In 2013, I stepped in front of an audience in a dress and heels for the first time with no idea what would happen. Now, eight years, several venue changes, dozens of performances, and two independent films later things have reached full circle. My most recent performance was in March. I have no idea what’s going to happen next.
It’s no secret that the impact of Covid has been especially hard on entertainers. Even if someone decides to have an event, the risk of exposure is substantially greater. Here in Japan, the availability of vaccine is complicated by several scandals during the early 1990s. The government’s position is, get a shot-at your own risk. There’s neither a rush to make it available nor a clamoring for it from the public.
Last year, we tried to adapt our show to the changing situation. We streamed the show live and had a limited audience at the venue as well. Then somewhere along the line a decision was made to make the online stream a pay-per-view format. The performers were not consulted about it. Viewership dropped like a hot rock. Other decisions-like donating all proceeds to charity-came down, without input from the performers. A couple of days ago, I found out that one performer who pointed out some of the issues found themselves blocked on social media.
I don’t believe the Covid situation can be blamed entirely. But it did make issues that had been lurking in the background more obvious. The technical parts-like how to pay for renting the venue-are only being made worse by personal issues. In any case, several from our group have already migrated to an offshoot event-one with more of a dark, Gothic flavor.
That puts me in a position where I have to make a choice. I’ve been with our show since it started. That is different from saying I’m in charge. I’m not. I’ve also tried commenting on what’s going on. I haven’t been blocked, but it’s clear that things are not going to change.
One possibility is to start my own event. I tried that last November. Everyone had a great time. It was our show, combined with acoustic open mic performers. But the idea of doing it on a regular basis-I don’t know. That is Triesste, front and center. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that.
The other possibility is, to join another existing event. We were here first but others have followed. In our chat a couple of days ago, we went over what’s out there. Nothing jumped out at us like, this is perfect.
I could go back to what I was doing nine years ago-a solo act, playing my songs and covers. Sometimes as Triesste, sometimes not.
To be honest, I don’t know. At this point it’s not even the biggest problem I’m dealing with. But if our show is ending-we were tentatively scheduled for June, but if no one wants to perform it ain’t gonna happen. I’m not just going to fade into the background. After years of playing in clubs where people were barely paying attention, this event has allowed me to find my voice-literally and figuratively. I intend to make sure it continues somehow, both for myself and for others who may also be searching for their voice.