Monthly Archives: July 2010

waterfire tonight! it’s gonna be chilly. i may have to bring some less-than-ideal costume pieces to stay warm. but at least it’s not thunderstorming!

trying to stay positive.


weekday busking and ten31 productions ten year anniversary.

on a whim, i decided to try busking in plymouth last thursday. there was a free concert at the waterfront at 7:00, and i figured i’d see what the crowds were like, since there are quite a few free concerts throughout the summer and it could be a good busking opportunity. i set up at about 4:30 and put two solid hours in. when i got down for a break, i realized my makeup was suffering [the only problem with my new makeup system is the fact that i have to get it exactly right when i first apply it or it’ll look like shit], and it was getting chilly, so i packed up and went home earlier than i planned to. but i’m glad i got off my ass and went busking without an assistant. it’s been a long time since i’ve had to go out alone.

– almost immediately, i was approached by another teenage douchebag. it’s always the same crap. they get all up in my face, waving their arms, repeating the same phrases over and over like an attention-starved four year old. “hi! hello! so what’s up? whatcha doin’? hey! do you talk? i see you breathing!” this one particularly pissed me off because his younger sister was already nervous about me, and she burst into tears when i moved to send him a “you need to fuck off” message. once again, i had to step down from my base to make him go away. i felt bad that she was so scared, but i had to do something, and their mother certainly wasn’t going to help me out. passive parents piss me off.

– remember teenage douchebag #1 from the fourth? yea. had another encounter with him. he kept his distance, but he was an even bigger douchebag than last time. incessantly whining to his friends about what a bitch i am. “she’s so mean! she yelled at me and i didn’t even do anything!” he wouldn’t shut up about it, even when one of the more intelligent boys in the group said “dude, she’s right there, she can hear you.” seriously, how starved for attention are you? first you do everything in your power to be the biggest asshole possible, then you cry and call yourself a victim when you discover that being an asshole comes with consequences? somebody needs to knock some sense into this kid.

– i’ve come to realize that i am doomed to be called/compared to lady gaga every time i busk. i can’t even begin to tell you how much that angers and depresses me.

+ other than all that, it was a nice relaxed evening. lots of kids coming up to pose for photos. a few boys who were totally twitterpated over me. listening to some teenagers up on top of the hill talking about me [in a positive way] for quite a while. people stopping their cars just to look at me and argue with their passengers about whether or not i’m a real person. i love causing traffic jams.

saturday was waterfire, and i went, but not to do my usual living statuary. for the first time in four years of being with the company, i participated in ten31’s waterfire performance. we were celebrating ten31’s tenth year in business at the place where it all began. the installation was much bigger than usual, with extra statues, extra gargoyles, the butterfly puppets, a birch tree, and two topiaries. samara and i were topiary twins and it was absolutely fabulous.

i’m so grateful to be a part of this company. joe and eric are amazing people who make amazing art, and they’re so supportive of their employees making their own amazing art. i’ve heard about some similar entertainment companies making all their employees sign contracts with non-compete clauses. their employees can’t perform as living statues, on the street or privately hired, within a certain distance of the company’s territory. what the fuck? yea, it’s a business, but it’s also art and it’s supposed to be fun and expressive. mutual respect and love and working together to create magic. that’s what ten31 is all about. that’s the way this kind of business should be run.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/waterfire-providence/at-waterfire-even-stone-gargoyles-can-come-to-life/411597141854

http://www.projo.com/lifebeat/content/LB-GARGOYLES_07-17-10_VBJ68VF_v25.4f284cb.html

http://www.foxprovidence.com/dpp/rhode_show/gargoyles-and-swing-dancers-at-weekend-waterfire


the natural statue

if anyone ever needed proof that i was destined for a life of living statuary, today’s incident should be more than sufficient.

i was in newbury comics, just looking at racks of bumper stickers and patches and whatnot. now, before i continue with this story, i need to illustrate a] what i was wearing and b] how i was standing.

as i was internally giggling at the sticker that said “i wish morgan freeman narrated my life”, a young boy, maybe about eight or nine years old, reached out to touch my abdomen as he walked by. i moved away from his hand as soon as i saw it coming toward me, so he never made contact. i was so bewildered, i couldn’t form any words, but i gave him the most intense “what in the fucking fuck do you think you’re doing?!” glare i’ve ever given in my life. he looked back at me, horrified. the guy who was with him [father? brother?] asked the question my glare was asking, minus the profanities. the boy stammered nervously. “i thought she was a statue!”

people think it must be so hard for me to stand so still. i do it without even realizing i’m doing it.


modelling versus statuing.

Have you ever thought about posing for a figure drawing class?

the only time i think about that is when people ask me if i’ve ever thought about it. and it’s one of those questions i hear just about every time i go out busking, or tell someone i perform as a living statue. sure, i’d be good at it, i can sit still for long periods of time. but sitting still while a bunch of people stare at me in silence… i can’t think of many things that would be more boring. i like living statuary because being still, combined with costuming and makeup, creates an illusion. i like being something unexpected, strange, beautiful, memorable. i like hearing people talk about me, argue about me, blurt things out in a moment of uncensored expression. i like being able to interact with people, to blow them kisses, to shake their hands, to give them hugs, to playfully lean on them like they’re a piece of furniture when they come up to get their picture taken with me. i like being the art. pose for a class? that sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry.

How do you feel about photographers?

i love love love photographers. especially the ones who actually send me the photos they take, or posts them in an easy-to-find place on the internet. i do ego searches on flickr often, deviantart and photobucket maybe once or twice a year, occasionally a general google search, etc. where else do y’all upload your photos?

sometimes i don’t like photographers, amateur or otherwise, at waterfire after sunset when everybody’s using a flash. that kind of sucks. i understand everybody wants to take pictures, but seriously, it’s ridiculous when there’s a flash going off literally every few seconds. you’re blinding me. i’m seeing spots for ten minutes after everybody’s done taking photos. please try to be considerate with your camera flash usage, folks.

i generally will not hesitate to pose for a quick photo while i’m on a break. but if you don’t ask, you’re an asshole. i get so many people who just start taking pictures while i’m trying to drink or eat or talk to my assistant/companion or whatever. clearly some of you don’t know this, so i’m gonna go ahead and tell you. i want you to remember this, it’s very important information. ready? i can see you! when i get down for a break, i want to just be a person and relax for ten minutes. by taking snapshots of me at this time without saying anything or asking if i would mind, you are now treating me like a monkey in a zoo. this kind of behaviour is in the same category as people who talk about me when they’re all of two feet away from me. i’m gonna tell you another secret. it’s just as important as the other one, but apparently even fewer people know this. i can hear you! imagine that. the living statue can see and hear. amazing, isn’t it?

we’ll save discussion regarding the even lesser known fact that i can feel you poking and grabbing me for another day.


like a firecracker on july the fourth.

surprisingly and stupidly, considering the fact that i’ve been busking in plymouth on and off for about five years, it was the first time i’ve tried busking down there on the fourth. i should’ve been doing this all along. wonderful atmosphere, the waterfront streets were blocked off solely due to the number of people walking around, and my pitch was clear and waiting for me. according a friend whose family has spent the fourth in plymouth before, there weren’t as many people there as there normally would be at 5:00ish. but considering the fact that it was awfully hot, i’m not surprised the crowds were a little late to show up. hell, i was late to show up, too. this summer is being gross. regardless, it was a lovely evening.

+ my makeup miraculously remained fairly well intact despite the initial heat and humidity [thankfully it cooled down a bit not too long after i started]. i’m pretty impressed with the durability of this new makeup system i’ve got.

+ adorable children improve my quality of life by a thousand million percent.

+ there were cannons going off every hour or so, which gave me the perfect opportunity to show off my mad statue skillz. i never reacted to any of the big booms. my onlookers, once they recovered from being startled, were impressed.

+ my aforementioned friend’s family came to see me perform for the first time, after hearing about me for a couple of years and seeing my youtube videos. they showered me with so much love i felt as though i might burst. and they took what must be one of the cutest photos ever when they brought their tiny fluffy dog that looked like a teddy bear over to me and allowed me to hold him. aw!

+ i really like the base my dad made for me. it’s perfect for plymouth. high enough for me to be at least kind of above the crowd, but low enough [and wide enough] that i can easily invite small children up onto it to pose for photos. and what a difference it makes in the audience experience. i so greatly prefer posing for photos with people, rather than having them simply stand in front of me. i want it to be interactive and fun and personal.

+ lots of people took business cards. hello, new readers! send me your photos!

– douchebag teenagers piss me off. dealing with douchebags of all ages is pretty much a standard part of being a street performer, especially of the living statue variety. but teenagers seem to be much more persistent with their douchebaggery than any other age category.

teenage douchebag #1 was doing anything he possibly could to become the center of attention. incessantly waving at me, saying any stupid little thing that came into his head, trying to mimic my poses while standing in a place that blocked everyone else from getting to my tip jar, etc. he tried to pester me when i got down for my first break. his douchebaggery continued, and worsened, during my second shift. i flipped him off, and he made a point to be very loudly “offended”. but he persisted. i tried intimidating him into shutting the fuck up by occasionally choosing a pose that would allow me to stare him down, but that just fanned the fires. wyatt tried intimidating him into leaving, which worked only temporarily. so, when i got down for my second break, i went over to the stone wall where he and his friends were sitting and joking about stealing my tip jar. i told them to shut up and leave or i would have them removed, they’re not fucking funny, i’m trying to make a fucking living over here. they muttered some halfassed apologies accompanied by terrified looks, and they left. as i returned to my base to have a bit of a rest, one of the firemen who had been watching me asked if the kids were bothering me. no, they won’t be bothering me anymore. but thank you, oh, thank you so much for being protective of me.

teenage douchebag #2 didn’t last as long as #1. i was officially done putting up with any bullshit from anyone. he got all up in my face, waving like an idiot, blocking my tip jar. his friends are not as stupid and douchebaggy as he is. one of them was kind enough to drop a dollar into my tip jar, and after blowing him a kiss, i settled into a pose with my hands on my hips, staring at the douchebag. he backed off for a moment, but quickly returned to his moronic display. i stepped down from my base toward him, maintaining eye contact, and stood there on the ground staring at him. apparently that was a bit too much for him to handle. he made a quick exit, and i returned to my base as if nothing happened.

+ but, seriously, it was a great night overall. i’m hoping to spend a lot of time busking in plymouth this summer. if it’ll ever cool down enough to comfortably do so, that is!


lily’s youtube debut!

video from father’s day, featuring the cutest little girl ever.

planning to busk in plymouth tomorrow, either across the street from the rock or in brewster gardens. probably won’t be starting until 5:00 or 6:00 due to the predicted 90+ degree weather. ugh. why can’t this summer be nice to me?


what’s in a name?

do you consider yourself a performer or a performing artist? why?

that’s a really interesting distinction to make. i’ve never thought about it that way. is there really a difference? i’m a performer. i’m an artist. i’m a performance artist. i suppose it all depends on how you break down these terms.

a performer. i perform for audiences. i have a costume. i have a character. i utilize the small amount of acting skills that i have to play this role. i do rehearsed improv.

an artist. i perform to express myself, to be simultaneously vulnerable and strong, to have fun, to create beauty. my highschool art teacher would always say “take something, do something to it, then do something else to it. that’s art.” i’ve taken my body, i’ve covered it in white clothing and makeup, and i’ve made it remain motionless in a pretty pose to create the illusion of being a statue. i’ve created art.

a performance artist. my art has the four basic elements of performance art, according to wikipedia. time, space, the performer’s body, and a relationship between performer and audience. i perform for an hour, or two, or three, or four. i hold a pose for a length of time that is determined by the frequency with which i receive donations from kind strangers. i perform in a public space, on a sidewalk, in a park, in a cafe. my body, as mentioned earlier, becomes the my canvas. and while i could pretend to be a statue with absolutely no one to witness it, i’m not that crazy. i require an audience, to watch me, to talk about me, to interact with me.

so, with all that in mind, the answer is: yes.