Tag Archives: stupid

you’re not as clever as you think you are.

whether i’m performing, taking a break, walking between my car and my pitch, setting up or breaking down, certain types of people have a tendency to say whatever stupid thing immediately pops into their heads when they see me. here are a few things i have heard tens of thousands of times and would love to never ever hear again.

looks like you need some sun! you sure could use a tan!

oh my god it’s a ghost! hur hur

i see you breathing!  OMG REALLY?! maybe because… i’m alive, and as a result, i need to fill my lungs with fresh air every now and then.

i wonder what she’d do for five/ten/twenty dollars. wink wink nudge nudge!  thank you so much for talking about me as if i’m a prostitute. i hope your female companions find your comment as enlightening as i do.

i wonder what she’d do if i stole her tip jar.  such intelligence! no one else would ever think to steal a living statue’s tip jar. since i’m a statue, i’m physically incapable of tackling you, slamming your head onto the pavement, and breaking your hands. and none of the other people in my audience would do anything but watch as you ran off with the money for which i have worked so hard. it’s not like i ever have decent people or even friends in my crowd, y’know? you could easily get away with it! great idea.

people give her money for just standing there?!  this is usually exclaimed by the kind of person who is endlessly entertained by those cheap plastic toys with flashing lights that are sold from carts on the outskirts of waterfire. i don’t think anything else really needs to be said here.

also, i never want to hear anything to do with lady gaga. i am not lady gaga. i am not the lady gaga statue. i was not inspired to do something “weird” because of lady gaga; i’ve been busking four years longer than she’s been a pop artist. i know it’s news to you, being so sheltered and all, but people were doing “weird” stuff before lady gaga existed.


waterfire masochism

either i’m getting better at this whole busking thing, or i’m really just crazy. i started at 5:30pm and stopped at 10:15pm. i did not take any breaks. if i’d known it was going to be so damn busy [i suppose i should’ve known, being a ballroom night and all], i would’ve started a little later. the crowds were still bustling at 10, but i very reluctantly accepted the fact that i had to get down for the sake of self-preservation. my knees can only take so much standing-on-concrete abuse.

+ i had THREE dog encounters. a little dachshund that was brought up onto my ledge to say hello, a large poodle-type dog that was surprised but curious when i came to life, and a tiny little chihuahua wearing a purple lei was thrust into my arms. i love love love dogs, and these encounters always make me happy.

– lots of pokes. most of them were tiny children who really didn’t know any better when they put their hand on my shoe. one adult, who really should have known better, but the sound of my hand hitting his arm was oh so satisfying. then a young girl who definitely knew better, because she bolted right after she poked me. i tried to chase her down, but she was moving too fast [never even looked back, little bitch], and without an assistant i can’t leave my tip jar unattended so i was forced to abandon the chase.

+ lots of very positive baby and toddler interactions. the line between scared and happy is so fine, but i’m learning how to sway them toward the latter more often than the former. major props to the quietly encouraging parents/guardians who let children approach the weird statue lady on their own terms instead of trying to force interaction.

– had to put quite a bit of effort into maintaining my personal space. people really need to stop jumping up onto my ledge to pose for photos. the camera will see both you and me if you stay on the ground. i promise.

+ i’m getting pretty good at reaching out to block people after they’ve gotten a foot up on the ledge but before they fully land and find their balance, sending them back down to the ground with minimal effort.

+ at the end of the night, when my energy was really starting to dwindle, i had the most wonderful group of enthusiastic people in my crowd. once they figured out what my act was all about, they turned into my own little advertising team. someone new would walk by and i’d hear a chorus of “put a dollar in the jar and see what happens! go pose for a picture with her and see what happens!” it was beyond cute.

– while i was dumping out my tip jar on my living room floor, i found a note. it’s officially the dumbest note i’ve ever pulled out of my tip jar in seven years of busking. i’m going to frame it and add it to the collection.

“just a suggestion put some color on your hair as contrast it would look much better. good job!”

let’s take a moment to break this shit down. any time you tell an artist anything that begins with “just a suggestion”, and your criticism is uninvited and scribbled on an anonymous note, you’re being a bit of a twat. when i want your suggestions, i’ll ask for them. well, maybe not your suggestions, specifically, since you seem to have completely missed the point of living statuary. i’m trying to, y’know, look kind of like a statue. hence the head-to-toe whiteness. and the standing still. like a statue.

also, tacking on a “good job!” doesn’t really make you any less of a dumb twat. nice try, though.

“that’s epic!”

mother nature was kind to me. perhaps she was making up for the waterfires i had to miss due to thunderstorms at the beginning of the season. it was delightfully warm on saturday. the beautiful weather helped set the tone for my last waterfire of the season, even though my first tipper tried to set a different tone…

– two women. one, who was obviously familiar with living statuary, says “wanna see what she does?” as she drops a dollar into my tip jar. blow a kiss, wave, settle into a new pose. “…oh. they usually do a lot more than that.” listen, lady. being still is the point of the act. the movements are the statue’s way of saying thanks for your donation. i’m not standing still for extended periods of time on this street corner for the purpose of doing some big dance routine when someone gives me a dollar.

+ i’ve taken some of andrew anselmo’s advice. my tip jar is elevated by a hat box, and i marked personal space boundaries with white ducktape. i can’t say if the former has had much of an effect, but the latter did, especially on my ledge. it was useful for me to have a clear “do not cross” line. i’m always concerned about people sitting next to me and grabbing my legs or whatever, but i’m also concerned about accidentally stomping on someone when i switch poses. with my space clearly marked, i only had to gently ask two people to scoot down, and once they saw the line they realized their mistake.

– well, it didn’t work completely. i had an immitator/mocker, as i usually have every waterfire, climb up on my left and strike a pose. i noticed people laughing, so i turned, and i made eye contact with her. she moved to mirror me. so i shoved her off my ledge. she came back to tip me later, which she probably thought would be an acceptable apology, but i wanted to kick her in the teeth.

+ i had quite a crew of unexpected visitors. my mother brought her friend dianne, who i had not seen in… six years? this woman was like a second mother to me. and for most of my post-sunset busking time, the two mothers sat on either side of me, keeping an eye out and discouraging inappropriate behaviour. i think it’s funny that my mother has no idea how much bullshit i deal with every time i busk, nor does she understand that i generally prefer to deal with it myself. anyway, my brother and his friend becky were there, and my friend matt stopped by on his way back to connecticut as well. it was pretty cool to see so many familiar faces. but it also reminded me that the only waterfire wyatt and my bff brian were able to attend this year was the one i did with ten31. sad.

+ this guy reached for my hand, which i flicked toward him. he jumped, had a “HOLY SHIT!” moment, and explained to his laughing friends that he was trying to find out if i was made of rubber or porcelain. teaching people not to touch things that don’t belong to them, one scare at a time.

– a middle-aged woman reached for my hand, and i grabbed her finger. i held onto it and stared at her as she spewed some bullshit about “yea, i know better, i know you’re real, can i have my finger back now?” if you knew better, why would you grab the performer? dumb twat.

+ i saw my #1 fan, who i have not seen since last year. if you’re ever in my waterfire crowd, and you notice a young blonde girl getting an unusual amount of attention from me, it’s because she’s ridiculously adorable. i kneel down to give her hugs and kiss her forehead. her smile melts my heart.

+ adorable animal moment: a little girl came up to me with a rat on her shoulder. love it! i tried to say hi and pet it, but the rat was not terribly interested in being friends with the statue. s’okay. i still love it anyway.

+ during my last break of the night, another little girl, who had tipped me earlier, silently walked up to me with a big smile and handed me a red carnation. i thanked her and kissed her forehead. she never said a word. she just smiled. aww!

+ when i got home and dumped the night’s earnings on my living room floor to count it out, i found a piece of paper. ” you are a good performer and i sense a strong, good heart inside you”.

and on that note, i will say thank you all for a lovely waterfire season, and i’m already counting down the days until spring. i definitely won’t be busking at the october 9th waterfire. but if you see a blue-haired girl with a bunch of scarves dangling from her waist, say hello!

the end of the busking season draws near.

the waterfire schedule has been somewhat sparse over the last couple of years, due to the economy and lack of funds. it saddens me that, as i feel like i’ve really settled into my art and i’m finally starting to do it right, my favorite busking opportunities are becoming few and far between. but, i’m cherishing every moment, good or bad. looks like my last waterfire will be on the 25th, if i can acquire some warmer clothing by then.

– new england’s transitions from summer to autumn are way too drastic and abrupt. it was so cold! i had on all the layers i could squeeze in without destroying the sleek look of lily. i would’ve tried to put in another hour if my joints weren’t frozen and locking up painfully.

+ i got some serious love from the sweetest beagle puppy in the universe. the owners handed him to me to hold for a photo, and he gave me lots of puppy kisses. cuteness overload. it was impossible to be annoyed that he licked my chin and i had to get down to fix my makeup when the family left.

+ i held a baby, and for the first time ever, it did not result in a crying fit! sometimes it’s okay to touch them while mommy or daddy hold them, but i’ve never been able to actually hold a baby without them being very unhappy about it. not only was this little tyke not afraid of me, he kept trying to grab my face and wig. adorable.

– some particularly persistent teenage douchebags were really pushing their luck. you say something stupid, reach out to grab me, i move to block it, and you’re still going to threaten to touch me? really? probably the same kinds of kids who think it’s funny to poke an injured and dying animal with a stick and watch it get pissed off. you keep on prodding. eventually you’ll get bit.

+ generally, though, there was lots of love from teenagers. there were a couple groups that kept coming up to get their photo taken with me over and over again. it’s nice to be reminded that highschool kids aren’t always disrespectful dingbats.

– it’s amazing how many people put their money in the box that holds my business cards. let’s think about this for a moment. directly in front of me is a big white vase with a dollar bill taped to the front of it. the vase is elevated by a hat box that holds my makeup, drink, etc. the whole thing put together stands twenty-five inches tall. the box that holds my business cards, which sits on the ground, is… one inch tall. anyone who stands in my audience and watches me for five minutes will likely see between two and ten people drop money into the big white vase with the dollar bill taped to the front of it. so, gee, i wonder where you should put your dollar?

-/+ my brother came to keep me company, and he actually had to act as my guard dog for the first time [that i’ve witnessed, anyway]. this guy got all up in my face repeatedly saying something to the effect of “are you a mannequin?” my darling brother, who is about a third the size of this guy, walked right up and convinced him to leave in a way that almost made me break into a gigglefit.

brother: go.
douchebag: where?
brother: away.
douchebag: why?
brother: because!

the guy walked away without saying another word. brilliant.

+ training the next generation of living statues.

the city is frightening after dark.

waterfire. first and second hour were splendid. third and fourth were, with a few exceptions, a little stressful.

+ a wonderful photographer, who i have connected with via flickr [i do ego searches often and favorite every photo of me that i find], took some lovely photos and said some wonderful things in their flickr descriptions. he even managed to capture an adorable moment i had with a baby. the tiny ones are usually terrified of me, if they even notice me at all. but this one was utterly entranced.

check out the rest at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/papadunes

+/- these two kids decided to do their own little zombie walk thing at waterfire. while i am not at all a fan of zombies and don’t really understand the popular fascination with them, i do appreciate people doing weird things in public. however, i do not appreciate them hovering over my tip jar for a few minutes and, uh, groaning at it. could y’all maybe not scare off the people who were admiring the pretty statue? thanks.

+ comedy moment: this group stopped to admire and tip, and as they were leaving, some of them started walking to my right, and some of them started walking to my left. then there was a bit of a debate about how to get to their destination. one of the gentlemen turned to me and asked, “which way should we go?” i crossed my arms and pointed in both directions. he laughed. my immitation of the scarecrow from the wizard of oz was appreciated.

+ some waterfire first-timers told me that i was their absolute favorite thing about waterfire. aw, shucks.

+ another little girl fell in love with me. i love watching the process, from the moment they first notice me, to the moment when they figure it out and bring their family members over one by one to show them the magical statue that moves, to the fifth time they stop by over the course of the evening just to watch me and give me yet another dollar. she was the sweetest thing, and i hope i see her at future waterfires.

– after dark, the crowds started getting kind of… stupid. people hovering over and blocking my tip jar. people dropping money into the tiny box that holds my business cards, because the tall white vase with the dollar bill taped to the front of it wasn’t obvious enough apparently. people grabbing me [some of which i very successfully grabbed back] and climbing up into my ledge uninvited. someone tossed a pebble or something at me, but it came from behind so i didn’t see who did it. there was a lot of “i will kill you if you don’t stop being an asshole” glaring going on.

– this one family in particular was tremendously annoying. it started with dad wanting a picture with me. cool. except that daughter #1 only had a cellphone, and its camera did not come with a flash. it was too dark to capture even a hint of the desired image. after a few attempts, dad suggests daughter #1 goes and finds daughter #2 and tries using her cellphone. repeat numerous failed attempts. so, basically, all they’re doing is blocking my tip jar and preventing other people from getting their photos taken with me. it was the most selfish and inconsiderate display i’ve seen in a long time. they came over to compliment me at the end of the night, and i don’t even remember most of what they said because i was so irritated.

– on the subject of the end of the night, as i emptied out the tip jar and talked to a friend who showed up unexpectedly [just when i needed to see a friendly face, too], this guy was standing about three feet away from me, taking a picture with his cellphone. i snapped. i put my hand up and said “is it really that hard to ask before you take a picture of me?” i don’t mind posing for a quick photo at all when i’m off-duty. just ask. and most people do have the decency to ask. but people like that guy make me sympathize with celebrities dealing with fans and paparazzi getting all up in their faces taking pictures all the time.

+ the mother of some adorable girls i’d seen earlier was talking to me, and the whole time i thought, wow, this woman looks oddly familiar. then she said something that set off the memory lightbulb. her daughter dressed up as me for halloween last year. is that not the coolest thing ever?! i’ve had lots of parents tell me that their daughters constantly practice being a living statue so they can be just like me. but this little girl took it a step further, and it’s the most amazing compliment my art has ever received.

flyin’ solo at waterfire.

as far as living statue street performers go, i’ve been pretty blessed. i’ve always had a friend in the crowd when i needed one. i’ve always had someone to help me carry things and hold my bag of essentials while i was performing, and to talk to when i took a break or wanted to take a moment at the end of the night to unwind before heading home. well, almost always. i was forced to go to waterfire alone last saturday. i can’t remember the last time i had to do that.

before getting ready, i ran out to michaels, bought a round box and a strip of suede for a handle, then spraypainted it a nice blend-into-the-darkness black. i now have a place to put things like my makeup bag and bottle of water and snacks when i don’t use my base. this alleviated one source of stress.

a generally nice crowd alleviated my other source of stress. there were a few grabby people, but nothing i haven’t been dealing with for the last six years. it is unfortunate that people see a living statue and think “i can do anything i want, and they can’t do anything about it ’cause they can’t move!” well, we can move. and i will move if you do not treat me with the same respect you would if you just saw me walking down the street in everyday attire.

– this one kid touched my hand multiple times, and it was toward the end of the night so i was about at that point of being fed up with grabby people. i stepped down from my ledge. my foot hit the ground and i was in his face, glaring down at him. this is where my ability to communicate without words can come in handy. i didn’t need to speak. he got the message.

+ one of the other grabby people was a teenage girl who casually touched the back of my leg as she walked by. but once she made contact, she realized that she wasn’t touching an inanimate object. she screamed. she looked back, and i pointed at her in attempt to communicate a “this is why you shouldn’t go around touching every damn thing you see” message. she screamed again and ran away. i think maybe she got the message, too.

+ during my first set, this little boy, who was quite fascinated by what i was doing, decided he wanted to be a living statue, too. he climbed up onto my ledge and stood next to me. i reached out my hand, and he grabbed it, then stood still. he did exceptionally well for a four year old! he even blew kisses when someone tipped me. everyone thought it was the most adorable thing on the planet. and it was, for the first five minutes.

– then i started to realize his father was nowhere to be seen. what the fuck? you seriously left your four year old child with a total stranger on a busy sidewalk? the great thing is, he eventually came back… THEN LEFT AGAIN. dude, i’m a street performer, not your babysitter. eventually the kid got bored and left. all i could do was hope he’d find his family safely.

+ i generally don’t associate with other buskers. andrew anselmo [http://flappingbird.com/] is the big exception. not only does he create wonderful origami, folding and creating beautiful pieces of art for hours in front of a crowd, but he’s also got my back. he helps me protect my pitch. if a freelance statue comes in and sets up too close to my pitch [which usually also means they’re someplace we freelancers are not supposed to be], he gets the waterfire officials involved. we’re completely on the same page with our desire to maintain a certain level of awesomeness at waterfire. the last couple of waterfires, he dropped $2 bill origami into my tip jar. and this time, he also held a sign up to the crowd, stating i am the best statue at waterfire. aww. andrew, if you’re trying to make my cold jaded heart melt, it’s working!

+ while a group of people were talking about how “freaky” i was, i heard a very soft and kind voice say “i don’t think you’re freaky. i think you’re beautiful.” i’m not bothered by comments like the former. in fact, i’m quite amused by such sentiments. but, the latter… my heart continues to melt. thank you, sir. i think you’re beautiful too.

– i couldn’t perform as long as i wanted to. i had a ten31 gig the next day and couldn’t completely destroy myself like i might have done if i had sunday off. i would’ve loved to stay another hour. but i’ll make up for it at the next waterfire. i have to. it’s my last waterfire this year. none scheduled for september, and october is just too damn cold to be standing still outdoors after sunset. where did this season go? it went by so fast. i’m not ready for it to be over.

bringing people together.

every waterfire is better than the one before it. the crowd was phenomonally awesome. only one mildly bratty kid, no stupid drunks, very few perverted comments. wyatt filmed my first set, which was a solid hour and fifteen minutes, using a tripod. the video quality is better than usual and only a couple of people got in the way of the camera. when people see a tripod, they keep their distance. highlights of the evening:

+ this really really adorable little boy hung out with me for a long time. he would wave and jump around and say “HI!” frequently. twice, i gave him hugs. the first time, i lifted him up and set him down on the ledge next to me, and kneeled down to his level. the second time, i picked him up and held him on my hip. he was actually keeping really still like he was posing with me. so damn cute. i probably made his mother nervous. usually parents are okay with me handling their children. i’ve had a baby thrust into my arms more than once. but sometimes, they get a little freaked out, probably thinking i’m going to drop the kid or something.

+ a few times, when someone came up to pose for a photo with me, i unintentionally managed to “trap” them. some managed to awkwardly escape the grasp of the statue. others had to give me a tip so i’d move and they’d be set free. one little boy saw me kneel down to pose for a photo with him, then decided that i was scary and backed away. so i sat there with my head in my hands, looking all sad and rejected because he didn’t want his picture taken with me. i heard a few pitying “aww”s from the crowd. i love being silly and having fun with my audience. performance art doesn’t always have to be serious business, after all.

+ even though i was sore and thoroughly beat up from a long work week, i managed to do two full sets, first an hour and fifteen minutes, then an hour and a half, before deciding the intelligent thing to do would be to quit before i inadvertently crippled myself. the atmosphere just so pleasant, everyone was being so awesome, i wasn’t even paying attention to my poor back.

post-performance, i often hang out at my pitch for a while and chat with my friends, and inevitably end up talking to people who a] saw me perform and wanted to say something / ask a question, or b] did not see me perform and want to know why the fuck i look the way i do. this waterfire was no exception. lots of compliments, two people asked if i was supposed to be a statue of someone specific, had a lovely chat with one of the police officers assigned to waterfire [they’re always way cool]… even though i was no longer performing, there were still some very noteworthy moments.

+ as i was chatting with wyatt and our friends jon and matt, this man who had been watching me perform earlier was hanging out just a few feet away. at one point – in the middle of a conversation about sex, no less – he came over and said i was very eloquent and real and he appreciated the fact that i didn’t sugarcoat anything. somewhat surprised to be getting such a compliment in a situation in which i’m more likely to get dirty looks from offended mothers, i thanked him, and we had a very brief conversation. as he left, he said i’m “a diamond, and not in the rough!” a little strange, but the sentiment is fabulous.

– another man approached me later, and asked if i was “one of the costumed people, or is it just an emo thing.” an emo thing? alright, yes, it’s an emo thing. all the kids are walking around in prom dresses and button-up shirts with thick white makeup completely covering their faces and necks. that’s the hip look right now. how’d you know? you’re obviously way cool, dude.

+ while we were chatting with the aforementioned policeman, this couple approached me. they wanted to tell me that they met at the previous waterfire. they were both watching me perform, ended up talking, and were now dating. hearing their story totally made my night. the guy was one of my annoying hoverers on the 25th, but, that’s okay. the important thing is, my art brings people together! how rad is that?

tired statue.

three performances in four days. i’ve finally recovered, so it’s time for a recap.

i really wish i’d gotten to providence an hour earlier than i did. by the time wyatt and i were walking to my pitch around 6:30, there was already quite a crowd. i had over a hundred dollars just in my first hour. crazy awesome. but enough about money, let’s go over some of the high and low points of the evening.

+ so many adorable children! this one girl in particular, who had come to see me a few times last summer. she likes to just stand and watch me for long periods of time. twice in the course of the evening, she came up onto the ledge with me and gave me the strongest and most loving hugs i think i have ever received. she just makes my heart melt. one little boy had an equally intense experience, but at the opposite end of the reaction spectrum. i noticed this tiny little toddler walking up to me, arms outstretched, ready to grab at my dress. i slowly turned and motioned down toward him. he looked up, made eye contact, and this look of horror washed over his face as he let out quite a shriek. the crowd burst into laughter as he ran back to his mother, his siblings laughing harder than everyone else.

– there’s always at least one obnoxious child in the crowd. one little boy came up behind me and poked me hard right in the knee, then scurried away laughing as i turned to give him a gesture of disapproval. he proceeded to make several more attempts to poke my leg, which i managed to thwart, but it was frustrating nonetheless. i hate being distracted for so long by a child whose mother is standing right there, watching her child be a jackass, and does nothing to stop said jackassery. oh, she finally said something when i moved quick enough to poke the little bugger square in the chest, but it was a very half-hearted “okay honey, stop that.” sometimes, i want to slap the parents more than i want to slap the children.

+ i think there’s been a significant increase in the number of people that come up to pose for photos with me, now that i actually move to pose with them in some mildly silly way. i also think people are amused when i continue to hold that pose even after the person walks away. or, if a person is “trapped” by my pose after the photo has been taken. if only i could find all these photos online!

– lots and lots of hovering going on. people crowding around my tip jar, staring at me, preventing anyone else from getting near me. at one point i had to wave at people to back up because even i couldn’t see my tip jar. it was pretty ridiculous. respect the statue’s personal space, damnit!

– all the usual lewd comments. y’know, like the ever-popular “i wonder what she’d do for twenty dollars? winkwinknudgenudge”. one guy, who was part of the group i had to wave at to back up, was particularly determined to get me to move. a rather long string of stupid comments came out of this boy’s mouth. example: “i usually prefer dark meat, but i’ll make an exception for you.” at one point he turned to his friends and said “i wonder if she’s ever been sexually harrassed?” yes, douchenozzle, i have been. in fact, that’s what’s happening right now. these fuckheads are lucky i’m not the overly sensitive type. there are plenty of cops at waterfire that admire my art. i’m a well protected street performer.

– my left knee had been bothering me all day, and i hurt my left shoulder somehow at my ten31 gig on friday. i tried to keep my weight on my right leg, which wasn’t much of a hassle, but finding poses that didn’t make my shoulder ache was difficult.

+ overall, though, it was a very lovely crowd and a lovely evening.