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.
Sunday July 29th 2016
I dreamed about a person it’s painful to dream about. They don’t want me to write about them. I always dream that we are friends or becoming friends and then I wake up and realize we’re not. It’s hard. I talked to Thoth about it when I woke up. He believes that I have a preminition that we’re going to be friends, be closer and work together in the future. That’s a nice thought.
It was our last prayformance in Lisbon tonight. We went out to sushi at Miss Jappa for lunch and sat in the park. It’s always wistfully sad when we have a last day. It will be 9 months until we play at 56 Rua Garrett again. We always have 9 months between when we’ll be in a city again. That’s a long time to miss friends, restaurants and our performance spot. It’s good for us. Good for our work and good for everybody. It’s tough sometimes, but I’m pretty used to it by now, after 7 years. 🙂
We went to lunch at Miss Jappa. My sushi wasn’t as good as I’m used to. Our favorite chef, Rui, was on vacation. Oh well. We’ll be back next year. The waiter who’s been serving us once every week for 2 months was there to say goodbye. He was genuinely sad to see us go. “Oh my god.” he said sadly.
We walked over to sit in the park for the last time. It was so cool and breezy. I’m pleased it was comfortable for our last week here. I love Lisbon when it isn’t hot. We only had two heat spells. Not too bad, and only near the end of our stay. I love sitting in the parky with my Bunny-kins.
We went home and I bleached my roots for tonight’s prayformance. I did myself up more than usual tonight.
A man waited for an hour for us to play and then sat and watched us for an hour. He cheered and was majorly focused on us while we played. I was hoping he’d talk to us, but he didn’t. He got up and stood in the doorway watching us for a bit longer, which changed the energy of the night completely. Once he left, the night wasn’t as good anymore. It was actually a disappointing prayformance to end our stay here, but overall it was a great season, so I wasn’t very affected by it.
Our friends Jake, Elisa and Sergio came by when we finished and I asked if they’d like to come to dinner with us. A man who’d been watching us play stopped by when we finished and said, “You guys are fucking awesome.” in a really casual but sincere way. He was a New Yorker. He gave us a tip, which cheered us up. We asked if our friends wanted to come have dinner with us at Indreni. They did. Jake had this great thing about alien encounters. We were talking about if we thought they were real or not. Jake said animals in sanctuaries sometimes get picked up by humans to be checked and looked at, then they’re released back into the wild. Their experience with humans is something they don’t understand, like we don’t understand aliens. Jake was talking from the perspective of the rhino saying, “Hey guys, you won’t believe it, but I got abducted by aliens!” It was hysterical. I couldn’t stop laughing. Elisa and Sergio went to catch the ferry home and Jake walked us home. He works at the hostel right near us. “When we get famous someday, the people who loved us before we were famous will be famous too. Our friends who love us now love us because of who we are, not because we’re famous. ” I said. “But you are famous.” he said. “No we’re not!” I said laughing. “You are to me.” he said. What a great thing to say. Thank you Luke.
Saturday July 28th 2016
I had a dream about someone I try not to think about. It made me very sad. I dreamed we were friends, when in real life we’re not. Whenever I dream about this person it hurts me. I talked to Thoth about it when I woke up. He thinks I have a premonition. That’s nice to imagine. It’s nice I can talk to my husband about anything. He’s so understanding and compassionate. He never judges me or takes things personally. I love him so much for that. He always tries to make me feel better when I’m feeling down.
I didn’t wear any makeup, since the night before had been pretty slow. Instead, I put tons of flowers all over my top and skirt. We had a fun prayformance tonight. A woman watching us last night came again tonight and invited us to Paris! We’ll put that into our plans for next year! We’ve always wanted to go back there. We can revisit the place we were on the street for one night 6 years ago. That will be interesting.
We had our last dinner at Sacramento.
Friday July 27th 2016
We had another slow night tonight. A woman talked to us about halfway through our 2 hour set and said, “You guys should be famous.” It made my night. We had a nice dinner at Cultura Do Hamburgures (which ended up being our last dinner there.) I was watching the waiters running around and the chefs making food and it made me feel grateful I don’t have to do something so repetitive as that.
Thursday July 26th 2016
What I do want are places to live that are beautiful and private or to live with hosts who are attentive, respectful and supportive towards us and our work. I want to live in places that are within minutes of our performance spots.
I want each audience member who watches us to openly and enthusiastically appreciate what we’re doing and give back as they truly should.
I want us to be more comfortable when we travel.
I am incredibly appreciative of what I have, despite my complaints and frustrations.
I do expect too much of people.
My husband is most perfectly suited for me. I am so lucky to have him. I knew he would be when I first met him, and he was. Not only do we sing perfectly together, we are perfect for each other. We compliment each others personalities. It’s truly astounding. I am very lucky. You only find something like that once in a lifetime I think.
We had a great play tonight. Each prayformance immensely affects my mood. I’m a very moody person. I probably seem like a basket case to people who don’t know that. It was really fun to play tonight. It made us both really, really happy. We’ll leave here with very happy memories. 🙂
Sunday April 26th 2015
Someone pulled us over on our bike ride to the park to give us a tip. “I’ve seen you many times and was never able to tip you. Here.” he said. That’s never happened before.
Today’s prayformance in Balboa Park was beyond words. I can’t describe it.
Support. So much support. Love. Care. Understanding. All the things we were needing. All the things that make us feel like we’re doing something worthwhile with our lives. All the weariness in me melted away. The words people said filled me with humbleness and awe.
“Balboa Park is called the crown jewel of San Diego, but you are the crown jewels of Balboa Park. The park should be sponsoring and promoting you. Your major success is long overdo.” a big fan named Jason said to us before we started.
Bill came at 3:30, just as we started.
“Aren’t they transcending?” a belly dancer in the audience said when we finished. “Yes they are.” someone replied.
Forrest arrived after our first piece and was standing to the right of us. Usually he sits in his favorite little spot to the left of us next to the bars. He took the spot once the person who was standing there moved. Bill always stands to the back. Jason stayed, too. All three of them watched us for the entire 2 1/2 hours we played. People even sat down and watched us. We didn’t have to gather a crowd after every piece, people were waiting for us to play again. This always happens when we’re about to leave places. Everyone comes to see us because they know they won’t see us until next year. I am gobsmacked how many people come to see us. Even Sister Yeshe and Della stopped by to say hello. They couldn’t stay, but they stopped by! It means so much to us that people are aware of our existence and make a point to come see us. Sometimes I feel invisible, but I’m not. People love what we do and people will always love what we do. It transcends race, religion, gender, age, and even musical preference.
We really, really went for it today. We made and video of the entire thing. Maybe we’ll post it so people can see how the opera has evolved! It was such an amazing day! God I wish I could explain it clearly! I’m so bad with words. Having a group of people stay the entire afternoon really helps us. God, I need to stop using REALLY so much! Really really really really really! I felts so good. I need to stop saying SO so much too! Ha! SO SO SO SO SO SO!!!!!
There was something magical about today. The feeling of people’s love and support was staggering. When we finished a piece, people clapped and clapped and clapped, like we were performing in a theatre. They actually clapped! Like seriously majorly supportive, loving, incessant clapping. I don’t even remember the last time that happened? Speaking for myself, I do love feeling supported and loved. I know Thoth does, too. He’s able to prayform fully and passionately with or without it, but I need applause and an audience to truly put my all into the work. It’s still beautiful when we don’t have a big crowd around us, but when we have many, many of attentive eyes on us, my energy shoots up and I give it %150. That’s the reason the Martha’s Vineyard show was such a success. There were 250 eyes focused on us and the way they cheered. Oh please. Yes. Give me that every single day for the rest of my life and I would die a happy woman. That’s what our work is made for. Focused attention from a lot of people. We don’t get it all the time, but when we do, we EAT IT UP!
We played the entire opera and then continued with some older songs we haven’t played in a while. I no longer felt like I had to move in a certain way. I realize that when doing our older work, I mirrored Thoth a lot. I didn’t know when else to do. I was being safe. For this new work, I feel I’m coming more into my own and individuating. I will continue to do so as the years go by. When I think about it, I was so ready for us to create a new work, but I didn’t know if I could. Now I know that I can. The opera was so different 4 months ago. The transitions were awkward and I wasn’t comfortable with the new ostinatos or the endings. Things take time to come together, especially with our work. We have to take it out in public as soon as possible, even though we’re not completely comfortable with it. For the first few months we would play a new piece, then a few older pieces, than a new piece. We would end up only playing 2 or 3 new pieces per day, which caused some pieces to advance faster than others. A few months ago I told Thoth we needed to play the opera the entire way through every day, and we did. It was uncomfortable at first, but it began to take roots and solidify within a few months. Amazing. Now I know how it works and we will use the same process when creating another opera in the future.
Forrest, Bill and Jason stayed behind to talk with us when we finished. I told Forrest how our week went. “I really hope I’m in a better position next year to help you.” he said. Such a generous and supportive friend! “I’m so lucky to be able to see you. In the future other people will wish they could.” he said.
Jason and I talked about the thuggish break dancers we have to deal with in New York. He follows our travails through our blogs so he knows about the encounters we’ve had with them. He really understands how horrible they are. He even told us about a video he saw of them when they jumped on a man who kicked their money box in Union Square. What thugs! I told Jason the best way for me to deal with them is to try to make the best of it. “It’s like they’re in a gang and you’re on their turf.” Jason said. I told him how I tried talking with them a few years ago and they all of the sudden called me a racist. “The best response to that is, ‘Well you’re a poo poo head.'” Jason said. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to talk to anyone about them like I did with Jason. He really gets it. He and Bill started doing this hysterical skit pretending to be us. Kind of like a Tribal Baroque parody. I’ve never seen anything so funny. I wish I got it on film. I wish someone was filming our every move!
Someone else who had seen us perform at a party saw me outside the grocery store and gave me some money, too. Wow.
We got home and were bombarded with invites for our days off. Our friend and fan Mel is picking me up on Wednesday to bleach my hair at her salon as a going away gift. Last year she came to the house to do my hair, but I’m pretty good at it now with Thoth’s help. She’s such a generous person. How lucky I am to have a hairdresser for a friend! I wish I could put her in my pocket and have her travel around with me. I also was invited to a woman’s dinner on Wednesday night. Bassemah is gonna pick me up. We have to film the opera in a studio we rented on Thursday. Another friend and fan, Sister Yeshe, said she and Sister Ida wanted to treat us to dinner before we go. We planned for Saturday. That will be fun. We’ll be pretty busy until we leave! That’s always what happens. At least we have tomorrow and Tuesday to rest.