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A Much Darker Look

Friday February 24th 2017

I was very happy to start a new sketch on Wednesday and work on my play. It’s always scary to stare at a blank piece of paper because I never know I will be able to draw something good again, no matter how many good drawings I’ve done before. I was inspired to draw as many creepy faces as I could on the page. When I got up, I read the sweetest message from two new fans from Prague:

“My wife showed me your video earlier today, after she spent half a day listening to you. Now it’s 6 AM here and I’m finishing hours long binge listening to your amazing creations. THANK YOU! You stand out from the noise of music, you create something one would not hope to hear. The land of the orange despot is a bit distant to us these days, but I sure hope you might travel to Europe somewhere we can get and listen to you for hours live. For now we’re gonna figure out how to purchase your records online tomorrow. Well, my biggest hope is that one day we will pay big money to see you in a big baroque concert hall. And I’ll keep searching for a way to contribute a tiny bit to make this happen. Love from your (probably) biggest fans in Prague, Czech Republic.”

Both Thoth and I cried. It touched directly on the dream I have for us. To have someone we don’t even know from halfway around the world write the thing we want to be doing makes it that much closer to happening. It also makes me sad because I know we should be performing in beautiful venues and not have any other options but to perform in public under threat of park rangers. On the other hand, we are truly blessed to have a way to share our music whenever we want to and be creative every day of our lives.

I looked one of those scary faces I drew and wanted to try it as a makeup look. Here’s what happened…

The thing I’m loving is that my disturbing wiring and drawings are seeping into the prayformance. That has never happened before. Darkness is inside me. Always has been. Now I’m not afraid to let it show when I play with Thoth. I’ve only been doing dark looks like these since November. That’s only four months, and now that I have a few dark Gothic dresses I got from my old closet at my mom’s house in Nashville, I’m wearing black too. It’s liberating to be darker and more scary. It’s also fun to see what kind of reaction I’ll get, if any, to the complete change of my look (which is usually none.) People don’t ask me about my makeup or what it means or how I do it. That means I can do whatever I want and people will think whatever they’re going to think. I just follow inspiration wherever it leads me.

I’m very inspired by darkness. Phantom-y stuff. Horror. I love looking at horrific paintings and watching documentaries about serial killers. I love Sweeney Todd and Jekyll and Hyde. Anything about someone who is disturbed and mysterious and possibly bad, yet tender and gentle inside. I liked using crossed painted down my neck and on my head. I wondered if anyone would ask what they mean, but no one did. I’m not religious. I find the cross to be an interesting symbol, as it is a symbol for Yeshua, yet it also is a symbol for torture and violence. Such a simple image with so much meaning behind it.

Doing myself up like this gives me more focus when we play. I feel like a different person and I feel fearless. I’m still Lila’Angelique, but I’m not. I’m enhanced me. Expanded me. Fully embodied me.

Makeup gives me the ability to be whoever I want to be and I have the entire pallet available to me now. Pascual came to show his support of our prayformance at the park and soon after Tori and Sister Ida. For some strange reason I saw my cousin Addie from my mothers side of the family. They had to rush away but watched our first song for a moment. My mother’s family has a history of being judgmental towards me, so I didn’t feel comfortable until she left. I don’t like feeling judged, even if that isn’t what is really happening. I’m the black sheep of my family and none of them are apart of my life anymore, accept my sister father and mother. For a long time my mother wasn’t even part of my life. I’m glad that has changed. She and daddy are very supportive now.

We had to move down the hallway away from our usual spot because the white-statue guitar-man was right in front of us. We were nervous to talk to him as sometimes people aren’t so friendly. We played two songs and then Thoth ran over to talk to the man. I could hear them laughing so I knew everything was cool. Thoth and Pascual brought our things back to our spot and I ran to meet him. He was very sweet and really likes what we do. We were both relieved.

We had a lovely prayformance with our friends supporting us. I felt outrageous and beautiful. It’s so freeing and invigorating to be whatever the f*** I want to be, nothing more and nothing less.

I have my sweet Thoth who has inspired me to be whatever I want. No judgments, just the purest and most devotional love and support. He is the best thing I could have ever asked for. His love and support of my crazy weirdness has helped me to be myself fully and utterly. He loves me for what I am and makes me a better person. I love him more than anything in the whole wide world, as he loves me.

My Valentine!

Tuesday February 14th 2017

Today is a year to the day I started vlogging on the Tribal Baroque channel! One year of daily vlogs! Yay me! It’s so f**king difficult! Let’s see how long I can keep it up! Hopefully forever! God damn.

I was of course nervous to go out and play in the park. Would we be bothered by a park ranger again? I painted a heart on my forhead to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Last year I painted this incredibly complicated design on my face, this year I went for simplicity. I know now it makes no difference. I do complex makeup now only because I really want to. I’ll get on a run with it, just as I do with drawing. Sometimes I’m completely inspired to do crazy, complex makeup, sometimes not. My makeup is always different…

Valentine’s Day 2014… Button face!

2015… Confetti face!

2016… Heart face!

2017… Goth face!

Today was our first Valentine’s Day playing in front of Casa Del Prado instead of in the back like we used to. We played back there for years for fear of park rangers. Last January and February was so horrible I swore we would never play back there ever again, no matter what happens. Playing in the back caused a lot of depressive episodes for me last year. The acoustics weren’t very good and people didn’t gather as easily. It was so frustrating, especially knowing we would have a much better time up front. The acoustics are so much better in the hallway up front, and people gather effortlessly. We can also play up front 5 days a week if we so choose. Back there we could only play 3 days on the weekends. I don’t know how we survived all those years. I will never go back there. We deserve to play up front where everyone can see and hear us.

Tori, her sister and Pascual came to see us today. Tori was all dressed up and had on pretty colorful eye makeup. She was gorgeous! I know now why she loves us so much. She’s a very creative person. She reminds me in a way of myself when I was younger. We had such a magical play. Lots of people came around and watch us and cheered. We sang like angels. We were so joyous and happy. People can tell when we’re happy, especially our fans. Tori said she could feel it.

Sadly, a female park ranger came over after Thoth’s solo and let us know need a permit to collect money. I told her we knew our rights. Thankfully, she left after that. Officer Morales, our friend and fan, was on patrol and looked out for us. He gave us his number again so we could call him if we had any problems. That made me feel wonderful. It’s nice to have a police officer on our side for once. We told the audience what had happened and they cheered for us loudly. I got it on film. We continued playing and had a fantastic time. We were both on cloud 9 when we finished. Tori, her sister and Pascual hung with us while we packed up  and we went home. We went out to have Indian food for our Valentine’s Day dinner sitting on cushions. It was so sweet.

We have to be so strong and brave to do this work. People who ask about our lifestyle think it is magic and and dream. It is, but it is just as hard as anyone elses life. We make it work. We have to take each day as it comes.

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.

I ‘ M F E I S T Y T O D A Y

Saturday January 21st 2017

I made three, count them THREE VLOGS today. Not that it matters or anyone cares! It’s actually amazing pathetic how much free, beautiful art we give to people and get so little back for it. I think that will always be the case. We’re lucky we make enough to survive. We are public servants who are not duly compensated for our work. We give and give and give. I think some day it’s got to change. People have got to open their f**king eyes and say “Hey wow, you guys are giving a lot! We should support you more!” Yeah, I know. We’re not the most important thing in the world. People have their own lives and problems to attend to. People are busy. Blah. Blah. Blah. No one owes us their attention or money because we share all this beautiful music. Who cares right? Yeah exactly. Who does care? Why should anyone care about us? There are many more important things to care about. There’s that EVIL ORANGE CLOWN MAN for example. We should be paying attention to him, right? Not us poor stupid ARTISTS. Who cares about us? Who cares about goodness and beauty and giving when evil now has the most powerful position in the world! What does free art matter! Oh right! It matters because in history people will be in awe of those who gave their art to the world and got nothing back and they’ll laugh at that crazy orange dictator. They’ll wonder how those artists kept going, kept making art, kept doing something giving and beautiful when no one gave a s**t, just as they marvel at the artists of the past who died with nothing for their art.

I know that our success would mean a change has occurred in the world. The world is completely backwards now. Those who give beauty and do good works are ignored while those who thieve and hurt and mock are given the largest amount of power and attention. It’s absolutely disgusting honestly. The world would need to make a huge switch. I know people are hungry for what we do. I know people love our music. I know what we do is beautiful. I am proud of what I do with my life, but I am sicked at how invisible we are. I make art and share our work simply because I must. It is not for now. It is for history. No I don’t have a big f**king ego about what we do. I’m forced every day to look straight in the face how little anyone cares. Everything I share, everything we do, is seen and supported by so few people. If we had a million people like our biggest and most devoted fans (you know who you are) we would be able to do the things we’ve always dreamed of. We cannot now. We can travel and perform in public resonant spaces. I am grateful for what that gives us, but we are capable of so much more. Having to look daily at my insignificance sometimes becomes too painful. I know what we are and what we are capable of, and we are not doing that. We are surviving, creating the only way we can. We have no other way to share our music or live other then performing it in public for anyone who will listen. I want us to have more options. We are worthy of it.

We are worthy of attention. We are doing something beautiful and completely unique in the whole world. I want to perform our operas indoors and tour the world with an entourage of helpers, our band and a chamber orchestra, as well as other artists and unusual performers to collaborate with. I want us to sing in churches. I want us to be legitimized by and be given thanks by all the public places we have performed in. I want us to have a theater space/school in which to develop new works. I want us to have million of subscribers on our Youtube channel. I want us to have contact with other unique artists of the world. I want us to be able to put on the shows as beautiful and amazing as we can imagine, with no limit to budget. The magic and beauty of what we do now is we manage to make raw art and beauty with nothing but our own willpower. No one makes it possible but us ourselves. Almost everything stands against us being successful. We could stop tomorrow and only a few people would blink an eye for a moment. There is nothing pushing us onward but our love and our need to put out into the world what does not exist.

I am grateful for my husband for holding me up, as he is grateful for me. We push each other forward, despite the darkness all around us, which will eat us alive if we let it. Thinking about the state of the world right now too much leads us down a dark path. At least we have our work. It’s all we have. We have a few dedicated fans. We appreciate them more then they know. Those who are reading this, for example, I appreciate so much. I don’t know what else to do. I am doing what I can. Being creating, being a good person, trying to be patient, being loving and giving. That is all we can do. Just keep going forward. Feel what I feel. Get it out in writing and in words and push onward forward. Don’t give up. Let those few special people’s love for us and our work be enough. Let ourselves, our work, what we are doing, be enough. We are enough. We are worthy of what we dream of.