Heyy! I’m in Des Moines waiting to play at Mars Cafe. The guy who works here doesn’t know how to set up the PA. There’s not many people here, but I’ve had worse.
The album release went pretty well. I had fun of course and we played well. I was planning for it to be the biggest show of my life so far and it definitely did not come out that way. I only got a fraction of the audience I expected to, and only sold a fraction of the albums I expected to. Even a lot of my friends didn’t buy them. I know times are tough, but that’s why admission was free, you know? But I was very happy about the people who did come- reduced in number, but you know, you find out who your real friends/fans are.
My tour: my first gig, in Madison WI, was cancelled. Lame! I had really wanted to go there. Then last night I played in Omaha, Nebraska. I couldn’t find anyone to stay with so I used CouchSurfing.org and found some random person and stayed on his couch. It was pretty fun. Now I’m in Des Moines. I’m sick. I feel like the flight to Chicago is what made me sick because already when I woke up the next morning I could tell I was coming down with something. I’ve drunk so much espresso today that I can barely finish the one in front of me.
Omaha seemed like a cool city. I got there a couple hours before the show, and went in search of coffee, and accidentally stumbled upon a poetry reading. It was kinda fun for me ’cause I don’t go to stuff like that, but it was really dragging on and I had to sneak out the back door.
I was the headliner at the gig- fancy! I so do not belong as a headliner in a place I’ve never been where nobody’s ever heard of me- only a few people stayed to hear me. Being the headliner largely means two things: you play last, and in some cases, you’re in charge of the money. So the owner gave me all the door money but it was my job to dole it out to the openers. So in the end I made almost enough to pay for the gas, but I was really depressed that I didn’t sell a single CD or t-shirt, even though I did a really good job. I mean I know that’s kind of normal, but like, when you go reeeeeeeeeeaallllly out of your way like this, you want some kind of tiny payoff. Like that show I played in Austin- if it had been a nearby show and I had been in-and-out I would have been ok with making no money, but as I’d driven 15 hours for it and stayed around for like 4 hours just to get paid and didn’t, I was pissed. But anyways the bar, The Barley Street Tavern, is cool, it’s got a sweet little room that’s kind of like somebody set up a living room lounge in an unfinished basement.
Tomorrow I get to drive back to my parents’ house in Chicago and go to bed. (Tonight I’m staying with another couchsurfing person- a girl and her sister.) Then Sunday I play in Chicago. If I’d had less on my plate I coulda-woulda-shoulda sent a press release to my hometown newspaper, ’cause it’s always nice to be in the paper. But yeah things have been crazy of course. OK so then after Chicago I go to Minneapolis (St. Paul actually) for the first time ever! I’ve been to Minnesota before but not there. Excited! Then what i THINK i’m going to do is go to Mt. Rushmore, if I am feeling better and it’s not going to rain the whole time like it has so far. That will be my little vacation for myself. Because I’ve never been and I don’t see myself having another chance to go but here I am driving around the Midwest so it seems like a good time! Then on the way back I am playing a gig in Fargo, North Dakota on 10/08. My original intention in going to Fargo was to audition for their opera company, but when the Madison gig got cancelled I wanted to make up for it so I added the one in Fargo. I’m still supposed to audition but we’ll see how my voice is- you know how it is, with the being sick business.
Highlights: Western Iowa is really pretty (windmills!), CouchSurfing.org works, random poetry slam, the State Capitol of Iowa is impressive, DayQuill works, I have almost memorized Zerbinetta in English.
Better go, ttyl!
I’m on the M60 to LaGuardia- heading to Chicago and then Indianapolis for some post-holiday family time. What a day to fly- full of pouring rain, damp chill, and “wintery mix”- the most dreaded words in natural disaster-free area meteorology. To top it off, I’m flying standby, thanks to a relative in the airline industry- which, by the way, is neither free nor all it’s cracked up to be. Last time I did it I missed Christmas with my family after being at the airport all day because they couldn’t fit me in. But tix to Chicago were ridic expensive so I decided to try this again.
I was going to fly yesterday til I realized I had to sing an epiphany service at church.
I had one problem at the service, and you’ll never guess what it was.
I’d pulled a pec muscle the day before.
I know- only me. And it’s not the first time. I can’t even begin to explain mechanics of the complicated and creative way in which I hurt myself- suffice to say I was attempting an acrobatic stunt. At home, not in class.
How does this affect singing, you ask? Well if it were opera it wouldn’t have, but in a choral setting it was debilitating. The problem was that I couldn’t hold my music.
I first realized this when I was practicing after a trip to pedelson’s to get some scores. Pedelson’s, btw, failed me, so I had to trek over to Juilliard- but they had a very nice “yellow sticker sale'” with some intriguing markdowns. Lots of G&S, and I resisted buying cendrillon- marked down from $100 to $66- so that’s still there, snap it up before I change my mind!!!
So I’m home practicing with my new Sorcerer score in my left hand, where it belongs. Why do right-handed singers hold their music in their left hands? A few reasons. 1st off, from where sopranos are normally positioned in the chorus, the conductor is to your left, so it’s easier to see him. Secondly, any good musician will be marking her score with a pencil, so if you’re right- handed, your left is for holding and your right is for writing and turning pages.
At least, those are my theories.
So I’m practicing, and I realize it hurts to hold my music. So I’m like, “ow, screw this” and prop it up on my dresser. Problem solved.
Until I get to church. After a few minutes of singing, my left chest is killing me. So I simply switch hands- no problem, right?
WRONG!! It was so hard trying to hold my music in my right hand. 15 years of choral singing seems to have created some sort of imbalance in my upper body. My arm and pecs were tired, I kept dropping things- I dealt with it by holding as little music as possible at once. But damn- I’m a strong girl! No wonder high school kids never look at the conductor- they haven’t developed the strength to hold their music up for that long!
It reminds me of after my surgery, the first time I went out drinking (the night the Red Sox won their last World Series), I couldn’t believe how hard it was to hold a pint in my left hand. It was heavy!
So everybody try holding their music on the oposite side and see what happens!