September 26th, 2010
|11:11 am - I have lived three decades|
Today I am 30. I've got a new single, my newest song "The City" plus three song poem b-sides.
It is pay-what-you want, meaning you can get it for free. I would rather you have it than not.
When I was little I would think a lot about how different I would feel when I was, say, ten rather than nine. I couldn't really tell if I felt different.
I didn't have a lot of panic to accomplish things before I was 30, besides what I did accomplish, so it's not as if I can be relieved and rest on my laurels now. In fact, I have a lot to think about with regard to how to turn this into a living.
My next goals are:
- get weekly or twice-weekly gigs with Heavy Sugar Duo or solo, playing at nice restaurants
- edit The City video (for next week, that's my #1 goal)
- crank out a sweet dance remix CD
- get some kickass gigs for Halloween weekend
September 1st, 2010
|12:38 pm - My cute shiny painted mini hats|
It took a long time to get pictures, but I finally realized I needed my mom's help and she got some great shots. I have 12 mini top hats and derby hats on my new Etsy shop now. Some of them have tentacles. Some are simple designs. One is a Magritte reference. They are all hand-painted and shiny. I need to sell them if I want to keep my cute tiny apartment in SF.
August 24th, 2010
|11:16 pm - It is too hot to record, so I'm making dance remixes|
I want to work on the acacella covers, and I will, soon, but to record I have to close the doors in my homes studio and the equipment gets bloody hot, so the last couple days I've been casually poking at dance remixes of my songs instead. My goal in the next month or so is to make a Lady GaGa-esque remix album -- simple, extremely club-friendly mixes with just a little edginess and, of course, the darkness the songs carry, that's impossible to whitewash. I've always loved pop music and lately I've been going dancing more often and I was thinking it would be easy enough to translate what I've already done into club-friendly mixes. I hope.
The video shoot Sunday went well, I think. I can't wait to get footage from Noisescape and start trying to play with it.
Here's me and Felix playing at the festival last Saturday:
August 18th, 2010
|03:55 pm - All my future (recorded) children|
This list always exists in my mind, is always changing, and when I share it it's never intended as an assurance that these things will actually happen.
Current list of albums I want to record/release as Unwoman:
1. Acacella covers album (Uncovered Volume 1)
2. Dance remix album of my songs (remixes by me. As I remix things I might find it in my heart to also share kits with people, but no one did anything with the kit I posted for Habit, so I'm not planning to exert much effort for potential remixers.)
3. Cocktail piano covers album (Uncovered Volume 2)
4. Concept album about [redacted]
5. Fully orchestrated covers album (Uncovered Volume 3)
6. songs about vampires played on cello banjo
Also an EP/single for The City will *definitely* be out in the next couple months along with its music video. B-sides will be a few of the song poems I made for backers of the kickstarter campaign for Casualties.
I hope to have either #1 or #2 completed by the end of 2010 which will mean I released 2 albums and 1 EP in a year. Go me!
I am also now part of a duo that already has gigs (tomorrow a private party, Saturday at 11 am at the SF Street Food Festival @25th and Treat!), Heavy Sugar Duo, which is myself and a drummer (Felix Macnee who also plays with Slim Jenkins) and it would be neat to have things to sell which are recordings of both of us, but recording drums takes it out of my DIY home recording abilities, thus out of my usual teeny budgets. If we start making lots of money playing corporate gigs and stuff, though, we can put it toward studio time if we don't immediately need it for food and stuff.
I also started writing a musical a few weeks ago. I can't give it my full attention now but I'm slowly, steadily, adding ideas to a notebook for it.
August 15th, 2010
|02:53 pm - Music video shoot next Sunday!|
Hey! I had a fabulous, epic, goth weekend in Oakland. Before I shower off last night's sweat I wanted to let everyone know about the shoot for my first music video, next Sunday (8/22).
Here's the info (same as listed on the facebook event and google calendar.)
I am filming my first actual music video!
Here's a demo version of the song:
Peter/Maxmin of http://www.noisescapetv.com/ will be shooting me walking all around SF on Sunday 8/22.
What I need is sexy, fabulously dressed extras (male, female, or "other") to stand around on the sidewalk. Some of you will be grabbed, kissed (on cheek or forehead -- I *will* leave a kissy mark) and tossed aside as I stroll.
The character I'm playing in the video is a femme fatale, a seductress. (Yet it feels weird to be describing her in such feminine, antiquated terms. Really she's a rake and a scoundrel with tits.) She is dangerous, desired, not without a sense of guilt about it. You will be playing my willing prey. If you don't want to get kissy marks you're still welcome to stand around looking pretty.
Do you have to be a model? Hell no! Unconventionally attractive wins in my book. However, PLEASE DRESS UP*, and be comfortable on camera and being recorded for posterity. A music video is a thing I'll be using for months or years (until I have a newer shiner music video, which at this rate will be a while)
I can't pay you in money but I can give each participant a copy of my latest CD Casualties (which makes a great gift if you already have one.) And if travel expenses from elsewhere in the Bay would you prevent you from making it out, hit me up to be reimbursed.
If you want to come out email me at firstname.lastname@example.org & include your phone number, what time Sunday you're available if not for the full 5 hours, and I will text you locations the morning of & updates as necessary. There will be at least 3 different ones & each person will only need to come to one and we'll need you for about 30 minutes each.
ACTUAL LOCATIONS TBD.
*Neovictorian, Edwardian, bohemian, fabulous drag, circusy, or modernly formal. Whatever you feel sexy in that doesn't reek of the now (but no need for historical accuracy).
August 2nd, 2010
|07:50 pm - PSWED recap|
I missed a few days. I learned a lot. I've begun to grok even more fully how lucky and privileged I am. I made a small amount of money. I made some new strong connections with people I met. I had tons of fun. Most importantly, when I started I was near tears, by last week I felt my voice strong and beautiful and on Friday my balls were big enough that I played new songs I'd just learned that morning. Now I feel I can go out at any time and sing my heart out. I can walk down the street dressed as me, with my cello, knowing I'm doing what I love and not hiding my radiant personality.
I played with Doc a bunch on weekends. We alternated his songs, my songs, and covers. We basically never rehearsed together. Here's us playing my song Cruelty.
I had some fun with my new song The City.
I ballsily played Papa Don't Preach which I had just learned that morning, at Montgomery Station last Friday.
I decided that I can basically only accomplish one thing per day, so I only want to play on the street once or twice a week. But I want to keep doing it. I make about $20 an hour, and I really can only sing for two hours at a time, but I made a few real connections every time I played. Money-wise, if I were really desperate I could support myself this way, but right now I need to be focusing on things like recording and videos so I can have more things I can make money on forever. I have a money post in my mind that I need to work on a bit. I want to be very transparent with you all about my situation. I feel weird assuming either the bohemian starving artist role or the rich early retiree. Well, the first is pretty accurate except that I do have a bit of savings and I hope to never actually be completely broke.
I've nearly decided on a 3-volume approach for Uncovered. The first will be acacella, the second cocktail piano, the third fully orchestrated tracks. Also at some point I'll do a web-only EP of songs about vampires on cello banjo.
What I really need right now, though, is music videos. I am damn talented and deserve to be seen by tons of people, but so far I don't have anything on youtube that has viral potential. I will try to remedy this ASAP. It's a big priority for August.
July 21st, 2010
|02:33 pm - I walked all around the city|
I started this song a month or two ago while I was in a neighborhood of SF I'd frequented with an ex. I tried to recall things in a positive light but it was impossible. Then I remembered how when we broke up (years ago) he accused me of all kinds of horrible things and told me I should move away from SF. Nuh uh, I thought, there are WAY too many hot single guys here! The song became ambiguously about a seductress feeling guilty about all the hearts she's breaking, but she can't bring herself to leave SF because of its abundance of prey -- really, the whole city is a sausage fest.
This isn't the totally final version. Eventually this song will appear on an official release, tweaked, with vocals rerecorded (I probably ate too much ice cream before singing this yesterday.)
July 19th, 2010
|10:51 pm - Magical harp music moments|
I left for PSWED late *again* today. Do I never learn? But I'd planned a simple, quick performance at 24th St Station so I could drop the cello back and home and head downtown to see Inception with Doc. If I'd gotten to 24th St at 4 like I'd planned, that would have happened. Unfortunately a duo was just setting up when I got there at 4:15 so I pressed on and tried Powell (hah) then Montgomery. As I got out at Montgomery I hear a soft lovely sound and then I saw a woman playing harp. She was so friendly, asking me if I'd come to play, which I had, so I asked if she wanted me to play with her. She needed a break she said, so I played several songs while watching her stuff for a while. When she got back we quickly jotted down some of our own charts and alternated playing her songs and my songs. It was fantastic playing with someone fluent and able to join in on things. Her original songs were lovely, fresh, slightly elven. Her real name is Erika and she performs as Eah. We ended up playing for about 3 hours and made decent cash.
I really wish I'd captured us playing Billie Jean. It was truly epic. However everything else was also really nice. I got video as well as I could (but you probably can't see either of us, hah) of Bad Romance. I'm hoping to put together a little documentary thing at the end of the month with little bits of footage from a lot of different spots.
Every time I busk I like it better. I'm actually starting to feel a little addicted, now that I'm fully comfortable doing it and have a sense that I'm actually good. Tomorrow (that's Tuesday) I'll be out earlier like 11:30 for a few hours. Maybe starting at http://sfappeal.com/food/2010/07/free-hot-dogs.php where they are giving out free dogs if you have a coupon, near Montgomery. If not there, somewhere else. Wednesday I'll try playing in Golden Gate Park for the people waiting in line for free day at California Academy of Sciences.
|02:55 pm - Adventures in busking: Powell St at last|
Last night (Sunday) at 9 I *finally* headed out for my PSWED and figured, what the hell, I'll try Powell. Again. Oh miracles, there was a spot, in my favorite most space-age resonant spot (under the east-most entrance). There was also a trumpeter in the main spot, who was so loud it was hard to hear me from around the corner. But I figured, what the hell.
It's amazing how much my pre-busking mindset has changed since I've been doing this. And yet this is exactly what I'd hoped for -- that I would lose my fear. For the first time, though, last night as I took the BART ride, it finally occurred to me to think of this as a show and gear up for it similarly. Why didn't I try this before, to think of my spot as a stage, and the people walking by as my potentially adoring audience?
After one song the trumpeter, Neil, came and listened for a couple songs. I made some money and gathered a few audience members. Then I asked if he wanted to play with me. He busted out his horn and we did St James Infirmary, Is She Secretly, and Bruises. It was obvious he's a great jazz player because he had no fear of coming in before he knew the song, and while we had some cacophonous moments at first, by the end of each song we were smokin.
He told me a little about himself, he's 23 and mainly couch surfs or stays in SROs here. He makes about $10 an hour busking, and he's out at 7 most days and tries to make $40-$50 a day. This reminded me how lucky I am, and how even doing this experiment won't really prepare me emotionally for how hard I'll have to work if I run out of savings before my career can fully support me. Maybe one day this month I really should wake up at 6 (shudder) and get a prime location, just to see how it feels to really work hard at it.
I made a lot more than $10 an hour at Powell last night, however. In just 1.5 hours or so I made $40. A good deal of that was due to one gentleman who said I'd brightened his weekend, and that seeing someone push boundaries like I do makes all the craziness of living in SF worthwhile. So heartwarming.
Also heartwarming, a homeless man gave me a dollar. I really wanted to give it back, but on the spot I felt the best thing was just thank him effusively. Less heartwarming, a drunk dude harassed me (not in a negative way, just annoying) but I had to laugh when I heard him get in trouble with the station agent for trying to sneak through a turnstyle (I presume that's what happened.)
Today is yet another slow day getting out of the house. I am fully entrenched in laying down tracks and loving my new song "The City" and I can't wait till I can record and post it, I hope by the end of the week. PSWED today will likely just be 24th St station around 4 pm if I can get it.
July 17th, 2010
|04:16 pm - Washington Square Park, and other things|
I had a great PSWED performance on Thursday in Washington Square Park in North Beach. I had lunch plans downtown which meant I was out of the house before noon for the first time in a while. Then I walked up to the park and chose a spot under a tree that would be in partial sunlight across from the famous St Peter and Paul church so tourists could see me. I played a few songs then sold a CD to a lady from out of town who was glad she had the chance to buy some actual local goods rather than a trinket from a shop. My friend Darren stopped by and sat for some songs. Right in the middle of "Billie Jean," three guys with video & photo gear came around the path and filmed me as I played. The photographer, Travis Jensen, was being filmed for a documentary about street portraiture (I think; I feel bad I can find the photographer's card he gave me, but not the film guys). We talked a bit and Travis shot a portrait.
I played some more songs and people came, some listened for a song or two, and went. The most amazing thing was when I was packing up two people came up to me to hand me dollars and say they enjoyed it. That was super sweet. It seems like I make a little more money in BART stations, but in more touristy areas people are way more likely to stay and listen for a few minutes.
Yesterday was Live from Monobomb, ie the ustream show with myself, Doctor Popular, and Crashfaster. I really shouldn't be counting the internet as a live venue for PSWED, but I was really itching to do some studio work yesterday, and also exhausted, so I did. The ustream show was really fun and you can see the action here.
I finished composing my newest song, "The City," yesterday. I'd started it a couple months ago but didn't finish it because I have too many things that are supposed to be prioritized over it. Since for various reasons I'm not moving forward on those projects, I've been doing nothing when I'm home. Yesterday I'd had enough and decided I'd at least do something, even if it was irresponsibly not any of the song poems (I've finished 3 of 6, and the remaining folks have let me know I don't need to hurry, which of course means it's really dragging to get them done) or the song by the Very Famous Person which I *really* need to finish soon in order to get approval to release it (knock on wood), or putting together my music resume so I can actually get some paying gigs.
Also irresponsibly, instead of taking the new song's momentum on to making its backing tracks right away, I stumbled upon my rough version of this Nick Cave cover and ended up wrapping up a decent demo version to post instead.
Here it is
So *today* I am working on backing for "The City" and I don't really know where/when I'll do my PSWED. Maybe just Dolores Park, I haven't played there yet. Tonight I'll attend the Stripmall Architecture show at Milk Bar in the Haight, with Foreign Cinema (whom I haven't seen yet but I loved Dave Han's previous band Astral) opening.