Friday October 21st 2016
I got all dressed up as usual in 1…..
2…..3!and 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.
I’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.
Sunday October 2nd 2016
I had more hope for today’s prayformance to be peaceful and quiet. I was really tired because I hadn’t slept well. Big party last night at the apartment with our housemate as the DJ. Too loud for us. Thoth let me sleep until noon. I got up, did some simple hair and makeup and we got ourselves to Central Park.
For some reason, the break dancers were performing downstairs. The Boyd family had stopped playing. We started getting ready. The break dancers stopped. Once we were ready and I went to the bathroom and came back, Thoth was standing in the circle looking towards where the break dancers usually are. “The trio is here.” he said. “What trio?” I asked. “You know.” he said. It was the noisy amplified trio. Two guitarists and a djembe player. Thoth said he tried to talking to them, but they weren’t budging. A few weeks ago Thoth had spoken to the djembe player, who was the nicest of the three, but the lead guitarist was the rudest. I tried speaking to him, but he wouldn’t listen. “We have to play.” he said coldly.
I called the park rangers. “I’m at Bethesda Terrace.” I said. “We know. A unit is coming.” they said. “Amplified music.” I hadn’t even said anything. The trio had stopped. I went upstairs to see that a park ranger truck was there. I went and talked to them, asking why they don’t station someone there. They don’t have enough rangers available. “They’ll start up again the moment you leave.” I said. We were able to play half of “Anya” in peace, but instead of the trio starting up again, the break dancers came back down. It was that way for an hour or more of our set, but eventually they left and we had some quiet. Thank goodness. We needed it. It was a tough day.
We packed up and went to dinner at Indigo, our favorite Indian restaurant near 72nd St. I wasn’t feeling so great. People always say we should be performing in big, respected venues, but I don’t know how that would happen. Even if it did, I don’t know how it would change that we perform in public for a living. We did a pretty big show in Martha’s Vineyard last year with James Lapine, and it didn’t change that we still perform in public. I don’t think it will ever change. There’s nothing wrong with that, but many people do act as if performing in public is beneath us.
A woman came upstairs to our table at dinner. It was the woman who saw us perform last week and said “I don’t know which of you is more beautiful.” She had paid our bill. I was so shocked I wanted to cry. “Don’t ever stop doing what you do.” she said. The universe has a way of telling us we’re doing the right thing.
Saturday October 1st 2016
Yesterday we stayed home from the park. Thoth was getting over a cold and it was too rainy and cold to go out anyway. I practiced violin in the hallway. It was too busy out there, so I continued practicing in the apartment. Our housemate Amy loves our music. I found some backing tracks on Youtube, which I sang and played with. It was fun. I’m trying to get better at improvisation on violin. In the evening, I dyed my bangs pink, purple and blue.
Today we went out to play. I expected nothing. Saturdays are like that. I did myself up and loved my look. The tunnel was wet so Thoth found a mop and cleaned up so we could set up and play. Our LA friend Ross, who’s known Thoth for years and years, showed up out of the blue to see us perform! “I didn’t want to tell you I was coming and then not show up. I know how you don’t like people to do that.” he said. He got situated in the corner leaning on a pillar. Paul was there, too and an artist friend of his who sat next to Ross to draw us. All three of them watched our entire show. Ross put a dollar in our case after every song, trying to get people to do the same.
It was a tough day. The break dancers were downstairs almost the entire time. We got the first three songs in quiet and of course had big crowds, but once they started up our crowds went to watch them. I don’t take it personally anymore. There was an event upstairs and they always come downstairs when there’s something happening at the Bandshell. It’s annoying, but there’s nothing we can do other than play. At least they’re not playing a boom box loudly anymore. They could turn it up at anytime though.
We had times playing today with almost no audiences, which is hard for me. I try to remember that we’re not doing it for the audiences and the money, we’re doing it for a much more spiritually and artistically significant reason. We’re doing it because we must. It gives us our life purpose and meaning. It directs us and focuses us. It keeps us going no matter what happens. It is what gives us strength and pride. Money and audiences come because of our dedication to doing it. A miracle in our lives. I am so grateful to have prayformance.
Some people said some wonderful things at the beginning. When we finished, Ross reflected what he experienced. “It was actually more inspiring when you were playing to very few people. You were this thing that stayed steadfast as everything ebbed and flowed around you.” he said. He said especially when we were playing “Plucking Song” up front and the break dancers were doing their big spiel. “There’s this beautiful gem here for anyone who passes by.” he said. It was so nice to have that reflected to us. I felt that way, too.
We talked with our friends. Paul recited a poem he wrote about Thoth as we stood around him. It’s a poem he wrote about a magical thunder storm that happened back in 2009 at the tunnel. A big thunder clap came crashing down as Thoth sang and hammed on the foot drum. It was an amazing moment, perfectly captured by Paul’s poem. He’s a brilliant poet. His friend, the painter, recited another poem by Paul he had memorized. Paul recites his poems quietly and reverently. We treated ourselves to Santos Anne for dinner.
Thursday September 29th 2016
I had a bad night. Stomach ache. All night. Didn’t sleep well. Was exhausted when I woke up. Didn’t want to get up. I was in bed until an hour before we had to go. I really didn’t want to go out to play. Thoth convinced me by saying it will be worse weather tomorrow. I got up and somehow dressed myself and put some black around my eyes. No concealer or white face. Just simplicity. It doesn’t matter either way.
We got ourselves to Central Park somehow. I was so tired. Infinity and her brother Abraham were there. They weren’t singing anymore and it seemed pretty slow out. We set up to play and I talked to Abraham. “People miss you. All year round people ask us ‘Where is Thoth?'” That made me feel better. Paul was there, and watched our prayformance from behind a pillar. He led a lot of the clapping.
We ended up having a great play. People were incredibly generous to us at the beginning. “Never stop doing this. Don’t let anyone ever convince you to stop.” someone said as they walked away. I love when someone says that. It’s one of the most encouraging things anyone could say. There’s much doubt one experiences doing something original with one’s life. I could have pursed being an opera singer or a Broadway singer, but I chose to do something no one else does. It’s easy to wonder in times of depression if I’m doing the right thing. I don’t feel that way now. I feel incredibly blessed. We only played for an hour because it started getting too cold. It’s amazing we only have to play for up to 2 hours. We don’t have to do any more than that. Someone else said how emotional and moving our music is. I love that people experience that even though we aren’t singing any words.
We talked with Paul as we packed up. He had given Thoth some interesting information about Marcela (the girl who sings three opera pieces over and over in the tunnel). Thoth told me that last week while we were in Malaga, a man was talking to Paul, bragging about how strong he was. While they were talking, Marcela called this man and claimed we had set up on her last week and wanted him (who was her uncle or something) to bully us out of the tunnel. She tried to get a few other guys on her side, but one of these guys was our friend Mega Flash, who knows and respects Thoth immensely. He told Marcela she should “Respect that man.” So basically Mega Flash protected us from being harassed at the tunnel. I’m glad. No one can stop us from performing in a public space. No matter how much I may not like someone’s performance, I have never considered conspiring to throw them out. How much of an ego do you have to have to think like that? We were harassed before by Miriam (aka Opera Demon)’s henchman back in 2013. All he accomplished was looking like an idiot. He didn’t stop us. Those of you who saw the video know what I’m talking about. When we were arrested back in 2009 in the Angel Tunnel, we didn’t stop singing until the song was over and I put my violin down and they put hand cuffs on us. We went out of the tunnel singing in handcuffs. No one can stop us.
We were taken to dinner by Sarah Kernochan tonight. James Lapine, her husband, is beginning previews for the revival of “Falsettos.” She said we could go see it one night. That will be fun. It would be nice to see James again. He’s such an amazing person. I have a lot of friends like James who I love and respect so much, but rarely see. It just makes me love them more. 🙂 Sarah used to read my blog every day, but she doesn’t anymore because she gets too worried about us. Every time we see her now, she wants to know everything about what we’re doing. She is one of our close friends and really does care about us. She encouraged me to be more aggressive in finding gigs for us, the same way I’m aggressive about finding housing for us.
I lost the footage I filmed today. I’m sorry I can’t share it with you! I don’t even have a photo of my look!