my IAmA was featured in this month’s issue of the redditor. they used a photo i’m not in love with, and they kind of broke up the very thoughtful set of questions from my last blog post. but overall, i’m pleased.
Tag Archives: plymouth
waterfire. much better crowd than the last holiday weekend, thankfully. i guess more people stay home for the fourth so they can see their own city’s fireworks? whatever the reason, i’m grateful for it. i did four hours, with one break that was just long enough to get some water and get right back up again. apparently i’ve become a glutton for pain. but it pays off in the end. no pun intended.
– i was hassled by a persistently stupid sailor boy early in the evening. i generally don’t cut people much slack when they start off being a douchebag then try to be nice to make up for it, but this is especially true for douchebags in uniform. thankfully, his buddy was very sweet, so dealing with the pair was a balanced experience.
+ here are some of my favorite little girls from the evening. the one with curly blonde hair was very shy, but she and her mom came over to chat with me at the end of the night, and she is just precious. her mom said “we’ve been waiting all year to see you!” aw, shucks.
– it was motherfuckin’ windy in providence. for the first couple of hours, i was having trouble staying steady on my feet. i kept swaying in the wind. so annoying.
+ there was this unbelievably adorable little boy who i really really wish had been caught on camera. he came up to put a dollar in my jar and pose with me for a photo, and was comfortable enough with the statue lady for me to lift him up onto my ledge for the photo. but after the photo was taken, i bent down to kiss his forehead, and apparently i crossed the not-scary/scary line. he shrieked and scrambled away.
– i was grabbed and poked at a few times.
+ i successfully grabbed or slapped them all.
– one girl jumped up onto my ledge to pose with me for a photo, which is something i’m not comfortable with people doing unless i explicitly invite them up, and even then i prefer it just be small children.
++ before she had fully landed on the ledge, i reached out and very successfully clotheslined her. don’t invade the personal space of the ninja statue.
– this dumbass teenage girl came up and tried to take the blue glow necklace someone had given me earlier. i’d put it around the neck of my tip jar [this is especially handy when it gets dark and people are more likely to walk right into the 32″ tall white vase], and she reached for it, looking up at me asking “can i have this? do you want it? no? okay i’m gonna take it.” i had to reach down and physically shoo her away.
+++ but then, much to my surprise and delight, a gentleman from the back of my crowd walked up and started to lecture her! and he’s doing it the same way i would do it, saying if she wouldn’t do something like that to just anyone on the street, why would she do it to a performer? kind sir, if you are reading this, i want you to know that you’re amazing. THANK YOU. very very few people stand up to the douchebags in my crowds. i wish there were more people like you around.
plymouth on monday was not quite as enjoyable as waterfire. i fully intended to do three hours, but got down after an hour and a half and decided to not get back up again. i was too tired and sore, and the crowd was too slow for me to maintain whatever momentum i had left. still, overall i’m glad i went.
+ my favorite thing about plymouth is adorable children. i had a very positive encounter with a baby. his father brought him up to say hello, and when i put out my hand, he reached out to grab it. i saw a big grin peeking out from behind his pascifier. he held on tight to my fingers for a solid minute. my heart, it melts.
+ OMG PUPPY.
– remember the most obnoxious kid in the world from last year’s fourth in plymouth? yea. he was there again. he didn’t do anything overtly obnoxious this time, but he was sitting on the benches next to me with a couple of his friends, whining incessantly. “oh my god, she yelled at me last year! she’s so mean! SHE YELLED AT ME!!! she’s so creepy! SHE YELLED AT ME LAST YEAR!!!” apparently, all this kid wants in life is to be a victim. he spends so much time whining and crying and desperately seeking pity. the great thing is, nobody’s giving him any. i have listened to him repeat the same sentences literally dozens of times to the same person, and they never have a response. so you really think you’re the victim here, huh? why don’t you explain to your friends WHY i yelled at you, and see how much pity you’ll get from them then. whiny little bitch. i bet he’ll be a real charmer in adulthood.
– i had another bratty young boy who kept blowing one of those stupid plastic horns at me. after the tenth time or so, i’d had enough.
+ the “step down, loom, and stare” tactic seems to be very effective. i wish the video captured the look on the kid’s face. the determination to avoid eye contact. the awkward, uncomfortable laugh. oh, it was wonderful, i assure you.
in may, i was filmed for a canton community tv show. i talk about my experience as a street performer while applying makeup, then i head out to downtown plymouth to busk for the first time since october.
my statue muscles were out of shape after a long winter, i didn’t apply my makeup as well as i normally do, and i’m always a nervous wreck speaking in front of a camera. but overall, i’m very happy with the way this whole thing turned out.
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.
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!
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?
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.
hello friends! i’d like to take a moment to tell you a bit about myself. my name is tara. i’m a thirty-two year old gal from southeastern massachusetts. at the age of nineteen, i stumbled into the art of living statuary. performance has been a significant part of my life ever since.
i want to share my adventures with you. now, some of you might be thinking this will surely be a bunch of artsy fluff. i promise this is not that kind of blog. there will, of course, inevitably be lots of positive things to say. but there will also be lots of not-so-positive things to say. the performance experience is not always made of sunshine and rainbows, especially as a street performer, and i love to rant.
this blog contains profanities, ’cause that’s how i roll. consider this your parental advisory.
my goal is to be open, honest, and uncensored. you will see the person behind the art, not just the characters i play. i will announce when and where i plan to perform, write recaps of performances, share tips on how to be a good living statue… and, to make this fun and interactive, answer your questions. see that “talk to the statue” tab up ^ there? give it a click and ask me absolutely anything, basic or complex, technical or philosophical, serious or silly, about my art or about me personally.
before we get started, let’s go over some of the terms and names that will pop up frequently here.
- busking – performing in a public space, typically in a park or on a sidewalk, and accepting tips from kind passersby.
- pitch – the specific location in a public space where a performer busks. there can be numerous pitches in any given space.
- waterfire – a festival/art installation in downtown providence, rhode island, which occurs throughout the spring, summer, and fall. this is one of my favorite busking opportunities. my usual pitch is on the corner of washington street and canal walk. check out waterfire.org to learn more about the event.
- ten31 – ten31 productions is the living art company i’ve been working for since 2006. joe and eric are the founders of the company, and they do fabulous work. check out their website: wemakepretend.com
- justin – my fiance, photographer, videographer, social media helper, sounding board, overall pillar of support.
- wyatt – my ex, who assisted me during hundreds of performance adventures.
and here are a couple of fun things for you:
- youtube – see videos of me in action, so to speak.
- facebook – notifications regarding when and where i will be performing, blog and youtube updates, photos, little blurbs not worthy of their own blog post, etc.
- instagram – photos from performances, behind the scenes, etc.
- firstname.lastname@example.org – email me! send me your questions, comments, photos, videos, songs, poems, etc.
this, dear readers, is my life as a living art performer.