Women Who Rock Flyer

This past Thursday I organized and played in Women Who Rock, a show to benefit Empire State Pride Agenda through Drinking for a Change, my friend Peter Dunn’s organization which raises money for LGBT causes through hosting bar nights in NYC. Man, do I hate organizing shows, but luckily this one turned out great.

After a flurry of emails and months of stressing about it, Peter and I put together an evening of music hosted by my friend, soon-to-be theatrical/burlesque star Lady Killer, DJ’ed by DJ Ahomii, and featuring performances by Jené, Charlene Kaye, Anna Haas and me. As is the case with all show biz endeavors, everything seemed to be in a shambles one hour before the show was scheduled to start, but by 9:20 or so we had opened the doors, and our fantastic crowd was pouring in as the dance pop tunes blared over the sound system. Jené started things off with a bang with a short set that included a bit of a strip tease and some fierce belting, then Charlene Kaye kept it rockin’ with her fabulous band, then Anna Haas brought it home with her soulful belt and a wonderful cover of “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson at the end of her set, during which Charlene and I picked up our mics and spontaneously joined in on the background vocals while getting the whole crowd dancing and singing along. That was a great moment!

Finally, it was my turn to take the stage. I was initially a bit sad that my backup dancers weren’t able to do this gig with me, but once I got there and was reminded of how teeny-tiny the stage is, I realized it was all for the best since there would have been no space for them to dance. Everything happens for a reason!

This show went so well. The crowd was perfect, they loved my stuff, and I had plenty of funny things to say in between songs. I remember at one point saying, because it was an LGBT charity fund raiser and most of the crowd was gay, “Listen. I LOVE gay people. One time I was at a gay guy’s birthday party and it was just me and a bunch of gay guys, and I kid you not, we ACTUALLY ended the party by spontaneously singing “Seasons of Love” from RENT, complete with all the proper harmonies, riffing and backup vocals. You know that would never happen at a straight party, and it was amazing. So, if you guys ever get tired of being gay, just, you know, take a breath and keep going, because you’re doing the right thing. Don’t stop being gay!” Everyone laughed a lot at that. At another point, after singing a few songs, I was so out of breath and sweaty and exhausted from the last few days of running myself into the ground, that I just sat down and was sort of laughing uncontrollably at the whole situation, and said, through laughs, “I feel like an old, overweight drag queen who’s trying to prove she’s still got it. I am so exhausted, hahahahha,” and I did that thing where performers feel out a moment with the audience and get them to the point where they have to spontaneously erupt into applause, which was just what happened. It was SO funny and awesome and I don’t know if anyone caught it on tape, but if they did, you can bet it will be on this blog pretty soon.

About halfway into the set, people started to really get up and dance to all my songs and it was so fun to get down on the dance floor and jump around and sing with them. They really got into “Everybody’s Crazy in New York” as always, and at the end of the set, people were clamoring to sign my email list, and I sold some CDs, so it was quite a fantastic evening.

If someone else will do all the legwork next time, we should do it again! 🙂

My hundreds of receipts for tax-deductible things from 2009.

So after putting together all my receipts from this year I found out that I spent a quarter of my total income before taxes this year on music-related stuff, which is about what I expected, but still, when you consider that most New Yorkers spend around a third to a half of their income on rent, then pay all the taxes we have to pay, the fact that I spent a quarter of my income on music stuff and still managed to save a bunch of money is pretty awesome. The expenses, from largest to smallest, were as follows:

Rent on my studio/office

Mixing and mastering my songs

Tech-related expenses (this was so high because I had to pay a tearjerkingly large amount of money to do data recovery and computer repair after my hard drive died this summer. Am I backing stuff up now? You bet your sweet ass I am. Holy shit!)

Deductible meals (networking, business relationship building, treating dancers and other favor-doing friends to meals in exchange for their help with my projects)

Site maintenance/hosting, songwriting contests, SonicBids submissions, payment for airplay on Jango.com

Transportation around NYC

Stage costumes/makeup

Business phone bill

Rehearsal space for my band

Show-related expenses (equipment purchases etc)

Deductible tickets to professionally enriching music shows/movies

Membership dues for Women in Music and Art for Progress

Music conference registration fees

Mailing CDs to fans and registration forms to music companies

The good news is, I expect many of these expenses to go down, but if I do end up doing shows in places I have to fly to, the overall amount of money I spend on my career might still go up this year. But it’s nice to know that I don’t expect to have my computer melt down again this year, and if it does, I still won’t need to do data recovery if I keep backing everything up, which will knock about $1000 off the bill for having my computer repaired. I am also being more frugal in general with how much I spend at restaurants, I don’t expect to enter any songwriting contests this year as they’ve largely been a waste of time, I’ll be drastically reducing my submissions through SonicBids since I find it better to just advance my career in free and productive ways, I’m being more frugal with my MTA and cab spending since monthly unlimited cards have gotten expensive enough that they don’t make sense for me anymore and I love walking anyway, I’ve got enough costume pieces and makeup that I won’t need that much more this year, and I won’t be performing as much with my band this year since I think it makes more sense to do solo shows/shows with a DJ playing my tracks. This should eliminate a lot of expense and hassle while making more room for more shows and promo that are actually effective in building my fanbase and getting my career off the ground. I’m excited!

I have already had a fantastic 2010 so far. New Year’s was spent staying up all night with my best bud Elijah, the guy I wrote “Friday Night Forever” about, like we love to do. It was complete with crazy face paint, a sketchy part of Brooklyn, a ridiculous party, a 3am trip in freezing weather to a Dunkin’ Donuts where the only way we could get served was to WALK through the DRIVE-THROUGH, plenty of laughs at outrageous comments, sleeping at the party, sleeping on the train to Manhattan, fried chicken in the East Village at 5am, and general good times.

Jan 1 was a little dead, but Jan 2, Saturday, I went to meet Elijah at Club 57, the much buzzed about Saturday night party, and we had the best time, dancing like mad and running into college friends as well as meeting new friends! That night I met two awesome new guys, one from Brazil and the other from Argentina. Then I went out with the Argentinian on Sunday night to a hilarious drag show, where we danced till 2am and met two hot, sweet Venezuelan guys! Then we went to Greenhouse for their awesome Sunday night party where we had the BEST time and ran into the Brazilian again, then we hung out on Monday afternoon and bonded over our mutual love for the movie Rent, among other things, then on Tuesday we went dancing till 3:30am, where we ran into one of the Venezuelans again, then we hung out in a 24 hr Starbucks talking and bonding and listening to music until 6am! That was the most fun I’ve had in a four day period in a long time. There’s nothing I like better than meeting new people that I really like and being really excited to stay friends with them forever because they’re so awesome. And since my insane friends keep moving out of New York, it’s good to keep getting out there and replenishing the friend supply. I’m so glad the album’s finished so I can go out again!

I also realized that making friends from all over is awesome because it ups the chances of me getting to do shows in more places. I currently am talking to friends about performing in Tucson, Boston, Long Island, Buenos Aires, Florida, California and Pennsylvania. I may not go on an actual continuous tour, but instead do shows here and there all over the world, as they come up. I’m excited about that! And who knows, maybe if I bring CD’s and t-shirts with me to sell, and the shows are well-promoted and well-attended, it could be a nice little money maker. The more I look for opportunities to do paying, well-attended shows, the more I find they’re totally out there, within my reach. One of my big goals this year will be to do shows in as many places as I can. After all, wouldn’t you think a little bit more of an artist who can say she performs all over the country/world than one who can’t?

Because of my new friends, new experiences, the fact that my album’s totally done, and some decisions I’ve made about important changes I’m making in my life, I am feeling REALLY good these days, and I intend to keep it that way. Life is so much more fun when you are excited about it! 🙂

How’s your 2010 so far? Leave a comment below and let’s chat! 🙂