An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra
“LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, HOW CAN I SLIT MY WRISTS WHEN I CAN’T STOP DANCING? UNAPOLOGETIC AND TOTALLY LOST, DIRECT FROM NEW YORK CITY: THE GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA!”
With a clash of the drums and a fuzzy synth reverb, these are the first words that you hear screamed in German down a megaphone on Amanda Palmer’s sophomore solo record, Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra: Theatre Is Evil. The megaphone is wielded by one of Palmer’s allies, the Melbourne-based “Kamikaze Cabaret” artist, Meow Meow. Then begins the music. And if anything could more succinctly summarize Amanda’s special seasoning of musical prowess, it is not a sound meant for mortal ears.
Coming into public consciousness in 2002 with punk-cabaret troupe The Dresden Dolls, summit wearing little more than a corset and a bra. Four albums and five tours later, she and her independent attitude went solo, releasing Who Killed Amanda Palmer, produced suffocating (Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukelele and Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under), along with a musical theater-esque Evelyn Evelyn album and tour with Jason Webley.
Beyond her recorded work and touring, Palmer also starred in Statuesque, a short silent film with well-known author and now-husband Neil Gaiman, inspired by her years as a living statue of the Eight-Foot Bride in Harvard Square. She co-wrote and produced a play, ‘With the Needle That Sings in Her Heart’, with the students at her high school alma mater in Lexington, Massachusetts, based on Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 album In the Aeroplane Over the at production and ordered the future.
In addition to all of the above, Palmer has made a name for herself in the last few years as the quintessential social media artist, engaging in daily interactions with her fans 365 days a year and making an art form out of using Twitter for everything from finding her band and crew a place to crash on the road to canvassing for band names (her new band’s name – The Grand Theft Orchestra – is a lyrical nod to their belief in crowd sourcing all that they do). With over half a million Twitter followers, a deeply personal blog where she bares her soul and her tits, and the ability to amass hundreds of people for spontaneous ‘ninja gigs’, Amanda Palmer has one of the most responsive and supportive online fan bases on the internet.
“It’s sort of like filling up a room one by one and then stage-diving,” she says. “You make a million connections and they’re all just there waiting to catch you. And I love that part of the job. I fucking love connecting with people. So I am lucky; if this is the age of the social artist, I’m in the right place at the right time.”
Which is why it was no surprise when Artist/musician/world citizen Amanda Palmer achieved this year what many would have predicted to be impossible; she changed the music industry and, indeed, art and commerce, forever. Palmer made global headlines with her wildly successful Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, raising $1.2 million dollars by selling close to 25,000 copies of her new album Theatre is Evil, her first full-length release since 2008, along with assorted premium merch and “experiences”, like house-parties and other opportunities to interact with the artist.
“My fans are so fucking great, and are literally, I mean thousands of them, holding me up and making me possible. They are literally making it possible for me to make music for them – the way I want.”