Not by any fault of ours but rather the weather... a massive electrical storm with strong winds was tearing through the Mid-Atlantic and we were almost at call time, every performer psyching themselves up, all dressed up in their costumes and makeup and suddenly my right-hand (wo)man Jexi runs in with a look that I've seen before on her face - and I knew something was wrong. "There's a really bad storm heading straight for us," she tells us, "and the show has been delayed."
Here we are, 50 miles north of Baltimore off of I-95, and the storm headed our way is a serious one. Serious lightning, high winds, and the threat of hail and flooding have placed the area under a severe storm warning and thousands of people across the Mid-Atlantic have lost their power. The stage is made up almost entirely of metal - so dismantling the super-lightning conductor we were supposed to be standing on was probably the safe thing to do. We waited for awhile, hoping for a near miss and only temporary delay... and it became apparent soon after that our show was not going to happen.
At some point before that I suspected as much and had given up on completing my makeup. What was the point? The rain hadn't started yet, but festival organizers and friends of all levels were racing around on golf carts, shouting into walkie-talkies and warning campers to secure their tents and seek a safe spot to weather the storm. Tons of people had set up their tents underneath the many giant pine trees all over the property. A tornado had ripped through the region not 2 weeks before that night, and the landscape still showed scars from its wrath - also probably why everyone there was taking this storm so seriously.
My animal-hybrid headdress - featuring real feathers, antlers, fur, and more and more and more.
(Photo courtesy of RedLite Photos)
Laura and I (Loco & Coco) posing with our headdresses after learning our show has been cancelled.
Can you sense my lack of enthusiasm about posing for this picture?
(Photo courtesy of RedLite Photos)
Are we rescheduling the show? How can we make this work? What are we going to do? And WHY THE FUCK DID I BUST MY ASS for nothing??
Because you never know, because there was no rain plan - because we are at the mercy of our mother earth and sometimes she messes with us. Sometimes she teaches us a lesson. Sometimes things happen for a reason that you will figure out later, but until then you will barely manage to survive this overwhelmingly emotional weekend, darting back and forth between interminable disappointment and crazed motivation, only made worse by the intense heat, sudden rainstorms and magnificent lightning. (Though the downpour on us that Friday night was expected, the lightning storm was like nothing I have ever seen, including lightning from a category 5 hurricane. It was non-stop, for several hours, with no thunder clap to remind us of the distance away and no break in flashes, often gigantic and reaching as far as the eye could see.)
I made the decision the next evening to wear my headdress in the opening ceremony for the effigy burn. Maybe I singed some feathers, and maybe I lost some bejewels along the way - but at least I got to wear it and perform. It took some convincing from friends and some blind trust in myself (that I wouldn't completely destroy the thing I had spent hours and hours creating.) Below are a few shots from my performance that night. I just happened to be RIGHT in front of a group of photographers. Lucky me. :)
Spinning fire fans before the burn wearing my headdress. Finally.
This shot and the black and white are used courtesy of Eraj Asadi.
(Thank you again for the fantastic pictures!)
Photo courtesy of Jemma Stember-Young
I have waited far too long to post this - so I'll end here and be back BEFORE the big beautiful burn in the desert with some pre-Playa musings.