’tis all too often that we (bella’s bartok) are asked some variant of the following question: “how do you DO that every night?! the jumping! the screaming! the sweating! don’t you all get TIRED?! don’t you get SICK OF IT?! doesn’t it make you want to quit this wacky band and take up a nine-to-five so you can spend ten or twenty years in a cubicle where physical movement is nigh on outlawed just so you can get the decade or two of rest you so surely need after a show like that?!”
to which we inevitably reply, eyes ashift, “shucks, uh, no, we don’t want that, and as for how we do it, we don’t know, we must be special or something…” but by our wavering voices and sidelong glances you sense that we are concealing something from you. but why? do we have secrets? to what do they pertain? could they better the whole of humanity if we were to share them with the world?
after some humble introspection, we decide here that the facade must be dropped! you have been correct, dear reader! we have been lying; we know exactly how we do it, and it has nothing to do with being “special”! in fact, anyone can do it! and so here, for the first time in history, we present to you…
THE 10 SECRETS OF SURVIVING A BELLA’S BARTOK TOUR!
yes indeed it is true. so if you’re considering joining the band, going on tour with us just for kicks, or even just have decided to throw your own dance parties every night without rest in some context that has nothing to do with bella’s bartok, your life will be greatly improved by utilizing our methods.
1. PUSH-UPS. if you have never performed a push-up before, our step-by-step guide makes it simple for even the most lay of laypeople: step 1: MAKEUP. apply eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara, in that order, in colors and design of your choosing. if you choose to use foundation/concealer/blush (we do not), be sure to apply those first. step 2: GLITTER. dump a bottle of glitter over your head. step 3: PABST BLUE RIBBON. chug a pabst blue ribbon. step 4: HANDS AND FEET. arrange your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground, and your legs fully extended behind you. balance on your toes such that your hands and feet form an isoceles triangle. step 5: STAY. stay like that for a while. step 6: PUSH. without moving at all, push real hard against the ground. CONGRATULATIONS. you have just performed a push-up. repeat until drunk.
2. DRESS NICE. always be wearing a three-piece suit, corset, or other type of restrictive clothing. ideally it will be an outfit with too many layers, causing you to be far hotter than you should be. if you find that your particular corset or three-piece suit breathes too well/doesn’t keep enough heat in, simply put another one on over it. the goal is to be sweating at all times, such that when showtime arrives, sweating from dancing is not a shock to the system.
3. FRIENDSHIP. even the most difficult task is imbued with a kind of lightness of spirit when you’ve got a friend by your side. make a friend, and keep them with you at all times. if you are ambitious (and we are!), make six or seven friends. do not let them leave your side. insist that they follow you to the bathroom, etc. you will find that life has magically become more bearable. (pro-tip!: if you are really very ambitious indeed, start a band with them.)
4. EAT WELL. pick a fad diet at random and follow it unwaveringly. if possible, attempt to outdo the tenets of the diet. for example, if you’ve chosen the atkins diet, eat only steaks at every meal. if you’ve chosen fruitarianism, eat solely fruit, but only if it falls from the tree and lands directly in your tummy. never chew.
5. ENOUGH REST. there is seldom time for a full night’s sleep on the road, what with the incessant partying. however, you can get the equivalent of a full night’s sleep if you break it into tiny intervals, a process we’ve come to refer to as “microsleeping”. waiting to use a bathroom? nap while you wait. stuck at a red light? nap for 30 seconds. talking to someone and find occasion for a dramatic pause? nap very quickly during it! in this way you can make the most of your downtime, and you’ll definitely wake up more refreshed from each nap than the one before.
6. RUSSIAN CHORES. you know how in rocky IV he comes out of retirement to fight ivan drago in russia and there’s a training montage that basically compares their two training regimens, and ivan drago is in this, like, super high-tech laboratory with scientists helping him do all this futuristic weight-lifting while rocky is basically doing a bunch of pre-industrial russian chores like pulling cows around and lifting buckets of water with a pully? we do that stuff too.
7. SIT-UPS. they are the push-ups of sitting.
8. VOCAL WARM-UPS. our voices were raspy, waits-esque, unrefined pieces of garbage before we discovered these techniques. the order they are performed in is perhaps as important as the excercises themselves, as they all build upon each other to tune the vocal cords very precisely. step 1: BREATH. hold your breath for 90 seconds. step 2: RANGE. sing the lowest note you can, as loud as you can, for as long as you can. then sing the highest note you can, as loud as you can, for as long as you can. step 3: YODELING. pick a couple songs, and yodel them. ideally they will be songs with no yodeling in them, such as the american national anthem, or “straigh outta compton” by N.W.A. step 4: PABST BLUE RIBBON. chug a pabst blue ribbon. step 5: SCREAMING. think about something you hate (I generally choose either the genocide of the native americans or carrot top) and then just start screaming. continue until showtime arrives. CONGRATULATIONS. you have just warmed up your voice, and will be able to sing any note.
9. HYDRATION. drink a lot of water. seriously. most people don’t drink enough water. they may drink a glass or two a day, thinking that that feels like quite enough to them but totally underestimating how much the body really needs to truly be hydrated. we drink the recommended amount, 8 to 9 gallons a day, per person.
10. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. play dungeons & dragons. it is an imagination-based role-playing game that keeps the mind supple. it has the added benefit of making you feel like you’re a kid again, which is a great feeling in this hectic modern world of fear, anger, and doubt. I ask you, dear reader, when was the last time you sat down and just had some imagination time, maybe played with a toy truck or pretended you were an airplane? we have found that a healthy dose of d&d or other like-minded activity starkly contrasts with the harshness of day-to-day mundanity in a most pleasing way, keeping one’s outlook optimistic, tempered, and above all, creative.
and there you have it! now that you know bella’s bartok’s secrets to a successful, sustainable life on the road, come forth and prove it! we expect more dancing, higher jumping, louder screaming, and sweatier hugs!
see you on tour this month, in vermont, new york, ohio, michigan, illinois, indiana, virginia (of both the west and regular varieties), and pennsylvania! check the “shows” page for details. LET’S DO THIS.
– fancy kerrigan