Tag Archives: fountain

The Battle is Won Today

Sunday October 2nd 2016

I had more hope for today’s prayformance to be peaceful and quiet. I was really tired because I hadn’t slept well. Big party last night at the apartment with our housemate as the DJ. Too loud for us. Thoth let me sleep until noon. I got up, did some simple hair and makeup and we got ourselves to Central Park.

For some reason, the break dancers were performing downstairs. The Boyd family had stopped playing. We started getting ready. The break dancers stopped. Once we were ready and I went to the bathroom and came back, Thoth was standing in the circle looking towards where the break dancers usually are. “The trio is here.” he said. “What trio?” I asked. “You know.” he said. It was the noisy amplified trio. Two guitarists and a djembe player. Thoth said he tried to talking to them, but they weren’t budging. A few weeks ago Thoth had spoken to the djembe player, who was the nicest of the three, but the lead guitarist was the rudest. I tried speaking to him, but he wouldn’t listen. “We have to play.” he said coldly.

I called the park rangers. “I’m at Bethesda Terrace.” I said. “We know. A unit is coming.” they said. “Amplified music.” I hadn’t even said anything. The trio had stopped. I went upstairs to see that a park ranger truck was there. I went and talked to them, asking why they don’t station someone there. They don’t have enough rangers available. “They’ll start up again the moment you leave.” I said. We were able to play half of “Anya” in peace, but instead of the trio starting up again, the break dancers came back down. It was that way for an hour or more of our set, but eventually they left and we had some quiet. Thank goodness. We needed it. It was a tough day.

We packed up and went to dinner at Indigo, our favorite Indian restaurant near 72nd St. I wasn’t feeling so great. People always say we should be performing in big, respected venues, but I don’t know how that would happen. Even if it did, I don’t know how it would change that we perform in public for a living. We did a pretty big show in Martha’s Vineyard last year with James Lapine, and it didn’t change that we still perform in public. I don’t think it will ever change. There’s nothing wrong with that, but many people do act as if performing in public is beneath us.

A woman came upstairs to our table at dinner. It was the woman who saw us perform last week and said “I don’t know which of you is more beautiful.” She had paid our bill. I was so shocked I wanted to cry. “Don’t ever stop doing what you do.” she said. The universe has a way of telling us we’re doing the right thing.

Steadfast Amongst the Ebb and Flow

Saturday October 1st 2016

Yesterday we stayed home from the park. Thoth was getting over a cold and it was too rainy and cold to go out anyway. I practiced violin in the hallway. It was too busy out there, so I continued practicing in the apartment. Our housemate Amy loves our music. I found some backing tracks on Youtube, which I sang and played with. It was fun. I’m trying to get better at improvisation on violin. In the evening, I dyed my bangs pink, purple and blue.

Today we went out to play. I expected nothing. Saturdays are like that. I did myself up and loved my look. The tunnel was wet so Thoth found a mop and cleaned up so we could set up and play. Our LA friend Ross, who’s known Thoth for years and years, showed up out of the blue to see us perform! “I didn’t want to tell you I was coming and then not show up. I know how you don’t like people to do that.” he said. He got situated in the corner leaning on a pillar. Paul was there, too and an artist friend of his who sat next to Ross to draw us. All three of them watched our entire show. Ross put a dollar in our case after every song, trying to get people to do the same.

It was a tough day. The break dancers were downstairs almost the entire time. We got the first three songs in quiet and of course had big crowds, but once they started up our crowds went to watch them. I don’t take it personally anymore. There was an event upstairs and they always come downstairs when there’s something happening at the Bandshell. It’s annoying, but there’s nothing we can do other than play. At least they’re not playing a boom box loudly anymore. They could turn it up at anytime though.

We had times playing today with almost no audiences, which is hard for me. I try to remember that we’re not doing it for the audiences and the money, we’re doing it for a much more spiritually and artistically significant reason. We’re doing it because we must. It gives us our life purpose and meaning. It directs us and focuses us. It keeps us going no matter what happens. It is what gives us strength and pride. Money and audiences come because of our dedication to doing it. A miracle in our lives. I am so grateful to have prayformance.

Some people said some wonderful things at the beginning. When we finished, Ross reflected what he experienced. “It was actually more inspiring when you were playing to very few people. You were this thing that stayed steadfast as everything ebbed and flowed around you.” he said. He said especially when we were playing “Plucking Song” up front and the break dancers were doing their big spiel. “There’s this beautiful gem here for anyone who passes by.” he said. It was so nice to have that reflected to us. I felt that way, too.

We talked with our friends. Paul recited a poem he wrote about Thoth as we stood around him. It’s a poem he wrote about a magical thunder storm that happened back in 2009 at the tunnel. A big thunder clap came crashing down as Thoth sang and hammed on the foot drum. It was an amazing moment, perfectly captured by Paul’s poem. He’s a brilliant poet. His friend, the painter, recited another poem by Paul he had memorized. Paul recites his poems quietly and reverently. We treated ourselves to Santos Anne for dinner.

We Did It, Somehow!

Thursday September 29th 2016

I had a bad night. Stomach ache. All night. Didn’t sleep well. Was exhausted when I woke up. Didn’t want to get up. I was in bed until an hour before we had to go. I really didn’t want to go out to play. Thoth convinced me by saying it will be worse weather tomorrow. I got up and somehow dressed myself and put some black around my eyes. No concealer or white face. Just simplicity. It doesn’t matter either way.

We got ourselves to Central Park somehow. I was so tired. Infinity and her brother Abraham were there. They weren’t singing anymore and it seemed pretty slow out. We set up to play and I talked to Abraham. “People miss you. All year round people ask us ‘Where is Thoth?'” That made me feel better. Paul was there, and watched our prayformance from behind a pillar. He led a lot of the clapping.

We ended up having a great play. People were incredibly generous to us at the beginning. “Never stop doing this. Don’t let anyone ever convince you to stop.” someone said as they walked away. I love when someone says that. It’s one of the most encouraging things anyone could say. There’s much doubt one experiences doing something original with one’s life. I could have pursed being an opera singer or a Broadway singer, but I chose to do something no one else does. It’s easy to wonder in times of depression if I’m doing the right thing. I don’t feel that way now. I feel incredibly blessed. We only played for an hour because it started getting too cold. It’s amazing we only have to play for up to 2 hours. We don’t have to do any more than that. Someone else said how emotional and moving our music is. I love that people experience that even though we aren’t singing any words.

We talked with Paul as we packed up. He had given Thoth some interesting information about Marcela (the girl who sings three opera pieces over and over in the tunnel). Thoth told me that last week while we were in Malaga, a man was talking to Paul, bragging about how strong he was. While they were talking, Marcela called this man and claimed we had set up on her last week and wanted him (who was her uncle or something) to bully us out of the tunnel. She tried to get a few other guys on her side, but one of these guys was our friend Mega Flash, who knows and respects Thoth immensely. He told Marcela she should “Respect that man.” So basically Mega Flash protected us from being harassed at the tunnel. I’m glad. No one can stop us from performing in a public space. No matter how much I may not like someone’s performance, I have never considered conspiring to throw them out. How much of an ego do you have to have to think like that? We were harassed before by Miriam (aka Opera Demon)’s henchman back in 2013. All he accomplished was looking like an idiot. He didn’t stop us. Those of you who saw the video know what I’m talking about. When we were arrested back in 2009 in the Angel Tunnel, we didn’t stop singing until the song was over and I put my violin down and they put hand cuffs on us. We went out of the tunnel singing in handcuffs. No one can stop us.

We were taken to dinner by Sarah Kernochan tonight. James Lapine, her husband, is beginning previews for the revival of “Falsettos.” She said we could go see it one night. That will be fun. It would be nice to see James again. He’s such an amazing person. I have a lot of friends like James who I love and respect so much, but rarely see. It just makes me love them more. 🙂 Sarah used to read my blog every day, but she doesn’t anymore because she gets too worried about us. Every time we see her now, she wants to know everything about what we’re doing. She is one of our close friends and really does care about us. She encouraged me to be more aggressive in finding gigs for us, the same way I’m aggressive about finding housing for us.

I lost the footage I filmed today. I’m sorry I can’t share it with you! I don’t even have a photo of my look!

A Hard Day

Wednesday September 28th 2016

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

We knew it would be a tough week this week. Rain and wind every day until Sunday. Quiet days are usually the best days for us. A mother and her son from out of town sat across from us on the subway. They were fascinated by our outfits and asked us what we do. “Your outfits are intriguing.” the mother said. She looked up our website on her phone and they got off the train, the son pawing at the phone saying “Let me see!”

Dan, our photographer, was waiting for us at the park. Cover Story wasn’t performing as usual when we arrived. Instead, our guitarist friend was playing. A girl with a violin and amplifier was standing really close to him. I could tell she wanted to play, but Carlos wasn’t stopping to talk to her. We got ready and eventually she came to talk to me. “There’s a schedule of performers here.” I said. “I know.” she said. When Carlos was finished, we went to say hello and set up in the center to play. The girl sat to the side and waited for less than half of our first song, but eventually left.

It was chilly, and I was under dressed. We played our entire set, even though crowds were less than “blegh” all day (not much enthusiasm or clapping.) A few people were deeply impressed by us, but I was on the feisty side and the annoying questions one person asked I answered sharply. (“Are you studying?” and “Are you performing anywhere?”) We gave so much today. We always do. People should count themselves lucky to be able to see us perform in public. We are doing something no one else in the history of the world has ever done. It’s nice to have Dan with us on days like these. At least he is paying attention. We tried playing with the loop Thoth had created for us, but it wasn’t loud enough to really add anything. It was disappointing. We walked to a Chinese/Japanese restaurant when we finished to have dinner with him.

Tuesday September 27th 2016

Today we stayed home all day and went to 23rd St. for dinner at Olive Garden.

Monday September 26th 2016

Thoth and I snuggled in bed for a long time this morning. We were feeling very proud of what we’ve accomplished in our lives. However, Thoth said he had a few episodes this morning. He’s been having them since we were in San Diego. This was the first time I was close to him when he had one. His heart was beating double the speed. We don’t know why he has them.

We went out to 4th street to find somewhere to have lunch. We found a sushi place to try, but Thoth had an episode as he put the first bite of sushi in his mouth and had to spit it out. He lost his apatite, and strangely so did I. I finished more food than he did, but we didn’t eat the rest of the day. A hard day for both of us.

Set Up On All Sides

Sunday September 18th 2016

20160918_134758What a hard day today was. We got to the Angel Tunnel in plenty of time. There was a peace event going on at the Bandshell, which meant the break dancers would be downstairs at Bethesda with their boom box. Cover Story was in the tunnel singing. They always acknowledge us. Great guys, all of them. We got ready and a photographer friend Paul came by to say hello. Our other friend Paul was there, too. It’s always great to see him. I don’t film him because he doesn’t like being filmed, which is why he’s not in today’s vlog.
Cover Story finished up and we set up to play. A break dancer group we’d never seen before started blasting their boom box in front of the Angel Fountain, with the speaker pointed towards the tunnel. It was one of those days again. I called the park rangers, but there’s little they can do to really stop them. We assumed they’d blast their speaker through “Anya,” but right as we began, it got quiet and I could see their crowd disperse as we sang. I never look down when I sing “Anya,” I always look at the Angel, but I could tell. When we finished the first song, we had a nice big crowd and people came forward too. “They’re gone.” I said hopefully. Then I looked. “Oh no, they’re still there.” They were just sitting there on the fountain. I guess the rangers had come. When the break dancers see the rangers they just stop and wait for them to leave. They know they’re not allowed to do what they’re doing, but they do it anyway.
We got a half hour of silence, but I knew at any moment the boom box would start up again. It’s so unfair. Boom boxes aren’t allowed in Central Park. Naturally, the boom box started up during “Gypsy Dance,” four songs into our set. We stood in complete stillness for a long time until the boom box was turned off briefly. We did the same for “Plucking Song,” one of our more quiet and gentle pieces. We stood in complete stillness for what felt like 10 minutes. I heard someone calling my name. It was Marcela, the woman who sings after us. I remembered she doesn’t know we play a bit later on Sundays, but didn’t think much of it.

We got a bit more quiet when all the break dancers left. Suddenly, and without warning, Marcela started her boom box up with the backing track to “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini. Feeling incredibly disrespected, Thoth yelled across the tunnel, “We’re not done yet Marcela, turn the boom box off!” I had to run to the back of the tunnel and ask her to stop. She complained that she can’t start so late. I was very apologetic (despite that it was her who tried to set up on us) but was very firm with her. “That’s just how it is.” I said. She was pissed, cursing to herself, but turned off the music. She acted just like Miriam, the other opera singer who used to sing at the tunnel.

We played another song, but she came over to talk to us. Bad idea! Thoth was seething with anger and let ‘er rip, tearing into how she is an amateur and clearly has no respect for us. “YOU HAVE NO RESPECT FOR US!” he yelled loudly several times at her. He hates being disrespected by other buskers, being older and having done this long than any of them. Of anyone I know, this man deserves some f**king respect. I mean, G*d damn! I had to talk to her while Thoth played two solos to calm himself down. I joined him and we finished our set in relative peace.

We packed up and talked to Paul. He watched the whole thing. “She set up on you, plane and simple.” he said. We went down to 4th St. to have dinner at Risotteria, but it wasn’t there anymore. We loved that place!! Damn! We took the L to Lorimer to have dinner at Santos Anne instead.

Flying to Malaga tomorrow.