minstrlmummr: (Tuba Rocker)
Just sorting through some loosely-connected thoughts.

Which is all my long-winded way of saying I never had another nurse want my nursing job so much that s/he intentionally made it impossible for EITHER of us to work, just to force me to go away.

(Suggestions of other places where singers in search of audiences ought to go are welcome.       The open mikes I've visited have shown uneven promise...and purchase requirements.     I have been paid for my act by one of the toughest audiences in the country and now feel a curious reluctance to pay for the "privilege" of singing at venues...)
minstrlmummr: (daffy lute)
I was a good girl this weekend   8P

Meaning I did not spend money I don't have, no matter how much I would have loved NRWC (I generally do  8).     I took advantage of the holiday and busked on Friday and today, so not only am I not in the hole (more), I netted some travel and supply money.      I stayed hydrated and there were no "blood sugar crashes".  

The economic crunch has trickled down to the busking community,  in that  spaces which in the past were sometimes already occupied  when I was scouting are now ALWAYS  occupied.      I've gotten a bit better about leaving the house early enough to scout, a skill I seem to have acquired not a moment too soon.     I worked in two spots for a total of three hours today.     The first platform (Penn Sta.  "A")  was more of a trainspotting nightmare than usual with the trains perfectly timed to continuously flow in and out of the station in a sequential fashion which made it mostly impossible to get through a whole (2-minute) song.  The last straw for me was hearing another guitarist playing in the same space, who was NOT there when I started.     (Dammit, I saw people make eye contact and some even applauded -- I   $#%$#!!ing KNOW I'm not invisible...)     

The second spot was MUCH BETTER   8)

How the crunch has NOT affected my busking:

People still like teh funny.
People still tip using bills.
People still react to high energy, even when I have to be energetic sitting down because of the humidity.  

Otherwise, the weekend was pretty quiet.      Chores were done, food was consumed,    fireworks were watched on the tube (my sleep cycle on Friday went all wonky for a bit).    

Must replace my  "1776"   VHS with a DVD.      I did miss playing that over the holiday--it's a family custom.

minstrlmummr: (southparkme)
"My" subway platform was, on my arrival, occupied by a highly resonant  Kenny  G  wannabe  with  a soprano sax and a cranked boom box.    He played some of the most aggressive "smooth jazz" I've heard in a long time   =80

I murmured a quick prayer for the passengers' ears and moved on.     One side effect of using a car is that my Metrocard is now a pay-by-trip rather than unlimited, so I sometimes zigzag downtown and uptown to change trains on the same fare (the other fare cash is turned into gasoline).     By a circuitous route, I found myself on the unoccupied  "A" train platform at Penn Station.      The busier stations are not my favorite during the week  because of the number of trains.     There's a bit of a formula to platform selection involving the  tunnel acoustics, the highest volume your act generates, and how many trains come through, how often (indicates the size of your audience but also how much of their attention you'll be able to command).       Frankly,  Soprano-Sax Boy would have had no problem playing right through the four trains which were sometimes in the station.   


Soprano-Sax Boy was nowhere to be found when a young lady approached me and identified herself as an intern for a local daily free paper.       They were doing a piece on subway buskers and would I mind being interviewed / recorded?      (So there, Soprano-Sax Boy!)   I gave her my card in case I actually make the cut this time  (If she finds a B-boy dance group or something like that, I am of course out of luck, but...).     I worked hard for a little over an hour, then...my body urgently commanded my attention.   This doesn't happen to me very often, but this time I had to close down my show and  hie me unto the facilities.    (I knocked over someone's suitcase in my tearing haste.   sigh).     While  I was there, I  slowly became aware that there was some sort of altercation going on  somewhere in the vast  porcelain labyrinth between me and the door.    An altercation involving angry shouting (demands of "I  WANT MY  M$#!*&^$ING MONEY!!!!!") and the announcement "There's a police officer coming in!!"     I deemed it prudent to remain right where the hell I was until it became niiiiiiiice and quiet again out there.       

So here's my question:    If my being nudged out of my profitable platform (where the passengers know me and like me) into a place where there was an intern with a notepad  was Divine Providence,    what the  f%$#  was that other $#!t ? 

If I ever hear from the intern, I'll keep y'all posted...

BTW, apologies to [personal profile] woodwindy  --  my clothes for Investiture won't be new like I once planned.     I will, however, be wearing clothes    8)     8)
minstrlmummr: (daffy lute)
Last night I hosted two fellow buskers (and fellow Coxcomb alums) from Philly who came to Brooklyn for a photo shoot.     It's always lovely when we get together because we all get "transported" to Pennsic   "chust a little bit".      

"Dottie" and "Lorraine" perform together as "Bag Lady / Wandering Gypsy Theatre"   (example at    http://www.sidetracked.biz/Site/Watch.html    )   in and around Philadelphia, in addition to group and solo acting gigs.      They have mostly quit their day jobs    8)        They've also booked me in Phoenixville a time or two or three...    They stayed overnight, which was a good thing since the shoot ran kind of late and meshed nicely with my getting off work late.    I saw them rehearse a work in progress, a story about cats.    Just before they started, Jamie came and sat down in front of them as if to say  "TEL STORREE PLZ?" -- it was adorable.        This morning after breakfast (out -- coffee shop has coffee, I don't)   we all went to the Central Park  entrance at Columbus Circle  early   (10 am IS early to a theater person) and busked until they had to meet their Megabus at Penn Station.    They were both really jazzed to be working in NYC.   I know exactly how they feel--I've never lost the thrill of driving/walking on this or that street for some routine activity and catching sight of the Empire State Building /  WTC / Statue of Liberty, or doing a show in Grand Central Station, the place where they shot that dancing scene from "The Fisher King"  (although if I were stupid enough to actually set up IN the hall where the ceiling mural is I'd be trampled by rampaging commuters  8).   

They did okay tip-wise, for working just over an hour.      I got a lot of smiles but not much money, which is how my above-ground experiences in NYC have gone in the past.      Both of them definitely want to come back and do this again, for a longer shift.    We talked about the one other busker-friendly site I know of, Washington Square Park of the maddening performer crowds.     After we said goodbye I relocated my (more passive) act into a subway station nearby for a while, then came home to treat a pounding headache.     (I might have worked longer had I remembered to bring food and take a bathroom break.    sigh.     I do really know better, honest   8)

After a nap and some dinner, I learned about the unexpected death of "Meet The Press" host Tim Russert.     My memory of him is mostly surprise that someone could have such a sincerely enthusiastic smile, so often, for the potentially soul-numbing experience of immersing oneself in politics and politicians.      Nice guy.     Too soon. 
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
 Saturday was a long, happy blur.

I got to Bhakail Yule later than I wanted but I was in time to say hi to   [personal profile] woodwindy   (Mina is Level 10 Lawful (?) Adorable!)  and     [profile] siobhan1214     and     [personal profile] zaduzbina.       We even had time,  before and after a quick trip to the proteinaceous dayboard, to work in a few songs and I met a new lady who plays recorder and sings.      [personal profile] loosecanon  had a smile and a generous offer re: the car situation.      I have the most awesome friends evah.

Too soon, I had to leave for the Phoenixville Firebird Festival and Busking In Teh Great Outdoors.    I learned that my motley coat fits over top of my down jacket, which made the two-and-a-half hours possible.       I set up outside a well-lit,  "green" store called Earth Mart.    My store liaison was a local artist who was doing children's activities    (looked like cookie-making or Play-doh).      They brought me cups of hot tea once an hour.        They had steady streams of customers/lookers which was great for me.     The Bag Ladies / Wandering Gypsies worked their tag-team comedy, along with several other young Pennsic denizens, most of whom were juggling / manipulating fire, torches, fire-poi spinning, to keep with the Burning Bird theme.   I sang most of the funny songs I do in the subway, with some "churchy" Christmas carols (I can't remember all the words / chords to "Frosty" and "Rudolph"....pathetic, I know.     People seemed to like "Greensleeves" and "Silent Night", and some of them sang along, which I love when there's no alcohol involved    8)

The deal is that the festival starts at 4 pm with a bunch of craftsmen / merchants in the area near the bird, which, unfortunately is un-lit.      Earth Mart was up the street but along the route most people took to get to the bird.       There's a parade of puppeteers and drummers about an hour before the bird goes up, some fire-manipulation, then they light the bird.     They had a portable outdoor stage and a few acts working there which I didn't see due to working    8)      After the parade went by, it was time to go down to the bird, put away the guitar and the hat, sit on my chair and spectate.     

Later, the Bag Ladies took me to a party at   "Lorraine's" house where I met a large crowd of high-school and college-age kids, had some delicious pizza, and learned "The Austrian Paper Game" which involves alternating sentences and pictures on papers which get passed around a circle and added to.        I can't wait to play it again -- all I need is six more people...

I was scared by the thin coat of ice on my car when I went to load up  ("Dottie" had offered me crash space at her house twenty minutes away), so I decided to trek home late and crash at home.      The drive (on the Schulkyll, then to 295/turnpike) was mostly rainy, only slushy when I got near Staten Island.

Yesterday I slept and worked up a shopping list for some desserts I want to make for this Friday.       Watch this space for the newly-tested recipe for "Mendoza Cake"!
minstrlmummr: (daffy lute)

The trip back to Delaware was nice and peaceful.     I don't care what anybody says about maintenance--the Bay Bridge looks to me like a crazy-quilt going too high over too much water.    I'll ride over it but  I doesn't has to drive next time   =80    
After a weekend of too much fast food, I made this hybrid we like of not-quite-potato soup, not-quite-succotash with elements of both.    I also had sprouts because I had a Green Food Deficiency (tm). 

The trip home to NYC needs its own post because -- well, you'll see   8)  

ETA:  My mom now wants to try contact juggling   8)    8)     8)
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
Since my return from Pennsic I have been much occupied with my nursing duties as a colleague went on a nearly-unannounced vacation (requested my coverage on a Tuesday for that Saturday and Sunday);    I accepted, since (as Trelawney might say) "funds were low".     The five days I worked that week included a loooooooooooong hike to a friend's house for dinner (patient can't always go out on Shabbos) and two outpatient testing visits (If your doctor frequents a teaching hospital, never let 'em leave you alone with both an inexperienced doctor AND an inexperienced nurse  >80

Last week I started to have a cold, which I medicated into 70% submission, so during my subway show Friday I was okay for a two-hour shift (THAT was a shift I wouldn't have missed -- in addition to being flirted with ("Are you gonna come with me and let me cook you breakfast for the rest of your life?")   and solicited to work ("We're asking lots of musicians to wear our buttons and t-shirts and work for free this September 11th to make music for peace."      I'd have to rearrange my work schedule...to work for nothing.    Sorry, you can't afford me today  8), I also got tipped Very Nicely.     If the tipper made a mistake I hope he doesn't feel the need for what he gave me.      

Saturday I went to Rockaway Beach on a whim (sans suit, so only my legs went swimming   8).    I love being only a bus trip away from the ocean.   

Sunday I went to Staten Island for Multi-focal SCA practice (Archery and whatever else people who come want to do).    Willow Brook Park is worth the insanely long trip, with woods and picnic tables and barbecue grills and a carousel not far from the fenced archery range.      

Monday night after work my cold was back with reinforcements.    I've been medicated for three days.   
More about what happened today in my next post.
minstrlmummr: (southparkme)
In between tent - bailing episodes (my tent is actually good sound canvas -- it just rained TOO #$%&!!!  MUCH ) several lovely things happened.    

Now if the sun could just return here the way it finally did in Slippery Rock...

minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
also Supporting Local Businesses(tm).

Saturday I went back to Phoenixville for a downtown Festival (Springtime In Paris--apparently the local foundry made some of the steel for the Eiffel Tower). Eight buskers took to the streets including Bag Lady (aka Wandering Gypsy) Theatre, a juggler and a balloon artiste from Coxcomb, some local puppeteers, a blues band, a fire poi-and-shenanigans duo, and an eighteen y/o Theatre major doing his first street gig selling roses, looking tres charmante wearing knickers, knee sox, a vaguely Victorian jacket and a pale gray top hat. Also yours truly, clinging to freshly learned Ren-era chansons 8)

The eight-hour festival sort of petered out during the fifth hour when a large number of attendees went home through some simultaneous instinct which remains a mystery to yours truly. I took a break to rehydrate and facilitate and went back out for another hour, but the crowds were mostly gone. (There were fewer people than there were for the December Firebird festival to begin with...) I decided to Support a Local Business and had a "gourmet pizza", loaded with white cheeses and green veggies, for dinner. "Lorraine" from BLT, who had booked me, invited me to meet up with her and friends at a second-floor used/rare bookstore ("There are 26 steps--a moment of silence for this tribute the the majesty of the alphabet"). The store had a lovely reading area overlooking the street with magazines. The books were sort of wasted on me (I'm a horrible shopping buddy--I "hunt down my prey" and Get The Hell Outta Dodge); I couldn't find anything since many books weren't alphabetically arranged.

After hot chocolate from Another Local Business, we made an early night to support "Lorraine"'s plans for Sunday--early rehearsal before SAFD Stage Combat Certification with "Dottie" and their teacher Mr. Tm. Along with my friends, I got to see a lot of other actors and students present fight scenarios in a variety of weapons forms. I left my friends when the "closed" portion of the event started and learned about the Philly subway (two lines, no waiting.) Bargain lunch in Chinatown ("four items, free soup, $5") and a short walk downtown to learn how far I was from Independence Hall on my own two feet. East of the Historic District was a large street festival with gi-normous speakers, recorded/DJ'd music, and a distressing lack of street entertainment 8) (Also a lot of cops, and it's a bad idea to Just Start Busking Uninvited or I'd have tried it) Just before catching my bus home I walked through Reading Terminal Market and found The Famous 4th Street Cookie Co.

I knew what had to be done. It had walnuts 8)
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)

Next morning, BL1 and I 'talked of many things", including the Chinatown Bus (between Chinatown NYC and Chinatown Philly).     I used it to get home after my first (too-short!) visit to Reading Terminal Market.     The bus bathroom is a little scary (also scanty of paper) but for the price and the lack of drama, relative to "Whitedog" 's current lousy service, I'll deal   8)    I did a show in Penn Station before I went home, which restored my equilibrium.      

All in all a fun weekend.
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
I broke my old record for busking tips this past Wednesday.     

Some days you make "laundry money".

Some days you make "dinner tonight money".    

Some days you make "train fare money".     

Last Wednesday I made "grocery money".      Once again proving wrong those long-ago naysayers who proclaimed that I "could be a singer if I wanted to, but I'd never be able to feed myself from doing it".

So there, ghosts    8P
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
Yesterday (meaning  Saturday) I permitted myself a good ole-fashion pity party waller.       My mom and sister knew about Friday and they've been really wonderful, checking in and being loving and supportive.    My mom even said, "I believe in you".  

Wow     8)     8)       8)

That was yesterday.

Aaaaaaand...tomorrow is another day.
minstrlmummr: (AAUGHH!!11!!!)
I am not at Buskerfest.       I did not get paid (again).     (This time, the payroll computer died and NOBODY got paid.     I don't care WHAT Misery loves, I HATE this F$!%*&#!! company.)      
There was an unforeseen problem that prevented me from getting my rental car, which I could not fix because I Did Not Get Paid.     
I schlepped a giant suitcase full of performing and camping equipment on and off of buses and trains (and waiting areas) for fourteen hours with nothing to show for it.      I prepaid for camping space and they don't do refunds.
Someday after performing IS my day job, I may write a memoir and include this day's events on a list of  "insurmountable odds" I had to overcome, or something.     

Sunday is supposed to be warmer / sunny.      Busking in Washington Square might be nice.     At least the people who put money in my hat don't need a computer to pay me for my hard work.  


minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)

April 2014

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