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easy days are never that easy.

while this last waterfire was blessed with beautiful weather and wonderful crowds, there’s never such a thing as a perfect busking day. but let’s start with some fun things before we get to ranting.

part of the great social media resurrection is trying to come up with content besides my usual busking videos. i decided to record my makeup process [and post the video at triple the speed, because no one is interested in watching fifteen minutes of me putting makeup on my face]. i plan to record a better video, maybe this saturday if i have my shit together enough for any extra stuff between riding and busking. but i think this one is still a fun glimpse at my person-to-statue transformation.

now that i’m not wrestling with my hair and a wig anymore, i severely overestimate the amount of time it takes me to get ready. with my delightfully simple headscarves, i can go from pajamas to full costume in less than half an hour. this has resulted in me arriving in providence a bit earlier than necessary, which isn’t the worst thing, but those first 30-45 minutes can be slow. i need to work on my timing so i’m in place no earlier than 6:30, maybe even closer to 7:00 for these summery late sunset times.

but at least justin is able to use those slow times to get lots of photos and videos [if you’re following me on instagram, you’ve seen a lot of those pre-sunset video clips]. it’s also the ideal time for my new artist fan, julia, to sketch me. i was lucky enough to cross paths with her and chat for a bit at the basin lighting last, where i was producing two of TEN31 productions’ gargoyles for the private event. she is as sweet as she is talented, and i’m excited to share her sketches with y’all. i rarely get to see peoples’ drawing/paintings of me, so this is such a treat for me.

 

as i so often do, i brought some aches and pains with me to this waterfire. i performed with a sprained ankle, and a thoroughly fucked up neck/shoulder from a muscle i pulled a week prior. to add insult to injury, i managed to step in some chewed gum while walking to my pitch, and i was dealing with my skirt sticking to my shoe the entire night. and, of course, the persistent wind was making my eyes tear up and tickling my nose, so i spent the entire evening stifling sneezes and wondering how bad my makeup looked. when you see a living statue struggling to hold a pose, i want you to think about the difficulties they might be experiencing in that moment. none of us are going to be perfect at all times, especially as outdoor buskers. but all these troubles fade away when i’m getting hugs from children, or when people are amused by my mischievous approach to posing with people for photos, or when i accidentally scare the shit out of someone when they realize i’m not actually a statue.

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now, i have two mini rants from this waterfire. one is about animals. i swear i don’t mean to keep babbling on about pets, but damn it, these things just keep happening. this one’s not about snakes [i’m happy to say i didn’t see that guy the entire time i was up], but about dogs.

i love dogs. i’ve owned dogs most of my life. dog training is a hobby i’ve enjoyed since i was in elementary school. i love seeing dogs at waterfire. lily wants to pose with all your dogs for photos. but what i don’t love is seeing reactive dogs at waterfire. before sunset, there was a family with a yellow lab who camped out to my right for a long time. this poor dog was barking and lunging at every other dog who passed by, regardless of whether or not they even paid attention to the lab. this kind of reactivity is very common in the modern dog population of america. my own dog has reactivity issues, and we’ve been actively working on correcting these issues for years. i would never even consider bringing shorty to waterfire. this is a crowded place with lots of people, lots of dogs, lots of noise, just general terrifying chaos for a nervous animal. it’s stressful for the dog, and it’s irritating as hell for anyone who has to listen to the dog bark. and let me tell you, labs have big booming barks. every time another dog walked by, i’d be jumping out of my skin from the lab barking behind me. it boggles my mind that this dog’s owners would bring him there in the first place, let alone allow him to bark and lunge with barely any attempts to redirect him or calm him down. i was relieved [and also felt bad] when the lab eventually noticed me and started totally freaking out about the moving statue, forcing the family to leave. folks, please just leave your reactive dog at home. you aren’t doing them any favors by bringing them into these kinds of situations.

on a completely different note, i want to talk a bit about other buskers. in the hours before sunset, it’s not unusual to see lots of musicians along the canal. and that’s awesome. i enjoy these buskers, especially when they set up in the area of my pitch so i can listen to them play before the waterfire music starts. what i don’t understand is when musicians try to busk in the vicinity of the canal after sunset. do you guys not realize how much your music is competing with the canal’s speaker system? at this lighting, there was a small band directly across from me on canal street, arriving way after sunset. they were playing music i might have enjoyed if my ears weren’t being assaulted by the battle of sound. justin said they weren’t even playing consistently, they’d play a song, stop for quite a while, play another song, take another long break… why? if you want to busk, go find a pitch suitable for your performance. if you just want to show off a song or two, do so where people might actually be able to enjoy it. otherwise, what’s the point?


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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last waterfire of the season is tomorrow! lookin’ at 5pm to 9pm in my usual spot at the end of the washington street bridge. come bid lily farewell before she goes into hibernation!


no waterfire for lily tomorrow. the weather is going to be wet and miserable. hopefully i’ll be able to find something warm enough to enable me to busk on october 8th to make up for being rained out of two lightings this season.

[9/24 11:30am update: FUCK YOU, MOTHER NATURE. STOP TOYING WITH ME. i’m still not going to try busking tonight, because i know that if i do, i’ll get hit by some stray pocket of rain.]


sometimes, i make jewelery. i’ve [finally] decided to start selling some on etsy, along with some vintage items from my wardrobe. all proceeds from etsy sales are going toward two amazing new costumes/characters that i’m very excited about.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/asilentsoapbox

also, waterfire this saturday! thankfully the weather looks good for this weekend. irene went and fucked up the last waterfire for me. i’m determined to busk at the two remaining lightings in september. show the statue some extra love. she’s going to be very cold.


the last night of zooartyssey is this friday. i hope you’ll be there. it’s truly an amazing event, and i would love for it to be an annual thing.

http://www.rogerwilliamsparkzoo.org/calendar/zooartyssey.cfm

Admission from 6:00-8:30 pm, event ends at 9:00 pm.

Adults: $15 ($10 for RWP Zoo members)
Seniors & Children: $10 ($5 for RWP Zoo members)


zooartyssey at roger williams park zoo on friday, and waterfire on saturday. i am so ready for this awesome providence weekend.


waterfire tomorrow! with the rhode island philharmonic orchestra playing, it’s sure to be a big crazy awesome night.

also, i have two big costume projects i’m working on, but my budget is very tight. to more comfortably afford all the supplies i need, i’ll be selling a lot of clothes, shoes, and other wearables. starting with vintage stuff on etsy! http://www.etsy.com/shop/asilentsoapbox


tonight’s zooartyssey has been cancelled due to the apocalyptic heat. next date is august 12th.


zooARTyssey

http://www.rogerwilliamsparkzoo.org/calendar/zooartyssey.cfm

fridays evenings. july 22nd, august 12th, and august 19th. [rain date: august 26th.]
admission from 6:00pm – 8:30pm, event ends at 9:00pm.
adults: $15 [$10 for rwp zoo members]
seniors & children: $10 [$5 for rwp zoo members]

ten31 is invading roger williams zoo. there will be approximately twenty characters – statues, botanicals, fairies, and more – throughout the entire zoo. yours truly will be greeting guests as the butterfly fairy. there will also be music playing in a few areas of the zoo, a lot of which was suggested by the performers. my area will have some of my favorite music. so excited!

y’all have seen what i do for play, now you can see what i do for work. this is a great opportunity for people to see what ten31 is all about. i am so grateful to be part of this company. it’s been an amazing five years, i work for and with amazing people, doing amazing things. they have made my life bizarre and i wouldn’t have it any other way.