Originally posted on PATREON
All the shows that happened, and a diagnosis
I promised you a long post, the one that got swallowed by patreon 🙁 I don´t like redoing stuff I did earlier any better than you do but YOU are definitely worth it <3
So, what´s happened since the last regular posting?
5 Things, basically.
1. Wave Gotik Treffen /WGT, of course.
You have already seen a tiny snippet from our show with „Spider Queen“ in the last post. That does not remotely transport the bliss of running full throttle together with amazingly skilled and professional artists, who just take all the chaos and ideas and stress I throw at them and turn them into art.
– Stimmgewalt choir. I mean. I just LOVE YOU, folks. Stimmgewalt consider themselves an amateur choir (despite several of them earning their money with singing/acting) but are some of the most professional artists I´ve met in my life, and that´s a few!
Huh`What kind of shoutout is that? Shouldn´t it be „outstanding performance“, „sounded and looked great“, „gooseflesh arrangements“…?
Yes, they ticked all these boxes!
And yet, I have higher praise to give.
Because being „professional“, in my books, is NOT defined by the money you earn.
„Professional“, whenever I use it, is a matter of ethics.
That incorporates things professionals themselves count as nonwithstanding and hence rarely credit themselves for them. Like:
– Reading and understanding all the briefings, no matter how long, and asking all questions before the show date
– Coming prepared, knowing their shit, and ask in time for things they can´t prepare (like technical things)
– Arriving in time
– Not complaining about the stress, not even complaining about things that might not be as expected but can´t be changed anymore, and find solutions themselves
– DOING THE THING they are there to do. Giving everything on stage, including everything that´s necessary to deliver the best performance they can do in that very moment and situation
– and doing it TOGETHER with everyone involved.
Sounds simple, eh?
Well, I´ve met quite a few „professional artists“ who didn´t meet these expectations. And didn´t even realise that there might be a problem.
At WGT, there were only professionals. Even those who wouldn´t consider themselves some.
Stimmgewalt are just about to publish their (crowdfunded) album Eskatophonia, keep an eye open for them!
Shoutout to Tangoth; you all have seen a lot of the amazing Luciano de Esbornia already, and a bit of Sherry Ceylan at Steamball, and they were joined by Natasha Barbel directly from Argentina!
I had entirely forgotten how it feels to develop a performance free of boundaries by music, text, stage setting or any particular technical issues TOGETHER. I had written the basic concept of the show of coures when I met with Luciano to talk about it weeks ago, expecting not much besides „yeah can do“ and „we´ll make a choreography on that“, the way we had worked together before when there was no real time to prepare anything. But planning a show in 2023 feels like it could be the last show on Earth for real.
Remember I had this as a slogan for the Steamball V in 2020? „Last party on Earth“?
I had an apocalyptic feel back then, yes, but it was nothing as concrete as that which I have now. And very possible a lot of people on this planet. And presumably most of you here.
The result is shows that DON´T GIVE A FUCK about traditions, boundaries, and money.
We brainstormed, They rehearsed. We played the show. And it was mindblowing. You´ll see, once I have dug through all the videos.
Shout out to Isa Theobald who I hadn´t warned about what Luciano would do throughout her freezingly sinister horror story, and who was the one always on cue in my readings whenever the doll choir should answer, and thus saved me and also the story on stage! I had intended to rehearsa those parts in the two hours of setting up, but…. Welll…
Shoutout to Benjamin Schmidt aka Spinne am Abend who not only read two poems feeling as written for the show, but actually rewrote one of his songs as a duet with me about the doll´s house! This song will be on the crowdfunding EP/CD.
Shoutout to M.Kruppe who let us look deep into his mind with his long poem about depression, which, again, was performed with Luciano, and one of the book illustrations by benSwerk, even if Kruppe had two more full day shows running the 2 following days and so much work to do!
Shoutout to Luci van Org aka Lucina Soteira who spread hope in the house with an entirely new beautiful song, and spread despair with a reading from her recently published autobiographical novel! She put up, being a star herself, with all my antics and special ideas and allures, and even shortened her text to fit the overall dramaturgy.
And of course to Victor (Sound), Alessandra (Stage manegement) and Mai (evening desk and merch), who made the machine run! I had sworn last WGT that I wouldn´t do this again with proper help, remember? So I got some 🙂 Not what you think, I paid for their assistance. And honestly, I´m proud that I a) could, b) did, and c) asked for it in the first place.
It was mindblowing.
I know I am repeating myself, but it was.
Thank you all for letting me make such art shit.
Sunday: Tango! Again, we teamed up with Tangoth, and created a new WGT tradition nobody knows why it was never there: Gothic tango dancing!
We had a full house and extremely happy patrons who wouldn´t leave the dancefloor after their very first lesson.
I played, and we played, and I danced, and it was beautiful and heartwarming and fun.
Monday I got back to the same place and just read a bit and played a few songs on the piano already sitting there. Easy. Fun. Hopefully, Schwarzer Montag, organised by Kruppe and Luci, will become a new tradition too, instead of the shamefully aborted VeiD event.
Oh, and I told you about the Gothic Hüpfburg, did I?
Then we drove home, threw everything into the studio, I dug out my microphone and FX which also serves me as a personal monitor, and the next day I went to rehearse
2. METAL THEATRE:AFTERMATH
I have asked since 2016 #howcanartnotbepolitical?
But, I´m privileged. I live as a white cis person in one of the freest countries in the world. I can say whatever I want in public; I might get sued privately for insult, but I can not be thrown in prison for anything political. I can even insult politicians rather than private persons, and go free. I can show my tits on stage, my whole body. I can show my tits, my whole naked body in public, and I might only get a raised index finger and several raised eyebrows. Living in East Berlin, probably not even that. (Since last summer, it is protected by law in Berlin that womenx can go topless in public pools and lawns and playgrounds. It´s still something that HAD to be protected by law, but I´m not complaining.) Nobody tells me what to wear, especially not on stage. (Yes, there is structural racism and sexism, but even if people suck sometimes, I am protected by the fucking law.) I can even hurt someone if it´s consentual. (I try not to, though. I never want to, if I do.)
I have never seen war.
I have never seen my home country disappear (like GDR citizens did).
I have never had to run from my home.
I have never even LIVED abroad.
So, when I was called by an old acquaintance out of nowhere if I would be willing to put a show on stage and maybe even perfomr in it that was, basically, political theatre about the situation in Iran,
I asked: why me?
And the producer, Franziska Buhre, said: because you´re badass.
While that just might be true 😉
it wouldn´t serve as an entitlement.
That´s what I thought. And then I said yes immediately. Because I am utterly convinced that „entitlement“ is one of the things that will bring humankind before its fall.
I do not believe in entitlement. And I try neither to take not to grant it. Which just doesn´t work, because, yes, I´m privileged.
Still. Someone has to start somewhere, right?
So we met, five musicians who had never ever met before, from five different musical backgrounds, with four different native tongues, and about eight different workflows 🙂
It wasn´t easy. The first two weeks, before WGT, we had spent just learning how to play songs. The initial idea was inviting the lead singer of Iranian-Norwegian band Confess, Nikan Siyanor; have him perform his songs and us to play with him, rearranging the songs according to each of our musical backgrounds, and for me, to make all that into a piece of music theatre.
So far so good – but have you ever tried to learn a Death Metal song?
If so – do you remember your first?
We spent 5 full days only learning the structure of four songs. And we were supposed to play one hour. Oh my.
So I pulled from the back of my head a lot of silent scenes inspired by the informal chats we had about Iran, about exile, about Nikan´s time in prison for the „blasphemy“ of his lyrics, about #womenlifefreedom and Masah Amini, about Persian food, and classical Persian music, and Persian pop music.
Half of the team loved, the other one hated them 🙂 well, as I said earlier, no concept ever survives contact with the performer!
So I started again.
Nikan only joined us after our first rehearsal (and my first concept) and only then did we learn which songs to perform – and that there were no lead sheets, just some recordings.
So I spent the days before WGT writing sheet music.
After WGT, we grouped again and played through the songs, which at some point started working. We only had 20 Minutes of music though. So I developed a baroque recitativo (my own, the Prussian, culture, if so you will) on Nikan´s lyrics to be improvised over Persian Shushteri music played by a US American/Persian jazz guitarist on a guitar instead of a dhotar. It worked 🙂 another five minutes!
And also, improvising this recitativo on stage was so much fun that I fully intend to do this on stage with Christoph, too.
How I got the idea? Well, first, it´s music I feel utterly at home with. Even improvising.
(even if mostly Italian, there are a lot of big German names who shaped baroque opera, especially Händel, even more in oratory and cantata, like the Bachs of course or Telemann, and a whopping lot of well known recitativos and arias are written originally in German)
part of my heritage (…) and thus I can feel entitled (…) to play this (fill dots with a few ugly curses about US based bigot drawer thinking).
Third, in my head, Metal music is a close relative to baroque music! Whenever I see two guitar players shredding it simultaneously on stage, I think of baroque violin battles. Metal music ist so virtuous, a quality most sought after in baroque. Also, the topics of records and operas are surprisingly similar. There´s a lot of death and darkness, of despair, of myths and paganism, and of course you have the hero (or heroine – rarely).
Then we got our costumes, made by Carsta Köhler who works at Staatsoper and also does costumes for Goethes Erben – and, hopefully, next season, for us! Teaming up with milliner extraordinaire Jo Hills of course who has already made so many outstanding items for me!
Then we finally were more or less able to play the songs – just in time for a guy from Wacken Open Air who had heard of the project and visited our rehearsal! We haven´t heard of him ever since so we probably will NOT play Wacken this year – but he loved it, so it can´t have been all bad, from a Metal point of view.
And lastly, the team had no other choice than to act out my scene drafts 🙂 we actually rehearsed the whole play 2 times before the opening and only night… yay.
Surprisingly, it went down well!
The next day, I literally had no voice left (this might, besides the ilks of monitoring a vocal signal when the singer is standing between electric guitar and drums, be the fault of the eight hour afterparty ending with me and the producer seeing sunrise from the other end, a well earned treat) but visitors <3 lovely Mishkin Fitzgerald was at our place and even came to the show, together with Hana Piranha and her new band! I won´t tell you AGAIN to check all those peeps out, you know them all. Don´t you?!
Hana and the crew played an open air show at a rock festival in the outskirts of Berlin the next day which we of course attended, too.
After THAT, I kept my mouth shut for several days. Because we had yet ANOTHER show coming on Tuesday after the Metal show,
3. MORAN MAGAL RECORD RELEASE in Berlin.
I have shown you stuff of Moran too several times, she played at the Streamball and we already made some nice music together. On the new album TIME PRISONER my contribution is „opera singer on crack“ for the song WHITE! A veritable earworm, if I say so myself. Get the album! You will like it!
My not-so-secret perk besides playing for Moran and performing White together and of course seeing her show from the first row was, though, that Stimmgewalt also is on the album and close friends with Moran, and they performed a few songs together, too.
So after we had all slept out WGT, I asked them OBVIOUSLY whether we could do another performance of REQUIEM together live, now that they had studied it for WGT!
And they said yes <3
What a night!
4. we went on vacation.
Well what freelancers call a vacation 🙂 we went to a lake about one hour from Berlin and stayed in a houseboat. I could swim directly from the breakfast table <3
of course, this also was the coldest weekend in a few. Of course. I still went swimming every day. I was a seagull in my previous life, I need water, and wacky food, and air around me, and I scream a lot. There were real seagulls at the lake, too. I love seagulls.
And on the upside of the weather situation, the place was nearly deserted – the first day we had the lake almost to ourselves, and even on Saturday only every other boat was occupied by mostly civil people who didn´t party and kept their talking down and didn´t throw stuff in the lake etcetera. Hooray!
(Am I getting old or is it sad that I have to mention this as something extraordinary? What happened to respecting other people´s space? Whenever I hear „Respect!“ these days, it´s mostly used by people who habitually do NOT respect boundaries or rules. That´s weird.)
5. and after THAT,
I went to my psychiatrist, and was diagnosed with ADHD 🙂
what a surprise! Not 😀 I got 8 out of 9 points in the test, yippieh!
I read a lot, and I fretted a lot, about taking meds, or not, and when, and which…
Well, I went for nearly 50 years with ADHD and I survived, and I thrived, while having the notorious „too much of everything“ even as a self description on my homepage. One does not get famous by giving too much, or being too honest. One DOES group a dedicated and trusted and loyal family around oneself by doing so, it seems. That´s you, in case you didn´t notice 🙂
I don´t really want to change that. But what I have read about adult ADHD is that it robs me of a lot of energy while I´m trying to function normally or even beyond average because my brain never tells me: IT´S ENOUGH.
It never does. It never did, obviously.
That explains a lot to me, about me. And honestly, I like me the way I am.
But I´m getting older. And the world is getting ever more exhausting. For everyone. Everyone looks tired these days. And I am tired, too. My body doesn´t keep the pace of my brain anymore; it has told me so very strictly (and painfully) during the past months.
So I let my curiosity win. What is going to happen if I press the chemical button and tune my brain to „normal“?
The meds wear off after a day, and not a single report told of a changed personality. Seems worth the risk, eh? To be the same chaotic person, but not by fighting distraction ALL the FUCKING TIME?
I had a good excuse to push starting the med trial though because my beloved parents visited me (hi mum!) and we spent three wonderful days together, including seeing the Gerhard Richter exhibition at Neue Nationalgalerie and having my parents lecture me (in the good way!) about the stories behind his works and life, and in the evening going to Friedrichstadtpalast varieté (where I had wanted to go for a long time already) and seeing a mindblowing show of musical, dance, artistry and unbelievably set and costume design, which was supposed to be pure entertainment but held surprising depth and meaning. It was art, thus. Extremely skilled and colourful art. It was very emotional. And so much fun to watch. Recommend whenever you get to Berlin!
(I was delighted, though, that the Friedrichstadtpalast ensemble still works in what I consider „German“ style. Sure, the moves, the music, the looks, all that was very US-American as is due, this entertainment form while rooted in England and France bloomed to its fullest in the US. But other than in American or also Asian shows I watched before, the chorus line was not trained to be simultaneous. The were tight, yes! And they all threw their legs to the same height in the trademark line dance! But still, every dancer had their very unique style to each movement, even in the line. A way to throw the arms and the head, a certain arc to the spine, a certain look in the face… I miss this in „US standard“ musical shows which you also can see in Germany. And I loved seeing it here.
You can be an individual WHEREVER. Even in a dancing line. Even in an army.
Now, I´m on my second day of medication and not supposed to feel much yet. (And seeing the amount I wrote in this post, I don´t 🙂 )
I did not have any side effects so far so I intend to keep it up for a week and then see what happens. Maybe nothing. Maybe I need another med. Maybe, none of the work. Maybe it will work, and change my life. Maybe I get less depressions. Maybe I give less fucks about everything. Which would be appreciated as I just can´t achieve that on my own.
I hope patreon does not eat this posting, too.
And I very much hope you are still with me. And that you smiled a few times through this post.
I hope you can smile once a day. At least.
Love you lots