2010: The Year of Amanda

December 28, 2010

I don’t know which is more exhausting: following Amanda Palmer’s career or being Amanda Palmer.

I could wax on with some sort of broader “Top 10 Year End list”, but how often has a single artist done so much within one calendar year? Bear witness:

January-March, 2010 Fresh from her stint with the Boston Pops in New Years Eve, Amanda travels to Europe and Australia. Performing and recording ensues.

March, 2010 Amanda and Jason Webley discover and release a cd from Evelyn Evelyn, two siamese twins who have been woefully treated during their young lives in all sorts of debauched ways. The cd is coupled with lots of merch, and a tour that includes the twins performing live — looking interestingly like Amanda and Jason wearing a single dress.

April, 2010 After years of wrangling with “the man”, Amanda is released from her record label contract. She celebrates by releasing a song through her web site, incuding a photo of her nude. It won’t be the last of her skin followers will see this year.

July, 2010 Amanda follows up with her first independently-released EP, where she covers Radiohead on her Ukelele. A tiki-themed webcast nets her $15K in just hours, solidifying her as queen of the interwebs.

September, 2010 Amanda stars as the MC in the American Rep Theatre’s production of Cabaret, directed by her high school theatre director. Jungalero and I travel to Cambridge to take in the work, after which Jungalero turns to me and says, “you would have been in a production like that in college.” Damn straight.

Afterwards we get to meet her as she visits the Merch table. Earlier in the day she replied to a comment I tweeted with her hopes the the show would “go off like a frog in a sock”.  I have no idea what that means, but in the spirit of supporting her I bring her a frog in a sock. We take a picture, and all is right with the world.

Vampdaddy, Amanda, and Frog in a Sock

October, 2010 Amanda and Brian Viglione meet over tea in their summer best, and decide to reunite as the Dresden Dolls for a tour to honor their 10 year bandiversary. I go to the second night of their Boston show with a close friend, and we strangely dress alike without planning it. Fortunately no one seems to notice.

November, 2010 Jason Webley (of Evelyn Evelyn fame mentioned earlier) conducts a marriage ceremony in New Orleans for a man that looks remarkably like Neil Gaiman, and a bride statue that looks like Amanda from her former days as a busker in Harvard Square. Peals of “aaaaaawwwwweeee!” run amok through the Punk Cabaret World.

December, 2010 After being stopped by a random stranger on a Boston street, Amanda invites said stranger over to her apartment for hours of piano playing and web casting. As a result she releases the first non-Amanda project on her label — an instrumental EP from 17 year-old pianist Tristan Allen.

To meet her fans desire for never-ending merch (that’s “promotional merchandise to all you old-timers out there) Amanda and her posse re-launch Post War Trade. You can buy a calendar there — and yes, there’s nudity.

Lastly, Amanda ends the year with the first single of her next album — a concept album about Australia. Of course, in furtherance of her proud body image, she reinvents her sound with a catchy dance tune about her nether-regions and the topic of (to borrow from GusGus) ladyshaves.

In between she tweeted, blogged, web-casted, and list-served her way into the hearts of many. She continued to create the mystique of direct connection and fan intimacy, while no doubt growing her legion of followers and fans. In the end-days of the music “business”, she has emerged from the ashes rennaissance-style with a successful model artist patronage that keeps her lights on and keeps fans wanting more (and getting it).

So which is more exhausting? Some day perhaps I’ll ask her, over the drink named after her at Cafe Pamplona. Perhaps she’s reading this, as she trolls and follows the conversation about her work in the cyberland where she dominates….what say you?


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