Hello! I went on a mini-tour with my band. This is a very rare occurrence. Usually I tour by myself to keep costs and drama down.
Since I had moved to Chicago and it was going on a year that we hadn’t played or seen each other, we decided I should come back to New York for a gig. But it’s too far to go for just one gig, so we decided to do a mini-tour: Philly, Boston, and NY.
Philly just because it seems silly not to. It’s so close. And I had a friend there who was gonna be perfect to share a bill with.
Boston because it’s a former residence of mine, and I figured I had a lot of friends and some fans there.
New York because it’s our home.
We had two rehearsals scheduled back-to-back. This is all before I knew I was moving to Boston. I actually had a flight from Chicago to New York and back that I had to forfeit. Flight in Monday morning, rehearsal Monday night, rehearsal Tuesday night, Philly Wednesday night. Thursday off. Boston Friday night. The weekend off so I could spend it in Boston. And New York Monday night.
Then I got a job and moved to the East coast, which threw a wrench in things. But we stuck to the schedule, as it was too late to move rehearsals around to something that would be more convenient. Actually, because our bass player had conflicts on any other weekends.
Actually, he has a lot of conflicts, so the whole tour was pretty much built around his schedule. The two rehearsals were the exact dates and times he requested, and I had to beg for a prime time slot in Boston, even though we had no proven draw, because he said that’s the only time he could travel. Fortunately, the rest of us were flexible, including me because I didn’t know I was going to have a job by then.
You’re probably guessing where this is going by now. He had to bail on the first rehearsal because his car broke down on his way to the city. He bailed on the second rehearsal because his car was still broken down (even though we offered to pick him up and he lives on a train line and a bus line that go straight to the rehearsal studio). And, about an hour before that last rehearsal, he bagged on the tour because the car thing was going to cost him all his money. (I actually didn’t have any money to begin with, but that’s its own cautionary tale.)
If you are a musician and you have to do this to someone, the correct thing to do is to hire someone to replace you at your own expense. I didn’t bother bringing this up, since his excuse was financial, so he would have balked by default.
So it became a 24-hour scramble to find replacements. Tweets, emails, phone calls to strangers recommended by strangers recommended by strangers recommended by friends. We decided to just do without for Philly. We weren’t expecting a big draw there, and didn’t really need to impress. And I realized that our bass player could still play the NY show (since it didn’t involve travel), which he agreed to do. And after a ton of back-and-forthing in Boston, we borrowed a bass player from the Army of Broken Toys. He had no rehearsal, and had to learn the songs from the recordings, the charts, and my notes (mostly warnings about where the tricky parts are).
I rode with Joe the drummer to Philly. We played Lickety Split, which was really cute! It was a teeny tiny upstairs room, and it was a good thing we didn’t have a bass player because I don’t know where we would have put them. There was a singer-songwriter before us, and my friend played after us with some random musician friends of hers (not a band per se). She is an opera singer too, and even though we sing different styles of popular music, I think you can see the similarities in the way we handle music and our voices.
As for us, I’d say we did a great job. And there were people there. They hadn’t come to see us in particular, I think they were just locals passing through, but for a small space it was a good crowd.
I have to say I was displeased that they refused us any drink tickets or discounts or anything. It was an unpaid show, a pass-the-bucket gig. I know nobody told us we had to go on the road and be starving artists, but between time off work, hotels, gas, rental cars, and bus travel, we were each out a couple hundred bucks for this gig alone. A beer is too much to ask? The bar manager’s defense was that they were too small, and that the only people in the audience were going to be the musicians performing, and that they “couldn’t afford to give everything away for free.” I agree that it was a small venue, but it was clearly not the case that the musicians were the only audience. And if that were the case, then they have bigger problems. I try hard to draw, but the venue’s gotta try too, not just assume nobody’s gonna come and leave it at that. And I was kind of put off by the “give everything away for free” remark. I wasn’t asking for everything for free. I was expecting one beer for each person in my band, so three beers altogether (but we would have drunk a lot more and paid for the rest; we are a band, we drink a lot), but I would have settled for a discount, or even a food discount, or even, like, a glass with your logo on it, I dunno. It’s the thought that counts.
That’s enough of that rant. Other than me being irritated about that (my bandmates didn’t seem to care), we had a lovely time.
Boston was the gig I was most concerned about. I have musical roots here, and lots of friends who are in bands who have never, ever heard me live as a rock musician. I was just so concerned about wowing everyone.
Lilypad was probably not a venue that was tailor-made for our type of music, but they were awesome. It’s sort of more of an artsy space, for jazz and classical and modern music and stuff, probably some singer-songwriters, etc. They actually have some sort of noise ordinance which I’m sure we were breaking. We met the bass player during load-in and went over the charts and notes with him at Clover Food Lab before the show. Then he and I went to the Irish pub next door to the venue to wait for our set. I swear, this jazz group that was on before us was crazy popular, there were no seats left!
Yeah, Lilypad is the kind of place where you sit. Which, even though it’s not very rock and roll, I like. People pay attention more, it feels like a theatre. And I have this sort of theatrical background, so I’m at home in that environment.
Not gonna lie, I was really, really disappointed with turnout. I always expected my Boston debut to be a big fucking deal. And I know it’s been 10 years since I lived here last, but I stayed in touch with people. I thought I was still friends with them. Of course I totally appreciate the friends and fans who did show up, but I could literally count them on one hand, which was a wee bit heartbreaking.
The good thing is that the audience who was there was amazing. I dunno if the rest of the room was there for the band before us or what, but they were just perfect. I don’t think I’ve ever had such rapt attention in a rock show. And everyone cheered a lot and bought CD’s, so I was happy.
And we were awesome. Mike the bass player was a hero. What he did was not easy. I like to think it’s karmic payback for all those times I jumped into people’s operas at the last minute. :)
But after playing to a crowd that was fun but not Our Audience, and a crowd that was too small, we were really looking forward to our homecoming gig.
The Delancey. The bass player didn’t show up. You might not be surprised. I was. Well, I mean I wasn’t surprised by the time we were supposed to go on, because I had been texting him that day and hadn’t heard back from him, which was a bad sign. But overall I was surprised. I dunno if he has an excuse or something (I haven’t heard from him still, which is why I don’t feel bad writing about this), but standing up your band is truly bad behavior, even for someone who is unreliable. I don’t expect full-on professionalism from my musicians, because we’re not making money, so they’re not professional gigs. I don’t even always expect common courtesy or responsible behavior, because this is rock. But I do expect non-douchiness.
By the time our slot rolled around, I was less concerned that the bass player hadn’t shown up, and more concerned that the audience hadn’t. It was a repeat of Boston, except worse, because I had only been away for 1 year instead of 10, and I was counting on good friends instead of pen pals. But again, most people were no-shows, which was just embarrassing. I mean, the going away party was in the same space, and we had plenty of people. Out of sight out of mind? Just one year? I know we’re bigshot New Yorkers here, and we’re busy busy and always on to the next thing. Not even for old times’ sake, huh?
And of course I’m being a douche again to the handful of people who did come. You guys made my night. And again, we were awesome, and had a fabulously attentive and appreciative audience who cheered and laughed and bought CD’s.
Overall, it was a stressful but in many ways successful tour. What we lacked in audience quantity, we plenty made up for in quality. And as disappointed as I was by my bass player, I was more impressed by my drummer and guitar player. I’m not just blowing smoke when I say we were awesome at every show. They were so good that I was the one making mistakes. And I don’t make mistakes!! You guys know that!! Not musical ones, at least… But at every gig, there was a moment between songs where I could hear someone say to the person next to them, “Wow. They’re really good.”
What’s even more impressive about my band is that they are beyond eager to keep going. Joe has always shown dedication, but Chris is new, and I don’t think he’s been in this kind of band situation before. But even at the Delancey he was all like, “Yay, when are we playing again??”
And I was like, “Really? You wanna keep going? After all this? Because this is it. Driving hours to play to three people, musicians flaking, making $4 a night, hemorrhaging money, the constant stress and drama. This is it, this is doing it. It doesn’t get better. If you still want to keep doing this, you are a true rock musician.”
Meanwhile, I used my trip to NY to record some vocals for Martin Bisi’s next album. It is fucked up in good ways. The first song we hit up sounded like a drinking song at a Sesame Street monster orgy.
I’ll leave you with that thought.
I’m a glass-half-full kind of person. I appreciate the little things in life. Etc etc. But I find myself so frequently disappointed about my gigs.
I’m mad about the pitiful little corner of delusion that musicians have been forced into. We’re supposed to play to an empty room and kiss baby Jesus’s feet that we get to “do what we love.” Our “fans” steal our music for free and we’re supposed to be excited that they “just want to listen to us.” Making money at gigs or on an album is the exception rather than the rule, making a meager living after full-time practicing for your ENTIRE LIFE is practically unheard of, and you have a better chance of transfiguring than making a DECENT living- and it’s YOUR fault, you are not good enough, you are not promoting hard enough, you are not networking right.
I CALL BULLSHIT. It’s not our fault that music has been completely devalued. It is the short-sightedness of labels, venues, everyone in the industry who wanted $1 today instead of $10 tomorrow, and the horrid state of our private morals that it’s become acceptable to steal from hard-working people (and any musician or industry person who says otherwise is treated like a leper).
I’m venting a bit out of proportion. I am mad about things closer to home than the Industry At Large, but it’s all tied together. I’ll try to focus on the little things, though, since I’m getting ahead of myself.
My band played in Jersey for the first time tonight. We played the Whiskey Bar in Hoboken. They let new bands, who have never played there before, play Wednesday nights. If you draw at least 10 people, you can play a weekend set at a later date. If you draw fewer, you are not invited back- and you don’t get paid.
I figured I knew enough people in Jersey to pull off 10 people, if I worked hard and called in some favors- even if the rest of the band didn’t bring in their fair share of people, it should still add up.
I made flyers and emailed them to the venue. I said I’d post hard copies if they preferred. But they said they got them just fine.
I asked about local radio stations and they said to look up WCPR. I sent them my CD and, after several pestering “reminders,” got a last-minute interview/on-air performance set up for before the show. They didn’t get back to me with a time ’til today, and it was too late to work it into my bandmates’ schedules, so I went alone. I hadn’t touched a guitar since December AND have a sprained wrist, but I played anyway.
The interview was actually REALLY FUN. The students were really nice and really liked my music and I stayed on air for the better part of the hour. That was the best part of my day.
A good number of my friends came to the show. I had five friends and three of their friends, all from Jersey. I thought that was a really good turnout for one person. I’m lucky I have friends in Jersey.
My guitar player brought 0 people. My drummer brought 0 people. My bass player brought 1 person, but apparently guest-listed her, without saying anything to me. I mean it’s not like I would have been like “NO YOU CANNOT GUEST LIST ANYBODY,” but I mean- we had been over this. They knew we had a 10-person minimum. I had pointed out that we all needed to bring 3 people- and, knowing how that’s easier said than done, I had brought many more than my share, in case anything went wrong with their shares. But seriously, guys? Between three band members you bring exactly zero people? Look, I know that none of us LIKE that this is how it works, but we all KNOW that this is how it works. Venues largely don’t give a flying fuck if you are good or not, they ONLY care how many people come specifically out to see you, and how much money those people spend. Venues are not into artist development anymore, they want their dollar. (Hence my rant above.) This is not helpful for the industry in the long run, but we have all been doing this enough to KNOW THAT THAT’S HOW IT WORKS AND YOU CAN’T JUST FREAKING BRING NOBODY.
Yeah responsibility always falls to the front person, not the bass player or the drummer, but you are in the band. You are not The Help. (I say it that way ’cause I’m reading The Help– love it!!) Just ’cause your face isn’t on the poster doesn’t mean you’re not responsible. It just means you’re not as pretty as me. :p I don’t run a low-commitment, revolving-door project because I want people to blow it off- I do it because I don’t want to place excessive demands on people who have jobs, families, and other bands. You learn your part, you bring your three friends, but you don’t have to take off work for 3 weeks to tour the Midwest with me unless you want to. You can’t make a gig, as long as we know in advance enough to get somebody else, that’s fine.
Oh yeah- those flyers I sent? Did not see any of them anywhere. I don’t want to be too critical just in case they did post them and I just didn’t see them, or people who thought I was hot stole them, but- no wonder you have to instate a draw minimum if you’re not willing to do as much promotion as scotch tape a piece of paper to your window.
Most places you play, you get a certain number of free drinks. Not this place. We got 50% off- but it all had to be on the same tab, so everyone had to keep track of every drink they had. Oh, and apparently my bass player, who got there way before me, told the bartender he was in the band, and the bartender still charged him full price- it wasn’t until I specifically asked what our deal was for drinks that he told me about the 50% off. Slimy.
Now that I think about it, the only other place I can remember off the top of my head who gave me a drink discount instead of a number of free drinks also made me wait around all night to find out they weren’t paying me. Interesting.
The sound guy was super nice. :) I wish we’d gotten paid so I could tip him.
I liked the venue itself. A good big stage (something you don’t always get in the NYC shitholes), and the nice sort of layout where you can either stand at the bar in the front or the stage in the back, but either way you can hear the music. I do well with that layout, because I can always draw people’s interest even if they didn’t come to see me.
The set itself went mostly really really well. All the friends who came to see me were people who had not seen me before (like I said, they were Jersey people), so I really brought it. I jumped around and everything. I can feel my band responding to my energy and I love that. I think they all loved us. I mean they have to cuz they’re my friends, but they really did. I’m so happy about that, that they came and that they had fun and we made a good impression. It means a lot to me when friends support me like that.
A few things went wrong, but fewer than usual. We were using a new bass player who we only rehearsed with ONE TIME (and then he and Ross got together and practiced once), and if he made any mistakes, I did not notice. That’s saying a lot, cuz I’m hawk-eyed with my ears. Ross messed up in some of the usual places, but I tried to hold his hand through some of the trickier spots. Ultimately I want to know my band is going to be 100% on target and I can just float above it all, but since we don’t rehearse much, I’ve become quite the master of gesturing, and they of interpreting.
There was a little weirdness in A Carol- not sure whose fault it was, if I heard a recording I’d be able to spot it in a second but in the heat of the moment I had to concentrate on holding it together. And what killed me is that, after us playing a near-perfect show, the very last thing we played, the very very last thing, the end of A Carol- Ross forgot to play the “Little Drummer Boy” outro. Arghhhh!! One of those things that doesn’t matter at the end of the day, but it was so frustrating to play so well then end with a mistake. Nobody noticed, I’m sure.
Merch sales were horrendous. I sold two CDs to people who know me and would have bought them anyways. To everyone else who told me how amazing I was, I got the usual “uhh, I don’t have any cash.” Oh, and a guy from the band before us offered to swap. I don’t like swapping but I always say yes. I mean you’d have to be a tool not to. Even if my album is a professionally-produced full-length beautifully packaged CD and yours is a cardboard-encased EP you probably made in your basement. Sorry, I know it’s an inappropriate rant, musicians need to support each other. But I feel like that’s part of the problem- there’s almost no way for an audience to know whether they’re getting the real thing or a glorified demo until they’ve already shelled out their money, and by then it’s too late. Seriously though, I’d rather give one of my musician friends $10 for their album today and have them give me $10 for mine tomorrow, it feels like it counts that way.
I did not sell any t-shirts, as usual. I need those things to go away, and never buy t-shirts again. Or at least get black ones so I don’t have to toss so many for getting dirty in dingy rock clubs.
The bar was actually pretty packed, and we managed to draw quite a good amount of drinkers to the stage. The audience as a whole seemed to really like us. But technically only 8 people officially came to see us. Actually it had been less- three of the people were friends of friends and didn’t know to say my name at the door, so I had to send them over to the door girl and say “oh btw we’re here to see Amanda White.” It’s one of those venues where they ask you what band you’re there to see, and keep a tally. So if anyone came to see me but didn’t remember my name or something, I didn’t get credit.
I talked to the door girl after our set, to sort of see what was up- maybe we’d get paid after all- but she ended up not helping. I thought she was asking me to wait for her so she could ask the manager, but in reality we must have had a miscommunication because she went home and I waited an hour for her to come back and she never did. So yeah I was there til 1am for no reason.
And the worst part of the night is that my band stuck me with the bar tab. wtf. I guess they forgot. And it was NOT a big tab AT ALL and most of the drinks were mine, but… really? Again, I should give the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure they just forgot. Or its possible the bar made a mistake and added on someone’s drinks who wasn’t in my band. But they all left immediately after the show without saying anything about the tab, so I couldn’t find out. Plus, the bartender charged it to my credit card, when I was paying cash. He said he canceled it. So far the charge is still on my statement as pending. But if it does go through, it’s gonna be hard getting my money back. It’ll be my word against theirs.
In conclusion, I don’t know if I should be mad at the Whiskey Bar or not. On one hand, their terms didn’t sound so unreasonable on paper. I am the first person to stand up for an establishment that supports musicians. When I have a show or a meeting at a bar or cafe, I make sure everyone who comes for me buys something and doesn’t freeload. I tell people who steal music because “the artist doesn’t see any of that money anyway” that the labels and record stores need to make a living too. On the other hand, I’ve never personally brought 8 official audience members to a show and not gotten paid $5. That is a lot of people for a little indie band to bring in a state where they don’t live. And when I say to myself, “I guess we’re just not ready for Jersey,” I just laugh out loud.
If only my friends who had said they were coming didn’t flake, we would have had enough people. If only the guys had told me they were each bringing 0 audience members, I would have been able to do a mental head count, realize we didn’t have nearly enough people, and call in a few more favors.
And the thing is, I know all this already. I don’t want to come off as naive. It’s not my first rodeo. People just let you down so hard. And even though I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, I can’t get over that.
People have the tendency to make predictions about the New Year based on their New Year’s Eve experience and/or their first moments after midnight. Using this methodology, I am starting off on a real rough-and-tumble, yet rewarding, 2009.
Back during Ruddigore rehearsals, my friend and double showed me pics of a performance art/dance/modeling gig she had done, dressed up in a spandex costume with these crazy things around it- I have no better way to explain, except it was called an “Hourglass Diva”- and I was like OMG THAT’S SO COOL!!!! I WANT TO DO THAT TOO!!
So she referred me to the company, who were happy to take me on, with my “dance background” looking pretty decent on paper, even though in reality I’m a total klutz who got a C in my college tap class.
I wasn’t able to do any of their other shows, but when they sent out a call for New Year’s Eve performers, I jumped on it. My friend Philine’s birthday is New Year’s Day, and to celebrate we had tickets to the 2am Amanda Palmer concert. So I didn’t really have any commitments before then, just to hang out at the before-party at Philine’s.
So I was booked for the gig, along with my friend who referred me in the first place. But it wasn’t for the hourglass thing, it was for something called a “Performance Ribbon.” They attached a picture- 5 people in black spandex suits, covering their faces, manipulating one giant malleable ribbon. I didn’t really “get it” from the picture- I figured it’s something you had to see in motion.
The gig was part of the opening ceremonies for the Midnight Run, a fun run the Road Runners host annually: “Where you’re guaranteed to run your best time in 2009 so far!” I’ve never done it, but considering that I am (was?) a runner, and have run the NYC Marathon (a Road Runners event) among others, I thought it was a charming coincidence.
So the day before, we got together for a rehearsal, which I thought would take 45 minutes but really took 3 hours. (2.5 on paper, but then we were helping load things up.) The concept was pretty easy- you just follow the person in front of you, like a roller coaster. I was dead center, which was a pretty safe place to be- I was in a good position to use my (superhuman!) strength to help speed up or slow down the pacing as needed, and to make sure the ribbon maintained its proper arch and torque, depending on the particular pose. Unfortunately I used my superpowers a little too much, and actually broke one of the ribs in the ribbon early on in the rehearsal, and we had to stop and replace it.
The one disadvantage to being in the middle was that I couldn’t really see what the finished product looked like- the people in front or back could get a decent view, but I was too much in the thick of it. So I still don’t really get what the whole thing looks like.
OK so funny thing, whenever I was telling people about this, they assumed it was part of my aerial/circus stuff. So, just to clarify- no relation whatsoever.
We also tried on our spandex body suits. Yeah they were kind of hard to see out of. But my big problem was that I couldn’t really open my eyes. I don’t know whether it’s more because of the shape of my face (I don’t have a big nose and have a very retiring chin) or because I have really, really long eyelashes (I guess whatever hormones make my hair grow so long apply to my eyelashes as well), but the spandex was pressing against my lashes so that it was hard to open my eyes at all. They promised to bring me goggles.
New Year’s Eve I had a full plate. First, I had an hour and a half rehearsal with my kind of band. We were supposed to be auditioning a new bass player. Except I couldn’t get ahold of our drummer in time to schedule the rehearsal, so we were using Ross’s drummer from another project, whom I’d never met.
I’m really regretting having scheduled this today, as my plate is too full as it is, but I’m excited to meet the bass player. I spend the subway ride to the rehearsal space writing out charts for Monica’s Getting her Tits Done for Ross and the bass player. I get to our room, sit down, and right at that moment- at 6:27, for a 6:30 rehearsal- I get a text from the bass player saying that something’s come up and he can’t make it. Goddam it!!!! However, the drummer has listened to our tracks including the secret unfinished ones that you’ve never heard!) and is totally game to play anyways, so we rehearse anyways.
The rehearsal is awesome!!! We played most of our rep, and everything sounded great! I was especially happy that the drummer got a particularly weird meter change that we have in one of our unpublished songs, that is one of the true tests to me of whether a guy knows his stuff or not.
So we really had a great time- and it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to have a really good rehearsal, since we don’t have a full line-up- we are always either not rehearsing, or auditioning someone who sucks. Occasionally we audition someone good who then proceeds to flake after that. Eh, such is the life of a wannabe rockstar. So in the end, the rehearsal which I had been regretting scheduling turned out to be one of the high points of my day.
I had a short time at home to get changed into the warmest black clothes I could find. We couldn’t wear our coats, but we could wear anything black we wanted that would fit under our spandex suits, which were surprisingly baggy! I put on my insulated running tights under black yoga pants, two layers of Icebreaker sweaters that I bought for Bolivia, and my heaviest hiking socks. I also had a hat and running gloves. I was as warm as I was gonna get.
When I got to the bandshell, I waited in the performers’ tent, where they had hot coffee and cookies, and a really small, really weak space heater that everyone was gathered around. We all just sat around bundled up for an hour trying to keep warm, while a costume contest was going on outside. We also walked around and the group leader explained where our line would go- we’d snake out in front of the stage, go up on both side stages one at a time (they were really small), and then lead the way to the start line. We were scared when we saw how small, dark, and unsafe the little stages were- way smaller than what we had been planning on, and one of them had no railings. It’s hard enough to see outside at midnight when you don’t have black spandex over your face.
We got dressed and I could see much better with the goggles on under my mask, but they were tinted so that was a whole other handicap in the dark.
As we filed out with our ribbon, waiting for our start signal, we were freezing our asses off. I’m trying to look it up and it looks like the wind chill was about 1 degree. It feels colder when you don’t have a coat! I did a little stomping dance in my black alien suit, trying to keep warm and stay in character.
As soon as we were off, it was a nightmare. I had no idea where we were going, I could just barely see the person in front of me. Getting onto the first stage was tricky, climbing the steps and even finding the steps. I think one of the stage managers was travelling alongside us, telling us when and where to go, and she unfortunately led us right over a little snow bank- not realizing apparently that we couldn’t see where we were going? I mean, come on- it’s the middle of the night and I have BLACK SPANDEX OVER MY FACE. So I totally wiped out on the snow bank. I mean I completely fell and slammed into the ground. It was not subtle, I did not slip and catch myself- I tumbled head over heels into the snow. Then I saw the line leader do the same thing. Not cool.
It got worse. When we got up to the second stage, the cold became so biting that I lost feeling in my hands. I was wearing really good gloves under my costume, but it was just so cold, and we had our arms raised in the air holding onto the ribbon. I saw my friend in front of me trying to take her hands off the ribbon one at a time during held poses so she could blow on her fingers, and did the same- they felt frighteningly cold against my face. We stood up on that second stage for a few minutes, barely moving, and it became so agonizing that I literally thought they might cancel the rest of our performance and take us back into the tent to get warmed up. My eyes were tearing up and I was whimpering and moaning, as were my colleagues. But no such luck- we were led on and on and on, through the crowds of people going “COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and “OMG WHAT ARE THOSE PEOPLE!!!!” and “LOOK, ALIENS!! OR NINJAS OR SOMETHING!!!” It was a small consolation to know that we looked awesome from the outside. Oh, and some bitch yelled at me for brushing against her. UMMM, DID YOU NOT SEE THE GIANT GLOWING SNAKE BEING HELD UP BY 5 PEOPLE COMING TOWARDS YOU, AND DOES IT LOOK LIKE I CAN SEE WHERE I’M GOING?!?!?!?!?!?! My blindness was multiplied by 10 when the tears I had shed when my hands went painful and then numb caused my goggles to fog up. I could literally almost not even see the ribbon, even though it was blacklit and glowing.
We just kept walking and walking and I had no idea where we were, but apparently we reached the start line and did some circles and then we were free to speedwalk back to the tent. I was stumbling and bumping into everything, people, I even knocked over a garbage can (I never saw it but I heard it fall). We finally got back to the tent and tore off our costumes, and my friend and I made a break for the space heater. (I think the other girls had gotten some hand heat packets from the dancers who went on before us.)
OK you all know I have a high pain tolerance, that’s why I’m an aerialist and a marathoner, but when the feeling came back into my hands, it hurt so bad that I just criend and cried, and asked if anyone had any Percoset. It was just terrible pain. I’m used to numbness- I used to be an artists’ model, try holding a single pose without moving for hours at a time and you get comfortable with the feeling in your extremities fading in and out with often painful consequences- but I’d never had its parting greeting by that much burning. Somebody asked me if I needed to go to the ambulance, but I said I would be fine, and that the pain was a good thing because it meant I could feel, and I just wanted some Advil. But nobody had anything, which was okay because after a few minutes I was totally back to normal. I felt like a baby but it really just hurt that much.
It was 11:55 by the time I came to my senses, and just as I was getting ready to take off, I heard the countdown. The next thing you know, we had the best view in the entire world of the fireworks. Right in Central Park, just blocks away from where they were launched, standing in the doorway of a fenced off tent by ourselves. It was impossible not to feel better.
Until I got to the subway and found my 30-day MetroCard had expired at midnight. Happy Frickin’ New year.
It was 12:45 by the time I got home. Philine and posse were planning on leaving from her place at 1:30, and I was a mess and needed to get changed and cleaned up, so I called, bagged out of the fore-party, and planned to meet them there when the doors opened at 2.
I felt much better after a fresh coat of make-up (and after getting my hair unzipped from my coat, which took several minutes), and got a subway really fast. Unfortunately it was stopped for ages at one station. I wondered if somebody jumped on the tracks. It is the holidays, after all. Everybody dies during the holidays. So I didn’t get there til late, but there was a really long line to get in anyways.
The concert was great- she played a song by Muse, who are probably my favorite living band. That was a big joy for me. I talked to a bunch of people (much to the annoyance of some fans, during the quiet songs- but I’m making friends, that’s a good thing!) Anyways I got home after 6 and I felt pretty darn good. So yeah there were some rough patches, but in the end I had fun.
Happy New Year.