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A Week of Staggering Growth and Expansion for Lila’Angelique!

Sunday October 30th 2016

I got up early again to do makeup. I did a kind of dark fallen angel queen. It was very mysterious looking. I never know how it will turn out. I have an idea of what I want to do and then I just go with it.sundayoct301sundayoct303sundayoct30-4sundayoct302sundayoct305sundayoct30-8It was sunny and clear when we left for the park. Cover Story was singing at the tunnel when we arrived. We start a half hour later on Sundays. They all waved hello when they saw us. That’s all we need. Genuine friendliness and cordiality. It doesn’t hurt that Herman, one of the singers in the group, is a fan. John Boyd stopped by to say hello. I’d asked him to talk to Marcia and remind her we start a half hour later on Sundays. I’d rather not talk to her anymore. John is our friend and looks out for us. For some reason Marcia thinks she’s giving us her time, instead of the other way around. She’s lucky we’re only here for 3 months of the year, otherwise we’d play from 3-5pm year round and there would be nothing she could do about it. Nobody takes our time when we’re in NYC. We defend it with our lives because it is the only opportunity for the city to hear and see our original art. Thoth’s been playing that time since 1999!

We had another great day, despite that the break dancers had come down and started performing when we started. They tried to start another show a half hour through our set, but couldn’t because it would rain. A hour into our play, it started to pour. I mean pour with rain. It was blowing into the tunnel and creating a huge puddle right as we were singing the duet part of our opera. A group of very loud and bad drummers started playing in the tunnel. Thoth played as the rain poured in, but I got him to stop and we pulled our stuff back. Some of our friends were there and helped us. We walked back to the subway and went home. Got a yummy chicken in another rain storm and ran back to our building. Great week!

Saturday October 29th 2016

I got up at 9am. Did my makeup until almost 1pm! Gheeze.       saturdayoct29-1 saturdayoct29-2 saturdayoct29-3 saturdayoct29-4 saturdayoct29-5 saturdayoct29-6 The Boyds were singing in the tunnel when we arrived. People were already dressing up for Halloween. I love Halloween. I feel more accepted, because I always dress weird. During Halloween people think I’m dressed up for the holiday. It was incredibly busy out. Not my favorite. Too chaotic. We were both on fire during prayformance. I didn’t care a jot what people thought about me. People didn’t say much to us or clap anymore than usual, but I didn’t care. I know we’re doing something amazing and I was having fun. Dan Rubin was there taking pictures. He was enjoying himself. He loved my makeup. I’ve never done dark makeup for prayformance before. It’s freeing for me.Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. Photo by Dan Rubin. PHOTOS BY THE INCOMPARABLE DAN RUBIN.

Sadly Marcia showed up again and tried talking to us. We were talking to Carlos, a guy who sometimes plays classical guitar at the tunnel. Marcia asked him to try and convince us she would never try and send people to harass us. I was so angry from her having called Thoth bullshit yesterday I almost exploded at her. I told her to just leave us alone, but she was egging me on. “I just want to make peace.” she said. “I don’t want to make peace with you. We don’t have to be friends. Just go do your thing and leave us alone.” I said. Thoth yelled at her a few times, but I told him to stop. I’m the only person who can tell him to stop yelling. She was saying, “See what I mean?” to Carlos, as if she was inferring something negative about us, which we’re not. It made me so angry. I started saying, “Leave us alone! Go sing your three songs over and over.” She sang at the back of the tunnel today.

We packed up and walked to the subway with Dan. It was interesting for him to watch the argument, for Carlos too. The skate dance was in full swing.  Everyone was in costume. We took the train back to our neighborhood to have dinner and change and went back out to 4th Street to see a show. The show was so bad we walked out after 10 minutes. Too loud and not energetic enough. Everyone was in costume on the train. We got dessert and went home. It was a fun outing anyway.saturdayoct29-7

Friday October 28th 2016

I got up at 9:30am and started on my wild makeup until almost 1pm! Tasha came up to hang out with us. She had wanted me to do some crazy makeup for her, but of course I didn’t have time. I absolute loved it! By far the best look I’ve ever done. It took so long though! The teeth took for f’ing ever to get right, but I didn’t have to erase anything and start over. The look all came together at the end. I didn’t think it would when I started. Very bold and unusual for me! All you need is confidence to wear any look.14886178_1306882312679743_695084998_n 14886203_1306876192680355_434104376_n 14886358_1306881106013197_314233904_n 14885881_1306879709346670_722086122_n 14877942_1306882689346372_150177387_n 14914545_1306880666013241_976230310_n

Tasha walked with us to the subway and said goodbye. She’ll be in NYC for a few weeks. Cover Story was sangin’ away at the tunnel when we arrived. I always feel relieved when I see them there. They’re very kind and incredibly reliable. Never rude. We got ready and started prayformance. It was freezing. Herman always says hello to us. He jokingly tried to carry me away from Thoth. He really loves us. I really went for it today. I was gritting my teeth and being super expressive. Someone cheered after “Esh” and said, “Where can you see this world class art?” I love that. It was a great day for us. For some reason people are more generous on cold days! It’s as if they understand we are doing something special by playing and singing in the cold. Some people cheered for us in the middle of “Sea Expressions.” That doesn’t happen often! I told them that. “It should happen all the time.” they said. We get lots of compliments!

Sadly, Marcia, the amateur opera singer who sings after us, came over in the middle of our set and complained about the message I wrote to her yesterday. She had set up right behind us on Wednesday and turned up her boom box loudly when we were trying to pack up. Usually she plays at the back of the tunnel and we can pack up leisurely. It was too loud and way too aggressive for my taste. None of our fellow buskers at the tunnel would do that to us, nor would we to others. Plus, we’d had a really bad day.  I’d told her not to do that again in the message. “Boom boxes aren’t allowed in the tunnel anyway.” I’d written. She was very angry. “That’s bullshit. He’s bullshit!” she said pointing at Thoth. She claimed she had to play there because it’s cold and I didn’t care. I told her that a friend of ours told us he had heard her trying to send someone to bully us out of the tunnel. She flat out denied it to my face, but I told her I didn’t trust her anymore. Thoth did not speak. Marcia doesn’t listen. There’s no way to have a conversation. I always have compassion for others perspective, but I don’t like when someone doesn’t listen to me.

I was able to get her to go away and we continued playing without speaking about it until we finished. It would just make him mad. We continued to have a great day. Marcia set up in the same spot as Wednesday, but was much nicer about it. I asked her to at least turn the boom box down while we were in the tunnel. She did. We left the tunnel and I told Thoth what she said. We went home to put our things away and then went back out to our friends Eric and Belinda’s place for dinner. I wore my makeup. It was cold. The food was delicious. They are some of our closest friends in NYC.

Thursday October 27th 2016

We stayed home today! It was rainy and icky and cold outside. Yucky. Plus the Conservancy fundraiser tents were still up at the tunnel, so there was no reason to go out and play. We went out to get food. I wore my wire crown. Thoth was too cold so I went to get sushi and he went to get something else. “Are you a queen?” someone asked. “Yes.” I said. I talked to my sister on the phone while eating. She’s coming here to NYC for 10 days really soon! It started raining when I walked home. A group of homeless people saw me and were saying how cool I looked. I feel invisible half the time, so it was nice to be seen.

Our friend Tasha wrote to me and asked if she could spend the night. I asked Meli. She said yes, but it’s $25. I said I would pay for it, and I did. Tasha asked if Thoth could make his famous squash soup. I went out to get the ingredients at the grocery store. It was pouring with rain by the time I was walking home. Tasha arrived just as I got home. I let her in and Thoth made the soup. We hung out and laughed together. Meli came home and made a salad for us, then went out again. Tasha, me and Thoth ate on the floor with a pretty candle. It was so sweet and delicious. Yes. I cleaned the dishes and went upstairs to work on my new crown before bedtime.

Inspired by Butoh and Connecting with an Old Friend

Monday December 14th 2014

This morning Thoth got in bed with me, wrapped me in a blanket next to him and cuddled with me. He began rocking me back and forth. “Rock a-bye baby.” he said. Oh. My. God. So cute!

A friend wrote on my blog yesterday mentioning that a Butoh influenced dance group was giving a class today in SF. I remembered the word and looked it up. I had seen a few videos of this dance style in the past and didn’t like it. A woman standing on stage shaking with her eyes rolled back in her head seemed too one dimensional and simplistic to me. I looked up a documentary about it and found that it’s much more than that. I actually like it! It’s a style of Japanese dance created after WW2. I don’t really see it as dance though. More a type of theatrical expression. They’re not dancing like ballerinas dance, they’re expressing something deep and unconscious from inside themselves.

It made me look into how I prayform. I tend to make pleasant expressions with my face, body and voice when I’m performing. I never make ugly expressions, like gritting my teeth or sticking out my tongue or singing in a growly voice. I have a fear of looking like I’m crazy or scaring people. Thoth has tried to teach me to use a lot of different expressions instead of one expression all the time. For example, he will sing in his beautiful high voice, then start growling, then sing in his baritone voice. He always has different expressions on his face. To some people it may look crazy. It never did to me. I always saw it as him telling a story.

I do have a desire to break out of this “pretty girl” image, but I like it, too. I like being etherial and doll like, but I want to be scary and dangerous, too. I used to be more wild in my expression. I had an experience years ago where I was singing to a little girl and she ran away crying. It scared me. I love being beautiful, but there is this need inside me to not be sometimes. It encourages me that a dance style like Butoh exists. Something that is so dark, confusing, disturbing, and downright terrifying in it’s looks is embraced by a lot of creative people.

One comment under the Butoh video wrote, “Anyone can do Butoh if they’re on enough hallucinogens.” People write that kind of thing about us under videos sometimes. “What kind of drugs are they on?” or “They must be incredibly high!” It’s interesting people equate full expression with being on drugs. Maybe I will start exploring my wild self again in prayformance. It’s an exciting thought! I can always change. That’s the beauty of prayformance. I can be whatever I want. It’s interesting how we trap ourselves in these identities. I am a blank canvas. I want to always grow and change and challenge myself. I can be whatever I want, and prayformance is the perfect medium to do so. I want try out new pieces and work on being more intense at our house concert at John’s house this Saturday.

I had a wonderful talk on the phone with my old acting teacher Andrew Kimbrough. He was sitting outside watching his kids playing. I could hear them over the phone. Occasionally he called to them to be careful or something. I haven’t seen him in 7 years. He asked me how it was to be married. “I love it.” I said. I told him Thoth feels closer to me since our marriage, as if he feels more comfortable that we have made it official. He calls me sweet names more often and is more affectionate. It’s not something anyone else would notice accept me. Andrew is part a little group of people who get me. We were talking about how the world needs artists, despite that we misunderstand them. “We need you.” he said. It was so sweet. “I’m always rooting for you.” He’s really in my corner. I said I’d love to see him again someday, but I have no idea how we’d get to Stillwater. He said he’d like to be in a more urban area on the East coast. “In a few years we’ll be in a place where we can host you. You guys can come stay  with us and we’ll have fun.” he said. That will be so nice! He even said, “I love you” before he got off the phone. It made me so happy.

I first met him when I auditioned for The Tempest my freshman year in college. He was an amazing director. He encouraged me to write my first songs, which I got to sing in the play. My friend Will came and said I stole the show. Andrew was the first to introduce me to Meredith Monk, an artist who still influences me to this day. Her opera “Atlas” had a lot of influence the opera we just recorded yesterday. It was Andrew who gave me the motivation I needed to move to New York. He is the only person besides Will I keep in touch with from back then. He and I really connected. I was a young artist, hungry for someone to guide and direct me. He was a teacher looking for students who were passionate about learning. I’ll never forget when he helped me with my audition material for Circle in the Square Theatre School. He was the reason I got in and was able to move to New York (and eventually meet Thoth.) I am so lucky to have a group of people from all over the world who really love me and are in my corner. I could name names, but I’d leave people out!