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Where Was Our Audience?

Wednesday October 26th 2016

I got up excited to try a new darker makeup look today, which I did. Thoth said I looked Gothic.

14877626_1304611286240179_1965718109_n 14825828_1304610189573622_432961630_n 14874836_1304610779573563_241804225_n 14877010_1304610616240246_599710624_nWe got to Central Park in the cold and to our surprise the Conservancy was setting up for their big fundraiser (which blocks the back of the Angel Tunnel where we play.) We knew that would negatively affect our week as the break dancers would come do their thing downstairs. Annoying, as always.

Cover Story finished as we got ready and Herman, one of the singers, came over to hug us and say hello. While we stretched he said, “Your eyes are mesmerizing.” It’s nice that someone at the tunnel likes us. Once we began, the Afrobats started up, playing their boom box quietly. I was sure our day was ruined, and I was right! It wasn’t just them, people didn’t clap while we played really at all or gathered– or tip us or anything. It was as if everyone was ignoring us, or worse, they were just deaf and blind to the beauty that was right in front of them.

On these days it’s especially hard because no one points out or even openly recognizes what’s going on. No one says, “Hey I’m sorry no one is clapping for you guys, you’re amazing, and to play while those assholes are doing their stupid show is incredible! They’re hacks. You guys are original and unique, and you don’t give up! Inspiring! Thank you!” No one says that. They don’t even notice, even though it’s happening right in front of them. A woman said something like that to us back in the summer of 2013 when the Afrobats were doing show after show and we weren’t stopping.

Not only didn’t most anyone clap or tip us today, they didn’t even watch us. It was pretty shitty. We’re doing the best we can and no one was even watching us. I know within myself that we’re doing something the world has never seen and when we’re dead everyone will wish they had supported us, the same as they wished they supported all the other great artists of the past. It actually felt amazing to sing full voice over the Afrobats show. We’re not trying to bother them, but we know how much it irritates them to hear us. They really do hate us for some reason. The other day Ravon (one of the two Afrobats) said “Hey homo!” to Thoth as we were passing by into the Angel Tunnel. They have a deep seated fear and disdain for us, and there is no way to talk to them. Maybe if someone else did, but they don’t listen to conflicting opinions. Well, no, they don’t hate us. What am I saying. They don’t even know us. How can they hate two people they don’t know. They hate something in themselves, their inability to be more free and open, and we threaten and frighten their masculine, ghetto street cred or something like that.

We played through it though, and got through it. Glad when it was over. Yuck. Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain, so we can take a day off to recuperate. When we finished, Marcela set up her stuff and her boom box literally right on top of us. So rude. We had to drag all our stuff out of the way it was so loud. People clapped louder for her than they did for us all day. It was too painfully ironic for us. “We’re doing the best we can. Society is the way it is and we can’t change it. It’s just going to get worse. We can only change ourselves. We succeed by doing our work. Fuck everyone else. When we’re dead no one will care we did this work, but it will be great benefit to us karmically, spiritually, emotionally, and in every other way.” I said. It’s true.14800912_1304611506240157_1592994180_nThe thing that’s hard about a first prayformance day being bad is that I was so creative this weekend. I was in my own little world creating this headdress, and then having that lovely lunch with Marianne made me feel that much better. But then to go out in the world and see how little anyone cares what we do creatively is so hurtful. I won’t forget Marianne saying me writing about the bad days is even more inspiring than the good days, because it shows me as very human. I am human. I know everyone has problems and frustrations, but mine are just as important as anyone else’s. I’m so glad I have this blog and the vlog to get things out there.

At home Meli, Amy and the guests from France were hanging out. It felt so homey and sweet. I love coming home to Meli’s place. It’s the best place we’ve ever stayed in NYC. Going home actually cheers me up. I’m going to miss it here so much. I cleaned my face and went to get chicken for our dinner. I watched the people making our food and thought how lucky I am to have my life. Amy was in love with my new wire headdress and wants me to make her one. “You could be a costume designer.” she said. She’s so sweet and enthusiastic. It made my day. She told our other roommate J.P. about it. “She made this headdress that you would see at the Met.” I heard her say. So sweet. We ate our dinner and went upstairs to work until bedtime.

Tuesday October 25th 2016

Again, Thoth was in a bad mood when I got up. Poor baby. Depression sucks a**, doesn’t it? We got dressed up (I wore my new crown) and we went to 81st Street for lunch with Marianne, one of our biggest fans. She was waiting for us when we arrived. We talked and ate and she gave us designer clothes she didn’t want anymore. She’s been reading my blog for three years and watching the vlog since I started it in 2014. She loves our honesty and bravery going out every day and being ourselves. It inspires her. She says the vlog is more interesting than most things and deserves more attention, as well as us. It completely cheered us up. Thoth had gone to lunch feeling sad, and left laughing and smiling, all because of Marianne. I went to 23rd Street to get more things to make another crown at Michaels and went home. I edited the vlog and blog and sewed hair clips into my tiara until 1am. Being creative is my reason to keep going.

Tough Few Days

Thursday October 6th 2016

1 2I was so discouraged today. Didn’t want to go out to play at all. I was depressed. Started thinking about Martha’s Vineyard and how much I miss it. We will probably never go there again and I don’t know why. I loved Martha’s Vineyard. We were so supported there. I wish we had more of that. I was hoping we’d do a show once a year in Martha’s Vineyard, but that’s not happening. Not one person who saw the shows liked us enough to bring us back. It depresses me a lot when I think about it.

The park seemed busy and quiet. Three people were waiting for us to begin. One woman sat on a pillar. She had unicorn hair, like me. She had seen us last week, went to our website, read my blog and listened to all of our music. Her name was Rachael. I love that. Such a rare thing. No one has said anything about my blog for months. It’s hard to keep going when no one seems to care. It takes every fiber of our being to do what we do. It’s so easy for someone to write something, say something, throw us a dollar. The least anyone can do is show a little support.

Rachael sat and watched our entire prayformance. It helped to have one person witnessing us. We got through an hour and 40 minutes and I just couldn’t perform anymore. It wasn’t as bad as yesterday, but it was still slow. Rachael knelt and spoke with us while we packed up. The amplified trio started playing. Whenever we hear them, we get sad. I called the park rangers, but who knows if they would come. We walked to the train, got salads for dinner and went home.

Wednesday October 5th 2016

Today was tough. I wasn’t very inspired to get up and got out to play, but I did. I did very simple makeup and hair, but I felt beautiful. That’s all that matters.45Dan Rubin came and Cover Story was performing. They hadn’t been at the tunnel for a week. We missed them! They said hello to us. They had a big crowd and it was quiet, so we thought we’d have a great day. Not so much.

We had big crowds but that was it. Generosity? Clapping? Not so much. The entire two hours, the same. A big crowd would gather, they’d clap tentatively, then no one (or maybe just one or two people) would come forward and they’d all just stand there staring at us. No one said anything to us. It was especially hard after seeing a sold out show where people were laughing and cheering and clapping emphatically the night before. We are alone, especially when things get hard. Our frustrations, our bad days aren’t very important to anyone.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

I know. Boo hoo, poor me! I’m a world traveling musician who makes a living singing, only two hours a day. Easy you’d say. The truth is, it’s not! We’re struggling every day to get up and do it by ourselves. It is our choice to do it. That’s why no one else in the world does what we do. It’s too hard! I do wish it wasn’t such a lonely path. At least I have my Bunny. Being yourself requires trudging along through life alone. The fact I found someone to be at my side is incredible. We are alone, together, fighting the constant and daily uphill battle to make our art in this unfair and unjust world.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

The fact we’re still doing it, that Thoth has been doing this for half his life is staggering. No matter how many great days we have, the days always get hard again. That’s life. We treated ourselves to salads and doughnuts for dessert.

Monday October 3rd 2016 and Tuesday October 4th 2016

So Monday and Tuesday (our days off) were pretty chill. On Monday we went to see a movie on 23rd St. and got a sandwich, doughnuts (at the best doughnut shop in NYC, Doughnut Plant) and ate our (free) leftovers from Sunday night at home. For how little I eat, I f’ing LOVE food!

On Tuesday we stayed in the house all day until time to go see “Falsettos” on Broadway. Sarah Kernochan, James Lapine’s wife, got us free tickets in the orchestra. (James is the director and book writer of the show.) We got there early and got a juice to tide us over for dinner. Picked up our tickets at the box office and went in.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was James. I got up and hugged him. Such an awesome guy. We haven’t seen him since our opera commission last August in Martha’s Vineyard. He’s one of those people I love and admire a lot yet hardly ever see, like my other friend James, from England.

The first act was hysterical. The second act was more serious. I liked the first act more. James talked to us a little when the show was over. The show is in previews so he has to be there to watch it and give notes at the end. Stressful. We walked to 41st St. to have burgers for dinner. It was past midnight when we got home.

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.

Still Frustrated

Saturday July 25th 2015

This morning I discussed with Thoth my idea to go see my friend James in his show in London at the end of August. I really want to go, but it will take a lot of time, effort and money, even if I just went for 2 nights. Thoth suggested I go by myself. I checked ticket prices and discussed with him for most of the day. It’s not too expensive, but British border guards make me crazy. Last time they caused Thoth to loose his passport. Fuck. Why is it he has to live in the UK? We can’t busk there and they’re really strict at the border. I’ll be only one country away from him when we’re in Amsterdam. I’m going to be kicking myself whether I go or not I suppose. I wish I could see every single show he’s in. If I had known about it months ago I would have bought our tickets to London and go home from there. He’s an incredible performer. Dark, intense, manic. All the things I love. Here’s the show if anyone in London wants to see some great acting.  http://www.dippermouth.com/work/frankensteinscreature/

Anyway, while we got ready to play, a man in the street came up to me and said, “We loved your performance last night. My wife is an opera singer.” That’s a compliment. An opera singer was impressed with us. I admit I wasn’t in the best mood tonight. I was too focused on people walking away without tipping. I haven’t felt that way in a very long time. I used to let it ruin my day all the time. It can drive me mad if I keep thinking about it. I can’t let it get to me, but I’m ashamed to say I did tonight. I was angry and in a bad mood. The feeling wained as the two hours passed. Someone’s idiotic comment on my last blog entry was pissing me off, too. Some days negative things just get to me and I can’t shake it off. What’s so interesting is no one knows how I’m feeling because I look so fantastical. IMG_20150725_205532718

I do find it interesting that I feel and think just like anyone else, yet I am not like anyone else. When people see me they experience fantasy and awe and beauty, yet when they read my blog they see what’s going on in my head. All performers are like that. They look and act one way and feel another. I like it better when I’m not thinking about daily things and I’m more in the zone, but tonight it wasn’t like that. I tried. IMG_20150725_205611294 I wish things could always work out. I wish I didn’t have to do quadruple the amount of work in order to survive.  IMG_20150725_205752882

“You’ve had a lot of disappointments these days.” Thoth said. He’s right. I was going to have my makeup filmed and taken shopping around the city by this Youtube artist this coming week, but it didn’t work out. Our booking agent tried his best. It’s good to have people who love our work trying to help us. Now I can’t go see James in his show. 🙁

We went to Barrio Alto for our favorite ravioli for dinner and talked.