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Prayformance Power Tools: Stillness

Thursday June 26th 2014

The woman from London sent us an email this morning. She will send our passports (with Brazilian visas) today and they will arrive tomorrow before 1pm! Yay! Now all we need are our plane tickets to Rio and we’re ready to go! I took my time getting ready, doing a pretty makeup look that I love. I think it makes me look Cirque Du Soleil-ish.

I found an interesting article about female buskers on The Busking Project. I should write more about what it’s like to be a busker. But wait, my blog is a journal about my daily experiences, and I happen to be busking as a living. So that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Maybe I can write about the tools we use during prayformance.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve never had to worry about the problems solo female buskers face. I can imagine how hard it would be, though. When I was in New York I wore (and still do wear) skimpy outfits in the summer. It’s hot! And you can actually go topless in NYC, (which I still do regularly.) I was really scared when I first moved to New York in 2008. I lived alone (before Thoth and I got together) and was always bothered by men. One time, on 59th Street, a man stopped me and said, “Can I have your number?” He wouldn’t leave me alone. In order to get away, I had to pretend I was going to lunch with my cousin. Another time, when I was walking to the Angel Tunnel, a boy asked, “Can I come with you?” It wasn’t friendly, it was too forward. I said, “No.” and moved on. You have to be bold and brassy to be a female street performer. If you’re going to draw attention to yourself, make it loud! I no longer have issues with unwanted attention. One of the first things Thoth recommend me doing was to wear bells everywhere. I bought some jingle bells at a craft store and strung them together. I wore them around my neck like a scarf. Part self defense tool, part noisemaker. I bonked around everywhere. That first year in New York taught me so much.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERANo one gathers a crowd like we do (unless they’re yelling at people to look at them.) We are the only buskers I’ve ever seen who gather a crowd by standing still. Clad with our bells and violins, people gather, wondering what we will do. We’re not just still, we’re full of intention and focus. In 2009 in New York, Thoth took me to a park in his neighborhood and had me stand in front of a tree facing outward. He had me focus on something in front of me. “When you are still, you can see energy flowing through the universe.” he said. I didn’t understand then, but I do now. I started using stillness all the time. I stopped in front of restaurant windows and stared at people in my costume. It was amazing. Stillness is a very powerful power tool. That’s what Thoth calls them, Power Tools. When I stand still, I get into position and focus on a certain thing. This regularly makes people look behind them to see what I’m looking at. People are rarely completely still. You can feel the vibrations of everything. It’s a bit scary at first. Everything I learned from Thoth was scary at first.

I wonder why other street musicians don’t dress up and make a show. Most just stand there staring at their feet strumming an instrument. Busking is all about attracting attention and creating something people want to watch. If someone hear’s our music down the street, they have to know what it is. I was completely flabbergasted when I first heard Thoth sing. People can sometimes have a strong negative reaction to how we’re dressed at first, yet really love us once they hear us. Why do we stop people in their tracks and others don’t? We’re not forcing them to stop. Thoth thinks it’s because we have strong fine energy. I think it’s because most people don’t understand what we’re doing, yet it’s captivating and beautiful at the same time. Why do you think?

Anyway, we had a really great day, despite the cold. We gathered a big crowds. I’m so spoiled! Our friend who played after us barely gathered anyone. I felt bad for him. I’m looking forward to our upcoming travels!

Some upcoming travel dates:

June 30th-July 2nd London!  We will not be prayforming. You cannot legally perform in London without a permit. We’re going to see my friend James in In the Penal Colony. I’m very excited!

July 2nd-17th Back to Edinburgh! We’ll be prayforming Thursday-Sunday from around 5pm on the steps of St. Giles Cathedral on The Royal Mile.

July 17th-31st Amsterdam! Prayformance TBA. (Thanks to Richard Simoes for sponsoring this trip!)

August 1st-10th Back to Edinburgh! The Fringe Festival starts! Prayformances TBA.

August 10th-17th Rio! For the Redbull Sounderground Metro Musician’s Festival!

August 17th-28th Edinburgh! Final week of the Fringe, prayformances TBA.

August 29th-September 1st Martha’s Vineyard! Prayformance at Union Chapel on Sunday August 31st at 6pm! (Thank you Wendy Taucher and Sarah Kernochan for sponsoring this trip!)

And the Future….

September-November New York City! Prayformances TBA at the Angel Tunnel! We’re looking for hosts and sponsors to help us with housing.

December Oakland! Vacation time to visit my sister and our family for Christmas!

January-April San Diego! Prayformces TBA in Balboa Park! Can’t wait to see all our friends, especially Forrest! Miss him!

May?-August? Lisbon? Travel dates and prayformances TBD.