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!
2016… Heart 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.
Sunday February 12th 2017
Despite that we played yesterday with no hitches and we were both all read up on our constitutional rights, we were still scared to go out to play at the park. That didn’t stop us from going out. I painted X’s on my eyes and on my forehead to represent my rights being trampled on. Prayformance becomes a form of protest when we are under threat by authority. We can not stop prayforming. We have no other way to live. Nothing that is more important to us.
Tori and his step daughter arrived, as well as Bill to see us play. We feel safer when friends are there to witness us. A few other people who knew us were waiting for us to begin. I was completely shocked to see Forrest arrive just as we started. I had to run over and hug him. It’s been a month since we got here and today was his first time seeing us. He’s been overly busy with his work. It was another very passionate prayformance. All of our friends stayed through the entire performance. I like that very much. Many people who had come specifically to see us and stayed through until the end.
No one knows how fragile our life and work is. Sometimes it is head together by the smallest thread of self will. There is one small step between continuing and not continuing. Continuing for us happens through sheer willpower, but sometimes it can be through someone’s support of our work. People coming to see us play really helps. On Friday I thought it was all over, but I know now that we will never stop prayforming. No matter what happens. It what we have that keeps us going.
If the world was fair and just, our work would be celebrated in every city we perform in. Not only by park goers and fans who love our work, but by those in authority. We would feel appreciated and welcomed and safe and we wouldn’t be so alone. The truth is very different. People love our work, but we alone will ourselves to do it. There is a very small community around our work, but we ourselves must forge ahead and do it. Fans come and go. Audiences come and go. Things change. The one thing that doesn’t is our commitment to each other and to our work. We are devoted.
We were so happy to get two wonderful weekend days of uninterrupted bliss, we treated ourselves to dinner and were oh so happy.
Saturday February 11th 2017
I was depressed this morning, terrified that the park ranger would return to harass us when we went out to play. I’d researched and learned that we are of course breaking no laws by performing and being given donations in a public space. The ranger is actually the one breaking the law. No officer, who is charged with upholding the constitution, is allowed under the guise of law to take away a citizen’s constitutional rights. This is what the ranger was doing on Friday. He claimed we were involved in commerce because he saw someone give us money, which he didn’t produce any proof of a law which defines that. If an officer takes away a citizens rights under the guise of law, he is subject to a fine, or even jail. That’s probably why he threatened us with a ticket instead of giving us one. He doesn’t want it to go to court because the park would loose. He didn’t know what he was talking about, and now we know what our rights are. That’s didn’t stop me from being scared.
Many people came to see us in Balboa Park today. People we hadn’t seen since last year, and some of our diehard fans, Pascual and later, Bill. Pascual graciously stood watch to make us feel safer while we played. We are responsible for ourselves, but it was helpful to have protectors there. We sang our hearts out. Even though Pascual was standing guard, he later said our prayformance was intense. Yes, indeed it was. We were singing for our lives. When our work is threatened, we go back out the next day and sing as if our lives depend on it. No one can stop us. What we do is protected under the first and fourteenth amendment, and yet rangers do not protect those rights. Only we can stand up for them.
We were so happy when we finished. There were so many people there supporting us who talked to us afterwards.
Friday November 18th 2016
I wasn’t up when Thoth was making our smoothies. I didn’t get dressed until an hour before time to leave for the park. I was really uninspired! Thankfully, it was a wonderful prayformance for us today! Dan’s brother Josh came to see us play. People clapped and cheered after every song. At least two or three people from every crowd said something as they left. “Amazing.” “Beautiful.” “Lovely.” That’s more like it! We put much more into the prayformance today. A little girl asked, “Why do you dress up like that?” I like dressing up for the prayformance. It’s theater, so I have an opportunity to express myself however I want. Why not? Having Josh there leading the applause helped so much. We got a lot of “bravos” too. People were really there for us today. Completely present. A man gave us a loving, generous donation for a CD. We gave him two. “It’s an honor.” he said. We were full of energy when we finished, unlike the last two days. We had salads for din din.
Thursday November 17th 2016
Oh man. I’ve been feeling low the last three days. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with writing and vlogging about every aspect of my life. Sometimes it gets really hard and tiring and feels very pointless!
Today was another rough day. It was lovely out, and Dan came to take pictures, but the audiences were just… UGH. Bored, it seems, or worse, confused and unable to appreciate what they’re seeing in front of them. It’s not us. It’s the day. I don’t get it. I document our lives to show people easy it is not. While we were knelt to sing, some young boys came though the tunnel. I didn’t see them, but they started, what can be incredibly loosely termed as “singing” and very loudly as they walked through the tunnel. Not in harmony or inspiration, but with mockery and a desire to stop what we were doing. I was furious, and I knew Thoth was too. They stood in our crowd for a few moments. I thought I heard one say, “Hey we stopped them!” as we had stopped singing for that section of the piece. They walked out and away from the tunnel. That was the biggest applause we got that day. Our housemates Meli and Nina had come to see us. I could feel people were applauding for how we held our composure. “I wish I had been on my feet. I would have sung them out of the tunnel.” Thoth said. That’s something that happens when we perform in public.
Meli, Nina and Dan hung with us while we packed up. It was so nice to have had them there. Friends always make the day better. We got doughnuts to cheer us up at Doughnut Plant and got dinner at home.
Saturday November 5th 2016
No makeup again today. I wish I could, but I’m still stuffy. That’s the worst part of getting sick. The nasal congestion lingers, making singing and doing makeup difficult. I beat this cold’s butt faster than I ever have before, though!
The Boyd family was singing at the tunnel when we arrived. John Boyd is one of our best allies at the park. He makes it possible for us to play there. He moves everyone to give us our time slot back. I don’t know what we’d do if he and his family weren’t there holding the tunnel while we’re gone. I know they’re looking out for themselves, but so are we. We all have to. No one is doing it for us. A man asked “Are you Tribal Baroque?” and said he loved what we do. “Keep going and keep making those vlogs!” he said. People are starting to pay attention!
We actually had a great play. The break dancers whistled and set up their cones to try and do a show during “Anya” right outside the tunnel, but they couldn’t gather a crowd. If only they were nice to us and everyone else we would try to work with them, but they harass us and ignore us. The best we can do is ignore them. It was so pleasing when they couldn’t start their show. So satisfying. How dare they try to do a show in the middle of our song. How dare they. They should be ashamed of themselves! Such hubris!
We had two beautiful hours of relative silence while we prayformed. We sold CDs and people said amazing things to us. Hannah and a friend of hers came to see us. She saw us a few years ago and brought friends. She’s trying to get us to perform at “Sleep No More” before we leave at the end of this month. I don’t believe it will happen until it happens! Hannah invited us to dinner when we finished. We went to a sushi place on Columbus and 73rd. It was delicious. We laughed a lot too. Fun! Such a great way to end our week!
Friday November 4th 2016
Hard day. No makeup again. Still sick. Cover Story was singing at the tunnel when we arrived. The break dancers started up when we started. Ass holes. They didn’t try starting another show after that. The amplified trio started up, but further away from us at the other side of the Angel Fountain. Good. Still loud, but we could handle it. They looked into the tunnel at us as they passed to leave over an hour later. They’re ass holes and liars too. We can’t talk to them either. We’ve tried with both of those groups. They neither care nor listen!
I was so over it today. So sick of it all. So tired of people’s rudeness and uncaring behavior. It will always be that way. Can I deal with it for the rest of my life? I don’t know. The prayformance was hard, again. I was still sick and sang gently on my chords. A woman gave us a 20. I thought she wanted a CD (we haven’t been selling many of them lately) but she just want to give us a one dollar tip. I mean, I get it. She probably needed to use the money for something else, but why not support art? I understand why people don’t support art as much anymore. They don’t have to. They just take pictures and videos of us with their phones and walk away. Easy. No shame, no guilt, no hesitation. It’s just what people do these days. It takes consciousness, kindness and care to support artists these days.
I always struggle with the balance between the financial side of our work and the creative/spiritual side. We have to make a living and pay for the things we need to pay for to continue doing this work, but we are also trying to get in touch with our higher, more spiritual and creative selves. I wish we didn’t have to sell CDs and concern ourselves with all of that. I find that when I just sing and don’t worry, everything falls into place.
It ended up being a great play after an hour or so. People bought CDs and were very complimentary. It really does help me so much! It isn’t all about selling CDs and making nice tips, it’s about self expression and connecting with people more for us. It was peaceful and quiet in the tunnel as we packed us. So sweet and blissful. Just gotta push through it. I am so lucky to have my little Bunny boo.