Here’s what I’m up to:
- SHOWS (last ones until Spring):
11.19 Thurs — NYC @ Silent Barn ~w/ Quitzow, Love Spread
12.3 Thurs — Philly @ PhilaMOCA ~w/ Bakithi Kumalo, Art Department
12.4 Fri — Philly @ Goldilocks (chill set) ~w/ RR Perkins
12. 10 Thurs — Philly @ Ortlieb’s ~w/ Phix, Dogs on Acid
- MUSIC VIDEO: FUN FUN ALERT: I’m making one ! Last year I wrote an intense song about a good friend. This year, amazing producer/ musician/ friend Peter English and I have been recording it. I AM SO HAPPY to share it and to attach some visuals to it, with the help of badass video artist Kyle Brown. If you live around Philly and want to be in this music video as a “person in a small audience looking fierce”, stay tuned. The shoot will be early December, and will only take a few hours + snacks. The shoot will be early December, and will only take a few hours + snacks. I will send an email/post notification in the coming week and an event will pop up on facebook.
- REAL MOMENT: I’m going to Ecuador for 2 months (mid Dec- mid Feb). I’m going because I’m feeling very lucky these days, and I want to share this feeling by volunteering in a school. Also, I want my Spanish to improve so I could roll my r’s all day all day. Any advice? I plan on shooting lots of footage and doing at least one open mic. I will also eat all the fruit B-)
I wrote another essay. This one is about being nice, and it feels extra personal, y’all. As always, please feel free to share a response with me if you feel inspired, or maybe even suggest a topic~
Thank you for your time, you’re why I’m here.
The Performer: Part 5
On Being Nice
My former partner, and longest love, taught me the hidden meaning behind the word ‘nice’. Interestingly, he was born and raised in a town called Niceville, which yes it’s real, and materially exists in North Florida. Yikes but also wow.
Nice. in art school I was taught to roll my eyes at this word whenever it was carelessly dropped during critique: “the way the light falls on the left side of her face, it’s like, you know, nice..”. Art school was all about why something made us feel some type of way; the details, the little connections, the run-on sentences. But that’s just critique life, which is essentially a room of people that are interested in rigorous analysis — or to put it more vividly: bathtubs full of floating question marks ( ? ¿ ?? ¿). It’s a room of artists obsessed with knowing and asking why. Outside of this environment, this type of analysis is frankly exhausting and likely unnecessary. Except maybe in essay writing. Oh hii.
My former partner – we’ll call him Bees – would use the word nice as the highest form of flattery; whether it was to describe a beautiful mountain he felt moved by or to tell me, his former special someone, that he thought my idea was fantastic: “oh, that was so nice, Tamar”. At first I was bothered by this, partly due to my art school brainwashing and drying, and partially because it felt like an easy way out. The more I heard him use this word, the squintier my eyes got, until finally one day it hit me like a ton of baby seals: feeling nice is all we could ever ask for. That’s it. And being nice, well, that is the greatest strength you can show. If you want an intro into my brain carvings, here it is: the greatest strength you can display is to be kind to someone that cannot do anything to further your existence. That is strength manifested. Or more vividly: bathtubs full of exclamation marks. And seal pups ( !!! ! !!!).
The word nice is no filler, rather it functions as emphasis. Bees taught me that the heaviness of a word is entirely dependent on the universe that we create around it, not just the universe inside of ourselves. I’m doing it again, I’m being vague: what I mean is that we all bring our own baggage, our past, into every word. And also every room. Every time we step into a conversation, we bring our associations with us. I brought art school with me to the word nice, which sadly came along with eye rolls and skepticism. Perhaps for you, when you hear the word “nice”, you think of weakness. Maybe being nice wasn’t a possible instinct where you grew up, though Ironically, I find that people that had a severe struggle in their lives — e.g. grew up very poor, dealt with disease, war, rough family life, trauma — are often the nicest people in the room. What’s up with that?
More and more I find myself deeply connected to people that have come around full circle from planet trauma and landed firmly on the gratitude star; these are people that feel lucky every day and therefore they exude nice like it runs heavy in their ducts. They’re fearless: they recognize the needs from the wants // the love from the lust // the pineapple from the pines // they have no time for smoke and very little time for mirrors /selfies. They are simply grateful.
Being nice is not a simple act, and is never an accident: it is a deliberate act requiring being present in the moment while having the mental energy to give. When I’m nice to the audience while on stage (and after the show), people, more specifically musicians, sometime take my niceness as weakness. They liken my open arms to an open wound, a potential ‘way in’ for manipulation. These people /viruses are easy to detect — and hunt — for 2 reasons:
1. They often use the same language that I use on stage as a means of relating to me. Consequently they then ask for a favor / try to further their own agenda.
2. If you’ve spent your life being somewhat manipulative, you lack experience at being nice, or simply, genuine. I do possess said experience — I’m working on it — and therefore I can smell you, virus, from a mound away. “Being good at something means that you’re good at it.” – Little Strike. y’all already know~~
So, good humans, practice niceness. If nothing else, it will help sort the viruses from the pineapples. Your smoothie awaits~
/dedicated to bees bzz and to you
Hey y’all. What a summer, how do we feel about it? I’m grateful. Ups and downs, you know the deal, but I cannot complain. It wouldn’t be right. Got to travel around a bunch both for pleasure and for music pleasure; I saw so many lakes and hugged a lot of good cats. Here’s what I’m up to, followed by an essay about puppies and perfectionism. And the media. And you.
I’m doing that right now~! It takes forever to work with a studio because everybody has a life, and adult time takes time you know. Nonetheless I can’t wait to share these sounds ! They’re straight from my brain to –> my spine to –> my torso and out my hands. I promise they will contain full disclosure of true feels. Raw husks. Big mangoes.
Hopefully an EP by mid-end winter. Ojala.
09.19 Sat — Philly @ The Fire ~w/ Ill Fated Natives (philly), Svvje, irCasim
09.26 Sat — Miami @ House (Facbook for details) ~w/ with Bora, Cyril
10.09 Fri — Philly @ Girard Hall ~w/ Ill Fated Natives (philly), & more !
10.14 Wed — Philly @ Bourbon & Branch ~w/ Houston in the Blind, Shorty BoyBoy
10.15 Thur– NYC @ Matchless (CMJ Showcase) ~w/ Houston in the Blind, & more
10.16 Fri — DC @ Velvet Lounge ~w/ Houston in the Blind & more !
COOL LIFE: If you’re good at pattern recognition, you might have noticed that I will be going on a mini tour with the Atlanta band Houston in the Blind. It should be lovely because their music is beautiful, and also because their drummer is an old friend of mine: we met 10 years ago on a bus. That night he told me he would give me one of his drumsticks — but he never did ! We talked about it for years, a promise left un-kept like a penny in the washing machine, clink clink… I’m thinking this tour can change it all~~ I’ll let y’all know, next post. 😉
Related unrelated: I’m proud to say that these days I only play with bands I admire. These shows are parties. Make a friend, feel nice. Comeeeee.
At the bottom of the post is an essay I wrote. This one is about confidence, anxiety, puppies and teeth.
Thank you kindly for reading, listening, participating, and breathing.
Be well please. x
The Performer: Part 4
Perfect is Never the Real You
Since I’ve started sending these essays I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback — I can’t explain how much that means to me using words, because there are none. Knowing these thoughts are useful for even one person energizes me beyond compare; I file it under the beyond section. Far.out. Please please feel free to share a response with me if you feel inspired, or maybe even suggest a new topic for an essay. I’m open like that ocean on your maps ok?
This one is about confidence, anxiety, puppies and teeth. Here we go:
Brushing our teeth is a direct reflection of our central nervous system. Hear me out, here’s how I see it: it is a moment spent usually by ourselves. Often it’s forced into our day, aggressively, either due to hygiene or habit, or both. Hopefully there’s some level of joy to this ritual, because any habit stuck in pain city is a habit waiting to get out of town. Brushing your teeth is an action, often forced, in between moments. This brushy, wet, foamy time is an opportunity to connect with the real you! Do you take it? I have noticed within my own ritual that there are times where I am looking at myself in the mirror, staring into my own eyes, and seeing right past them. It’s blankness, and it means I’m somewhere else, time traveling two minutes into the future, right over the brush and into the day (or night). Rinse and repeat. I’ve caught myself brushing feverishly, with an almost anxious agenda to be anywhere else but here. That’s not a good reflection, and a misuse of mirror time (to be frank there are a lot of those going around). Any opportunity to be involved is one worth taking, and if I can’t spare two minutes each day relaxing into that notion, feeling the minty cleanse, and being thankful for maintaining any healthy habit, then maybe I do need some chill pills and a hug from a really nice puppy. Unrelated: any puppies reading this?
How does this relate to stage performance? I want to take this opportunity to remind you that ~everything is the same and nothing is equal ~. Annoyed by my curtain of vagueness, yet? Read that again and think about snowflakes. Ok ok more specifically, what I mean is that the action of brushing our teeth can very well reflect our general anxiety to some degree, but we can’t be held responsible without mercy. This can’t define us. One type of confidence does not imply a perfect state of confidence. If I’m relaxed, zen-ed out, and one with the universe while I cleanse my mouth, I can still be terrified of Karaoke. When people see me play and then subsequently talk to me after the show, I often hear them make inaccurate assumptions about their own confidence, as well as mine. Sure, maybe I am brave for trying to share my music , my thoughts, my pain with you; yes, being vulnerable is being fearless. But there are endless ways to be vulnerable, and we can’t be good at everything all the time. I can’t be good at everything all the time. And it’s ok. It’s ok, puppies.
If you’re looking for perfection from humans, you will end up getting lost in a sea of flaws. The reality of perfectionism is misery. I believe that is essentially the celebrity experience. When we put a person in front of a camera – a relatively new phenomenon – photoshop off their flaws, share their image with the world and then paste unto them a glorious myth (perhaps that they are fearless singers, fearless actors, fearless politicians), we imply perfection. An aura of confidence glows brightly around their beautiful skins. And thanks to the privately owned media and its privately owned agenda, their flaws have been surgically and meticulously removed. This is done in an effort to sell a song on iTunes, or maybe sell a movie on Amazon, or even more egregiously, start an oil war in the middle east. These ideas, bound masterfully by sticky economic thread.
These men and women of media are, in a way, our modern heroes. We look up to them as we watch them climb up the food chain, into this perceived five star buffet in the sky. But they don’t serve mangoes in this buffet, and in fact every piece of fruit up there is plastic, even those beautiful shiny bananas~! It all goes back to this point: nobody is perfect and confident about everything in their lives. No one, not even puppies. The media is very self-aware, and will gladly turn a mythical hero into an infamous villain. It isn’t fair. It’s not fair because we are all flawed and that is absolutely ok ! No human is capable of having true mythological powers. It’s ok, that’s why different cultures all over the world, over and over again, developed stories of myth: so that the burden is lifted from us.
I think the more we are able to identify with our friends, family, and even those we share a border with, the more we understand and accept ourselves. It turns out we all share the same basic flaws and the one big want. I don’t even have to mention these because they are so innate, but I will anyways, and perhaps we will discover even more similarities in the details:
Jealousy – I wish my memory was better, and I sometimes get jealous of this attribute in people.
Anger – I get really annoyed by certain sounds that people or machines make.
Sadness – The winter brings out very destructive thoughts in me. I don’t know how to control for that.
Hedonism – I can surely overindulge with food.
Vengefulness – Listen. I’m nice, but I’m not passive aggressive, and sometimes I can go too far for what I deem as justice.
The energy I put out to be returned to me as love.
You feel me?