Prague by Abigail Press

Walking through Berlin Hauptbahnhof toward my train to Prague. A guy sees the 10 yr. old child/travel bag I'm carrying on my back and asks me in German how many kilos I'm carrying. He starts repeating over and over again how a woman shouldn't have to carry that much. I tell him women can too. He laughs and keeps walking. It's kind of funny to me that I came in direct contact with a guy that thinks I can't/shouldn't. It usually never crosses my mind that some people might have this attitude about women's abilities, I just do. Don't worry kid, I got this.

Now on my way to Prague, languages filter in and out, a constant transition of nationality with more and more Slovak fading in as we head East. 

Prague's cityscape is beautiful, the romantic edges in the architecture are harmonious alongside the modern additions. There is something undeniably harmonious about this city. Tomas Balaz and I are playing a show tonight in this city.

I'm pretty hungry from the train ride, so I stop to get some of that traditional Czech food and Czech beer. Take a load off. What I didn't notice before I ordered was the table of Americans right next to me blabbing about their 'international lifestyle'. Their exaggerated conversation is constant rich life bragging and harrowing stories about failed forced engagements and elite status groups. I try to focus on my goulash and knödeln and block them out. 

Tomas is waiting for me at a metro station near the club so I head underground, looking forward to experiencing a new subway system. There's something quite grounding about public transpiration. Even though me and my 40 lb bag stick out like a sore thumb, it's still a more inclusive feeling than walking the streets above, dodging in and out of destination weddings and stumbling walking tour groups. 

After many emails and broken up text messages, Tomas and I finally meet! He's booked a hostel/bed-and-breakfast type place just a block away from the club. We're in a student area. I show Tomas some of the music that I've been producing. He gets amped up on it right away and starts firing off suggestions in the mixing. Welcome suggestions and knowledge. 


Klubovna is exactly my vibe, small but comfortable and compact with lots of color on the walls and colorful people inside. There are two bands playing before I go on - both have a surf rock feel, droning a feeling out toward the crowd who soaks it in right away. 

My friend Jessica Lyness is in the city! She was the PR manager for the Portland International Film Festival when I was interning there as a senior in college. It's so good to see a friendly familiar face. So random and awesome! It's amazing to have her here for my show on the other side of the world.


After the two bands are finished playing I set up. They have a projector which is great because I don't have to mess with finding a place to set up mine. Test the mic, test the Korg, test the video projection, it's all looking good. The sound seems a little muddled, but the sound guys reassure me that it sounds great from out there. I start and the first few songs go well, but then when I start moving around the mic has a huge amount of feedback. I look up at the sound-booth, no one there. They left and didn't come back the entire set. The video projector stops working. I have to press a button to get it to wake up. Do this about eight times during the set until I don't care anymore. One of the Czech guys in the crowd gets up on stage right next to me while I'm singing and makes a gesture to turn me down. He makes faces, asks for the mic. I honestly don't know what to do, I'm so thrown off with everything. I play along and add him into my set as a prop until someone grabs him off stage, but he persists. He comes back a second time and I ask him to leave. He doesn't get it. I can't help but believe that the vast majority of these people don't get it. I'm thankful for those that stay.  

Getting off stage I feel defeated. The people who came to watch me insist that I did a great job, but I can't hear them. Maybe the lack of sleep is getting to me. I put it behind me and enjoy the rest of the night with Tomas and his friends. I use my last drink ticket to barter for some peanut butter cheetos. God those things are good.

The next morning Tomas and I have a great breakfast and talk about his work at LEGO before I take off to Slovakia. A taxi picks me up and when we arrive at the bus station I tip well, probably more than I should have, but what the hell. He insists that he help me with my bag. "Man's weight, not women's weight" he says as he places it on my shoulders. "Women can too." I reply. I've come full circle.