Last Sunday I had the pleasure to see Amanda Palmer play a small show in Orlando. She was there on vacation with Neil Gaiman, and decided to do a show. It was just her and her keyboard. She didn't even have a set list, she just played a couple of songs and then took audience requests. One of the highlights was when someone asked her to play IMAGINE. She admitted to not knowing the lyrics or chords, so someone got their iPhone, wrote out the lyrics for her, while someone else got her the chords. She then, learned the song in front of us and proceeded to play it. It was really an experience that can't ever be duplicated.
I knew going in, that I'd be able to have a book signed by Neil Gaiman. He and Amanda collaborated on a book called Who Killed Amanda Palmer. It's a book filled with pictures of her dead, accompanied by song lyrics and stories by Neil. What I wasn't expecting (and neither was he) was that Amanda would get him to come out on stage and read one of the stories. The concert was already amazing, but the reading sent me over the edge. After, I was able to get a book signed. I was going to ask for two books signed, but an overzealous fan kept shoving her breasts in Amanda and Neil's faces and I was lucky to get out with my one book.
Funny enough though, I decided to have the book signed to Oliver Travers. I thought it would make a really cool contest giveaway for The Deathday Letter launch. I'm not a big autograph person. The fact that I got to meet them and talk to them and experience Amanda play and Neil read, was just wow. The problem with my plan is that I completely forgot/didn't take into account that probably 40% of the pictures of Amanda are nudes. A couple are full nudes. They're artistic, yes, and not titillating being that she's "dead" in all of them, but still, I don't think the parent of a teenager would appreciate me giving their kid a book filled with pictures of a dead, naked woman. My bad!
Anyway, one of the things I adore about Amanda Palmer (aside from being an amazing artists and all around sweet person) is that she is brilliant at harnessing social media. I was talking to my agent yesterday and expressing my frustration that I am not better at using things like Twitter. I'm really good at talking AT crowds (giving speeches) and having one-on-one conversations with people, but terrible at this group stuff. Amanda, though, uses Twitter and Facebook and all these other social media mediums to connect to her fan in such an intimate way. Every fan feels like they know her personally. She gets them involved in her life. There's been a lot of stuff written about her and her use of social media, so I'll spare you a long spiel, but you should check her out. She's not just using social media to sell more albums, she's authentic. She actually LIKES people knowing and being involved in every aspect of her life.
More than that though, she's a new breed of artist. She's an example of an artist connecting and selling directly to fans. She doesn't need a label or an intermediary. And I think you'll see many more artists, and possibly authors, going this route in the future. It's amazing and scary and freaking cool.
Posting might be sketchy for the rest of the holidays. I have a lot of work to do and family to annoy. Enjoys some clips of Amanda singing and Neil reading. And have a happy [insert favorite holiday here]. Oh, and sorry about the crappy quality. The lighting in the club was strange. Also, my battery died, cutting off the last minute of the reading. Sorry!
01) Lua (Bright Eyes Cover)
02) Astronaut - A Short History Of Nearly Nothing
03) Blake Says
05) Ask Amanda (Part I)
06) Runs In The Family
07) Imagine (John Lennon Cover)
08) Mandy Goes To Med School
09) Coin-Operated Boy
10) The Bed Song
11) Neil Gaiman recites untitled story from The Book*
12) I Google You
13) Sex Changes
14) Ask Amanda (Part II)
15) Leeds United
16) Creep (Radiohead Cover)