A: You play on the street in New York for 3 hours!
So today I did my first real street performance from 1pm-4pm on 49th Street and 7th Ave. The day began with me feverishly constructing my outfit, which consisted of most of the materials I got from the amazing M&J Trimming store on 36th and 6th. I sewed 4 pink sequin belts to be combined to make a sequin corset of sorts, and made cuffs and a headpiece out of this awesome silvery disco-ball-looking material, which makes me look like a robot when I put it over my eyes.
I rolled my amp down to 49th and 7th and started my show and immediately knew that all that trouble I went through to get that permit was worth it, since the second I turned on my music, a bunch of teenagers started dancing with me and singing along, which made me so happy. Immediately I got a few dollars in my case, which was great! If only it had continued that way, but then it started to rain on and off, which threw things off a bit.
When it rained, I moved under the building overhang near the subway entrance, which was acoustically much better, but financially much worse. If it hadn’t kept raining I think I would have made more money, but I’m just happy about how well the performance went.
My dad came by in the middle of the first set which was great, and soon afterwards a few friends showed up to hang out as well. The Times Square security guy said that Britney Spears was a few blocks away watching the Wicked matinee and I almost died.
At the end of the day I had made 12 dollars, 37 cents and 1 Rupee. Now, just so you know, a Rupee is worth about 2.5 cents. But you know what? I’ve never even seen a Rupee before. And now I have. And it has a cute little animal on it. AND, I can totally use it as a quarter and no one will notice. 🙂
So here’s what I learned from today:
1. Street performing is fun and not scary and totally doable.
2. Here are the people that like my music: gay guys, teen girls, some women, very old men. Here are the people who don’t like my music: 40-something dads from the Midwest who probably think I’m going to hell for dressing like a weirdo and thank their lucky stars their daughters are boring and timid.
3. I would do much better if I could busk in places where people are more apt to stand around rather than keep walking, and where there is a far higher population of gay men. Ain’t nobody from Chelsea hangin’ out in Times Square.
4. It is really fun to sing my music at the top of my lungs on the street in the middle of the day with lots of people around.
5. Street performing is more about handing out business cards and talking to people who want to talk to you than about getting people on the mailing list or making money. People who are going somewhere won’t stop and write their email down and won’t always throw money but I brought about 200 of my business cards with me today and I don’t have any of them left. Also, you have to go up to people and physically put the card in their hand. They generally will not come get a card from you.
So, next time I do this, I’m going to try to find a location in Chelsea or the West Village or a bathhouse or RuPaul’s dressing room.