Friday March 3rd 2017
I had another difficult sleep last night. Tried to take less Meletonin than the nights before, but the panic and fear about sleeping is so strong, I had to take my usual dose. It feels unnatural to take anything to sleep. Last year I had to as well and it messed me up for months. The fear of sustaining our lifestyle plagues me most at night. Two specific things fill me with worry. Lack of CD sales and park rangers bothering us. I try to think of ways to fix the problems, but I can’t. The park rangers may always bother us and we may never be able to sell CDs like we did before. We may also never have stability. It’s terrifying to me. Selling CDs is a major factor to our lives being sustainable. I wish we had somewhere else to play in the winter, but we don’t. These months have always been bleak, but right now it’s worse than ever before. It’s not like we sell lots of CDs elsewhere. People don’t buy them much anymore, and there is nothing to replace them. I don’t know what to do about it either. It’s not just something that sustains us, selling our music puts it into people’s lives and minds and hearts when they don’t see us live. It keeps us with them. Without taking away our music on CD, people won’t hear it again (unless they film it, but that isn’t the same as listening to our professionally recorded albums.) Our yet-to-be-released album has music on it no one has ever heard, but why release it if we can’t find a way to make money off it? Why does everything have to be so frighteningly unstable? Sometimes I just can’t take it anymore. I didn’t work on anything creative this morning. No play writing or drawing. Just fear.
I talked to someone close to me about how I was feeling and got to feeling even worse. I felt like it was our fault that things aren’t going well for us right now. That it’s because we don’t sing in English or because our music is simplistic. That’s not why, I know. It can’t be. We’re not going to change the core of what we do; singing in a made up language with our two voices, two violins and foot percussion with magical makeup and costumes. We change every day, as our most dedicated fans know. Lots of artists have had success not singing in English or their music being simple. Cirque Du Soleil and Philippe Glass are the first things that come to mind, two very successful, famous and well respected groups/people. We haven’t gotten worse either. We’ve gotten so much better. Our albums have gotten better too. It’s easy for someone to blame how we make our music for our lack of success when we’re not successful. If we were successful and had something to show for what we’ve done, no one would say that. People love our music and used to buy it in droves. If everyone who was uniquely making art/music/theater in their own unique way changed in order to possibly find more success we wouldn’t have all the great unique artists in the world. Somehow feeling like I did I managed to do some really beautiful makeup for today’s prayfomance. It helps my mood to feel pretty. I put together a really beautiful outfit, too. I don’t call it a costume, costume implies falseness and fakery to me. I am always me when I prayform, the heightened, expanded and outrageous me, even if I’m feeling sad, like today.
As we biked to the park, I started saying positive things to myself. “I’m lucky. I have Thoth. He’s never going to abandon me. I have my sister and my mom and dad who love me. I’m never going to starve or be homeless. I have my voice and all my talents… Drawing, acting, makeup, costuming, writing… I’m so lucky to be able to support myself by playing music. Things will get better. Everything will balance out. We’ve been through much worse. I need to stay positive. I have a dream, a very specific goal. Who at my age knows exactly what they want? I know exactly what I want. I want to perform our operas with Michael Chiaravelotti, our hand drummer friend and James Swanton, my brilliant young British actor friend. We have this beautiful work we’re doing. Something could happen at any moment. We just can’t stop prayforming. We have to keep the dream alive.” Last night while Thoth was making dinner, we were talking excitedly about this goal, how we could make it happen. It seems impossible. We’d need money and a venue and an audience. All things we don’t yet have. It’s got to happen. I’m chomping at the bit these days, raring to go. I’m not going to be 29 forever. I’m in my prime.
As we were getting ready to play, a police officer on a motorcycle stopped by every street performer on the Prado and asked them to produce a permit. He didn’t see us as we didn’t have a crowd. We watched, feeling very scared as we have never seen police officers bother the street performers before. Officer Morales is our friend and I think he is head. As we played, I began feeling like sh*t again. We had nice crowds and the weather was amazing, but the interest in CDs or in any interaction with us at all was almost non existent, as it has been for months. We need a patron, or patrons. We can’t survive off tips alone. We’ve had dry spells in the past, but not like this, and it’s just getting worse. Thank God we’re healthy enough of body and mind to keep trying, despite it feeling sometimes like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. Today I did. I felt so alone today. Even though people were watching us and clapping, I felt like we are completely alone and people could care less about us. No one in our audiences can help us other than saying a kind word or throwing in a few bucks. I have this feeling that I wish our audience would step forward and do something. Our friends do that just by being there. Tori was there. She cared. I knew she did. We were terrified of the officer coming back and bothering us. He went by again, but we were taking a break and again he didn’t see us. Lucky, but we’re not safe. What a horrible feeling. No safety net. My armpits were sweating as we continued, the thought at the back of our mind we’d be arrested or harassed at any moment. I don’t want to talk to police ever again. It makes me feel helpless and horrible. We’re not doing anything wrong. We shouldn’t be afraid of police. They should be protecting us, not threatening us.
As the play continued, I got more and more sad. Same thing. No CD sales. I said we have CDs and download cards after every song. No inquiries. It gets old. I don’t know what else to say. I feel like I’m giving away my very soul when I sing and people don’t even bother to say anything. At least we had an audience, unlike on Wednesday. We played a beautiful improvisation. We’ve been coming up with a lot of new music on these very dark, difficult days. I don’t know how or why. I hope things get better somehow. I do like the honest, eye to eye, hand to hand way we live our lives. It’s genuine and raw and honest and beautiful. We’re one of the last artists to be bringing something so unique to the public and only a few people understand how lucky they are. Our friends do. I’d like to be surprised by our audience for once. Surprised by their generosity and kindness and going the extra mile. We need it so much right now. We need some help.
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Sunday March 27th 2016
Here’s a look at my makeup designs for the week.
Friday’s makeup: (A surprisingly good day with David doing more filming of us for the documentary. I was particularly creatively inspired and improvised a lot.)
Sunday’s makeup: (Our big fans and good friends Ellen and John came from Oregon to join us for an amazing wonderful 2 and a half hour Easter prayformance!)
What an amazing Sunny Bunny Hunny Easter Sunday!!! We really went for it today! I even drew a little sketch in the morning! I am a well rounded creative person. 🙂 I draw, do makeup, make my own outfits, sing, play violin, dance and act! I believe any true artist is skilled in many creative fields.
Why do I do such incredibly complicated makeup every day? Because I want to. I used to do it for others, now I do it for me. I don’t have to do complex makeup. It makes no difference in how people interact with us. It’s rare anyone compliments me on my designs. They’re too busy complimenting us on our singing. 🙂Our prayformance yesterday was great, but today was UH-mazing. We must seem like aliens from another planet! Seriously. People must think we dropped from the fucking sky. Who in the world puts on copious amounts of makeup and costumes and goes out in public and dances, plays violin and sings their fucking lungs out for 2 hours, or longer? On top of that playing completely original music? We played our one hour opera today, and played an hour and a half more of our old music! We improvised, too! When we have big audiences the entire time there’s no telling what we’ll do!
The average witness to our work is completely uninformed. There’s tons of info about us online, but the average person watching us doesn’t know who we are, nor do they have a fucking clue what’s going on. On Sunday, an audience member didn’t know which case to put his tip in. He said, “Could I put it in either one, or are you guys separate?” That shows you. Nobody knows. People don’t know we’re married, or that we’ve been doing this work together 7 years (or Thoth alone had been doing it for 20 years), or where our music comes from, or where we’re from, or what we’re doing here, or why we’re doing this, or how it was created, or what they’re supposed to do or… They don’t know if they should clap or cheer or laugh or cry or scream or dance or run away or where they should stand. No. Fucking. Clue. The fact we’re able to do this and not do anything else is a fucking miracle. Yes, I said fuck. FUCK!
There’s so much history behind what we do and how it was created. These days we’re getting a lot of that awe-inspired question “How? How did you create this?” It’s as though that question people can see and feel the depth of what we’re doing. If we become successful and famous there will be so much history for people to delve into. When I think of people who are famous, like famous singers, they weren’t doing their creative work as long as we have. I think eventually we will be so incredibly and profoundly good at what we do, the world won’t be able to ignore us anymore. We already are, but the world just isn’t ready for us yet. It will come in time.
It’s interesting how depressed I was in January and February. Whenever I’m deeply depressed, something is coming that is always positive and good for us. That never fails. Right before our successful debut in Martha’s Vineyard I was so depressed, both years. When I’m that sad, I feel like nothing will change, that I’ll be sad forever. It’s hard when I’m in a pit remember to remember I can climb out and I will see the sunshine.
I need to stop giving myself a hard time. We’re amazing. There’s no one like us in the whole fucking world.
From a fan who saw us on Sunday:
“Thank you for your dedicated art! Both of you are beautiful, powerful, talented and skilled. Such a treat to see you on Easter. Flow, share and bathe in all the massive success you two deserve!”
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
I am humbled by people’s appreciation of our work, but I also very much know we are deeply worthy of it. Yay!
Vlogs will be posted soon. Here’s one from Saturday, in case you haven’t seen it.