his desk. I hate feeling like I’m harping on people. We’re in a loft, so any sounds the other person makes at night can be heard by everyone else. That’s the only downside to living here. At the other place we lived in years past, it was dead silent and I got over sensitized to the sound of my ears ringing, which made me feel like I was going crazy. It’s always something.
Of course I was tired when I woke up at 9am. I didn’t get any work done either. Thoth told me our electricity bill was sky high, which terrified me. We don’t do great here financially January and February so it scares me when we have to pay so much money for things unexpectedly. I tried to lay down and nap at 11, but I’m not sure I fell asleep. My nerves were shot. I was sleep deprived and pessimistic all day. Tomorrow is my birthday, so I hope I feel better and get some sleep. I need a solid 8 hours in order to function and I’m just not getting that these days.
I guess to reflect how I was feeling, I did some pretty horrific makeup.
Since I felt like shit, I thought I’d look like shit too. When I feel bad, no matter how I look, I think I look awful. I hate that feeling. We biked to the park and it was one of those days I didn’t think I’d be able to make it through. I didn’t do very well. A few times I just hung my head in sadness after a song. The combination of sleep deprivation and fears about money is a bad mix. I was focusing on the wrong things, which makes me angry and beside myself. Yesterday I had a great day, and it wasn’t like we really did well, but I did well. I created a great look and played and sang my very best. I was focused on the right things yesterday; creativity and self expression. When I get sucked into focusing on money I get depressed. The thought that we are deserving of much more than we get, which is a horrible thought. I like much better being grateful for what I have, instead of mad for not getting what I feel we deserve more of. That’s a completely unproductive and soul-sucking feeling. Horrible. I hate that feeling of wanting to throw my violin on the ground and cry. I felt that today a few times. It happens because I loose all my strength and self direction to deal with our life. I don’t know how Thoth dealt with bad days by himself. Once after a piece I had to sit it out and collect myself while Thoth did a solo, then later during an improv I stopped playing and singing all together because I felt so shitty. People were clapping for someone performing near us and it was so noisy there didn’t seem to be any space for our work. Sometimes it feels like we have to cramp our music into this tiny little space and no one cares if we survive or not. I felt so alone, even though there were three protectors there; Pascual, Tori and Bill. Seeing the park rangers walk by before we started made me feel sick with fear, too. I played a solo and felt like I got a lot of my feelings out. Bill was crying when I finished. I was exhausted but happy I got through such a hard play. On days like these I’m just happy to get through it.
Why do I not want people to think my life is perfect? Because it isn’t! Most people who had a life like mine of traveling and performing would always be posting and sharing positive things. I don’t. If things are rough, I don’t shy away from it for fear of sounding ungrateful. I feel what I feel. Every day is different. Everyone has their own problems and I refuse not to share mine. I’m scared and hopeful and disheartened and emotional and loved and cherished and cared for and I strive every day to share my voice with anyone who will listen. That is all I can do.
We came home and ate and Thoth tried to set up a speaker so I could pump in the sound of a fan to help block out our housemates cough. It didn’t help. I had to get up and ask him gently to try as hard as he could not to cough. He did and I finally could fall asleep! Yay!
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. 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.
We 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.
It 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.
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.