Monthly Archives: June 2017

of better weather and audience thievery

i swear i’ll get better about writing these blog posts in a reasonable time frame. wedding planning is kind of taking over my life for the next two months [yay DIY], and it’s not my fault netflix released the new season of OITNB on a waterfire weekend!

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one thing i struggle with a lot as a street performer is weather. specifically, weather forecasts. i’m used to watching forecasts and planning ahead for my everyday life, since i spend most days riding horses outdoors, but i obsess over waterfire days. i spent the better part of a week worrying that i would get rained out of this waterfire, as there was a high chance of rain in the forecast. but i am thoroughly relieved to say the weather was absolutely beautiful on saturday. i’m trying to not worry about the fact that the forecast for this weekend is also threatening thunderstorms…

i’m also happy to say the crowds were overwhelmingly kind, and the most generous i’ve experienced thus far. i was visited by my dear photographer friend jon beckley and his lovely lady, my endlessly enthusiastically supportive aunt, my favorite crow carl johnson, and some long-time fans. a sweet young artist sat and sketched me for quite some time [if you’re reading this, i’d love to see some of your sketches]. i stole lots of sunglasses and hats for photos, and i “called out” a few people for taking selfies with me in the distant background instead of coming up to me [seriously y’all, lily wants to be in all your statue selfies, don’t be shy]. i had a cavalier king charles spaniel be my temporary statue partner. i received some of the sweetest hugs from the cutest kids. if you follow me on instagram and youtube, you’ve already seen some of my favorite moments.

they can’t all be winners, though. as a living statue street performer, i have to read people and make a lot of very quick decisions on how to handle a wide variety of interactions. sometimes, i opt to react very openly. sometimes, i choose to ignore. one guy shoved a hand full of kettle corn at my face, not once, but twice. a preteen/tween boy tried stealing the spotlight by dabbing next to me [why does everyone think it’s cool to look like you’re sneezing into your elbow? wtf is this trend and when will it stop?] and later tried to fake-tip me. with these gentlemen, i opted to do nothing, to avoid feeding their egos by dignifying their douchebaggery with a response. a young woman thrust her finger into my outstretched hand. i grabbed it instinctively, pulled her hand down, and held on until someone else gave me a tip. if you want to be physically involved in my performance for a quick laugh, i’ll hold you captive until you’re drowning in awkwardness.

then there’s the snake guy. he and his poor dehydrated burm visited me again. this will have been the last time i welcome his presence.

he walked by me twice before sunset. both times, he didn’t stop or acknowledge me at all. he’s not interested in acknowledging me unless i have a large crowd gathered around me. he had no problem stopping and handing over his snake to me after sunset when there were dozens of people watching, which confirmed my suspicions that he’s really just using me [and his snake] to get attention. i’ve dealt with this shit from lots of other people over the years, most notably the street preachers who used to stand across the street and loudly use me as an example of sin [because i’m whoring out my body, apparently]. now that i know that’s what this guy is doing, i’m done. i made sure he took one of my business cards, so i hope he’s reading this. here’s your fifteen minutes of fame. please take better care of your animals, and stay away from me.

as a bonus, here’s a photo of jasper, one of the ball pythons i rescued. he helped me sort through my videos from this waterfire.

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the great social media resurrection

sometimes life just gets in the way of the things one wants to do. my blog may have gone silent for a few years, but it has not been forgotten. i’m resurrecting all of my poor neglected social media pages, and i also added instagram to the list. make sure you’re following me wherever you are, links are in the “greetings & introductions” sticky post!

i’m going to ease my way back into blogging with a good ol’ fashioned waterfire recap. in the coming months, you can expect to see other types of posts, including a revival of my living statuary tips, focused rants, philosophical type musings related to my performance experiences, behind-the-art blurbs beyond performance recaps, and maybe some more “the person behind the statue” type stuff.

5.27.17 waterfire. the changing, the heartwarming, the annoying, and the infuriating. check out my youtube channel for three videos from this evening.

every year, waterfire seems to sneak up on me. the season inevitably begins when i’m also busy with the horses, and still broke from the winter’s financial lull. this year i was more prepared than usual. i had relatively fresh cakes of paradise and starblend. i had two fresh pairs of gloves [the costume component that inevitably gets destroyed within a season or two]. i had my new head scarves [more on that in a bit]. i had new business cards and card containers for my tip jar. what i failed to check was the string of lights on my tip jar. they were dead. oops. i slapped on my backup set, which are that harsh blue-white instead of the pleasant warm-white. not ideal, but at least i had lights. those things have done so much to prevent people from crashing into my tip jar, as well as helping people figure out where their tips should be placed [because the giant vase with a dollar bill taped to the front isn’t obvious enough].

a few months ago, i decided i wanted to move away from my white wigs and try head scarves instead. while i have enjoyed my wigs over the years, i find myself less and less willing to deal with the pitfalls. my real hair has grown quite a bit longer, and getting it all flat under a wig is time-consuming and exhausting. wigs are hot and itchy in the summer heat. makeup inevitably gets all over the fibers covering the back of my neck, and it slowly turns the wig into a ratty matted mess. while i love the look of the bangs, they’re often either poking me in the eye or blocking huge portions of my peripheral vision. it’s also less statuesque to have individual hairs flying around in the breeze. so, i bought some comfortable head scarves, matching the aesthetic of the rest of my costume [a while back i switched from pants to maxi skirts, which flows better with the draping of the top]. i was nervous about making such a big change in lily’s appearance. i was nervous about how i would look without all that hair framing my face. i didn’t feel fully confident in my decision until i returned home and looked through some of the photos and videos justin had taken. i LOVE the new look. i finally feel like lily is finished, like this is how she was supposed to look all along. the comments have gone from “she looks like an anime character” to “she looks like venus de milo” and i’m okay with that.

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my next challenge was the weather. the forecast looked cold, as has been the theme all spring. even with my thick fleece layer, which makes me feel like a marshmallow, i wasn’t sure how long i’d be able to perform. i went in thinking i’d maybe be able to push through three hours before quitting. what i forgot about the fifty to sixty degree weather is that the fires actually help warm things up, even as far away from the canal as i am. i was struggling in the hour before sunset, but i ended up feeling much more cozy and staying out until about 11:00. not bad!

overall, the crowd was fabulous. i only had to shove two people off my ledge. of the few people who tried to grab my hands, none were successful. i held a baby for a photo [and the baby didn’t cry!], i received many hugs from some very sweet children, and i received flowers from four kind souls of varying ages. flowers are among my favorite non-monetary tips when i busk. i even appreciated one little girl’s repeated trips to stuff leaves into my business card holder.

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my favorite, though, was the man who gave me my first two tips of the evening, and came back later for another round. he was very nice, both to me and to my crowd. he was also very loud, because he was very intoxicated. he slurred and stumbled his way through explanations to his fellow spectators “give her a dollar and she moves!” repeating himself several times, to make sure everyone understood the instructions, and following up with a demonstration. i couldn’t help but silently chuckle. thank you, dude, for being a kind drunk.

there’s one big personal rant for this waterfire. i have somewhat mixed, though mostly negative, feelings about one interaction. well after sunset, this guy comes up with a large snake. i love snakes. i have five of my own, with many more in my future. this is one of my pet-related hobbies that i’m pretty passionate about; i spend a lot of time helping other snake owners when they’re having husbandry problems, i write care sheets, and i’ve been chipping away at a project building a reptile pet information website with some friends. so when this guy brings his 9′ burmese python up to me, i have two simultaneous gut reactions: YAY! and WHY!? it was very cold that night, in the mid-50s, which is bad news for a tropical snake. the guy let me hold the snake, and once she was wrapped around me i realized she was in the middle of the shedding process, which meant she couldn’t see very well and being handled was uncomfortable for her, and her skin was very flaky because she was dehydrated. after returning her to her owner, he hung out right in front of me. showing off the snake, encouraging people to hold her for photos, and generally taking over my audience and blocking the path to my tip jar. i waved justin over to have him 1] ask the guy if he had a business card or anything, because i wanted to talk to him later, and 2] to move along. he didn’t give any contact information, so this rant here will have to do. so, snake dude, if you’re reading this… you are the kind of person from whom i have rescued snakes. you need to stop treating your snakes like accessories and start taking better care of them. you may think you’re doing the hobby a favor by trying to show people how not scary snakes are. but you’e doing everyone – especially your snakes – a huge disservice by risking their health, causing them immense amounts of stress, and spreading misinformation. there’s a time and place for show and tell, and a chilly waterfire night in the middle of the snake’s shedding process is certainly not the time or place.