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Protected: Frustrations with Audiences and New Artwork

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When Will Things Get Better?

I felt like shit before we went out to play. Hopeless, helpless. I can’t work on my play. I’m trying to think of ways for us to make more money, but there are none I can think of. No quick fixes. Patreon, but who would support us in the way we really needed? We’d need a significant amount of support to be able to support ourselves. I could ask people for help, my family for example, but don’t want to rely on them for help. I’m so scared and I don’t know what to do. We can’t survive on tips alone. It is barely enough to get by right now. It’s weighing heavily on my mind every day.

I got ready to play and did my makeup as always, but eventually I sat down wondering why I was even bothering. I’m worried about turning any lights on continuously, as it will add to the always unexpectedly ridiculous electricity bill we can’t afford at the end of each month. I snapped this one and only photo of the day. You can read my feelings on my face. What are we going to do? I just wanted to cry. I don’t know why I was putting makeup on. It doesn’t do anything for us. It doesn’t increase our money. It doesn’t help us. It can help my mood, but not today. My mind was elsewhere. I am preoccupied by money these days. I hate it. I need to pull myself out of it, but I can’t seem to. Usually I’m thinking about being creative and trying to write and draw and prayform beautifully. I have managed to keep my thoughts away from money since we got here. Just do my very best and things will get better, but two months of doing so badly it’s finally getting to me.

When we bike to the park to play, there is hope today will be different. There is hopefulness. Today was the same. Tori arrived all dressed up and so did Pascual. He had his hair slicked back and was wearing spats and a tie. Very nice. Both of them would help to sell CDs as best they could. While I was talking to Tori, a man and his wife bought two CDs and a download card from Thoth, That always lifts my mood and gives me hope to day will go similarly in terms of people’s generosity. I was more bubbly and full of good feelings as we started, but it didn’t last. We had a crowd for the first song, but it again was very slow. Crowds here and there, but not generous. I remember writing about these kinds of frustrations in Edinburgh in 2014.

I got more and more frustrated as we played. Same old same old. We were trying our best, people were watching us, but not coming forward. Every time I said we have our music available after a song, no one even inquired about it. The couple who’d bought two CDs came back to watch us for a while and bought another one. We told them they were making our day. The wife keeled next to me and I explained how hard it is for us not to sell CDs and we can’t survive on tips alone. “No, God no you can’t.” she said sympathetically. A sympathetic ear for once! So compassionate, and she didn’t really say much else than that. Just a little compassion goes a long way, especially right now when we’re struggling like this.

Bill couldn’t come today as he sprained his ankle on Monday slipping in the rain. Poor thing! We missed him. I hope he heals up soon so we can see him again. He is struggling too. Everyone struggles. When things are bad like this, the worst feeling is feeling alone, because no one can help us. Only we can figure it out. People could step forward and be especially generous all at once, but that doesn’t happen. We survive by a few people being generous for the many others who choose for whatever reason not to be. It’s been this way as long as I’ve been prayforming, almost 10 years. It hasn’t changed. People are greedy and ungenerous. That’s why I hesitate putting any of our music up for free online, as people would just listen to it and not give anything back, as most do in the park. I don’t trust people to surprise us by being generous.

I don’t know how we manage to keep things going. How do we manage to keep traveling and living in all these beautiful cities. NYC, San Diego, SF, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and London only from prayforming in public. I always fear that will end somehow. The only way it would end is if we stopped doing it. We’ve been to San Diego, San Francisco, Lisbon, Amsterdam, London, NYC, Malaga and Nashville just this year alone. I don’t want to stop traveling, no matter how hard it is, because it’s the only way we can keep playing. I hope things get better. I hope we can find another way, a way to fix this problem. We’ve been in worse experiences. When we finally find success, people will be wishing they supported us more. We need to figure it out. We will be stronger in the end. What won’t kill us will make us braver, stronger, more polished, more shiny and more beautiful. There has got to be a way. Please God make things better for us.

Freedom of Artistic Expression Under Threat in Balboa Park

Friday February 10th 2017
When I speak of “support”, I’m not speaking of people giving us money, I am speaking of people helping us and showing their support of our work in a variety of ways.
Three examples from today of what I mean:
-Complimenting our work.
Without being asked, a man at Balboa Park said he loves our CD and he still listens to it. He said it sounds like a soundtrack to a movie. That was incredibly encouraging for me before we started playing.
-Standing up for us.
I wrote something yesterday on Facebook about how artists aren’t supposed to talk about how hard it is to be an artist. A stranger said I was being arrogant, but our friend Risha stood up for me.
“Lila Angelique actually IS a great artist who inspires and creates beautiful things. Who are you to dictate that she can’t have a sense of self worth and know this about herself??? She was born gifted and has spent so much time and energy cultivating and developing these gifts in every way she knows how.”
Her words canceled out the stranger’s meanness. It helps so much when people stand up for me, even if they’re not %100 with what I’m saying.
-Helping us.
Today in the park, after we got stopped by a park ranger and a police officer, our friend Tori sat with us while I was hanging my head in despair and then said she would help by watching out for park rangers when we started playing again. She comes almost every day to see us and wants to help us.
Other things people can do to show their support:
Coming to see us prayform in public (staying the entire time and clapping is most appreciated) Talking to us after prayformance
Commenting on our online vlogs and blog
Sharing our videos with their friends
Sharing our music with their friends
Etc…
None of these things require money, and they are some of the most helpful things people can do.
Today the dreaded thing happened. We were in the middle of playing our second piece in the park when a park ranger truck rolled by. He stopped, turned his lights on and stood in the corner with a policeman and watched us. He walked past us. We had closed our violin cases, so there was nothing he could do. He stood in the corner and flashed a flashlight at us and motioned us over. He threatened us with a ticket for not having a permit. He claimed we have to go to the lottery (which happens the first Saturday of every month) to get a permit in order to collect donations. We don’t need a permit to express our artistic free speech. That is unconstitutional. The ranger claimed that once he saw money exchange hands, it was no longer freedom of speech, but commerce (which is also completely false) and he had no rules to back up his claim. He gave us a verbal warning, because we’re “awesome” and we spent an hour talking to the other buskers about it. At first, I was utterly broken and disheartened. While the officer spoke to us, everything broke apart in my mind. We wouldn’t be able to perform in Balboa Park anymore, so we wouldn’t be able to live in San Diego anymore. I guess the rangers would rather see us be homeless rather then share our music freely with park goers. I told Thoth I wanted to play again, even just a little, to try and get rid of these awful feelings, so we did. Tori watched out for park rangers, so we wouldn’t have to play scared. I thanked her. “Thank you for being brave enough to continue.” she said.
Now we’re scared. We know the rangers are trampling on our rights to freedom of speech, as happened in 2009 when we were arrested for prayforming Central Park. If we get a ticket, we could fight it in court, but we’re only here until the end of April. The rule of permitting buskers is unconstitutional. Someone needs to fight it and get it disbanded. A fan said he is going to start a petition to get the park to give us a permit, but I don’t know if that will happen, or even work. Why should we be afraid to prayform in Balboa Park? We’ve been giving our work to people for free at that park every winter since 2010. We have a following here and park goers love us. The park should thank us for the work we do, not threaten us with tickets. A fan, who is wanting to create a petition, said this about our work in the park:
You are an immeasurable asset to the park and the city while you are here. Undoubtedly tourism satisfaction experienced while you are in residence spikes, and you have extreme world appeal with the amount of ambiguity throughout the work, and all of it basically for free. They are actively placing you into poverty for no quantifiable reason other than control.
Balboa Park should welcome Tribal Baroque and thank us for what we do here. We are not doing anything wrong. We are not breaking any law. I need to learn that no one can control how I feel, even if they are trying to assert their authority over me. If I am breaking no laws, they have no right to detain or harass me. Period. I need to learn to control my emotions when confronted by authority. I need to be strong and stand within my joy. Just a moment before the ranger arrived, I had been feeling utterly at peace and happy. That ranger was trying to bring me into his realm, and I let him. I got sad and depressed, but no one can make me sad or emotional accept myself. I have the power to assert my constitutional rights and continue singing and performing in the park, no matter what rule there is against it. As long as I am not breaking a law, I have the right to do what I do in Balboa Park. I am not taking anyone’s money, they are freely giving it to me. I am not selling anything. I am flexing my rights to freedom of expression. Just because people give us money for our art doesn’t make it any less a first amendment right.
(Check out the Tribal Baroque vlog with footage of the ranger bothering us : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r02m_VZpAUw&t=3s)
(Also, check out my vlog talking about our work as freedom of artistic expression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9BCX5xaBKk)
Thursday February 9th 2017
We took the day off today and I had a very difficult time. I couldn’t get my writing together and I tried watching an online lesson about breaking into the “New Music Industry”. The speaker said “Doing it organically takes too long and is a waste of time.” That is how we live our lives, organically. Like our friend Tori said in her note on Sunday, You are a force of nature, taking it’s time, making its natural mark.” So is our lifestyle a waste of time? Why do I watch these things? I’m trying to learn something and all it does is depress me and cause me to go limp for the day creatively. I just stared at my new drawing feeling worthless and hopeless and wondering what the god damn point of it all is. I asked my friends of Facebook and got a multitude of answers. Thankfully we had dinner with Tori and Michael and they cheered me up.
“You are masters of the realm beyond.”
Wednesday February 8th 2017
I am so keen to fears and worries about the future. Our lifestyle is on the edge. We became aware that we are not moving CD units like we used to, and I got very scared. CDs are becoming extinct. It was a problem that has been sitting in the background of our lives all year. We didn’t move many units in Lisbon or NYC either. We have to find another way. I had a difficult play, but when we got home, I started drawing again and felt better. Thoth came up with the idea of having download cards of all of our albums available at the park. He ordered 100 for us.
Tuesday February 7th and Monday February 6th 2017
I was immensely creative on our days off. I drew two pictures of my characters from my play, and I wrote productively both mornings. When I am creative, I feel like my life has a purpose.

A Day of Peace at the Angel Tunnel

Thursday November 3rd 2016

I did no makeup at all today. It’s been a few months. No reason to unless I really want to and I feel up to it.14914838_1313273688707272_976931981_nWe had an incredibly quiet and serene prayformance at the Angel Tunnel today. I don’t know how we do it. I know it seems odd, my life, to those who don’t live it. Why do I get up every day and spend two hours doing makeup and two hours singing and playing violin in a tunnel? Well, because it’s the way I have found for my talents to be used to their best ability and make a living doing so. Finances aside, it’s a way for me to constantly try new things and challenge myself to be bolder and more outrageous. I have grown to learn wearing makeup and a costume has nothing to do with the audience, it has everything to do with my desire to be self expressive. Just as long as we sing, people love what we do.

I really played it very low today. Didn’t sing much or sing very high or do any outrageous movements or facial expressions. Mostly I had my eyes closed and was just enjoying our music. I don’t have to do anything if I don’t want to. I prayform because I want to, but the degree to which I prayform is up to me. I can sing high, low, wear makeup or not, wear a costume, or not, play violin or not. It doesn’t matter in what way I prayform, just as long as I am doing it. I just have to do it. Being a sensitive, emotional wreck of a human being is what makes it hard, but also what makes it amazing. I feel everything. I’m not a boom box. I’m not a robot. I’m a living, breathing soul in a physical body. My expression is what I have at hand, my vocal chords, my makeup, my pencils and drawing book, my computer. I realized today how blessed I am to have the gifts I have. I sing like an angel. I am an angel in training, as Thoth says. I want people to appreciate our work. I know it’s one of the most unique things happening in this world today, but I know not everyone will. In the future they’ll wish they did. It’s interesting to know that so fully and clearly. The most important thing is I am living my life the way I want to and I am doing it with someone I love more than anyone in the world.

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Dark, Rainy Play Days

Friday October 21st 2016

I got all dressed up as usual in 1…..

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-3-25-54-pm2…..screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-3-26-23-pm3!screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-3-24-40-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-21-at-3-25-22-pmand we headed to Central Park as usual. It was pouring with rain. We hesitated, but went out anyway. The tunnel was soaking wet and we couldn’t put anything on the ground. Marcela was there and was also wondering if she should sing. Thoth and I stood together talking about it and eventually decided to go home. I knew it would clear up and I’d wish we’d stayed. If only we’d brought some plastic bags to put our things on the ground. The floor was much too wet anyway. It would have been dangerous to play. Imagine someone pouring water all over a stage and then saying, “Now perform.” We wouldn’t. Same thing, accept for when the tunnel gets wet from rain it’s full of grime and dirt, which makes anything that touches it dirty. It will be very cold tomorrow, but we’ll be prepared! It was important we tried.

We went home and of course the f**king sun came out. Oh well! I hate loosing a prayformance day. We got something to eat and relaxed until time to have dinner. I love where we live. It’s so homey and safe and cozy, completely the opposite of last year!

Thursday October 20th 2016

I was inspired again today so I went for it with my makeup.

1 2 3 4I’m having fun vlogging again. Sometimes it gets so hard. I notice no one has commented on my blog for over a month. We need to find a way to drive traffic to my blog and our vlog channels. I think we’ll make brochures or something to give out in the park. Most people take pictures and videos of us and don’t bother getting our names before walking away. We have to find a way to draw more people to Tribal Baroque after they’ve seen us. I’ve always said if someone wants to look us up, we’re very easily accessible but today I saw how most every person watching us left without knowing who we are. The other thing is I don’t want to be giving away more free shit to people who are already taking our music, pictures and videos for free. There needs to be some kind of compensation. We should be getting hundreds of dollars per person for what they’re experiencing from us, but we get %1 of that. We do attract a huge amount of attention to ourselves when doing what we do. If people want to know who we are, they can easily do that. We can’t force them to. I kind of like making it a little more difficult. A lot of people recently have told us they came looking for us and didn’t know our name.

We had a fine play. Not the best. I got a bit discouraged when people weren’t so into clapping or coming forward, but some people were very moved and talked to us and bought CDs eventually. Our friend Jessie showed up out of nowhere and cheered me right up. She’s my favorite person (other than ourselves) who sings in the tunnel, as far as classical singers go. Not only does she have a pure, pleasant, she is a pleasant and genuinely respectful and loving person! We need more people like that. I love Cover Story, too because they are also genuinely friendly, talented and hard working. I made some vlogs and we went to 23rd St. to get salads. I saw two girls, one with light blue hair and one with light pink hair. Unusual.