Monthly Archives: June 2010

mother nature, please be kind to the statue girl.

didn’t make it to waterfire. between being exhausted and slightly sleep deprived from my ten31 gigs, and seeing a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast throughout my usual busking hours, i decided not to risk getting caught in the rain and destroying my new costume. i missed two waterfires in a row because of the weather. one of these days i’ll have to buy a solid white umbrella. i was informed by mister anselmo, though, that there was a girl trying to be an angel statue or something, and doing a very poor job of it, in the area of my pitch. hopefully she doesn’t try to do the same thing when i’m busking. if she does, i’m not going to hesitate to flat out tell her leave. i’m tired of these damn kids trying to invade my waterfire space. the festival’s huge, and i’m pretty sure samara and i are the only statues there now aside from ten31’s installation. go find your own damn pitch.

i haven’t finished the videos from father’s day yet, but i’ve got tomorrow off so i’ll try to get them done and uploaded. i did do a bunch of work on my website, though, and it actually looks kind of decent now.

i’m going to try busking in plymouth this sunday. i’ve never been to the waterfront on the fourth, so i don’t know if i’ll be able to set up in any of the pitches i’m familiar with, and i don’t know how much trouble i’m going to have finding a place to park my car. there seems to be a significant gap between the parade in the morning and the concert/fireworks at night. nothing else is going on, according to the town website. hopefully that means i’ll be able to set up in my little circle across from the rock around 4:00 without any trouble. ideally, it also won’t be ninety degrees. gotta love new england. summer takes its sweet ass time getting here, but when it finally does show up, it’s serious business.


returning to old territory.

on father’s day, i decided to take advantage of the holiday and the good weather [as brief as it was] and busk in plymouth. i used to busk on the waterfront frequently. i’d be out there every week throughout the summer, in the heart of all the tourist action, where the paved paths were roomy and there was plenty of comfortable shade. but, after a couple years, i started being asked to leave by the park rangers. huh? as it turns out, the waterfront area where the rock and mayflower II are is all state park. that means no solicitation. okay, that might’ve been nice to know, like, when i started busking right next to plymouth rock. i don’t know why it took so long for anyone to say anything to me. but, for the most part, the rangers were really nice about it and even tried to help me find a new pitch. the few options i had left either had very little foot traffic, or it was way too sunny to be out in the middle of the day when there was the most foot traffic. plymouth became a hassle, and i was working more and had less free time for busking anyway. my presence at the waterfront began to fade out.

then i learned that two teenagers had started statuing on the waterfront. they had seen me performing and decided to try doing it themselves. okay, cool, i like being inspirational and all that. but couldn’t you find your own place to do it? they were getting kicked out of the same places i’d been kicked out of. they tried busking inside the kingston mall, and got kicked out of there, too. good job, now you’ve made people think living statues are disrespectful morons. not to mention the fact that a lot of people think you and i are the same person, so you’re basically fucking up my reputation.

this summer, i’m taking back my turf, i’m restoring my repuation, and i’m showing people the difference between myself and the teenagers who try to follow in my footsteps. i’ve found a pitch on the waterfront that’s comfortable if i start after 3:00, earlier if it’s overcast. my first day went exceptionally well.

+ everybody seems to love my costume. and my new boots are totally comfy!

– i heard more “oh look! it’s lady gaga!” sigh. it’s going to be a looong season if this is the kind of shit i’m gonna start hearing every time i busk.

+ adorable children! one little girl in particular. oh my jesus, i loved her so much. wyatt captured most of the cuteness on video, and even though it’s a bit shaky, i have to put it on youtube. you will die from the cute, i swear.

+ the great thing about busking in plymouth is the polite audience. sometimes i forget that intoxication isn’t a regular part of every busking experience.

+ the funny thing about busking in plymouth is the scattered audience. sure, there’s usually a few families gathered right in front of me. but there are also people watching me from across the street. and from the top of the hill next to me. and from their cars, which starts to cause traffic jams. i love it.

– i was grabbed at once, by a young boy who seemed to be a bit lacking in the IQ department. i was thoroughly irritated that his mother allowed him to walk right up and reach for me. he didn’t even seem to notice when i grabbed his arm and held onto it very firmly. he just kept reaching. the family hung out for a while, and thankfully the mother didn’t let it happen again. but she shouldn’t have let it happen in the first place.

+ i’m a sucker for funny photo opps when i’m on break. this guy rode by while i was performing, came back while i was taking a break, and asked if i’d mind sitting on his motorcycle for a photo. of course!

saturday is waterfire. i also have ten31 gigs friday night and saturday afternoon, then i’m having a few friends over for a belated summer solstice party on sunday. monday, i will do some video editing and get new stuff up on youtube if i haven’t died of exhaustion.

how to stand still.

this is, obviously, one of the things people ask me about all the time. how do i stand so still? well, it’s not easy. but it’s not necessarily as difficult as you might think.

practice. practice. practice. just like any other physical activity, the more you do it, the better you get at doing it. already being in decent shape is also helpful.

do not overexert yourself. i’m guilty of doing exactly that every now and then, because i get cocky, or i stop paying attention to what my feet and legs are doing, and then i find myself stuck in a pose that’s very difficult to hold, and all i can think is “oh, please, someone help me! save me! put something in my tip jar, i don’t care what it is, just get me out of this!” and then i start to get a little shakey. it’s just not good. i’ve been doing this for nearly six years now, i should know better by now. but that just goes to show how easy it is to forget.

relax and let your skeleton support you. don’t use muscles that you don’t have to use. tension is your worst enemy! a tense muscle quickly becomes a shakey muscle, and shit just goes downhill from there. keeping your feet at least hip-width apart will help you maintain balance without having to work too hard. keeping your arms low and close to your body is much easier to hold than bringing them up and out. also, posture. i cannot put into words how important it is to keep your spine in proper allignment while performing as a living statue. i used to have a terrible habit of sticking out my chest, but also letting my abdominals relax completely, hollowing out my back. after every performance i’d end up practically disabled for a day or two from a very sore and tender lower back. then i started bellydancing, and realized how atrocious my posture really was. always keep the abs engaged. [gently] suck in that gut! your back will thank you.

the most important factor in this equation, though, is the mind. you need patience. you need to be able to ignore little discomforts, like an itch, or a tickle in your throat, or a sneeze trying to form in the depths of your sinuses. you need to simultaneously maintain focus on what you’re doing, what’s going on around you, and also not get frustrated or bored and just give up. when i perform on the street, i only move when a kind stranger drops a donation in my tip jar. sometimes, that means waiting for what seems like forever. sometimes there’s a lot going on around me with a large audience, sometimes i’m performing for no one. now, i’m not going to say i never opt for a break when things are very quiet. but i generally try to keep going, because one never knows when a crowd could form.

there’s also the matter of people being assholes. what are you going to do if someone pokes you? slaps you? grabs your ass? tries to get a rise out of you by pretending they’re going to steal your tip jar? gets all up in your face and starts telling racist jokes? i, personally, am a firm believer in self-defense. there are too many living statues out there who tolerate all kinds of harrassment because, apparently, staying in character and holding your pose is more important than defending yourself against the drunk who is trying to grab your crotch. and to that, i say, are you crazy?! if you wouldn’t let someone do something to you while you were grocery shopping, why would you allow it to happen while you’re performing? if someone makes uninvited physical contact with me, i do not hesitate to grab, slap, poke, or push them. if they get out of arm’s reach too quickly, then i’ll at least flip them off. one of my biggest regrets is not abandoning my performance to tackle the douchebag who snuck up behind me and screamed right in my ear. or at least shouting to my audience to grab him so i could get the cops involved. but, people are stupid, shit happens, and you can’t let it get you down.

rain, rain, go away…

forecast says showers tomorrow, starting shortly before i plan to arrive in providence for waterfire. if it’s not too cold and wet, i’ll just bring my parasol and hope for the best. but i’m prayin’ for sun! if i get rained out, i’ll try busking in plymouth on sunday instead.

busking season has begun.

waterfire went exceptionally well. i originally intended to utilize my new base and set up on the steeple street bridge, where there’s a little plaza type spot with great lighting and lots of foot traffic. upon arrival, though, i discovered that waterfire has chosen that spot for their new merch tent. kind of annoying. so the base went back to the car and i set up in my usual pitch. they left the streetlights on so the lighting was much better than usual, and i hope they continue to leave those lights on during waterfire. it’d be nice to break out my darker metallic costumes and still be seen. anyway, on to the highlights.

+ my friend, matt, totally saved the day and came to be my assistant for the evening.

+ so many adorable children. several walked right up, fearlessly, and grabbed my outstretched hand when i knelt down to say hello.

+ i was not poked, grabbed, slapped, or groped at all. i also did not have any smartasses jumping up onto my ledge and trying to immitate me. that’s a first!

– i forgot the box of business cards that i usually put out next to my tip jar. oops. i always forget something for the first waterfire of the year.

– i heard passersby make “oh look, lady gaga’s here” type comments four times over the course of the evening. ugh. fuck you.

+ i saw some of my favorite regulars, and i did not see any of my annoying regulars.

+ when i decided to call it quits for the night, matt and i got some food from the indian stand and sat down for a quick meal before heading home. luckily, this guy who took a ton of photos while i was performing saw us and came over. we chatted for a while, i gave him one of my cards, he said he’d send me the photos. he also said one of the photos might end up decorating a skateboard. my life is a little strange sometimes. but it’s also kind of awesome.

+ my posture awareness has gotten so good, only my calves were sore the next day, and that’s just from my boots not being comfortable or supportive at all. i have ordered new boots, combat style, and they even have white soles!

+ everybody seemed to like my new costume. i heard one woman say it was very modern, but also retro. and, for the record, i think i’ve decided on a new name for the character. lily. everyone knows the term “lily white”, it’s a pretty flower name without sounding too old-lady-ish, and i can add the extra touch of attaching a lily to my tip jar.

+ i received three carnations [two white, one red], a demo, and one of andrew’s origami flowers [] with a phone number scribbled on it. dude couldn’t even give it to me himself, he had to have a friend put it in my tip jar. seriously? this is one situation in which you can’t be rejected, and you still don’t have the balls to speak for yourself. pitiful. but funny.

i did pretty well money-wise. most of it is going toward new tires for my car [which decided to get a flat right as i was about to leave for a ten31 gig in boston and sent me into a panic attack]. but, more importantly, the crowd was fantastic and i had a ton of fun. it was one of those perfect busking experiences that reminds me why i love doing this. next waterfire is this saturday. i can’t wait!

in other news, i’m working on some “how to” posts, since everyone wants to know how i do what i do, and i’ve also had quite a few people interested in becoming living statues ask me for advice over the years. if anyone has specific things they’d like to see in these “how to” posts, leave a comment here or email me!

stress stress stress

my first waterfire of the year is friday. holy shit, dudes. as usual, i’m not nearly as prepared as i should be. i was hoping to get some busking time in plymouth over the long weekend, but i caught a cold on friday, and statuing with a runny nose does not make for fun times. so, physically, i’m kind of fucked from lack of practice. my costume is as complete as it needs to be, though i really need to get new gloves and boots as soon as i can afford to do so. the difference in color between those and the rest of the costume really irks me. i also want to get a whiter wig, though good ones are hard to find. ugh, so many little things to do. have to remove the studs from the belt. have to hem the pants. have to get inserts for the boots. have to finish painting the tip jar. have to touch up the base.

i’m also freaking out over the fact that i’ll probably have to do waterfire alone. just carrying all my stuff from the parkinglot to my pitch is going to suck balls. and not having someone by my side to step in if some douchebag crosses a line? no one one to take videos/photos for me? who will help me down off my base for a break when my knees are threatening to give out? sigh.

but enough about my anxieties. this blog needs a whole new set of content. what would you most like to see? more questions answered? tips on how to be a living statue? my philosophical thoughts? my biggest pet peeves? i’m taking all requests.