Tag Archives: vlogger

We Do What No One Else Does

Friday October 14th 2016

I woke up around 9:30am and took an hour to act in private. Sometimes the need is so strong, I can’t deny myself or I’ll be too distracted throughout the day. I did my makeup for 2 hours and we took the train to the park. I love looking outrageous. No one cares, especially in NYC. It’s rare anyone will even stare at me or say something.  We got off at the wrong stop. Oops. We both weren’t paying attention. A few stops before our usual shop. Instead of going back, we got off at 53rd Street and walked to the center of Central Park, probably a mile. I was hot.

We got ready and when Cover Story was finished, we pulled our stuff into the center and got ready to play. We had a great day! We’re not selling many CDs these days. I wish there was another way. Maybe pretty download booklets. I don’t know. People ask about DVDs, but won’t buy them. I know people don’t buy CDs anymore. I don’t. We sold three. A record in the last week. Strange. When Thoth was first performing in the Angel Tunnel in 1999 and 2000 he’d sell tons of CDs, and people wouldn’t be standing there filming him or taking pictures, they would be watching with their own eyes. It’ll just get worse. I don’t know how street performers will continue even by the end of my lifetime, 50 or 60 years from now, let alone in 100, 200 or 1000 years. We’re keeping something alive that is rare and doing something that literally no one else does. That’s why people always say, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” because they haven’t. Who goes around the world in creative makeup and headdresses singing and playing violin and doing theater in public places. In years to come, people will wish they could have been there to see our public shows and support us. They’ll be shocked how little support we had in our lifetimes and be amazed we managed to continue and find success despite that. A world where a lying, thieving, racist pig could be our next president is no place where people can appreciate true beauty.

People didn’t clap at the last song. That always makes us sad. We gave everything for our last song especially and people are watching. They just don’t really know how lucky they are to be watching us. If the world knew what we are really capable of when we have %100 focus and enthusiasm from an audience, we’d be performing for big crowds every day for the rest of our lives. As long as we are street performers doing our art for free in public, people will look down on us and pass us over. We’re blessed we have something to express ourselves and touch people that cross us and have their eyes and ears open. Not many people do these days.

Thursday October 13th 2016

I did a vlog of my makeup.

Another day of rain. Not when we arrived at the tunnel, but soon after we began setting up it started pouring. The tunnel became full of people. So annoying. The floor gets wet and it gets loud. They all left once the rain stopped, thankfully. Dan came with flowers. He’s the only person in the world who knows we have our anniversary of our first meeting on October 11th. He always brings us flowers. He was there on our first anniversary to celebrate with us, and he’s here still. We have a few friends like that. Friends who have stuck with us through thick and thin since the beginning. Friends who have loved us from the moment they saw us and never stopped loving us.

The rain came in spurts, but eventually it cleared. We had a lot of fun today. I was as expressive as possible. I didn’t really like my makeup look, but I loved my big headdress. Dan took lots of pictures. We played a beautiful improvisation.

A Great Day for a Prayformance, Finally!!

Friday October 7th 2016

I was really not feeling it when I was trying to get ready today. For some reason I did myself up with makeup. I don’t know why. I was feeling so helpless. If that amplified trio comes down again today, I’ll loose it. I couldn’t smile on the train ride. 1Dan and Tina arrived at the Angel Tunnel to see us. I was in a bad mood, but having them there would help us. Their focus on us shows me we are being witnesses. They asked me why we don’t have physical copies of our new albums. “Because we have so many of the old ones. We have to sell those first. People only buy one CD, if any.” I said.

As we started playing, it was so peaceful and quiet I couldn’t really believe it. The entire time we played I expected to hear the trio start up, but they didn’t. As time continued on, they still didn’t start. I began relaxing and having fun. Tina was moving with the music and Dan was dancing with us and his camera, trying to capture a shot like he does. “Are you having fun?” I asked Dan. “I hope you’re having as much fun as I am. It looks like you are.” he said. That made me so happy. People were more generous and supportive today, thank goodness! I needed it! Really. It’s not just people’s generosity that makes a good day, it’s the connection we make with others.

A woman who follows my blog came to see us perform. “That angel is just a statue, you are the true angels of this park.” she said. What an incredible thing to say to us! People have said a lot of wonderful things over the years to us, but this is up there with the best. “And his laugh. His laughter is the icing on the cake.” she added. We were both so happy and buoyant, unlike the last few weeks. A good prayformance means everything to us.2

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Dan took us to the cafe in the park for dinner with Tina. I was so tired, and dreaming of doughnuts. We said goodbye to Dan and Tina in the subway and went home, laughing and smiling all the way. Bliss.

Tough Few Days

Thursday October 6th 2016

1 2I was so discouraged today. Didn’t want to go out to play at all. I was depressed. Started thinking about Martha’s Vineyard and how much I miss it. We will probably never go there again and I don’t know why. I loved Martha’s Vineyard. We were so supported there. I wish we had more of that. I was hoping we’d do a show once a year in Martha’s Vineyard, but that’s not happening. Not one person who saw the shows liked us enough to bring us back. It depresses me a lot when I think about it.

The park seemed busy and quiet. Three people were waiting for us to begin. One woman sat on a pillar. She had unicorn hair, like me. She had seen us last week, went to our website, read my blog and listened to all of our music. Her name was Rachael. I love that. Such a rare thing. No one has said anything about my blog for months. It’s hard to keep going when no one seems to care. It takes every fiber of our being to do what we do. It’s so easy for someone to write something, say something, throw us a dollar. The least anyone can do is show a little support.

Rachael sat and watched our entire prayformance. It helped to have one person witnessing us. We got through an hour and 40 minutes and I just couldn’t perform anymore. It wasn’t as bad as yesterday, but it was still slow. Rachael knelt and spoke with us while we packed up. The amplified trio started playing. Whenever we hear them, we get sad. I called the park rangers, but who knows if they would come. We walked to the train, got salads for dinner and went home.

Wednesday October 5th 2016

Today was tough. I wasn’t very inspired to get up and got out to play, but I did. I did very simple makeup and hair, but I felt beautiful. That’s all that matters.45Dan Rubin came and Cover Story was performing. They hadn’t been at the tunnel for a week. We missed them! They said hello to us. They had a big crowd and it was quiet, so we thought we’d have a great day. Not so much.

We had big crowds but that was it. Generosity? Clapping? Not so much. The entire two hours, the same. A big crowd would gather, they’d clap tentatively, then no one (or maybe just one or two people) would come forward and they’d all just stand there staring at us. No one said anything to us. It was especially hard after seeing a sold out show where people were laughing and cheering and clapping emphatically the night before. We are alone, especially when things get hard. Our frustrations, our bad days aren’t very important to anyone.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

I know. Boo hoo, poor me! I’m a world traveling musician who makes a living singing, only two hours a day. Easy you’d say. The truth is, it’s not! We’re struggling every day to get up and do it by ourselves. It is our choice to do it. That’s why no one else in the world does what we do. It’s too hard! I do wish it wasn’t such a lonely path. At least I have my Bunny. Being yourself requires trudging along through life alone. The fact I found someone to be at my side is incredible. We are alone, together, fighting the constant and daily uphill battle to make our art in this unfair and unjust world.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

Photo by Dan Rubin.

The fact we’re still doing it, that Thoth has been doing this for half his life is staggering. No matter how many great days we have, the days always get hard again. That’s life. We treated ourselves to salads and doughnuts for dessert.

Monday October 3rd 2016 and Tuesday October 4th 2016

So Monday and Tuesday (our days off) were pretty chill. On Monday we went to see a movie on 23rd St. and got a sandwich, doughnuts (at the best doughnut shop in NYC, Doughnut Plant) and ate our (free) leftovers from Sunday night at home. For how little I eat, I f’ing LOVE food!

On Tuesday we stayed in the house all day until time to go see “Falsettos” on Broadway. Sarah Kernochan, James Lapine’s wife, got us free tickets in the orchestra. (James is the director and book writer of the show.) We got there early and got a juice to tide us over for dinner. Picked up our tickets at the box office and went in.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was James. I got up and hugged him. Such an awesome guy. We haven’t seen him since our opera commission last August in Martha’s Vineyard. He’s one of those people I love and admire a lot yet hardly ever see, like my other friend James, from England.

The first act was hysterical. The second act was more serious. I liked the first act more. James talked to us a little when the show was over. The show is in previews so he has to be there to watch it and give notes at the end. Stressful. We walked to 41st St. to have burgers for dinner. It was past midnight when we got home.

The Battle is Won Today

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.

Steadfast Amongst the Ebb and Flow

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.