I give everything I do away for free. No one is required to give me anything in return for my art, be it by performing in public or by making vlogs or blogs. People can steal our energy, our image and our music as they please. There are no consequences, nor do they feel guilty for doing so. Why should they? I am in a public space. No one owes me a cent. Our art is free for anyone to listen to, a homeless person to a CEO. No one is responsible for giving us anything in return for the work we do to make our art what it is. It’s taken me 28 years to get where I am, 7 years of which I’ve been doing prayformance. Even as I become a better performer, people watching me in the street will still react the same. Amazed, moved, but confused, scared and unable to act. That is the world’s reaction to our music. If we did the same performances we give outdoors inside, people would be cheering and screaming their heads off, but in public they usually just stand there, put their hands together for a few seconds, and then continue to stand there gawking at us, or walk away. It maddens me, but there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it. If I could perform indoors as much as I can outdoors, I would. Our work would still be free, but people would be more responsive and more generous.
I don’t think people understand what the word underrated means. I work for four to five hours every day making a vlog for our channel. I spend hours on top of that making vlogs for my own channel, writing blog entries, doing makeup and prayforming. I give all my energy to doing these things and I get little back for that work. I rarely get compliments about my makeup, which I can sometimes work up to three hours on. Sometimes, like tonight, hardly anyone says a word about our music while we’re prayforming. People rarely comment on our or my vlogs or on this blog, which wouldn’t take even the smallest percentage of energy compared to the work I’m doing to put it out there.
I’m doing everything I possibly can. When I prayform I give %150 to the work. It takes all my concentration to sing and dance and play violin while people are walking by or talking. I’m entertaining hundreds of people for free every night. I go home and I share our life online for hundreds of people to watch and read for free. That’s what life is as a public performer. I have to give so much more than I get back. That is what being underrated means. We are two people alone doing our best to make our art and make a living. The least you can do is show your support. Leave a comment, come see us prayform when we’re in your town, share our music with your friends, throw us a dollar. It’s the damn near least you could do. It doesn’t require any energy. Just think of how much energy we are using to do this. Don’t just stand there. Don’t be a zombie. Participate! Our art can only survive by people’s participation. When we’re gone, people will wish they had. Don’t be afraid to stand up and support our work. We appreciate it and need it more than you will ever know.
Monday May 30th and Tuesday May 31st were weird days off last week because we were preparing to move to a new place. We had a nice time anyway. We’d finally gotten our finances together to have a nice day off. Lunch in the park on Monday, and sushi dinner on Tuesday. Yummy!
On Wednesday June 1st, we were moved to a new place, just down the street from where we were living before. I had been discouraged about vlogging, but a fan wrote with some encouragement and I made a vlog for my channel. We were incredibly tired by the time we went to play at Rua Garrett and it was a slow night. We dropped our stuff at home and had thin crust pizza for dinner. That was nice.
On Thursday June 2nd we played and were treated to dinner at Food Temple. It was slow again at the spot. Having a lovely dinner with cool people was helpful. By slow, I mean people didn’t come into the space and sit down. The crowd would disperse after every song and we had to build one up again. It’s tiring and energy depleting after 2 hours.
Friday June 3rd was another slow night, but it finally picked up at the end. The was a music festival happening at the end of the street, which delayed us over an hour from playing. A man came and sat down and led the applause at the end. His name was Victor and he absolutely loved us. —>
On Saturday June 4th we had a great prayformance AND a lovely surprise lunch at Miss Jappa. (We just stumbled upon the place while looking for a vegetarian place near by.) It was so much fun. The best day we’d had since we got here. Victor came again to see us prayform, this time with his two little dogs, which I held before we played. We got a lot of compliments and had big crowds all night and people sat down and stayed a long time. —>
On Sunday June 5th we had a pretty great night, but not as good as Saturday night. Victor came again and made the night wonderful by staying the whole time and clapping. After playing we ran down to Miss Jappa for a sushi dinner. I even managed to make another vlog for my channel. —>
We didn’t sleep because we were being bitten so much by mosquitos. On Monday June 6th we went out to find mosquito repellent (which we couldn’t find at first.) I was in a bad mood. We were stopped in the street and interviewed by Time Out Lisbon. Surprising. We found what we were looking for to repel mosquitos at the grocery near Tease. I was so relieved. We had lunch and sat in the park eating cupcakes. Later we had dinner at the Indian restaurant. Thoth got sick because they put too much alcohol in his drink without his knowledge. We didn’t go to sleep until 2am when he finally started feeling better. —>
Now that’s I’m all caught up, it’s back to the grind. I work so hard on these vlogs. Does anyone have suggestions of what they want to see in the future?
Saturday April 17th 2016
Saturday’s look: (Hard day. Did crazy hair and makeup.)
It’s hard to work so long on my look and not feeling it was worth it. Having to bike 5 miles in 80 degree weather completely sucks. I was not in a good mood, and prayformance didn’t make me feel better. People gathered to watch us, but they barely clapped when we finished. WTF? I wrote on Facebook asking for help with a car for our final two weeks here. No one offered to help. It made me sad and pissed off. We’re giving away our art, our music, our time and most people give us absolutely nothing back. Most barely even clap when watching us. I spend hours making vlogs and blogs. People read them sometimes, but no one gives anything in return for them, accept maybe a nice comment. It made me think that compliments mean nothing. The person giving us the compliment probably wouldn’t do anything for us other than say they liked our work, or maybe throw us a dollar. They may not even do that. They may be saying they like what everyone else does just as much as us. I don’t know. It made me feel very alone. When we really need help, no one helps us. We need access to a car. No offers. We needed housing in New York. No offers, or the offers fell through.
I felt very abandoned today. What’s the point of social media if your “fans” won’t help you when you need it? It’s humiliating to ask for help because no one even bothers responding to the post. Why is that? Are we not worthy of support and help? We work our ASSES off to bring FREE music to public spaces all over the world! You’d think people would be falling over each other to help us when we ask. We rarely ever ask for help anyway. We love being independent. For 7 years we have been doing this work on our own. Don’t we have the right to ask for help? I guess we don’t have a big enough or committed enough fan base to get help. The thing is, if we ever became successful and had a big fan base, we wouldn’t need help like now. We need help NOW. We are doing art NOW. Some people get that. The other day a woman sent us a monetary gift and didn’t want anything in return. She hadn’t even seen us prayform live, she just follows us online. We sent her a CD as a thank you. She got it. People should support artists more.
Sunday April 18th 2016
Today I was hoping we would have an amazing day. I needed to have an amazing day. I didn’t start out feeling well. I spent three hours creating this incredibly intricate makeup design. Why do I bother? It was going to be hot, and probably no one would say anything. My “plain clothes” are just the same as when I “dress up,” I just don’t wear such complex makeup. Why do I put myself through so much effort if not many people seem to care if I dress up or not? Because I care. I owe it to the work to put every effort into looking my best. I owe it to prayformance. No one forces me to dress up. I really could wear plain clothes and no makeup and no one would care. Sometimes I dress more “down” and it doesn’t change our day in the slightest. Prayformance is a challenge for me. I have to challenge myself every day. I owe it to myself. Today a man said, “You work really hard.” Yes, thank you.
Before we even started today, a man said he was listening to Cochella on the radio and said, “You guys could be at Cochella.” Two women stopped and said they saw us in New York. “It was beautiful.” they said. Another woman stopped and said, “Are you on a pink bike?” I nodded, pointing to my bike in the corner. “I see you a lot and I really admire you.” she said. This is all very interesting. We’re biking to the park every day just hoping we can play without anyone harassing us, and someone thinks we could be playing a Cochella. It seems we would have a lot more attention, respect and money if we were doing that, but we can’t play at Cochella. It’s interesting how strangers stop in the park to tell us they love our work and admire us, yet we struggle just to get to the park and make a life for ourselves.
This made me realize something. How people see us is not how we are at all. It’s similar to how people see celebrities. You don’t see their struggles. We’re constantly struggling, yet people love us and think highly of us. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could call up Cochella and get booked to play there this weekend? They would never give us that opportunity. Why? Because we have no credentials, no prestige. We’re just incredibly talented, hard working people who have created an original art form. Talent and originality alone don’t get you very far in terms of societies standards. It’s a sad fact. We’ve been lucky to be able to live and do our art, but we’re in demand or being called to appear at festivals and concerts. We make our own performances in the street. If that ever changed, if we started getting treated the way people imagine we’re treated, that would be something, wouldn’t it?
People continued to compliment us while we played, but I wasn’t taking very well to it. It was a similar thing to yesterday. We had big audiences, but half of them barely clapped half the time. People would go 15 to 20 seconds without clapping after a song. It’s demoralizing for me. I know people who watch us don’t know that. I wish people would just start clapping. I know they want to. People do this thing where they put their hands together for one enthusiastic clap, then they see no one else is clapping, so they instantly stop. If I could instill anything into people who read my blog, it’s this: If you’re watching us, or watching any street performers, clap for them and give to them when they finish. We work so fucking hard to do this work! Today half of the people watching us literally did not clap! Why? It’s unacceptable, ridiculous and unbelievable, and anyone who does it should be ashamed of themselves. If you can’t give us anything, at least clap for f**k sake. We need to change the way the world views and treats public performers.
Now here’s something good to end the weekend on a great note. Thank God.
A wonderful thing happened to end our prayformance. A family came to watch us during our final song. I knew they knew us from how focused they were. One of the girls came up to me when we finished and placed a big bill in my hand. At first I thought they wanted a CD, but only had a big bill to pay for it. Then the mother came up to me and handed me another big bill. I was so confused. “I read your blog and I feel like I love you.” she said hugging me. I was so shocked and moved, I started crying while she held me. She understood. I was so humbled and awed by the generosity of this family. Amazing. The thing I was longing for happened. A couple with a young son talked to us when we were finished. They said such wonderful things. I was so happy.
I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a whole week! I’ll be back to normal now! My sister and mother were in town this weekend for our 28th birthday and I didn’t want to miss a moment of it. Enjoy!
(START FROM BOTTON TO TOP TO WATCH/READ IN ORDER)
Sunday Prayformance with Friends and Lovely Dinner
Sunday February 28th 2016
What a magical ending to our magical birthday weekend! I can’t believe we prayformed 4 days in a row, two hours a day, plus had a party and everything else!!
We got dressed, picked mom up and drove to Balboa Park for the fourth day in a row. It seemed quiet at first, but sis and mom would be there for the entire prayformance. Forrest came, too, even though he was sick! I was touched that he came anyway. “It’s good for me.” he said. Tasha couldn’t come. 🙁 🙁 :(. Forrest gave my sister his chair. The first hour for the second day in a row was hard because my voice and body were tired, but I perked up when our other friends Miti and Bassemah showed up. I wasn’t expecting to see Bassemah, so I completely lost track of the piece we were playing. It was an interesting day in terms of audience interaction. My sister is always trying to distract me, so I’m always trying to tell her subtly to be quite, but also I wanted to hug and talk to our friends, but at the same time I have to be professional and sell CDs and talk to the audience.
We finished, packed up and I got to hold a snake. Then we went to Osaka with sis and mommie for dinner. She’s leaving tomorrow morning for Nashville. Thoth is going to drive her to the airport. We drove her to her place and hugged her goodbye. “Thank you mommie for making this weekend possible.” I said.
Sis is staying an extra day tomorrow with us. We’re going to hang out.
Saturday Prayformance with Friends and Lovely Dinner
Saturday February 27th 2017
Today I slept in a bit late. I was pooped from the b-day party. Thoth, too. We got dressed up and went to pick up mom for another prayformance at Balboa Park. I had no idea doing four prayformances and doing all this other stuff with mom and sis here would be so tiring! That’s the reason we usually do nothing else but prayform and rest. We got to the park and set up on Patio B to play. Mom and sis went to have lunch at the Balboa Park Restaurant.
The first hour of prayformance was hard. My voice and body was really tired, but by 4pm, Sister Ida arrived IN FACE and Becca came with two of her friends! They both sat right up front. I instantly feel better when our friends come to see us! They stayed for the rest of our show and stayed to talk with us. Sis and mom had gone to the museum. They came back when we finished. Sister Ida sat with us while we packed up and we laughed together. I love, love, love our friends. Ida told us she had come dressed up especially to see us. I was flattered beyond measure.
Mom, sis, me and Thoth drove to Bleu Boheme for a wonderful candle lit dinner!
Friday February 26th 2016
Today is our 28th birthday!!!!!!! What a wonderful morning it was! Thoth got in bed with me and Sis came in the room and snuggled with us. Thoth wasn’t feeling so good, but he had the Babes (our stuffed animals) sing happy birthday to us. Sis said it was the cutest thing she’s ever seen. It is so cute. I wish Bunny would let me film it. 🙂
Sis played me happy birthday for me and Jim put on some stupid happy birthday music before sis and I went to the coffee shop for breakfast. I saw our busker friend Chet and said hi. Sis and I talked about my inability to talk to people when I don’t want to. “It’s important to talk to people and have friends.” she said. She challenged me to call up one of my friends this week. I said I would. We biked home and started doing makeup. Sis actually did makeup with me, by herself! I was quite impressed with her skills. Her blending was very good! She’s never done that before.
Mom met us at the house and we drove to Balboa Park for a birthday prayformance! Sis went with Jim who came, too. Our big fan Ali was there as was mom’s host Kathleen, so we had five people waiting for us to play before we even started. I love when that happens. We played and had big applause all afternoon. Thoth and I were on fire and really sang our butts off! It was so much fun. I’d told myself I wasn’t going to sing too much before our party, but I couldn’t help myself. We played through the opera and played some from the old set, too. That was the first time mom and sis saw the opera! They were very impressed. We played from 3-5pm, then packed up and went home to prepare for the party!
People started showing up at 6. We had about 10 people, all close friends and fans from the park. Forrest and his girlfriend Tasha dressed up especially. I’d never seen Forrest dressed up before. He looked fantastic! Yay! Once everyone arrived, we got every to go to the studio to perform two songs. I was so tired. My sister did a mime piece when we finished. It was so funny. It was called “What I Love” and she was miming putting on makeup and performing onstage, then seeing me afterwards and being stupid, like we are. The only word she said was “Sis.” I was touched. We went back in the house and ate dinner. Sister Ida and Mitch were the last to leave. Sis took a liking to Ida, as I did when he came to our b-day party last year.
It was such a lovely birthday!
Mom Sees Prayformance, Sissy Arrives
Thursday February 25th 2016
Today I got all dressed up for prayformance. It would be the first time my mother has seen us prayform in a LOOONG time. I actually don’t remember the last time! We went and picked her up and she loved how I looked, I mean loooved. She was doting on me, as all mothers do. We drove to the park and I got car sick. Thoth dropped us off and I sat down with mom while he parked the car. What a good husband. I felt better and Thoth came back. We walked to our spot in front of Casa Del Prado and set up.
It was a slow day for us, but mom sat in her lawn chair watching us the entire time. I was kind of nervous actually. It was the first time she’s ever watched us like that. I’m always nervous when close family members watch us. Prayformance is a very intimate, exposed and vulnerable thing. It’s easier to do it in front of strangers. It was wonderful to have mom there, though. It was like she was seeing us for the first time, though she’s seen us perform a few times before. She’s never sat and watched an entire prayformance before though. I was surprised. I was not expecting her to watch us. “I’ll see you guys three more times.” she said. I wasn’t expecting that either. She was incredibly complimentary, and genuinely so. My mom has always been supportive of me, but this was the first time she was supportive of us. Thoth’s mom has never ever watched him prayform, let alone us. She said we looked like twins, but opposites. Even though it was a slow day, I was so happy mom was there to support us. Now that she is sober, it’s like her mind has been cleared. She said some wonderful things. She’s always been supportive of my gifts, but not of Thoth’s. Now she’s a fan!
We went to dinner at the Smoking Goat and then went to pick up my sister at the airport! She was SO excited to see me she was jumping around and shouting, like she does. We drove back to the house and opened birthday presents, then danced around to music in the living room. It was transformative for me actually. I’ve never done that before.
Wednesday February 24th 2016
My mom arrived yesterday! We dropped her stuff off at her AirBnB, had lobster rolls for lunch, then she took us heavy duty grocery shopping at two grocery stores! It was a lot of fun, and she paid for everything. :o) Mom is in much better shape now being sober. I am so happy for her, and for us. Thoth had been worried about seeing her, but I knew she would be doing much better. We hung out with her at home and Thoth made artichokes for dinner. We lit some candles and ate at the table together. I never thought I would have a mother again, let alone one who would talk with Thoth and be kind and social. We drove her back to her AirBnB place and went home.
First Time Working on the Opera
Tuesday February 23rd 2016
Hey everyone! We started working on the new opera for the first time today! We got the first 3 pieces sketched! I was very proud of us. We don’t have to write new music, we want to.