Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.28.44 AM

my answer to grayson chance….presenting: tristan allen.

i’ve been going a million miles an hour – more faster even than that actually.

days have been spent offline in the dark cave of rehearsal and the show is coming together like GANGBUSTERS. i’m twittering pictures every day from rehearsal but haven’t had the brain or energy to condense them all into a decent blog. i keep meaning to find the time and it keeps not happening. i have been attacking my inbox bit by bit early mornings and late-nights and getting NOWHERE – the pile grows, i sink underneath it.

this was all my choice, so i can’t complain too loudly. i chose to do this musical, i chose to do a staff turn-around this month, i chose to book a dozen additional late-night shows on top of my already hectic show schedule, i chose to release a record in australia next year and do a tour to go along with it (yes, i did. but i’m not telling you about that yet – howEVER, if you’re in OZ/NZ and you have ideas for weird venues, click HERE and help me out).

i chose to do all these things. i’m a fucking nutjob.

all this being said, i was quite looking forward to my friday night. i was planning on going into full #LOFNOTC (loser on friday night at the computer) mode and attack a pile of management/schedule/booking/project emails and was quite chipper when i skipped out of the full first rehearsal of ACT I at 5 pm. i was like: oooh, 5 pm. i will run home and email for 6 straight hours! i might even get my inbox down to 400!

this is an exciting friday night to me.

but at 5:05 pm i got a text from brian viglione, the drummer for the dresden dolls. he was in town (surprise!) to see willie nelson play.
i resisted willie but met brian for food at the trident cafe and we horsed around until about 6:30.

at 6:30 i walked home. on my way home, i passed the berklee school of music (which is about 6 blocks from my house). brian and i have always considered berklee an evil force: a soul-sucking music school where they steal your passion and try to churn you into a party-line toting industry whore. maybe mostly we’re jealous. i dunno. brian went there to the 5-week summer program and HATED it. his family saved up tons of money to send him and brian went in raging and ready to play and remembers being told by some professor that he better “pack it in if he thought he was going to be a ‘rock star’ and have a REAL plan about his music career” or some such shit. EAT IT, SUCKER. anyway, his experience wasn’t all that positive. so i joined his hatred for fun.

the mood in front of the berklee building on mass ave was decidedly chipper and there were lots of kids hanging out on what’s called “the beach” where everybody goes outside to hang and smoke.

i don’t know what exactly compelled me to stop and ask these three random kids if i could take their pictures, but it was probably the fact that they were all HUGGING and looked like THIS:

i mean come on:


it turns out it was their last DAY of the 5-week program…the same one that brian abhorred.
everyone was apparently outside the school having a parting-day love-fest

(they didn’t know who i was, which was probably for the best.)

i took a photo.
they all handed me their cameras and asked for shots. i obliged.

a pretty girl with a lip-piercing came up to me (not pictured) and told me she was a fan.
i chatted with her. her friend came up, i chatted with her. they were all leaving summer school and hyped up.
then i walked away. wait, no, first i gave them all “cabaret” promo stickers, even though they were leaving town.

half a block later the beautiful creature you see pictured on the upper left ran after me and said “wait! wait! you play cabaret music??
i love cabaret music!!!” i said: yes. have you heard of the dresden dolls?

he said: omygodilovethedresdendolls.

i said:

he said: oh my god don’t tell me

i said: that’s my band.

he threw his arms around me and made a kind of soul-squee sound and ran back to his friends and dragged them over.

his name was tristan, from saratoga springs in upstate new york.
in the middle (pictured above) is nicola, from mexico city. she sings. on the right is alejandra, from monterrey, mexico. guitar.
they had all become besties over the 5-week berklee program and were all about to leave each other, all of them flying home sunday.

then tristan said: if i get a practice room downstairs, can i play you my music?

i said: what do you play?

he said: piano.

i said: (thinking about my 7 hour email marathon to come) fuck yes. play something for me.

(i should get a tattoo on my forehead that says DISTRACTIONS WELCOME APPLY WITHIN)

he said: let’s go

so the four of us went into the berklee building, where tristan was informed by the chick at the desk that all the practice rooms had just been locked for the day.

he was crushed.

so i said: my house is 6 blocks away. i have a piano. let’s go there.

so the four of us walked to my house.
i twittered on the way.

i showed the kids around the house (they loved it, how can you not, it has a treehouse and a geodesic dome on top).
my good friend cormac bride was in the kitchen, since i’ve been lending him my piano day-times while i’m at rehearsals to record his new record.

i said to cormac as i came in the door: i found some 17-year olds. this one plays piano. he’s going to play for us.

cormac said: PERFECT. i was just about to log all this shit i recorded and i DONT WANT TO.

game on!

and then tristan sat down



it was at that point i decided to webcast.
my regular account wasn’t working, so i fiddled around and opened up a new account while tristan waited. (BTW: the reallll party on the internet is back to normal now. you can subscribe/watch stuff HERE. there are some new clips up there as of last night which some of you will die over. that’s another blog, though)

SO, tristan and i wound up webcasting for over an hour while i twittered people over.

more than 2,000 watched and commented.

take a look:

since everyone was asking, this is tristan’s

will i pull an ellen degeneres and start a record label to release his stuff?
wait, don’t i already HAVE a record label? holy shit, i do.

here we all are at the end. i sent them home at 10 o’clock.


then i called the night a fucking wash, went on a late-night jog with casey instead of working, gave us both seaweed mudmasks, cut up and ate a pineapple, set the alarm for 5:30 am,
nd started over.

i love my life more than anything in the whole fucking world.
i talked so much about how much i loved my life last night that casey threatened to punch me 4 times while we jogged.


next up: the REST of the weekend, and a “cabaret” update. i promise.


Cross-posted at MySpace

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  • am33r

    pull an ellen. dooo ittt! XD

  • Allen Hamrick

    I remember participating in that webcast. it was such a delight to see the both of you play, and such an inspiration too. definitely tweet about it if you end up recording his stuff. :D

  • Veronica

    WOW. Just. WOW. This guy is stunning. His music is original, passionate, wonderfully played (i’m kind of dying of envy right now). His hands literally flit over the keys. Please send love to him Amanda.
    Oh, btw, I really love your life too.

  • Peter Bergstrom

    i wish i was there, even for a moment. and the preferred moment would be when Tristan squeees cause those are adorable, and it proves that in his 5-weeks of Berklee, his soul wasn’t devoured and he’s not a robot music box.


    Squee for the bartender, squee for the janitor, squee
    Squee for the cameras, squee for the animals, squee
    Squee for the children, shooting the children, squee
    Squee for the teachers who told you that you couldn’t squee
    Just squeeeeeeeeeeee~!

  • absentmindedprof

    So, I’m one of those obnoxious people who loves music and knows nothing about it. Seriously, I can play maybe four chords on a guitar and that’s the extent of my musical knowledge. My ex will gleefully relay stories to you about CRUSHING me in the band game (If I hear “Name the band” one more time, I’m going to die of shame).

    All that said, here’s the thing I love about the internet: none of that matters. Because I can log in, watch the musics with all the music-savvy kids, keep my mouth shut and take from it what matters to me. And what matters to me is the overwhelming sense of ALIVE that exudes from this event. Yeah, so a lot of it was procrastination, but who can complain about that when the reason for procrastinating was an experience, an honest to god experience of life with people.

    The best thing about the people I follow on the internet is that accessibility makes me wonder: “Now why the hell aren’t I doing things in my life that would make me love it as much as they love theirs?” Color me inspired.

    • Amanda Jordá

      Hey, can you help me? How can I post a comment here?
      When I click on the space under “Add New Comment” it doesn’t work, and it shows the heart, reblog, follow and dashboard tumblr buttons….
      Is it just my computer?
      Thanks for the help!

      • absentmindedprof

        Odd. I didn’t have that problem. Are you logged in to tumblr? That may cause it. I’d try logging out of Tumblr (maybe even clear the cookies from your browser) and then try again.

        Good Luck!


      • Amanda Jordá Avisati

        So apparently creating a new comment doesn’t work right now, but I can reply. So that’s what I’m doing.
        I was watching the webcast on Friday, I caught it halfway through but I got to watch at least 40 minutes of it. It was one of the most beautiful and touching experiences of my life. I could buy a ticket and go watch a concert pianist play at a venue somewhere, but that wouldn’t feel the same. I usually don’t expect to have an amazing experience when I’m in bed with my computer. So the fact that it basically just happened to me made it even more amazing.
        I study fashion design and we have a subject in school called History and Aesthetics, and it’s like Art History, but instead of studying what kind of art was made at what time and what techniques were used, we talk about how art was perceived at different times, how people reacted to it and what it meant for them. And for that class we’re supposed to write a blog where we describe our own aesthetic experiences. I usually find that hard to do, so I mostly reblog from other tumblrs, but your webcast got me inspired. So this is what I wrote:

        I just felt so thankful that there are people out there who can still hear the beauty in “old fashioned” music, just people playing a piano, and that you, Tristan, his friends, me and everyone else who’s interested could be connected and enjoy it together. It really hit me on Friday how the internet really can connect people in a meaningful way.

        I started crying at times, it was all just so beautiful.

        Thank you.

  • Biskat

    Fuck, yes! I* wanna be a music retard too!

    *Can read music, but can’t play for the life in her. Can touch-type, but cannot write. I’ll trade my technicals for your talent?!

  • Angelica

    god, that’s so freaking awesome…. I smiled trugh it all when i read this! :)

  • Mark Kraft

    I loved the duet.

    Hearing Amanda say that she’d be the bottom and that she wanted Tristan to be the top nearly made me bust out laughing!

  • Ali

    I’ve never met anyone like you, before. And I guess I haven’t technically met you, either — but encountered. Anyway, I mean that in kind of an awestruck good way.

    That you would take the time out of your day to listen to some random kid on the street. That, unable to acquire a piano, you invited him and his two friends to your house. (Btw, the fact that it has a tree house — Kyle’s picture of it was awesome — is so freakin’ fantastic. I can’t even tell you.) That whole evening — from finding Tristan to Webcasting him — was amazing. I watched the stream after the fact, because I wasn’t able to when it originally aired. I was SO blown away.

    Tristan has TALENT. And the duets? Holy steaming coffee. Stunning. I literally sat on my bed, gaping at my laptop. I was entirely blown away and impressed.

    Also, I get the whole loathing Berklee thing. I’m not a muscian. I’m a writer. But I always wonder about programs that are meant to teach you how to make art. Some of them are…soul-stripping. They’re too technical. They take the joy out of it, and instead of nurturing, a lot of the people teaching them just shit all over you. That said, I think that learning about something in a classroom gives you certain tools. What you do with them…that’s what matters. But you don’t learn music by sitting in a room. You learn it by doing it. Same with writing. No one can teach you how to write. You can learn different things about writing, but what you DO is what matters.

    But anyway, I’m thinking about how awesome Tristan must feel right now. I can’t even imagine how freakin’ excited I would be if I ran into a literary hero of mine, and he was like, “Come hang out at my house!” (Not in a “I have candy, little girl” manner–in a totally non-creepy way.) I love hearing about things like this happening to people. And it’s these little moments of fated chaos that I absolutely love. Because it’s the little things — like running into someone you admire — that change a person’s life.

    Anyway, awesome post — awesome event. I use that word entirely too much, but I am totally going to blame it on my need for more coffee. Without it, I do not exist.

  • Man With Hat

    My friend/lead-guitarist had the same experience Brian had at Berklee, dropped out after his first year. He now goes to a state school where he’s surrounded by friends and much milder weather. And he’s suddenly happy!

    Also: Caught some of the webcast. Guess who’s got two thumbs and is excited to hear what Tristan sounds like with your production prowess?

  • Skye Golding

    I’m sure tiredness factors in here somewhere, but I am literally in tears at the beauty of this. He is amazing.

    (Also, I can’t tell you how jealous I am at the size of your bookshelves, mine are currently sat in ceiling-high piles because I’ve run out of space!)

  • ed_outsider

    “webcasting will change the world and the way musicians find audiences” >>> it will certainly do!
    thank you very much for your generosity, Amanda!

  • GamerWriter

    Listening to the recorded webcast and just heard the second song he performed, and I would love to purchase a CD of his original music.

  • GamerWriter

    Listening to the recorded version of the webcast and just heard the second track he played. I would certainly purchase a CD of his original music. Kudos

  • Ashden

    I only caught the last bit of the webcast, but holy fuck, this kid blew me away! And the duet you two did at the end? I have no words to describe how incredible it was. Amanda, you are truly a one-of-a-kind, ridiculously awesome, inspirational person. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Tristan now that you’ve got hold of him. It’ll certainly be epic.

  • karohemd

    I was about to go to bed because I was knackered from the work week and I actually went but then I couldn’t sleep so I logged on, saw your tweets, loaded up the webcast and was transfixed.
    Not only did I absolutely love Tristan’s music, he (through your webcast) also made me look up the composers that were mentioned (Yann Tiersen and Philip Glass). I’d always dismissed contemporary classical music as something you can’t listen to because it’s too complicated or doesn’t make sense but I realised there’s awesome stuff out there. That said, I do listen to and love Zoe Keating, and she’s considered classical…
    Anyway, the point of this comment is this: Thank you for taking the time to listen to Tristan and introducing him and his music to us, expanding our horizons.
    This sort of thing is why you are great, you are an artist and an artist enabler.
    Now pull some strings and get Tristan some decent studio time so he can record his music and put it on bandcamp. I’ll buy it instantly and tell all my music loving friends to do the same.

  • Tomu$

    I was absolutely stunned by your duets, improvisation is the purest form of musical art, and it was absofuckinglutely gorgeous, the stuff you did.

    As for Tristan himself, god, the boy is SO talented. I can’t decide if I love him for what he does, or hate him because of my envy towards him (I’m a piano player myself, but I can probably do a third of what he’s capable of). Amazing, hopefully he doesn’t get brainwashed by The Powers That Be and continues to do music as art, not as a product.

    This whole event shows again how right you were with your Lady Gaga blog – can you imagine something like this happening to her? Walking down the street, talking to some random kids, one of which happens to be a piano genius, and then inviting them over?

    Your life is amazing because you’re an amazing person. And because you know where to find joy in life :)

  • Fiona

    Sitting on a Aussie flag? :p

    • Ali

      I think that’s a British flag, but I could be wrong.

      • Fiona

        *cries* THIS is why we need to change the flag. I still think it’s AU or NZ with the extra blue at the bottom.

        Where’s my republic?

  • Clay R

    Amanda… you are an amazing human being. Please never stop being you.

  • (Another)amanda

    Having gone to a one-week program at Berklee as a teenager, my response to this is twofold: you could definitely see the soul-sucking aspect of it (case in point: I went there for the “Guitar Sessions” program and was often the only girl in a room full of guys, and at one point had an instructor single me out in a room of perhaps 30 players and ask me if I was following him…since, of course, I was a girl and couldn’t possibly be). But this post was a nice throwback for me because you noted that other side of these programs…meeting a bunch of amazing people within a short span of time and spending nearly every hour of the day pooling your talent together. Not to mention just being in Boston with said people, if one isn’t usually in Boston, and wreaking havoc. I bet you made their night, Amanda!

  • oldmanmuffinjar

    Holy shit that is just a fucking blog made of awesome. Amanda, you are like a unstoppable good karma multiplier machine.

  • N-Szewski

    oh my god, that’s so cool. he’s great!
    man, I wish I could do stuff too

  • insomnomaniac

    Wow… watching the recorded bit now and it’s amazing. That was just too awesome an experience for you to give him, and an incredible talent he showed in return!

    As many have said, you have a massive ability to inspire people, and as I’ve said before on twitter, the forum etc, I am personally inspired by watching you do your own thing on your own terms.

    If you end up releasing some of his stuff, I will be in the queue to buy it…

  • Mark Kraft

    “i said: yes. have you heard of the dresden dolls?
    he said: omygodilovethedresdendolls.
    i said:
    he said: oh my god don’t tell me
    i said: that’s my band.”

    “That’s”? As in “That is”?!

    So, do tell… you had an apparently amicable meeting with Brian, “the drummer for The Dresden Dolls”.

    Sounds like The Dresden Dolls still exist, here and now, in a very real way… which is very different from the tone you’ve taken with them in the past at times.

    It seems to me that you’ve needed to make changes, carve out your own self and your own future, and prove some things to yourself in order to be able to have a chance at approaching The Dresden Dolls in a healthier way… even this story reflects how you once took Brian’s lead regarding Berklee, while now you can see that a little bit of Berklee can be a very good thing. Structure & discipline vs. action and creativity.

    To a certain extent, taking on the classical piece for the pops concert, the Radiohead songs, the role in Cabaret… isn’t that similar in its own way? Despite all you bring to it, you’re still painting between someone else’s lines?

    And that is why, AFP, I feel quite certain that you’re going to want let The Dresden Dolls loose again, to do something new. The time is coming, really, and I think you know it and can deal with it for what it is.

    (Of course, I might be a bit biased, but… really. Every extreme serves its purpose. It’s up to you to perform the balancing act.)

    • Atrus

      I had the feeling the Dolls were more like on a long hiatus rather than dead forever, and that Brian and Amanda definitely want to play together again. I know there were problems but I seem to remember they were mostly related to the touring life (touring/traveling is like a marriage in a one-room house – if you don’t click perfectly, it’s very easy for things to go downhill, even if you’re very good friends).

  • kmwilliams

    I love your life too. Please never stop living it. Or blogging about it.

    Love love LOVE it! *punches self on Casey’s behalf*


  • Jimmy johnosn


  • Isabel

    You were really good with Tristan and, I’m sure he benefitted a lot from his fortuitous encounter. Maybe that’s what you should do next: nurture and produce new talent.
    Maybe that’s the next revolution!

  • annie vox

    this is what art is all about. this beauty and sharing and encouraging. thank you for bringing this back into the world.

  • Kalki

    Amanda you really should change your moniker to AFCP…. for Amanda Fucking Cool Palmer! I saw you live Thanksgiving before last in Philadelphia. We flew in from Oklahoma. One of my other favorite artists in the world was there with me… Hannah Fury. Was a totally mind blowing experience. So amazing and I have been holding my breath hoping to see live again.

  • James Earthenware

    Yeah…f**k emails. Having a Jam and a Jog is much more fun and healthier. :) Sweet.

  • Andrew

    I have to say this: You should really find a way to get Tristan to play on your next album with you. Or make a collaboration album with him because you two played so beautifully together and it was an orgasm of the ears to hear it. Thanks for this.

  • Hilary March

    Amanda, it’s people like you, who stop and listen to the people and things around them, that make the world a happier place. I admire your amazing work ethic, crazy as it may be. Yet you manage fit in the time to spend with kindred spirits. I want to thank you for this story that I’ll never forget. It will keep me going on doing what I think is right and necessary no matter who says otherwise. Thank you for another inspiring story that I’ll never forget. Love Hilary :)

  • Evyn Neeland

    Wow, Amanda.. he’s great. If you don’t release his music through your label you should at least support him as much as possible. He’s very lucky to have run into you. :]

  • Mel Hughes

    it is sometimes the things we find when we aren’t looking that are the most important to us.

    such a touching moment, it made me feel honoured to be a part of it.

    i get the whole berklee hate thing i had a summer school experience in writing that made me hate it for a while… but these kids would never have found each other, and you, without it. glass definitely half full !

  • Jerry Wright Jr

    I sure hope that Tristan Allen doesn’t end up being Amanda Palmer’s Eve Harrington ; )

  • nomoredenial

    Please what artists and albums did you recommend. What were the artists he was influenced by. I had planned on writing them down later but I did not realize the shear amount of conversation that it would be buried in.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this, I am still trying to wrap my mind around what I experienced.

  • Cat

    Having just had very fast internet connected up to my computer after years of slowwwwww streeeaaaming, I was actually able to watch THE WHOLE STREAM. I missed it when it happened, but it still felt like I was there.
    The feeling of immediacy between you guys and us, that we’re just on the other side of the computer (and the world) is amazing. I enjoyed this so much. Thankyou Amanda. xo

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