Thursday, February 19, 2015

What Our Friends Say

Despite our relationship, he gives incredible feedback.
I've been to a lot of shows over the years, mostly plays and burlesque, but I've also been to my fair share of concerts. I've been with the band, in the band, in the show, producing the show, seeing the show. I've been around live entertainment since I started public school.

It's very educational to watch the audience during a performance. You can see who really engages and involves the audience, and you can see who alienates, confuses and/or doesn't appeal. What is especially fascinating is watching friends of the performers. They're always so enthusiastic and supportive and encouraging, even when the number seems sub par. Do you have those friends who come up to you after the show and tell you that you were greaaaaaaaaat when you know you sucked? Do they always give you the thumbs up when you actually want some feedback you can use?

People are friends with us because they are attracted to us. There's something within you that appeals to your friends. It may be the qualities and viewpoints you have in common, like you both love football and voted for the tallest person in the last election. It may be the qualities that you have that they with they had, like you stand up for people and have incredible parallel parking skills. The important thing is that they're your friends because they dig something about you. Why would you be friends with someone who isn't attracted to you, doesn't like you at all?

Your friends see you with Friend Goggles. They see the qualities they admire, and they see all of the awesomeness that draws them to your circle.  Just like a lover will see the best of you, your friends do the same. They've got your back, so why would they see you as anything less than the coolest?

Friend Goggles are tricky when you're asking for feedback. As a performer, you get feedback through the friend filter of "you were sooooo gooooood." That admiration and identification doesn't give you the feedback you seek. It can be frustrating to not get the advice you seek. It can also be frustrating to learn from a not-friend that your work could genuinely use some improvement. (Not-friends aren't always delicate and caring when they critique your work.) Sometimes you just need the support of your friends so you feel good about putting yourself out there as an artist, and that's not a bad thing.

So how do you hear what you want from your friends? Let them know before they open their mouths with feedback that you're so happy that they're supporting you. It's valuable to have a support network. If you want genuine observations of how your act can improve, be specific with your request. (I'm a huge fan of precision of language so there can be no confusion.) "I'd really like to know what you liked best and what you think I could improve about my act. Can you email me tomorrow?" Be clear about what feedback you want and how you want it.

Treasure your friends for supporting you, and be smart about taking the feedback you get from them. If you're asked to give a friend feedback, I have some recommendations for you here and here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Topless Vlog #53

Finally! I uploaded this on Groundhog Day, and then it was blacklisted. I don't know if that's because I forgot to tick the adult box, or maybe because I mentioned the hockey team I follow in the metadata. I asked their admins for clarification and have gotten no response. They haven't pulled my channel, so that's positive.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fan Girl

Evie is always down for adventure.
I get a kick out of autographing things for people who dig Red Snapper. I'm always flattered because I'm just a small town girl who takes her clothes off in the big city. I've done some cool stuff, but I don't think of myself as any kind of big deal. If you ask me to autograph something, you'll get the same cheesy grin you see above because I'm tickled and amused that you want a memento of me.

Thursday I was a fan girl, and I wondered if the autographers think the same way I do. My best-good friend Evie joined me for the day of adventuring. (I love that I have a gal pal who is down for whatever random scheme I have cooked up.) We went to Long Beach at 6:30am to wait until 2pm for autographs from three of the LA Kings: Martin Jones, Jake Muzzin, and Anze Kopitar. Evie and her husband introduced us to hockey in 2011, so it was quite perfect that we went together.

This kind of signing is way different from someone buying a photo or t-shirt from me at a show and having me sign it. (I think I've signed a couple people over the years.) This is large scale stuff that wouldn't seem to give much opportunity for personal interaction or conversation. We plopped our chairs into position near the door around 7:15am, sixth and seventh in line. I brought sewing projects, she brought reading material. We had snacks, and we could trust the other folks in our chaired area in line to keep an eye on our stuff when we went to fast food places for more refreshments. (I highly recommend offering to bring something back for your seated line neighbors. It's polite and builds camaraderie.) I camped out for concert tickets back when I was a tween and teen, but never for more than three or four hours. This was a commitment, and we were prepared.

About thirty minutes before the signing was to begin, we put away our chairs and were ushered into Staples, winding our way around the entire store. Apparently the line had grown to 1000 people, and the city was getting complaints so they had to clear some of the sidewalk and alleyways. We were limited to one item per signature, so I had my jersey signed and Evie got a photo of the two of us without pants and with jerseys on signed. I had a few more personal items I was hoping to get signed (like a second copy of the photo, my nephew's birthday card, and a copy of Sports Illustrated), but I didn't push it. With 1000 people in line, they needed the line to move and their hands would've cramped horribly if they made exceptions for everyone.

I didn't anticipate having any opportunity for conversation. If I had expected it, I would have prepared myself better. I don't mean I would've had some grand speech prepared, but I would've had something intelligent to say. I try to be approachable for my fans so they don't have to go through this sort of thing.

We rounded the corner for autographs and I got my nephew's birthday card signed by Bailey. I've gotten a couple photos with Bailey, so I wasn't tongue-tied and stupid. I dig Bailey. No, my moment of stupidity came at the next stop: Martin Jones.

I should explain this a bit. Quick is the primary goaltender for the Kings, and Quick is amazing. It seems like he catches pucks with his nuts. Quick was out for a spell last season, and Jones was the backup goaltender for our backup goaltender. He won his first several games and had consecutive shutouts. He's cool as a cucumber on the ice, and he's just adorable. I think he's the same age as one of my suede coats. So I wasn't prepared to say how much I admire this kid and that I'm old enough to be his mom. (I also want to add that living in Los Angeles has a funny effect on being starstruck. You shop at the same supermarket as Uma Thurman, or get your coffee at the same gas station as Jason Alexander. I wound up starstruck by Richard Simmons, Richard Hatch from Battlestar Galactica TOS, and the guy who played Tony Dimera on "Days of Our Lives." All of these people were very much a part of my childhood as I watched TV in flyover country.)

So back to Jones. I pass over my jersey as planned and say hello, and it seems like time starts moving really slowly and I'm compelled to talk. I didn't have any planned mini-speeches, so why couldn't I keep my mouth shut? I blurt out, "I feel like such a nerd!" That was a pretty stupid thing to say because I'm making it all about my feelings and probably making it weird. It would've been weirder if I'd said, "Hey bro, I'm old enough to be your mom and I think you're great." That would be really weird. But nope, I describe myself as a nerd which actually makes me sound like a stalker and I'm so not a stalker. He looked up and said, "Why is that?" I've lost all conversational skills because I'm starstruck. How do I answer this question when I'm ill-prepared? I sound like an asshole if I say that I'm more excited to get his autograph than the two guys who've been in the NHL much longer who are next to him. (I was excited to get their autographs as well, but I wasn't tongue-tied and stupid about it.)

Somehow I manage to censor myself from saying something stupid like "I carried a watermelon." I confess that we've been there since 7am for this. I practically said I carried a watermelon. I also made it weird again because it was about me. At least I didn't say, "I'm a total fucking tool," which would've been accurate in that moment even if it was too honest. I collected my jersey and moved along to Muzzin and Kopi and was perfectly polite and didn't act like an idiot at all.

Evie and I headed back to the car, floating from autographs and feeling accomplished after investing a day in a couple lawn chairs in a Long Beach parking lot.

See, I'm more awkward than you, dear fans.