blog_2013-03-07

The Epic TED Blog, part one: It Takes a Village to Write a TED Talk.

hola comrades!

if you somehow missed it on the internetz, my TED talk is finally UP.

i delivered it in a fit of zen-nerves on wednesday morning and they rushed to post it on friday morning.
it’s already past 1,000,000 views between the TED site and YouTube.
holy FUCK.
here it is on the TED site… the comments are deeply intelligent, which i love. i suggest you all pitch in your own two cents, there’s a ton of great dialogue. i assume the TED team goes in and zaps the troll comments, and it’s refreshing to see hundreds of intelligent people debating instead of the usual youtube shit-storm…so many good minds, it’s a breath of fresh air. watch it if you haven’t, then read the thanks (below), so that everything makes sense:


Click HERE to watch on TED.com or HERE to watch on YouTube

there’s been a crash of things and people coming my way, most good, some bad.
i wound up in a fit of weeping a few days ago when my old piano teacher and mentor from college posted on the TED website that i was a manipulative piece of shit.
i cried for a good 10 minutes. i went to twitter for comfort….and someone sent me a link to the local newspaper article explaining that she’d had a stroke and couldn’t play piano for a while. and i started weeping all over again.

what a world, i tell you. up down down up across and all over the place.

i have so many more stories…SO MUCH to say….i feel like i’ve lived a year in the past 6 days. but before we dig deep into the content of the talk, what TED is, why i wrote the talk, the deeper stories behind it, and WHY it seems to be resonating not just with artists and musicians but with CEOs, financial investors, non-profit runners, theaters, mothers, and REPUBLICANS (!?!) all over the globe, this is a good time to express deep, deep gratitude for the people who helped me MAKE the talk.

it may look like i’m up on that fancy-ass stage (how rad is the swiss family robinson ship-tree-fort?) just chatting away, but as a lot of you who follow the blog and the twitter feed know, i SLAVED over the talk…writing and writing and re-writing and timing and re-timing and tweaking and trying to fit the perfect sets of information into 12 short minutes. there were so many good bits i had to cut, and all the cuts were agonizing (i’ll share a lot of stuff that i cut here on the blog, HOORAY), but what you may not be able to see directly is the number of PEOPLE who helped me. i had a TON of people listen, critique, fix, edit, and tweak along with me.

reading acknowledgements in books is often really fucking boring. i’m going to make this not boring. the stories are actually pretty good.

the VERY first person i called on the telephone (the telephone!) when i got invited to TED (a few months ago) and sat down in earnest to write my first draft was the musician THOMAS DOLBY. yes, “SCIENCE!” thomas dolby.

he was the original link to TED…when we played in london a few years ago and he mentioned he was helping TED with their music programming and i was all
“ZOMG TED! CAN YOU GET ME TO TED? I WANNA DO A TED TALK!”
and he was like
“calm down, amanda. i can send them your info…have you ever done a talk?”
and i thought about that and was like:
“no. i haven’t. BUT I BET I COULD.”
and he said
“…do a talk. anywhere. film it. i’ll send it to them.”

so i asked my pals at the AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATER if i could borrow their mainstage and do a free ninja talk, just so i could film myself and send it to TED.
that proto-talk is HERE, as you can see, a very very rough draft of what would become the polished TED talk. pretty much all the info is there. so thanks to the ART and all the people who showed up for that original talk. that was the reason i got in the door at TED and invited to do the talk.

thomas gave me some good advice. he said “people at TED are getting sad that the talks are becoming stock, formulaic. don’t do that. just be totally authentic. people nowadays get invited to TED in september and spend between september and february working with speaker coaches. don’t do that. just do your thing.”
thanks thomas.

then i blogged, and a SHIT ton of you answered my question: what should i do for my TED talk? and i read every single one of those comments and let them wish-wash around in my brain. mostly i’m grateful to those of you who sent me your favorite TED clips…i went down the rabbit hole every night, watching all your favorite talks and looking at the stage thinking…”i’ll be on that stage. what do i REALLY want to say on it?” but also, you guys made me feel invincible. you gave me so much courage and i felt like i had a massive internet cheerleading squad behind me. so all of you out there in blog-land, you were the fucking wind bette-midler-hold-that-note beneath my TED-wings. thank you. if you don’t regularly read the blog but are new here from twitter: you guys helped me just as much. i threw out questions: you answered. you made me think. you sent me links to photos of paintings and stadiums. you helped me make this talk. thank you all.

the first people i READ my talk aloud to were invaluable, they sat there and reacted and nodded and looked bored and i watched every reaction, trying to figure out what was hitting people and where i was losing them. one of the first people i called upon was STEVEN BOGART, my old theater director/mentor from high school and now adult collaborator…he directed me in “cabaret” a few years ago and knows me really, really well. he gave me good, brutal feedback on the early draft, at our house over a cup of tea, when he was putting on three other productions (at my last count) and barely had the time. he told me a great story about a pottery/sculpture teacher looking at a student’s work, asking “how much is this” and when the student answered…”um, $10?”, the teacher handed the student a $10 bill, picked up the pottery, and dropped it on the floor. the message, i asked bogart? we weren’t even sure. for making the time: thanks bogart.

it’s all a blur so in no particular order…

SETH GODIN, author of “tribes” and social-media-and-internet guru took the train all the way to new york just to have lunch with me, and talked to me about my talk over the phone while i paced outside the porter books cafe in cambridge.

he told me to stay vulnerable. thanks seth. to the girl who tweeted “omg i just passed @amandapalmer talking on her phone but felt too weird about going up and asking for a hug”, thanks for not interrupting. i owe you a hug.

JOAN ANDERMAN came over to my house, watched me freak out about other stressful shit going on, sat and was the first woman to listen to my talk. she made empathetic woman-noises while listening to the stories, and i knew things i’d never known before reading the talk to a bunch of silent dudes. thanks, lady. then we went to poetry reading at the harvard bookstore by NICK FLYNN and the poetry and companionship around the table afterwards was brilliant. thanks, nick.

NICHOLAS NEGROPONTE, a very very smart MIT dude and long-time TED speaker/attendee, graciously invited me and neil over for dinner one night with his wife and a few other super-cool people/artists/tech folk. everybody at the table sympathized with my TED-writing HEAD and insecurities and nicolas said he had one piece of advice to lay on me after having attended a million TEDs: don’t…talk….too….fast. i listened and tried not to talk too fast. thanks nicholas.

MICHAEL HAWLEY, another very smart dude from MIT-land who was introduced to through a friend, had me over for coffee and had no idea who i was, really. i asked him for TED advice and he gave it to me, then he let me play one of his two grand pianos. thanks, michael.

JASON WEBLEY talked to me on the phone about life and its craziness and has influenced just about everything i know about art, money and asking. he’s my true soul-sister-brother-from-another-mother. thanks, jason.

another class-act musician, BEN FOLDS, wound up on the phone with me for an entirely un-TED reason but we wound up talking about labels and fanbases and growing and not growing and how it all works. we have a lot in common, it really helped me. thanks, ben.

the ladies at TATTY DEVINE, who were supposed to just meet with me about making jewelry and doing a cool art project together, wound up being TEDified a little over the table as we drank tea out of beer mugs at a restaurant called the roebling tea room.

RON NORDIN, my long-time friend, photographer, art-patron and now business mentor was, as usual, a calm guide, especially one very accidental blizzard-bound night at my house when he, lee, pope, anthony, TRISTAN ALLEN and my neighbor STEVEN COIT came over for drinks (steve brought home-cooked pizza) and they all got assaulted with my talk. watching these guys GO AT IT was more entertaining than i can possibly say. we were all drinking. tristan: “MORE ART!!!!”, lee: “MORE TRUTH!!!!”, pope: “MORE ART AND TRUTH!!!!”, steve coit and ron: “hm, yes….we think it’s probably necessary that we look at this particular situation from a different angle….”. ROOM OF AWESOME. i love all you guys. thank you.

after chatting with him about what i might write and getting his advice, i emailed my talk over to BOB LEFSETZ, a blogger who has strong opinions about the music industry. and strong opinions about me. he sent over his approval. it meant a lot to me.

ALINA SIMONE (a great writer in her own right)

…and JOSHUA KNOBE, two of my oldest friends, l, and their little daughter ZOE let me couchsurf at their pad in brooklyn and be a stress case in their midst. they are always a huge emotional homebase for me and, i think, take first prize for most-nights-accommodating couch-surfing rock stars in their digs…they were the ur-originals, letting me and brian crash with them COUNTLESS nights while we recorded the Dresden Dolls first record back in 2003. My gratitude to them is deep on every level. thanks guys, and little zo-bot.

LESLIE SALMON JONES, the amazing warrior yoga/dance/life goddess who’s now an ongoing friend and helpful voice, listened to the talk twice: once at the beginning and once towards the end and gave me typical leslie-style warrior encouragement. thanks, leslie.

i had a dinner party for my whole cloud club household, and they gave me some feedback about WHAT to talk about in the early days of the creating the talk. LEE BARRON (who also gave me invaluable support, space, tea, bananas and love and thought-food at home while i hunkered and wrote wrote wrote), NATE GREENSLIT, nate’s three daughters [EMILY (12), ELLIE (11), and MIRIAM (6)], VESS STOYANOVA, MICHAEL POPE, MALI SASTRI, tristan allen and possibly others were there. they beat ideas in and out of my brain. i really appreciate all of them being there that night. i was in the throes about “what kind of performance to do”….and pope kept saying “amanda, every time you even remotely TALK about what you WANT TO TALK ABOUT, you sound amazing and get really excited, and when you start talking about doing a performance, you trail off and don’t sound convinced: so shut the fuck up and just do a talk. and here have some wine.” magic words, thanks pope. then we all gathered around somebody’s iphone and showed the three girls sinead o’connor’s performance of “war” on saturday night live, when she ripped up the picture of the pope. the girls had never heard of her and we’d been discussing it…they wanted to see. it reminded me to be brave. thanks, SINEAD. the girls thought you sang like a warrior. and everybody at that table: thank you.

my step-daughter HOLLY GAIMAN was on the phone with me right around that time…and i was still juggling around the idea of doing a piece of performance art instead of a proper talk. we came up with the concept of me taking stage wearing a LOT of clothes, starting with a meat dress, stripping to a gold pointy bra, stripping down to a naughtily-revealed nipple ring, and ending the whole show with me ripping up a picture of the pope. fun times. holly gaiman, you really make me laugh and i love you girl.

my kickstarter-era band – the grand theft orchestra (that’d be you JHEREK BISCHOFF, CHAD RAINES, and MICHAEL MCQUILKEN) and my other band, the dresden dolls (that’d be you, BRIAN VIGLIONE)….you were all with me up there, in image and in spirit. i am honored to play with such musicians. you’re all pretty much better than me but i have tits. thanks, guys – without the music i am nothing. you all helped me more than you know.

MATT REISER, the wine director at upstairs on the square, grabbed me a few months ago when i took my dad, neil and little half-brother alex in for a drink. he was a heartfelt fan and sat down, poured us some amazing wine, and told us hilarious stories about his boyfriend’s OCD habits with sticky notes. he invited me to come back anytime and i took full advantage, showing up late nights when i just couldn’t work at home. i dragged my notebooks and computers into dark corners of the restaurant and he brought tea, SO PAINFUL for a wine expert, because i was trying not to drink in the month leading up to TED. he babysat me as i sat there and wrote and thought and wrote. one day, i went up to the bar and sat down next to a girl who was all alone. “can i tell you a story?” i asked her. “sure!” she said. and i told her, in the words i’d just written more or less, the stories of couch-surfing and staying at the house of jacky, the girl with the immigrant family from honduras. she loved the stories. then i told her about my talk. then we talked about her problems and why she was living in boston. she showed me her art. she’s an excellent artist. her name is ALEX. thanks matt, and thanks alex.

speaking of JACKY, i didn’t want her family to get in trouble in case they were still undocumented, so i tracked her down over email and she gave me permission to use her story, and reminded me of some details that i’d forgotten. her family are all legal now! fuck yeah. thank you jacky, i still want to send you a bunch of shit, and i will.
(edit: since writing the first draft of this blog, jacky emailed me and said the talk made her cry…and that she loves her mom so much. goddam, world.)

and when i say “i” tracked her down, that’s actually bullshit. it was my team, and my team helped me A LOT. HAYLEY ROSENBLUM, who is known and loved by a lot of the fanbase, tracked down her name when i told her the anecdote, and my tour manager JARON tracked down her number and email. hayley also pulled, organized, and compiled ALL the photos that you see in the talk, and made sure they were correctly credited. even at the ELEVENTH hour (text from amanda two days before TED: “HAYLEY HELP I NEED A PICTURE OF THE BRIGADE PERFORMING OUTSIDE OF A SHOW, ANYTHING!!”, she was sharp as a tack and knew exactly where to go to get what. girl is priceless. priceless. thanks, hayhay. hayhay can be seen in THIS photo, actually used in the TED talk. she is sporting a moustache:

and to ALL the people who mailed in photos that we didn’t use….THANK YOU. they may find second lives on the blog as i talk more and more about this stuff.

the rest of my team, also priceless: SEAN FRANCIS held down the internetz. SUPERKATE SLEPICKA, my bad-ass assistant, built a fortress around my email for a week so i could concentrate on TED only, and my managers VICKIE, ERIC, KEVIN and FELICE at girlie action manned the phones and kept business flowing like a dream while i did my amanda palmer thing. i am so grateful for these guys. not only did they help with the talk, but they helped create my kickstarter and are the engine behind what seems so effortless. they arrange the shows, they mail the packages, they MAKE THE THING GO. endless thanks to all of them.

PAUL TRAINOR was the magical dude who actually put my powerpoint together. we didn’t know exactly how long it would take or how much work it would be, and i didn’t pay him in money, i took him out to a fancy-ass dinner instead (to matt reiser’s restaurant, to keep things full circle, of course). he was right there with me making changes right up until the day before TED when i added that picture of CHRIS PERLEY (the “dude from newport beach”) and his twitter-sourced milk crate and hat. huge, huge thanks, PAUL. you killed it. and thanks, of course, to chris perley himself, for volunteering to drop off the milk crate and hat – and taking an amazing photo of himself in the process.

which reminds me: i was actually given TWO milk crates and hats, one by chris, and one donated by FLOR SAN ROMAN, who also brought over a bottle of wine (which promptly vanished into my body the night the talk was over). flor didn’t get the public glory of being in the talk, but it wound up being INCREDIBLY useful to have a crate over at the TED stage and one in my hotel room so i could practice the talk using the box. every little bit helped. here’s me and flor the day she dropped the box off. she’s a consummate stage manager and awesome person. thanks, flor.

my old friend & housemate, artist ZEA BARKER, traipsed all around new york with me one freeeeeeezing afternoon and we looked for ADULT CLOTHES for me to wear to TED-week. in the end i decided to wear very amanda-palmer-everyday outfit on stage, but MAN i looked killer for the rest of the week, and zea was a great friend as we went from used shop to new shop in a flurry of blazers and blouses, going “IS THIS AMANDA PALMER? THIS IS NOT AMANDA PALMER. THIS IS AMANDA PALMER.” zea, you are 1000% zea fucking barker. thanks for doing that, it was freezing and i love you for freezing along with me.

while i was in new york, i couch-surfed over the MARIA DAHVANA HEADLEY. she is a smart smart smart woman and gave me some of her goddess energy while i prepped to write. and let me hang out with a cat, always important. thanks, maria.

the weekend before my talk, neil and i threw a party so i could practice in front of a group of people and field feedback.
almost ALL of these people had some little input into the talk, they grilled me, challenged me, emailed me, and helped me.
right down to the little detail of noah telling me that he’d used the phrase “illegal immigrant” in one of his stand-up acts and someone pointed out that “undocumented” is a way better way of saying what we mean without being an asshole. i’d never thought of that.

this was the list of who-is-who at the party that i emailed out to all the guests the day before…there may be 2 or 3 missing.

STEVEN BOGART – my old high school drama director, beckett expert, overly sarcastic mensch
LEN TOWER – MIT alum, spiritual internet advisor, bearded presence
RYAN ANAS – helper of all people everywhere, jesus, basically
LESLIE BARRON – founder of the cloud club foundation, my south end digs
NIVI NAGIEL – literary aid, writer, chain-smoker, brooding woman-about-town
MICHELLE VAUGHAN & FELIX SALMON – michelle = artist, felix = financial blogger for reuters…both of them, couchsurf providers, coffee connoisseurs
JUDITH FAGIN – neil’s cousin judith, currently a mature student attending harvard, bad ass
ROBIN YOUNG – from NPR’s “here and now”, brilliant lady and deep, too
NICOLAS DESPO – musician, wonderer, wanderer, maker of things, fixer of things
ANTHONY MARTIGNETTI & LAURA SANFORD – my best pals from lexington/next door neighbors…anthony: writer/frisbeeite, laura: lawyer/lover
VESSELA STOYANOVA & nate greenslit – housemates of mine from cloud club, marimbist and drummer, respectively
KATHY MOCKETT & JOHN OBERTEUFFER – famous for raising me in lexington, massachusetts (ie, my parents)
PAUL TRAINOR – AV specialist and wise irishman
MALI SASTRI – piano-slayer, singer, housemate at cloud club
STEVE MARTIN – techwizard, masterchef, housemate at cloud club
YOCHAI BENKLER – scholar at the berkman center for internet studies @ harvard
LEIGH NEDDLEMAN & ANDREW FRISHMAN – newly-found neighbors & young parents / grad students, living around the corner / wesleyan alums
MELISSA AUF DE MAUR (& baby river eve!) – rock star / mother / venue den-mother in hudson, NY (used to play bass in smashing pumpkins, hole)
SANDY CHARRON – cambridge ur-scenster and long-time friend from the deep music scene, longtime WZBC dj
KIM AIRS – sex toy expert, now living in LA, used to run “grand opening” in brookline
ROB CHALFEN – harvard square expert, hep cat, reader of all books and listener to all musics, out-jazz programmer
ANDREW ANSELMO – engine room right-hand man to the universe, engineer, rotator of solids
PILAR CASO – yoga teacher at baptiste, escaper of darkness
EMILY SHEA – another yoga teacher at baptiste, plus her daughter maggie
RON NORDIN – venture art capitalist, photographer, sage
LISA GORDON – connector of people, long-time boston party pal, knower of all things
JOAN ANDERMAN – ex boston globe-pop-music-writer, current book-writer
CASEY LONG – artist, maker, housemate at cloud club and general weirdo
NOAH BRITTON – musician, songwriter, psychology professor
GLEN CUNNINGHAM – yoga teacher at sadhana, lover of excellent fucking music, very smart dude
NEIL GAIMAN – excellent cook, also writes stuff

here we are:

and here’s the food you all brought, pot-luck-style, so that me and neil didn’t have to cook for 30 people, since we were both losing our minds:

(both photos by lee barron)

to every single one of you…..THANK YOU. thank you so much. that party was a really important turning point in the talk.
(and HERE‘s the NPR story that robin did, it’s beautiful, and YOU CAN HEAR MELISSA’S BABY, river, gurgling and squeaking in the background, which i love. and i got to email melissa the really stupid pun that we’d put river on the map).

i also delivered the talk, a few days later, to a totally different group…a bunch of students at the boston museum of fine arts school. this teacher, NADEEM MAZEN, had invited me, unrelated to TED, to give a talk to his class of young/college-age artists. the class was called “creative futures: business essentials for artists” and is informally known as “monetizing passion”. nadeem thought i might have something to share, and i was like CAN I GIVE THEM MY TED TALK?? and he was like HELL YEAH!!! so i told them all to turn off their cameras and i gave them my still not-quite-finished talk. it was different than giving it to a bunch of people over 30. this was like…the real, true, deep audience for my talk. these were the brains i was actually hoping to reach with my talk: young artists trying to figure shit out. i plunged in and gave them my talk, and timed it (it was still 3 minutes over, FUCK) and when i finished i looked at them and asked: “did you get it?” and they said: “THAT WAS AMAZING.” and in THAT moment, i felt a sense of accomplishment i can’t explain. and they all asked me this really intelligent questions. how do you get over being scared? what happens if this and that? and we sat there talking for about an hour. everyone was so honest and helpful and i was lucky to land the gig. thanks nadeem, and the whole class. i hope you guys all make money from your ART.

and then, the day before i left for TED, i went to the land of the berkman center for internet and society. what the fuck is that? exactly. it’s this: cyber.law.harvard.edu
basically, it’s a building at harvard where people study our internet habits around the clock. and the people who work there are AWESOME.
i’ve made friends with them through living in boston, and their views of reality match up with mine beautifully….they understand me and why i do things the way i do.
i emailed my downboys over there: ALLEN BARGFREDE, AMAR ASHAR, and yochai benkler, and they set up a PARTY. i showed up with paul trainor so we could test my slides, and i used A POWERPOINT CLICKER FOR THE FIRST TIME (i jumped up and down saying “an adult! i look like an adult! look AT MY CLICKER!!!”), and showed my talk to about 20 guys and gals in the berkman center conference room, complete with powerpoint. they gave me INVALUABLE feedback: how to phrase things, where they lost me, what wasn’t clear. we got into a debate about whether the painting i was using to represent “artists back in the day being PART of the community” was actually working. it was THIS, “dance of the haymakers”…a painting by william sidney mount that @just1again on twitter had pointed me towards:

they were like: it’s not…it just isn’t clear what’s happening. someone hit google on the spot and found an image of pete seeger by joseph a. horne playing in a tight group of people, and BAM, on the spot we swapped the slide out:

my original ideas for these were to actually have someone DRAW something, so i asked my awesome housemate cassandra long if she’s take a stab at it.
even though i didn’t wind up using them (i decided having all-photos would be less distracting) her sketches were awesome and now i get to share them…

my literal back-of-the-envelope sketch to casey:

casey’s first draft back to me….

thanks, casey.

when i was working on my talk one day in a cafe in cambridge, two girls walked in. i’d met them before, they were fans.
they were being very respectful, they could see i was working and they knew what i was working on. we were the only three people in the cafe.
i invited them over to my table and asked them if i could give them my whole talk, so i could time it and see how they reacted. their names were NANCY and JACKIE.
they said yes, brought over their tea, and i drew all the images (since i didn’t have my computer with me) on little index cards so i could time when i would use the clicker on the slides. it was so intense, giving the talk at cafe-volume to two people at a teeny little table with their heads 9 inches from mine.
i took a breathe in, times it, and let it rip. nancy said it almost made her cry. we talked a lot about help, about madonna, about celebrity, about music, about life.
then i gave them the index cards and jetted. you guys: thank you for being my most intimate audience. you helped me lower my voice, in general.

i wanted to thank two slightly weird ones…here goes.

there’s a book i read last summer that really helped me, too.
it’s this:

i’ve plugged it before, it’s a brilliant book, but for my talk, which was REALLY HARD TO MEMORIZE – i’m not an actor – i actually have a REALLY HARD TIME memorizing things.

so one day, about three days before i gave my talk, i did what JOSHUA FOER talks about in his book – i drew a mental picture of the whole talk.
and after i’d drawn together a story in my head (like a movie, my talk takes place starting at the police station of downtown lexington center and ends at the minuteman statue on the town green) i went back to the hotel and drew it on a long, long piece of paper:

…it absolutely helped me memorize the talk. i am spatial.
thanks, joshua.

i want to thank QUENTIN TARANTINO.

i’m not a die-hard fan, but i wound up, through a series of coincidences, seeing “django unchained” in new york when i was drafting my first versions of the TED talk.

usually, violence and shit in films really turns me off.
maybe i was just in the right mood.
i’d also read a little about the controversy surrounding the film – people telling tarantino that he wasn’t “allowed to make” a film about slavery, because he was white.

and as i watched my brain screamed YES YES YES YES YES YES YES the whole time.

it was so fucking funny, and so bold, and so very I CAN MAKE WHATEVER THE FUCK KIND OF ART I WANT TO MAKE, FUCK YOU.
and i left the theater around midnight, thinking THAT’S WHAT I WANT MY TED TALK TO FEEL LIKE. if he can make a movie like that, i can make a TED talk like that.

not that there was tons of blood in my TED talk. but it just…i don’t know. it reminded me to be an artist. to be unapologetic. to DO WHAT I WANTED.
thanks, quentin.

this random guy DAN PALLOTTA sat next to me on the plane from boston to TED in los angeles.
after we took off, i pulled out my little TED “who’s who at TED” booklet with a listing of 1700 names and faces and he asked:
“are you going to TED?”
and i was like
“i’m speaking at TED.”
and he was like
“NO way!!! me too. I’M speaking at TED.”
and i was like,
“wait a second let me look you up in this giant book..”
and there we were, pictures right next to each other in the same configuration that we were sitting on the plane, palmer and pallotta:

what were the CHANCES.
his talk wound up resonating with mine A LOT. he talked about non-profits being vilified and shut down because of having “too much overhead”, and he explained that even non-profits need to pay their bills and do clever marketing, just like for-profit companies.
he’s gay, the father of triplets, and founded the AIDS ride, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars. i warned him that i wasn’t schizophrenic, just practicing my talk to myself for the entire plane ride. he laughed and allowed me all the crazy gesticulating a normal seat-mate might have balked at. thanks, dan. let’s keep helping each other.

GIDEON LESTER, my old friend from the american rep theater who’s now running the theater department at bard, texted me randomly one night….and i asked if he’d listen to the talk over skype, while i timed it. i took a deep breathe and delivered it, feeling freaked, because gideon is a director. the talk was sixteen minutes, because….i….kept…..pausing………very…………….dramatically. he gave me, of course, fantastic feedback and we talked about life and stage and problems. gideon, you’re a great friend. thank you.

CHRIS ANDERSON, mr. TED himself, spent time on the phone and skype with me at various points of the talk. the TED team saw the talk twice before i did it on stage, once on skype and once on stage for the dress rehearsal. chris: your advice was perfect and simple and focused and your whole event is a fucking fantastic melting pot of insane beauty. thank you for inviting me, thank you for helping me, and please say thank you to your whole crew. they were über-professional and made me feel totally at home.

BILL BRAGIN, the man in charge of many musical things at TED itself, was a total ally on the ground and really helped me feel like i had a one-man cheerleading squad. bill and i go way back to other events in new york, so i felt like i was with family. bill, you are so awesome. thank you and i forgive you for staying up drinking til 3 am and therefore not attending my 6:30 am rehearsal. fuck that shit.

anthony (martignetti, now known as my Famous Friend With Cancer) helped me a SHIT ton…we took long drives and walks and spent a whole few nights just bouncing the talk back and forth. i sat in his study one night and we just went through the talk, line by line by line, and he helped me clean and explain things. for those who are following that plot – he’s hanging in there. he was one of the first people i called when the talk was over. he really taught me to see people. i owe him a lot. thanks, anthony.

the person who clocked the greatest number of man-hours on the phone with me, going over the talk again and again, sending back drafts with BRUTAL feedback (“too much fucking ego here!!!” “is this really what you want to say?” “don’t overstate yourself!” etc…) was JAMY IAN SWISS, a new friend of mine who had just the right set of knowledge and experience to walk me through the fire of writing a conference talk. he’s a magician in real life, and in this particular case, he worked fucking magic on those twelve minutes of worlds. thanks, jamy.

no joke, and not just because it’s expected: the biggest thanks go to mr. neil gaiman, who sort of lost his wife for a few weeks. he wrote a beautiful blog about it HERE. god, i adore this man so much it’s hard to explain. this talk taught me a lot of things about a lot of things, but it was also, like so many other big projects, a rung in the ladder of our marriage. (i don’t know where the ladder is headed. the moon?) neil was REALLY really busy during most of the days i was hard at work on the talk. he was reading drafts, writing stories for his blackberry project, running off to be filmed, doing all his own fancy shit. and even with all that, he made time for me when he could, gave me his feedback, listened. he was busy, he’s neil gaiman. and he needed as much support as i did and i was often way too wrapped up in my head to be a half-decent partner. we kept turning to each other and forgiving each other. and that, i think, is what makes a good marriage. the ability to let each other dig, fly, crash and take space without freaking out. he gave me space….even physical space. but i had to ask. he helps me learn to ask – at a whole new level. we slept apart for the night that he had a really bad cold and were both worried i’d catch it and have to do the talk with a sniffle. we slept apart the night before the talk so i could go over it again and again and again without any small talk in my head. the fact that he’s able to give me that space is a testament to how much he loves me. and: writing this talk gave me a whole new perspective and respect for writers, and how they have to be concurrently present and very, very far away. neil: if you’re reading this…i’m back. hi. i see you. i see you and i love you so, so much. thanks for letting me ask.

so, as you see…it takes a village to write a TED talk.
i’m sure i missed people. but this is a pretty decent snapshot of my village.

if i’d done this alone it probably would not have been a good talk.

all these people, all of you reading, you made it a brilliant talk.

to everyone who supported my kickstarter, to anyone who’s ever given me a couch to sleep on, to anyone who’s ever answered a question on twitter, bought a ticket, held me aloft with your hands at a show, posted a comment to my blog, opened up for me live, let my band open up for you, told someone about my music, shared a link to a video, paid what you want for a song….we were all up on that stage together. i held you all with me and tried to let you out.

i am so fucking lucky.
thank you so much, everyone.
photo by Jurvetson
(photo by Jurvetson, via flickr)

now: everybody go ask without shame for a cuddle or something.

xxx
AFP

p.s. here are all the final images we used in the TED talk with all the background info and credits and such…

me as the eight foot bride in jackson square, new orleans, around fall of 1998 (photo by my mum, kathy mockett):

me doing me eight foot bride thang in harvard square in cambridge, ma 1999 (photo by ANDY IHNATKO):

my first band, the mothertruckin’ dresden dolls. me and and drum-god brian viglione live in st. louis, mo, January 2008 (photos by TODD OWYOUNG):

post-show kissing (this dude’s tattoo of my moxy’s death character)…from tristan’s album release show at the berklee performance center in boston, ma on December 12, 2010 (photo by hayley rosenblum):

THE BRIGADE outside the orpheum theatre for the dolls’ “yes, virginia” CD release show on April 21, 2006 (photo by SHERI HAUSEY):

amidst organized chaos during one of the boston GTO shows last summer. at the end of our set, support musicians including walter sickert & the army of broken toys, hayley, and others joined me to ROCK at the middle east, cambridge, ma on August 1, 2012 (photo by MELLA CAHILL):

finding a practice space in the UK. i tweeted i needed a piano to practice before a performance on the BBC, and @chris_heasman offered his friend TOM LEE’s place (read the #PianoSurfing tumblr post HERE) in october 2012 (photo by me):

HALLELUJAH!!! FAN-MADE FOOD!!! david and his wife CAROL prepared food for me, jason webley, and crew at the seattle town hall for jason’s show July 3, 2009 (photo by DAVID PETERMAN):

auckland city library ukulele ninja-gig (setup by @corinh/corinhaines.com) before the dolls in auckland, new zealand on january 27, 2012 (photo by MARTIN CLYDE):

when i got to long beach, ca i tweeted that i was seeking a top hat and a milk crate to use as props for my TED talk. in addition to providing the props, chris and christy sent TED their greetings (photo by CHRIS PERLEY & CHRISTY BURRIS):

on march 8, 2012 i tweeted asking where i could find a netti pot in melbourne, australia. right away, someone offered to bring one and a connection was made (screenshot via twitter.com / HERE is the original tweet):

couch-surfing? almost. this is the ONE photo that i consider “lip-syncing”. i couldn’t find an actual one….because, thankfully, none of my couch surfing hosts have actually photo-stalked me in the night. and if they have, they haven’t told me about it. but i needed this photo to make my couchsurfing/crowdsurfing comparison visually….so we set it up at home. yep, it’s fake. fake it til you make it, baby, it’s ART. (and bonus? photo by neil gaiman, helpful husband, two days before i left for TED):

and crowd-surfing. this one is decidedly not fake. taken during coachella in indio, ca on april 18, 2009 (photo by LINDSEY BYRNES). i love that ONE little smiling face peeking out, it’s my favorite part of the photo:

more crowd-surfing. taken during our “theatre is evil” album release show at webster hall in new york, ny on september 11, 2012 (photo by EMILY PAN PHOTOGRAPHY):

kris handed me a dollar after downloading my first independently released single (“do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help your black ass”) for free at bandcamp. this picture was taken at the evelyn evelyn show in antwerp, belgium on may 4, 2010 (photo by KRIS VAN DE SANDE). this photo barely shows up (i don’t think) in the filmed edit. but the slide was up there:

me and the boys of THE GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA. with @CindyGallop’s gucci chainsaw in a shower (photo by SHERVIN LAINEZ):

OUR “theatre is evil” kickstarter (via kickstarter.com):

“caveat donor”. yes, this shit hurt and it still hurts a little every time i see it. it was a doctored image alongside a gawker article that critiqued what was happening during the musician kerfuffle (graphic created by JIM COOKE for Gawker / HERE is what they posted):

trust. taken after the kickstarter backer art gallery performance and party at PLATOON KUNSTHALLE in berlin, germany on june 12, 2012 (photo by LUIS PEDRO DE CASTRO):

this is an image from the library of congress. folk-singer pete seeger performing at the opening of the washington d.c. labor canteen. see if you can spot eleanor roosevelt!! taken on february 13, 1944 (photo by JOSEPH A. HORNE):

hayley sourced this image after i sent her the following plea:
changing route….and changed wording,
so back to a GIANT image – but this one doesn’t HAVE to be michael jackson, it can be any enormo-dome.
i need an image of a giant stage with a teeny ant-sized rock star on it – taken from nosebleed seat distance.
jumbotrons a plus….
kinda like this.
i tried googling for “stadium rock”/”arena rock”/”nosebleed seats” but looking at actual giant stadium artists might help….
queen/madonna/muse/whatever……

she sent me a bunch of options, and i picked the one we went with because it depicted a large-scale stage production in front of a massively sized crowd. when i chose it, i didn’t have any idea that the band playing was actually OASIS. ha. this photo was taken at wembley stadium in london, england on july 11, 2009 (photo by MARK HILLARY):

(hayley notes: “When I contacted the photographer, he assumed that the reason I was asking for permission to use his picture was because of the song, “Oasis” – turns out a random picture taker is actually a fan of Amanda’s. THE ODDS!“)

the eight foot bride in harvard square, 1999 (used again, and still by andy ihnatko):

TED-da! you have reached the end. thank you for reading and looking at all of this. i know it was a LOT.

one big, huge, giant thanks is in order….sean francis. for helping me put this whole blog together. he remains one of the great unsung heroes of my internet-life,
and i love him very much. thanks, sean.

xxx

a

Back to Blog
  • Annika

    Amanda, I love you. Your personality. What you do. Putting yourself out there. And your talk was awesome. x

  • http://germancitygirl.tumblr.com/ Kristine

    Every time you give an update, it galvanizes me to create something, to get my thoughts down on paper or draw or just write. Thank you for the inspiration and for sharing so much of yourself with us. Much love. Standing offer for chai and vegan goodies the next time you are in Seattle!

    • miserichik

      I feel the same way!! :)

      • GermanCityGirl

        <3

  • Xi

    Thank you. Big loves. xx

  • http://twitter.com/Russty Russty

    Your talk was amazing in so many ways. It was the final push I needed to say fuck it and put out a project on Kickstarter. It went live today and I feel like I might throw up from nerves. But I’m already so happy that I finally just asked people to help. Thank you for being brave enough to say what you did. It resonated so much with my soul and how I feel about my art as not just a job, but a life choice! I love you dear lady. Keep being you, you’re changing the world! <3

  • Soli

    Read the post while listening to the spot on Here and Now, and I almost want to cry. It’s tears of joy, that is all I know.

    My couch (or any other cushioned surface) is available to you any time. Just ask. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Flor-San-Roman/100000457660010 Flor San Roman

    *Love*

    I’m also a dramaturg (research shit for plays and think big thoughts), a voice actor and a linguist/writer (I speak 2.5 languages).

    It’s a pleasure to get to help out a rock star. }:>

  • http://happysimplefree.blogspot.com/ Zadi

    Amanda, I’ve been a long-time fan but hadn’t kept track of what you’ve been up to in the past few years. Saw you in Albuquerque a few years ago; thank you so much for coming to our city, by the way! We’re used to not being on A-lists and thus not being a stop on many of the awesomer tours.

    A friend linked your talk today, and it was the most fucking amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve watched it at least twenty times so far.

    I’m working on sorting through my thoughts and feelings on the topic, but that is the kind of talk that can change lives, and I feel that it *will* change mine. I realized recently that connection with people is my absolutely highest value, and I really need to go out there an live it. Enough feeling powerless and ineffective when my heart needs to be trusting people and actually impacting the world. Working on the ‘how.’

    So thank you thank you thank you. You are epic and wonderful.

  • http://twitter.com/SylviaRodemeyer sylvia rodemeyer

    Amanda – I had the opportunity to see you at the kickass Westin after party – I don’t think anything that exciting has happened in that hotel lobby ever, and I watched as some of the audience started out skeptical as you hopped up on the planter and began playing your uke – but by the time you transitioned from piano and back up to the ‘main stage’ you had so many people converted and throwing giant bean bags.

    Thank you for treating every audience as an important one. And thank you for treating every fan like the people they are. The hug and few seconds of conversation I got at the end of the night were real and intimate and special, thank you.

    I missed you by mere moments at Bil as you wrapped up your long beach stay a few days later – passing you on the stairs as you jetted down and we rushed up.

    But, I was able to take in the sheer amazing grouping that was Women Of Letters on Tuesday night, and that, as much as your TED talk, was a truly mind shifting evening.

    To wrap up – I was lucky enough to cross your path 3x in a week (in very cursory, but lovely ways), and your consistency of being ‘in the moment’ and real to the event and experience is so rare and so evident.

    Thank you, as always, for being as open as you are able to be with so many of us. I think it makes us all a little more open and free as well.

  • Alan Wexelblat

    Hi. Thanks for the blog – so cool to see all the people involved in this and know some of them, even. I’ve watched the talk a couple times and blogged it twice (once directly and once via my response to Felix Salmon blogging it). I was touched by your talk as I was one of those people who walked away without taking a flower way back then and I still remember your look. You did a pretty good job recreating it in the TED talk.

  • Miserichik

    Amanda, I watched the talk twice, THEN listened to it in the car the next day. I wept. You put your ideas and life and music and art into 12 beautiful moments, and that must have been TORTURE to do. I was awed by your message. I have a hard time asking for help. I thank you. I would love to ask for help more often, and your talk makes me think of this. Your community could not be anything but what it is because of who you are. WE thank YOU for being YOU. We love YOU for YOU.

    Oh, and thanks Neil, for allowing us to steal your wife now and again. :) Love you too!

  • http://twitter.com/jujyfruit0 Jessica Schwab

    Wow. I knew how hard this talk must have been, to write, to memorize, to get to 12! 12! 12! minutes. But I had no idea the scale of what you did to prepare. You looked so at ease at the talk, all that preparation and sweat and not-drinking and husband-avoiding? Fucking. Paid. Off. Bravo, darling girl. You did it. WE did it. Thanks to all the lovely people who helped you along the way. Thank you for giving us a voice.

    “Nobody ever sees me. Thank you”

    • http://twitter.com/HMSoboe Hannah Schuetz

      You hit the nail on the head of what makes our dear Ms. Palmer so powerful! She works hard, and is good at what she does, and draws us all in to this great connection. She doesn’t need to be a saint. Just to be human, and remind us of our own humanity :)

  • saffyol

    Amazing. My best friend and I tell each other we “see” each other rather than say “I love you” as a joke (it’s a reference to the movie Avatar) but when you said you see your husband it made me realize that the only reason we can joke about our love in that way is because we understand each other so well. And it made me well up and think of my best friend. And next time I see her I’m going to hug her hard and tell her I see her. Thank you. And congratulations on the success of your TED talk. Love you and your music.

  • http://www.facebook.com/medelmanart Mike Edelman

    I loved watching your talk. I think it expresses a new ideology for sharing creativity as a whole. Honestly, as a professional visual artist I envy the capacity for sharing that your medium allows and how you have been personally able to use it–I absolutely love it. I love the concept of openly sharing ideas, passion and creativity and letting people support you as opposed to mandating it. In the visual art world there is not yet a possible model for this and it drives me nuts: art exists in relation to the people you interact with and in my mind, the more people you interact with, the more successful your art is. When I am in the world as an artist and people like my work but can’t afford it, it really bothers me in a sense as it contradicts the ideology that I used in making art in the first place–art is not something that should be for the esoteric, the wealthy or the privileged. It should be for everyone, to make each one of us better and lift us up as a whole. Thank you for saying what you said, and I hope the model you put out into the world gains traction and spreads.

  • Chris Mikaitis

    I supported you on kickstarter as a gift for my girlfriend. She loved it. She is a vinyl fanatic and it was perfect. Your TED talk left me in the kind of tears that never actually leave your eyes, but kind of refract light and make everything seem magical. Thanks for being awesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christoffer.degraal Christoffer de Graal

    This really really REALLY touches me. just finished playing in the studio, someone posted this on face book. — I didn’t know of you ( sorry ) .. I should get out more…!!!! I SO love your heart courage reality and .. awesome vibrancy. it shine s thorough tears wet on my face with .. I’m not sure what. just deeply deeply moved. thank you. ~ Christoffer

  • http://twitter.com/likelyladyy Alice Bremner Watt

    How you feel about the way the world works (works? should work? whichever) is how I feel quite a lot. I dropped out of university fairly recently, and having been told from an early age that no one (no how) gets anywhere without a degree, it’s been pretty difficult to make the necessary adjustments. Basically I’ve been freaking out, for like a year or something. Anyway, though obviously I think it’s important, university isn’t for everyone. I thought it was for me, apparently not. Maybe I’ll go back some day, probably no. All I wanted to do was sit and write all day, not panic and sleep for 15 hours a day. Watching your TED talk was completely and utterly helpful, because asking (for anything, not just help I think) is not something I’m good at. Talking to people is not something I’m good at, actually. SO, it was absolutely wonderful to feel hopeful. The talk itself was fucking excellent, and I finally feel like when someone says to me, do you really think you can just do what you want because it makes you happy? Why don’t you get a job in a bank? What do you think, REALISTICALLY, you can really do with your life? I’m going to direct them to a link of your TED talk, and smile at them.

    On a slightly less personal level (kinda), I absolutely believe that crowd funding, community and cutting out the middle man is the way forward for the music industry. The internet IS NOT the enemy etc etc, it’s a useful tool (albeit a tool with a life of its own) and big corporations or labels or whatever don’t seem to quite get it with that. It’s not always about the bottom line, it’s about the music. It’s about people connecting.

  • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

    Dear Amanda,
    Anybody who doesn’t think art is WORK or a REAL JOB should read this post. You worked your ass off for this one and it shows. Most importantly, when you ask you LISTEN to the replies/advice/opinions/reactions of others. For a rock star, that’s amazing humility. Or humanity. Thank you. For all the work you did just so you could let us loose on the world making art and refusing to be ashamed of it. Refusing to even consider shame relevant to what we do. Most people don’t understand that what I do is art or why it is exhausting. They don’t understand the incredible, even holy, paradox of allowing myself to be vulnerable so the power comes through. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Like so many, you have made me rethink what I do and claim the value of it in a new and deeper way. I love you, Ms. Palmer.

  • lentower

    is it unethical to comment on a blog one is thanx in?

    the pics are awesome!
    (as i have nothing to do with them ; – )

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Becca-BiBi-Sklar/1679002662 Becca BiBi Sklar

    Your TED talk mad me tear up. You’re an amazing artist and person in general. I love helping you in creating your wonderful art. You deserve it. good job to you and all those that helped you. <3

  • http://twitter.com/Maru45 j maruskin

    At least a half dozen of those million hits are me. I’ve emailed the link to your talk, and posted it on my facebook page. I hope you don’t mind if I quote you in our church newsletter (they perhaps foolishly gave me the job of producing it.) You made some very profound, yet simple comments about trust and people seeing each other.
    The risks you take and have taken enable us all to have more courage and hope and determination in our own lives and art. I have tremendous admiration for you.

  • NancyJM @just1again

    Your Ted talk will, I hope , inspire musicans and music loverseverywhere to become part of this beautifully symbiotic process! And you were right to swap out my slide for the Pete Seeger one. It’s MUCH better. Have to admit to a tiny moment of ego-hurt, but i’m way over it!

  • lentower

    you are an awesome speaker, and it is one of the reasons you are on the planet.

    i love your concerts, but adore your “talks”

    btw, you would give an awesome version of “Public Speaking 101″

    • miserichik

      I thought the same thing. I actually thought “I wish she’d been around when I was taking Public Speaking!”

      • lentower

        ; – }

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=845030373 Toni Palmer

    Hey Amanda, You said your parents last names in the above blog, and they’re different from yours (yes, it IS point-out-the-obvious-day) ;) so where did Palmer come from? Your Birth father? A chosen name?
    Thanks, Toni P

  • jus sayin

    don’t forget to read the comments you asked for last weekend about it

  • http://twitter.com/Esmertina Esmertina Bicklesnit

    It has been a joy to watch this unfold, and it says so much about your process, and why I admire you so much.
    1) You dream big.
    Of course you said you wanted to give a TED talk when you didn’t have an experience giving talks! And you didn’t just want to give a TED talk. You wanted to give one of THOSE talks, the ones that make people cry and resonate in their lives. For most people, the idea would live about 15 seconds before being stamped out, but you know how to take a little idea like that and nurture it to completion.
    2) You build your skills.
    Want to give one of those amazing TED talks? Start by speaking. The talk you did at ART, the commencement talk (which was amazeballs). If there is a skills gap between you and your goal, you don’t use that as a reason to give up, you work to master what you need to master.
    3) You seek input.
    You don’t retreat into your cave and refuse to show anyone anything until you think it’s perfect … and you don’t get so wrapped up in advice that you follow it to the letter. You ask experts and fans what they think and you filter it down and channel it productively, knowing that you aren’t in it alone.
    4) You freak out.
    You did this on Theatre is Evil, too. For most of us, if we’re lucky enough to get through the above steps with the idea still burning, the freakout shuts us down. You aren’t immune to self-doubt, but you face it and speak it aloud and climb on top of it and let us help you through it.
    5) You work damn hard.
    You approached this talk with the same ethic as you do your music — you have a commitment to high standards of excellence and you put in the time and sweat to meet those standards.
    6) You share the glory.
    The funniest of the comments on the TED page (which was since edited) was a woman who responded to river_vox’s post about bringing you lunch saying “that’s fine for Amanda but I’d be more impressed if you took lunch to the guy in her band, and you don’t even know his name.” river_vox responded with the names of everyone in your band and the volunteer musicians at that particular show. And I thought … gosh, you know … I not only know all of their names, but your sound guy and your business manager and your assistant and your internet guy, your videographer and your costume designer and your various photographers and the directors of your videos. They’re not just tiny type on your liner notes, but real three-dimensional people you have shared with us.
    The best thing about watching you go through this process is knowing it can really be applied to any goal any of us have. That’s just as inspirational a message as the content of your TED talk itself. Thank you, Amanda.

  • fishbait91

    a mouthful loved again. thanks amanda

  • Eriana Marcus

    Amanda – dear Amanda – as a kickstarter and I check your news and blog every day . . . I watched your TED talk – right away, and i keep watching it; now when i read this page (and i get it – you know?) ya, I can struggle with a poem for a week without sleep -still go back to it over and over and often, until recently – give up. I don’t give up any more. Since i have been listening to your music; i don’t give up. Everything you do says Yes to me. Like what you said about Q Tarantino – YES YES YES. My doctor who has been helping me with PTSD for 8 years, gave me discs and told me to watch Brene Brown on TED – My doc is a cool guy; and i’m really blessed too, I live with a wonderful man, who is also a writer; and he watches me go crazy all the time . . .getting my poems or songs written . . . being patient. Being there – also giving me space. Recently I was writing a bunch of stuff;and it was like – well, “okay” but not new, not exciting, I need new, exciting, change, flow movement – all the time. I watched and listened to your 12 minutes – and it was YES. I wrote Yes on my arm before i went to bed . . . the next day – i did what i had always said , “oh, I can’t do that” – – – I sat down and wrote a short story – I wrote something I wanted to read . . . I got that message from you and something I heard Neil say; “write the story you want to read” – I did it.
    I am 52 yrs old and I stood in front of a room full of people and felt like the 12 year old at the head of the class – (10 people came up and thanked me for the story because it reminded them of something simple and sweet in their life they needed) I got it. They got it. Beautiful. Thankyou a million times – – – I’m sharing your TED link with all my poet group friends -every one loves it. And for me, personally – you said my lifetime of “this is how I am in my world” that very few people ever understood about me, my whole life. I’m the one who plays music on the street because i want to give it away, because i want to see people’s faces and love them. Thankyou for helping get that Yes tattooed right into my soul – no one can take that away.

  • http://twitter.com/Vallarri Nicole

    Every time I leave you a comment or tweet you a message, there’s always so much that I want to say to you. But in the spirit of your TED talk, let me just say this:

    I love you.

    And pray that the full impact that I have imparted into that statement reaches you unfiltered, unabated, and with all the passion and support that I have to offer you.

    I’d throw in some eye contact, too, and will, if ever we do meet.

    Love,

    Nicole <3

  • http://twitter.com/Angelsdevils Angel Laveaux

    There’s no such thing as accidents!

    Sorry, had to. I love you and I am very proud to be a part of this. Thank you for letting me. Thank you for inspiring artists of every kind all over the world. When life gets you down, just remember that the people willing to catch you vastly outnumber those who would let you fall.

  • http://twitter.com/HMSoboe Hannah Schuetz

    Read the gawker article about the “scandal” of asking musicians to play without offering pay. Added two cents there, but wanted to say it here too. I just think the debate is ridiculous. You say we should
    learn to ask. I agree we need to! What the naysayers don’t get is that people don’t have to agree just because you do. If you ask, then they reply, sometimes with other questions, and those prompt other replies and other questions. It’s a bigger network of conversation that we enter into. Not just favors!

    My reply to that site:
    As a musician myself let me tell you something: we do it for the art, not the money. Cause people love to have music, but they don’t usually have a budget for it. If it’s not worth it to play for free, you turn down the gig. I’ve played recitals, at church services, in community orchestras, and never seen A SINGLE CENT for it. Why? Because the chance to play means something.

    In fact, just playing for free is a luxury! In classical music at least, you have to pay audition fees, ensemble fees, accompainist fees, and who knows what else is written in to some of my college bills.

    Ms. Palmer didn’t say she couldn’t afford it. She didn’t say “oh no! I ran out of millions, someone help!” She didn’t offer payment, then back out. She put the offer out, and people accepted. Where’s the crime in that?

  • http://twitter.com/superzombiepowa Shabnam Salek

    this blog post made me stupidly happy (but not quite as happy as The Talk did, of course)! even through the tiny window into your life that is twitter it was easy to tell how insanely hard you were working to craft this talk into the beautiful thing it became in the end, and now reading about all the little steps along the way in greater detail makes the whole thing even more incredible. you are, if i may, AMAZEBALLS (and so are ALL THOSE PEOPLE!). keep on keepin’ on, lady. <3

  • Heliotrope

    I am one of those lonely people you spoke about… the ones who never get seen… who go weeks without really talking to anyone… and just want to say, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Amanda. I don’t know you, but I love you.

    • dudette

      so join this cult
      Amanda will take care of you
      you will give her your money

  • igamu

    I had the most terrible day, after the most terrible month, and reading this helps me not care so much that I may lose my mind-numbing job because of my myriad health issues. All I really want to do is make jewelry and be left alone.

    • igamu

      It took me half an hour of staring at that and crying before I could post it because even admitting one of those things is a risk and painful for me, let alone all of them.

      • http://twitter.com/Esmertina Esmertina Bicklesnit

        Congratulations on hitting “post” in the end! During the WBUR interview earlier this week, Emily Bazelon praised Amanda for creating “a trustworthy space where people think they can divulge things with confidence” on her blog. Another thing we have to thank her for! :)

      • http://twitter.com/eyeseaewe Tiffany Little

        I *think* I know how you feel – not exactly – but the fear is so paralysing – the fear of not having a steady job (regardless of whether or not you loathe it) to support yourself/your family … and for me, the fear that if you give that up and throw yourself into your chosen passion (mine being painting) that you might find that you’re not any good of it after all and having tried and failed, all you have to return to is a ‘real job’ …

        If you do go ahead and make jewellery, give me a shout, I will be sure to buy some, wear it proudly, blog, tweet and instagram it and genuinely do my best to help you succeed … right now I can’t jump straight into my dream (although I’m pursuing it, little by little, step by step, easy does it) and so I’m always more than happy to do something to help others achieve theirs.

        Best of luck and I hope your month improves

        xxx

        • martina

          I’ll buy some jewelry too. Do it, even if it’s just two pieces for me and Tiffany Little….feel better. xo

      • miserichik

        {{{hug}}} Good for you Igamu. This community does that to people, it offers that security, that love, in order for us to let down our guards :)

  • ximenav

    Thank you for your use of the word “undocumented” – I noted it when I first watched your talk, too. Basically, saying “illegal” automatically criminalizes and dehumanizes people. Unfortunately, it’s become the go-to description.

    Extremely glad that the TED talk is getting recognition and starting up the discussions it was meant to! Super proud of you + your village! now go rest and drink wine

  • Jacqueline

    Thank you. You made me feel that my little Kickstarter donation really made a difference. I think what you do is incredibly brave, allowing yourself to be vulnerable to others, and the fact that you get the response you do juts shows how much good there can be in the world. I wish I could be like that.

  • http://twitter.com/KatherineFawn Katherine Fawn

    I LOVE the album, can’t stop listening to it. I put in $25 and it was more than fair to me. The TED talk is amazing.

  • WOL

    I read Neil’s blog post about how very proud he was of you before I had had a chance to watch your TED talk video, which Terry Windling posted on her blog, BTW. Dang. I was proud of you, too, and I don’t even know you. You did an absolutely amazing job, not just content-wise, but delivery wise.

  • Sofia Ortiz

    I can’t believe you have known Josh Knobe for years and years! I’m a philosophy grad student and in his general field (not at Yale), but I am a big fan of both of you. SMALL WORLD.

  • http://twitter.com/Cara_1969 Cara

    Oh, while reading this, I could feel the nervous energy, almost as if I was there with you. Thank you so much for this unique experience, this glimpse into your wonderful and crazy world of art-making. The amount of work and dedication, is mind blowing, the vulnerability is stomach twisting and the end result; the TED talk itself, is absofuckinlutely AH-MAZ-ING!

    My hat off for you, lady, you rock my world!

  • AlexW

    Only heard of you through liking Mr Palmer’s work but the minute I saw your Kickstarter video linked from his twitter that was it. My friend at work was sick of me going on about it, my b/f was like “dear god, shut up!” but he came with me to your show at KOKO in October and LOVED IT! And when the CD finally arrived and my 6 year old son asked if we could play the music by “that lady” again, BRILLIANT. I haven’t felt so awesome for being part of something in a long time, and that’s quite selfish but the TED talk brought it home too. And guess who sent the the link for that? The man I’d “bugged about it” for nearly a year. Someone who could do with learning to ask a little as well. You may not be everyone’s cup of tea but when you speak, people should goddamn well listen. Kudos to you, Amanda Fucking Palmer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/coinoperatedbear Steven Smashy Barker

    I absolutely adored the talk, Amanda! You did a fantastic job. As an artist, I need to learn to ask more, maybe it’ll help me find commissions. :)

  • RiverVox

    Just wondering about your language in the talk. I assume you made a conscious decision not to swear. Did that come from feedback from your test audiences or had you already decided that? I think it was a wise idea since it makes it easier to share across the universe.

  • http://twitter.com/HLClouds Happy Little Clouds

    Amanda, it was such a pleasure being your intimate audience at the cafe. Anytime you need it, Nancy and I will be there, 9 inches away. We are ourselves trying to figure out this whole music thing so to be able to sit and talk about music and life with you, who we so deeply admire, is truly a beautiful thing. You have changed my world and the way I think about connecting with it and what kind of artist I want to be. I have learned so much from you and have a lot more to learn still. We are so proud of you and will treasure those little index cards forever. See you over at the cafe.

    -Jackie

  • M’Iz

    The way you described all of the lovely people that help you reminded me of Allen Ginsberg: “engine room right-hand man to the universe, engineer, rotator of solids” :)

  • bibliophilista

    Dear Amanda,
    I’m so incredibly honoured to be pictured as the readhead one of the “drunk german people” and to be part of your genius talk. That night, I was drunk on love. Love for you, the band, the music, the life and the night, the incredible super sweet people I met that night (and still see), and Love for Love. It was one of the most awesome nights ever, and I’m still grinning madly remembering it.
    I’m taking your flower gladly anytime, and give you my heart and support and a hug.
    And I was the last one to hug you that night before you entered the taxi :)
    Thank you for everything

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.pickett.1121 Tony Pickett

    Just awesome. You inspire a lot of people.

  • http://twitter.com/slayerkitty slayerkitty

    I was proud to sponsor you on kickstarter. I am BLOWN AWAY by how good your TED talk is. It is not just about the music business to me. It is spiritual. It transcends time and space. It is absolutely beautiful and perfect and brought tears to my eyes. Brava!!! Thank you SO much for putting so much of yourself, your time, your friends’ time into this talk. It is SO worth it! It is beyond price and a true measure of your heart. Much love and joy to you always. – slayerkitty aka Jann

  • http://www.facebook.com/louwhoofcin Cindy Dinh

    Less than an hour after we talked at BIL, I got onstage for my talk about living vulnerably and the vision of an authentic world. I was still riding the high of meeting you (which gave me the jitters more than a talk does), and the first thing I talked about was referencing the exchange of the simple, “I see you,” and “thank you,” that I know so many are craving for.

    Thank you, thank you. Nothing was more moving than your final share at BIL about the specific exchange of asking between you and your husband. I immediately felt a buzzing up and down my spine, and my eyes welled with tears. It must have been the slight tremor in your voice, and the way your face lit up when you talked about how your relationship was impacted.

    Muchos love for you, Amanda Palmer.

  • http://aaronjshay.net/ Aaron J. Shay

    Your talk inspired me in a lot of ways. Because of your talk, I perform on the street more, in spite of it terrifying me, and also because it terrifies me.

    I consider you something of a Ms. Frizzle and we’re all riding your Magic School Bus. Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.

  • http://twitter.com/raresparky raresparky

    just. fucking. wow.

    again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DiJiT3L Ashley McLaughlin

    Hi Amanda! I came across this today and thought of your TED talk. Super crazy. I love both of you as artists and to see you both saying the same thing is amazing. Starting at 14:30-15:00 and another bit at 17:55 about the door to door and sandwiches. I just thought it was really neat and thought I’d show ya! ^__^ Thank you for all you do and all you are! ❤ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUdfLm0nDeM

  • kmwilliams

    The crowdsurfing at Coachella pic.. the one smiling face peaking out.. reminds me of my favourite picture of Iggy Pop from 1969.. http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y176/xokatyxo/iggypopcrowdsurfing_large.jpg

    the best part is still the beardy guy in the glasses and his big amazed smile.

  • Damian Masterson

    The 3rd or 4th time I drove out from NY to see you in Cabaret I parked behind the theater and was digging in my car to see if I could find any quarters for the meter. Terribly shy, I almost never ask anyone for anything if I can help it, but I couldn’t find any change and wanted to get on line for the show, so I asked the woman that had just pulled in behind me if I could buy some quarters from her for the meter. She smiled and gave me all the extra quarters that she had on her and steadfastly refused any of my offered dollars. After she gave me all her quarters, she went in the theater and once again blew my mind in the roll of the MC.

    Moral: Had I not asked the stranger behind me for help, I never would have got to meet you. But also, had I not asked you for help, I wouldn’t have been able to also inform my understanding of your TED talk with my first hand knowledge of how well your own capacity to ask is balanced by your capacity to give freely to strangers as well. Thank you.

  • clare quilty

    how is it that you get less mature as you get older?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ramirodsl Ramiro Simões Lopes

    AWESOME talk Amanda! Didn’t know you or your music. Downloaded your album for nothing. Listened to it then came back and made a donation cause it’s freaggin awesome! Please, come to Brazil!

  • http://www.facebook.com/adelgary Ahmad Adelgary

    Hey Amanda, I had not heard of you or any of your music before watching the TED video… but I already feel that talk is changing my life. I feel inspired, encouraged, and a sense of belonging to an awesome community. Thank you!

    Oh and I CANNOT stop listening to your damned songs! I haven’t fallen head over heels for an artist in this magnitude in a long time. It’s magical.

    PS. I noticed that you didn’t credit one of the photos in this blog post; the one from the actual TED talk. I believe it was taken by STEVE JURVETSON (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/8526107229/), he’s an awesome man and a fan of your talk.

    Cheers!

  • dollfacedollheart

    I posted your Ted talk “Just Ask” to my “professional” (a.k.a.where I have to be grown up) FB page, as you are beyond inspiring. You invoked so many emotions in that 13 min and 48 second time frame I was left speechless. My boyfriend came home and turned on basketball and I asked him if he wanted to see this amazing video and he said, “Not really.” (For the record: Had there not been basketball on, it wouldn’t have been an issue and he would’ve said, “Sure!”) So I played it anyways and turned the laptop to face him. At first, he started watching just out of the corner of his eye, trying not to miss the television. His eyes darted back and forth between the tv and the laptop for about 30 seconds. It didn’t take much longer than that before he was totally fixated on what you were presenting. I don’t want to use the cheesy description of “mind blowing,” but that’s EXACTLY what it was. With all the political unrest in the world and people hating other people because of religion, race, sexual preference, or just because it’s a Tuesday and it’s a blizzard in Wisconsin and we are out of beer so now we have to go out into the blizzard–a complete white out and we become instantly blinded by all this negativity in the world. I come home, crack open a beer and I’m still frozen from the negativity, but I start watching you tube and looking up random art, never expecting to find this video full of pearls of wisdom, but there it was. I melted. You reminded us to remember to notice the ones that go unnoticed. You reminded us that if you care about others, it will come back to you in an equal exchange. You reminded us that it’s ok to help others and that it’s ok to ask for help yourself. You reminded us that it’s ok to believe in humanity again…to trust and that it’s ok to open yourself up to others. You reminded us that it’s ok to be human. I just wanted to say thank you for that heart, that hope, that it’s ok to believe in others once again. F.Y.I. In the past, I have let this crazy punk rock band from the UK (Beerzone) crash on their tours at where ever I called home at the time. Should you ever need a safe haven in your travels, the light is always on for you…”Just Ask.”

  • Deb

    Amanda, your Ted talk was great! You’re words are inspiring and you are a wonderful artist. I went on Youtube and spent the next 5 hours watching you! I am so proud of you and want to thank you for your honesty. When you come to Minneapolis I will be there to enjoy every minute of you and the band.

  • Laura Mecklenburger

    Thank you so much, AGAIN, from one of the many artists who look to you for advice. Particularly the statement “I CAN MAKE WHATEVER THE FUCK KIND OF ART I WANT TO MAKE, FUCK YOU” stood out to me, because that’s basically what the MFA thesis oral defense I’m giving this week is about. With that attitude. This is a REALLY good time for me to get advice about speaking in public, and I appreciate the tip about speaking slowly. Your slow delivery of the TED talk was _gorgeous._ And now, I’m going out to keep asking for much-needed help for my thesis exhibition from *my* village of people, of whom you are definitely one. Love <3

  • The Witty Underling

    I loved you and Neil already. Now I love your village. Keep being Amanda Palmer; it brings out the best in so many people.

    About the Neti Pot: Perhaps you know this already, but please only use DISTILLED WATER (or DISTILLED WATER + SALT). Boiled water is fairly safe, but leaves behind minerals which could be problematic; and, with tap water you risk a nasty, fatal infection. It’s a small risk, but worth the extra effort to keep amebae from eating your beautiful brain.

    NPR did a story about it in 2011.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/19/143960631/second-neti-pot-death-from-amoeba-prompts-tap-water-warning

    XOXO

  • The Witty Underling

    I loved you and Neil already. Now I love your village. Keep being Amanda Palmer; it brings out the best in so many people.

    About the Neti Pot: Perhaps you know this already, but please only use DISTILLED WATER (or DISTILLED WATER + SALT). Boiled water is fairly safe, but leaves behind minerals which could be problematic; and, with tap water you risk a nasty, fatal infection. It’s a small risk, but worth the extra effort to keep amebae from eating your beautiful brain.

    NPR did a story about it in 2011.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/19/143960631/second-neti-pot-death-from-amoeba-prompts-tap-water-warning

    XOXO

  • The Witty Underling

    I loved you and Neil already. Now I love your village. Keep being Amanda Palmer; it brings out the best in so many people.

    About the Neti Pot: Perhaps you know this already, but please only use DISTILLED WATER (or DISTILLED WATER + SALT). Boiled water is fairly safe, but leaves behind minerals which could be problematic; and, with tap water you risk a nasty, fatal infection. It’s a small risk, but worth the extra effort to keep amebae from eating your beautiful brain.

    NPR did a story about it in 2011.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/19/143960631/second-neti-pot-death-from-amoeba-prompts-tap-water-warning

    XOXO

  • The Witty Underling

    I loved you and Neil already. Now I love your village. Keep being Amanda Palmer; it brings out the best in so many people.

    About the Neti Pot: Perhaps you know this already, but please only use DISTILLED WATER (or DISTILLED WATER + SALT). Boiled water is fairly safe, but leaves behind minerals which could be problematic; and, with tap water you risk a nasty, fatal infection. It’s a small risk, but worth the extra effort to keep amebae from eating your beautiful brain.

    NPR did a story about it in 2011.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/19/143960631/second-neti-pot-death-from-amoeba-prompts-tap-water-warning

    XOXO

  • Tricia T

    The layers of your Talk and chosen reference material -astounding. Love the description of the Pete Seeger photo on his wiki: “Pete Seeger entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt (center), honored guest at a racially integrated Valentine’s Day party marking the opening of a Canteen of the United Federal Labor, CIO, in then-segregated Washington, D.C. Photographed by Joseph Horne for the Office of War Information, 1944.”
    Pete Seeger, a man who makes amazing music, made an art of asking and is saving our rivers! Nicely done!

  • http://twitter.com/NancyFuknPants Pants

    I fucking love you. Thank you so much, for EVERYTHING. I went to the cafe that day after drinking way too much wine and was positive Jackie and I would be the only ones there. Like you said, we figured what you were working on and wanted to leave you to it. You calling us over was a huge blessing and something I will remember for the rest of my life. The moment you started saying your TED talk out loud , I thought to myself ” This is it, this is a moment that you will carry to your grave ,so shut off everything around you and be in this moment” and I was, lost in your TED talk, with you and my girlfriend and the empty cafe. It was like meditation. Being able to focus on one thing, something I struggle with deeply thanks to my ADD. I remember it very clearly and always will (until im old as fuck) and keep it with me like a personal little self esteem prayer. Because YOU saw me, when so many did not.

  • Sue

    Wow. I am in tears. I am a 53-year-old mom, elementary music teacher, self-proclaimed believer in Jesus, and am in awe of the life that you have embraced with abandon. My (currently) 19 year old daughter loved/s the Dresden Dolls, so I was familiar with your music before this talk. i enjoyed it but considered it, hers. Now, I have this talk bookmarked to watch, over and over and over again. Thanks for being. There are reasons that you resonate deeply – may you continue to find them.

  • Christine Wagenheim

    You’re talk made me cry. This blog made me cry. I am feeling so many feels, and it’s ALL. YOUR. FAULT. You are an inspiration. Please, keep doing what you do, and I will try to get my broke self together enough to toss you a few bucks every time you make another album that will probably have at least one song on it that, you guessed it, makes me cry.

    I think what I’m trying to say is, Thank You for being You

  • http://twitter.com/TheCheekyGinger Evelyn Stice

    The speech was beautiful. You are beautiful. I get it, IT, in a way I didn’t really before. I mean, I sort of got it *up here* , but I didn’t get it *here* . And now I do.

  • a_dad66

    I’m (still) watching the TED talk. I just wanted to share that as you talked about the Honduran family, and how the mother said your music meant so much to their daughter, tears came, unbidden, to my eyes. Most of us would be lucky to have a single instance of making somebody’s life better, happier, more hopeful. You are blessed in that you bring that to many, many people, time and time again. Thank you.

  • Graham

    I read the whole thing, and after reading all that, the only thing stuck in my mind is your piano teacher. Is she jealous? Out for petty revenge? Saying something she knows, purposely, is hurtful?

    I was told the exact same thing, that I was manipulative, by someone once. It fucking hurt. It still hurts.

    For making art? For having the gravitas to do it? In public, where everyone can see you, judge you, make fun of you, and then when you start getting success, you are resented? Judged again? Made fun of, again?

    I cared about the person who told me I was manipulative. All of a sudden, there was nothing I could do that was honest or truthful. I was branded. Manipulative. No matter how many people told me how much my work meant to them, it still hurts, even now.

    But the chorus of cheers is louder than the chorus of boos.

    And even if nobody is cheering, we’ll still do what we do because we want to.

    Even your TED talk is performance art.

    Thank you for your tenacity and bravery, audacity. That realness is what keeps us coming back.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.paes.7 Stéphanie Paes

      “Even your TED talk is performance art.” *thumb up* :)

    • David

      To me, art happens when something (a painting, a song, a story, a performance, whatever) reaches inside someone and touches them emotionally. So, in a sense, art is all about ‘manipulation’ – working to make others *feel* something. And the meticulous care and thought that went into Amanda’s talk is really all about how *much* she wanted the audience to feel.

      But the critical thing is the intention behind the ‘manipulation’. Which I think is kind of the point of Amanda’s talk. YES, you’re ‘manipulating’ people’s feelings. But if you’re doing it sincerely, honestly and with the participation and consent of the ‘manipulated’…how can there be anything wrong with it?

      I guess ‘manipulative’ is an easy derogatory label to apply to any successful (in the sense that they DO affect people) artist. Because there is an element of truth to it. It may reflect envy on the part of those who don’t have the ability to ‘manipulate’ others.

  • Debb

    (((((Big Love)))))

  • Jennifer Kessler

    I am so impressed with your talk. Those of us that spend our lives making art are often overlooked and often made to feel as if we are doing the wrong thing when we ask for funding. Here it is, where I “just ask”… This is for Amanda, but even more-so for her fans that agree with her philosophies and just love art in general. Please visit our crowdfunding site and help some artists work and make a great film.

    http://www.indiegogo.com/sleepmovie

  • Dan McGaffin

    Howdy Amanda. My wife Suzanne pointed out your TEDtalks episode which I just finished watching. I’m not familiar with your music, but I absolutely LOVE your attitude.

  • New York I love you.

    Oh Amanda you are such a buzz right now. My uncle shared this article with me and I hope you’ve read it. The art of connecting. It’s a true appreciation and understanding of your mission.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/michelecatalano/2013/03/07/amanda-palmer-and-the-art-of-connecting/

    People are being so critical of your idea but It worked. I am so proud of you and happy for you. Successfully evolving in the industry. I am one of the many that you have connected with on a personal level. So many people are receiving your message right now whether it be good or bad. The idea is being spread and you have made a difference. Keep it up and Keep em talking. XO

  • lancelot

    OMG Amanda so many people love you and do so much for you and so many of them are FAMOUS and OMG Amanda you are so amazing seriously everyone you know is so AWESOME I wish I was you OMG

  • Rose

    Well, now I’m crying. Thank you so much Amanda Palmer, for making beautiful art and making me proud to be your fan. :)

  • Dawn Shaw, Facing Up to It

    I hope I have the honor of doing a TED talk someday. I have a ways to go before I can be considered worthy. If I do, I hope it is as well thought out, as well executed and as interesting as yours.

  • Siobhan

    Amanda, I supported your Kickstarter and loved your TED talk. You’re awesome. Your music has helped me through some tough times. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    On another note… I just found out about your teacher kerfuffle. To put it simply, that sucks. By some weird stream of events, I have found myself teaching at a university. I hope to inspire and to nurture, but the most I can do is be real with them. Teaching leaves you very exposed, and you really can’t help but be the person you are. I hope my students remember me as their kind of weird teacher who taught them maybe one thing that they’ll remember, but I’ll probably just fade into obscurity. I think I’d still prefer that over completely shutting someone down. I couldn’t imagine crushing a person’s spirit like that. It should be building people up instead of breaking them down, but like so many other things in this world, that’s not how everyone operates.

    Anyway, if you ever return to my part of the country… I know the last time you were here you thought the casinos were gaudy and dirty (fair point), but I’d gladly let you and your crew crash at my house.

  • heskeels

    Dear Amanda,
    You make me so proud.

  • Tatty Devine

    We loved meeting you in New York, Amanda! What an inspiring blog too. Thank you for namechecking us – it’s a huge honour x

  • Jim Osterman

    You mention several times how you have been hurt by the comments or actions (reactions?) to your worklifemusicartetc. It’s taken me a long time to figure out when someone puts a bullet in my behind to channel my hurt into a prayer to the Universe for that person. Anyone who sets out to hurt another must be in terrible pain. And when I can wish healing for my attacker I don’t hurt any more. I don’t want you to hurt. You’re an angel of creative energy.

  • http://twitter.com/ErinWeed Erin Weed

    First heard about you from my friend David Meerman Scott awhile back. Then saw your TED talk. Then read this post. Then donated to support your art. And now, I’m going on iTunes to actually listen to your music. I’ll probably buy it. Thanks for being real, for being you, for being vulnerable – even when it’s hard. That’s when it matters most.

  • http://twitter.com/storytellerkp Kristin Pedemonti

    Your thank yous are as Inspiring & heartfelt as Your TED Talk was Beautiful. I kept yelling out, OMG, YES, She Understands! HUGS to you! Couch surfing Rocks! after being Super involved in CS in NYC, I’ve surfed all over the world. Truly resonated with your Talk. as a FEE HUGGER/Storyteller/Lover of building bridges between; I seek constantly to connect. I sold my home & stuff in 2005 to create/facilitate a volunteer lit project in Belize. Changed my life in ways I Never expected. Give from the heart receive. Sending you tons of HUGS and deep appreciation for sharing your msg with us. I’m heading to Warsaw to do a TEDx, NO STRANGERS is the title; a bit of it mirrors your talk. Thank you for encouragement to keep living from the Heart! <3 Kristin

    • http://twitter.com/storytellerkp Kristin Pedemonti

      argh, not FEE HUGGEr…. FREE, FREE HUGGER (the R is bRoken on my friend’s computer….)

  • http://twitter.com/dollyrott Dolly

    I travel around and busk and know a lot of people that travel around and busk as well. I think your ted talk was fucking great. Your doing something beautiful, Amanda. Much love to you.

  • Matt James

    my friend and i watched your ted talk together… we recently crowdfunded a zine for sexual assault survivors… (www.wewillnotgoquietly.wordpress.com if you want to check it out or http://www.notgoquietly.tumblr.com) and we were thinking, we could have very easily put the zine out without help or funding from people . but we chose to crowdfund it, we asked and people responded and in doing so were able to reach so many more people. we were looking at having to charge a price for the zine to recoup our printing costs, but now we are able to give it away for free, with the option of people donating if they wish… in the almost month since it’s been launched we’ve received so many comments that it’s been life changing and reflecting on this experience, your talk resonated with both of us… we are extremely proud to be standing on the sidewalk with you and have learned the art of asking! despite the gawker article and requisite criticism, this works. we know it works, and we know the connection is extremely powerful and long lasting. you have my absolute undying support Amanda. (ps. isn’t shane koyzcan just a dream? poetic career highlight meeting and touring with him)

  • Matt James

    my friend and i watched your ted talk together… we recently crowdfunded a zine for sexual assault survivors… (www.wewillnotgoquietly.wordpress.com if you want to check it out or http://www.notgoquietly.tumblr.com) and we were thinking, we could have very easily put the zine out without help or funding from people . but we chose to crowdfund it, we asked and people responded and in doing so were able to reach so many more people. we were looking at having to charge a price for the zine to recoup our printing costs, but now we are able to give it away for free, with the option of people donating if they wish… in the almost month since it’s been launched we’ve received so many comments that it’s been life changing and reflecting on this experience, your talk resonated with both of us… we are extremely proud to be standing on the sidewalk with you and have learned the art of asking! despite the gawker article and requisite criticism, this works. we know it works, and we know the connection is extremely powerful and long lasting. you have my absolute undying support Amanda. (ps. isn’t shane koyzcan just a dream? poetic career highlight meeting and touring with him)

  • http://www.facebook.com/sylverdrag Sylvain Galibert

    Just “discovered” you through your TED talk and was completely overwhelmed by your ability to communicate and your kindness. You are one amazing being.

    Thank you so very much for being you and saying what you said.

    With love,

    A new fan

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelly.adlington.33 Kelly Adlington

    Damn, Amanda. So great of you take the time to write this gigantic thank you blog! It paid off to be a damn good TED talk. Showed it to a bunch of my friends and they all loved it. YOU ARE SO BRAVE. You help to make me brave. Thanks. <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelly.adlington.33 Kelly Adlington

    Damn, Amanda. So great of you take the time to write this gigantic thank you blog! It paid off to be a damn good TED talk. Showed it to a bunch of my friends and they all loved it. YOU ARE SO BRAVE. You help to make me brave. Thanks. <3

  • http://twitter.com/SarahBastien1 Sarah Bastien

    This blog post, and the descriptions of the people within it, make me want so badly to meet people and go places and do cool things. I haven’t watched the TED talk yet, but this post alone is already inspiring me. I love the way it illustrates how collaborative artistry can be, how we all help each other– not just the lovely creative minds and good friends who listened to the talk-in-progress and influenced its content, but also the everyday things people provide: fan-made food, a couch to sleep on, a dollar or two for a song. Creativity doesn’t have to be isolating. Even if artists don’t specifically solicit collaboration on their creative output, it’s the little contributions that pull it all together. Thanks for helping us realize that!

    Also, your description of a writer’s mind- “concurrently present and very, very far away”- is the best I’ve ever heard. And it explains me as a writer so, so well. <3

  • http://twitter.com/SarahBastien1 Sarah Bastien

    This blog post, and the descriptions of the people within it, make me want so badly to meet people and go places and do cool things. I haven’t watched the TED talk yet, but this post alone is already inspiring me. I love the way it illustrates how collaborative artistry can be, how we all help each other– not just the lovely creative minds and good friends who listened to the talk-in-progress and influenced its content, but also the everyday things people provide: fan-made food, a couch to sleep on, a dollar or two for a song. Creativity doesn’t have to be isolating. Even if artists don’t specifically solicit collaboration on their creative output, it’s the little contributions that pull it all together. Thanks for helping us realize that!

    Also, your description of a writer’s mind- “concurrently present and very, very far away”- is the best I’ve ever heard. And it explains me as a writer so, so well. <3

  • http://twitter.com/SarahBastien1 Sarah Bastien

    This blog post, and the descriptions of the people within it, make me want so badly to meet people and go places and do cool things. I haven’t watched the TED talk yet, but this post alone is already inspiring me. I love the way it illustrates how collaborative artistry can be, how we all help each other– not just the lovely creative minds and good friends who listened to the talk-in-progress and influenced its content, but also the everyday things people provide: fan-made food, a couch to sleep on, a dollar or two for a song. Creativity doesn’t have to be isolating. Even if artists don’t specifically solicit collaboration on their creative output, it’s the little contributions that pull it all together. Thanks for helping us realize that!

    Also, your description of a writer’s mind- “concurrently present and very, very far away”- is the best I’ve ever heard. And it explains me as a writer so, so well. <3

  • Cheryl Peddie

    Hi Amanda. Wanted to share my support for your amazing Ted talk here. It was kind of surreal timing for me to hear your message of trust today. Trust is a lesson that came up in a huge way for me yesterday. So thank you. Ps I’m also an artist -visual, I paint in oil – tho my work is nowhere near as cool as yours! :) thank you again for sharing what you’ve learned about trust. Hugs! Cheryl Peddie.

  • Rurouni

    Hi Amanda, I’ve watched your talk, Ijust want to say you’re amazing. I think your music is not for me, at least right now, but no doubt you’re an awesome person and a REAL artist. Thank you, love and respect.

  • Pinfinity

    I dont know why we are even putting this thought out in the blogosphere but we wanted you to know (if you do ever read this) your Art of Asking has reinvigorated our efforts. My friend and I started a Digital Publishing company to create free medical education on iTunes available to all of the world. We aren’t sure why we did it except for the fact that we believed people will elevate themselves when they have better access to free medical information. Starting something from nothing with nothing has had more downs than ups but you have reminded us to stay in it because we believe we offer improvement and efficiency and our efforts will be rewarded at minimum with respect and smiles. You efforts are commendable and you are an interesting person. Thanks you.

    Jeffrey L. Eakin M.D.
    Pinfinity Publishing

  • Pinfinity

    I dont know why we are even putting this thought out in the blogosphere but we wanted you to know (if you do ever read this) your Art of Asking has reinvigorated our efforts. My friend and I started a Digital Publishing company to create free medical education on iTunes available to all of the world. We aren’t sure why we did it except for the fact that we believed people will elevate themselves when they have better access to free medical information. Starting something from nothing with nothing has had more downs than ups but you have reminded us to stay in it because we believe we offer improvement and efficiency and our efforts will be rewarded at minimum with respect and smiles. You efforts are commendable and you are an interesting person. Thanks you.

    Jeffrey L. Eakin M.D.
    Pinfinity Publishing

  • Pinfinity

    I dont know why we are even putting this thought out in the blogosphere but we wanted you to know (if you do ever read this) your Art of Asking has reinvigorated our efforts. My friend and I started a Digital Publishing company to create free medical education on iTunes available to all of the world. We aren’t sure why we did it except for the fact that we believed people will elevate themselves when they have better access to free medical information. Starting something from nothing with nothing has had more downs than ups but you have reminded us to stay in it because we believe we offer improvement and efficiency and our efforts will be rewarded at minimum with respect and smiles. You efforts are commendable and you are an interesting person. Thanks you.

    Jeffrey L. Eakin M.D.
    Pinfinity Publishing

  • Pinfinity

    I dont know why we are even putting this thought out in the blogosphere but we wanted you to know (if you do ever read this) your Art of Asking has reinvigorated our efforts. My friend and I started a Digital Publishing company to create free medical education on iTunes available to all of the world. We aren’t sure why we did it except for the fact that we believed people will elevate themselves when they have better access to free medical information. Starting something from nothing with nothing has had more downs than ups but you have reminded us to stay in it because we believe we offer improvement and efficiency and our efforts will be rewarded at minimum with respect and smiles. You efforts are commendable and you are an interesting person. Thanks you.

    Jeffrey L. Eakin M.D.
    Pinfinity Publishing

  • Pinfinity

    I dont know why we are even putting this thought out in the blogosphere but we wanted you to know (if you do ever read this) your Art of Asking has reinvigorated our efforts. My friend and I started a Digital Publishing company to create free medical education on iTunes available to all of the world. We aren’t sure why we did it except for the fact that we believed people will elevate themselves when they have better access to free medical information. Starting something from nothing with nothing has had more downs than ups but you have reminded us to stay in it because we believe we offer improvement and efficiency and our efforts will be rewarded at minimum with respect and smiles. You efforts are commendable and you are an interesting person. Thanks you.

    Jeffrey L. Eakin M.D.
    Pinfinity Publishing

  • Pinfinity

    I dont know why we are even putting this thought out in the blogosphere but we wanted you to know (if you do ever read this) your Art of Asking has reinvigorated our efforts. My friend and I started a Digital Publishing company to create free medical education on iTunes available to all of the world. We aren’t sure why we did it except for the fact that we believed people will elevate themselves when they have better access to free medical information. Starting something from nothing with nothing has had more downs than ups but you have reminded us to stay in it because we believe we offer improvement and efficiency and our efforts will be rewarded at minimum with respect and smiles. You efforts are commendable and you are an interesting person. Thanks you.

    Jeffrey L. Eakin M.D.
    Pinfinity Publishing

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.paes.7 Stéphanie Paes

    Hey, I missed this blog! =O

    I got to the link of your TED talk via a great fan of yours that thanks to your community is now a friend of mine. Your performance was so intense and moving! And got me a lot to think about (maybe someday, when I finally get to organize my thoughts, I share ‘em here). And I saw the discussion it started on the TED website. So many contributions! It’s going on just nice!

    And I was talking to Samuel (the friend I mentioned) the other day. So far, the only way I could help you financialy was buyng a “Theatre is evil” copy (the only album of yours that’s produced here in Brazil and is sold at a price I can affortd), but I really hope someday I can help you more. because I trully appreciate your work and want you to be able to keep on doing it. :)

    (Maybe someday I get a really good job that allows me to keep an international credit card so I can buy your stuff directly from your site. Right now I owe no credit card aT all… lol).

  • Christian

    I just saw the talk for the 3rd (or 4th) time, it’s still beautiful and inspiring. … And are you aware that you currently have about 7 times the views of Bono? :-)

  • Christian

    I just saw the talk for the 3rd (or 4th) time, it’s still beautiful and inspiring. … And are you aware that you currently have about 7 times the views of Bono? :-)

  • Stefano Bonagura

    Hi Amanda, I really love what you’re doing! It’s inspiring. Hope to see you live in Milan in November.

  • Gareth Lazelle

    Really interesting talk,

    An aspect you seemed to have missed (I assume deliberately, as the talk seemed more aimed at the music industry) is that the trust has to work both ways,

    Sure, you do have to trust us, and I totally respect that, but we also have to be able to trust you to not take the piss and not take advantage of us,

    And whilst you have built up that reputation (not an easy task given that a many performers have public persona very different to their normal selves, and so the public can be quite distrusting), but also the music industry in general hasn’t exactly been acting in a very trustworthy way of late,

    Put simply, there aren’t many bands or musicians that I would go out on a limb for because they haven’t earned that trust and so I doubt their need for my support (and whilst I gladly give it, I have limited resources and would rather put it where it does the most good),

    I guess my point is that it’s a really positive future, but that there is a lot of work involved in getting there,

  • Erin

    I stumbled upon the TED talk by accident. I had never heard of you before and I don’t know why I hit “play,” but there you were with an image of a bride on a crate and my heart just stopped.

    I began college in 1998 for Art Therapy. In my first year I completed an art foundation course over viewing the various types of art. One of the professors gave the assignment, “What is art?” I don’t remember what I did to answer the question, but I failed. I think the whole class failed the assignment, in part because the teacher was an ass, but also to prove the point that art is subjective. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Blah, blah, blah. That year, I studied a lot of offensive crap that was called “art.” The question lingered. What is art?

    I am shy and a little introverted. I am always the first to look away from lingering eye contact. I am the type who would be nervous to walk up to a strange woman painted in white, but my curiosity got the best of me. It was 1999 and I was visiting a friend attending a summer program in Harvard. Walking the streets of Cambridge, I saw you. You moved so slowly and handed me a daisy, piercing my eyes with yours–I couldn’t look away. You looked at me, a stranger passing by, full in the face with a vulnerable openness. We shared a brief moment of intimacy. The moment was haunting and the feeling hung over me for a long time…Like being bathed in art. It was terribly, painfully, beautiful. Thank you for answering the question: Art is a moment of intimacy; regardless if is created by a painting, a song, a sculpture, or a street performer. Art draws the soul of a person to the surface for a breath, before it returns to the deep eternal a little changed.

    I’ve often wondered whatever happened to the beautiful soul in a bride’s dress. I am profoundly blessed to know that you are still making art and moving people. Thank you for the experience.

  • http://www.courtyardoceanfront.com/virginia-beach-courtyard-meetings/ Event Hotels in South Virginia

    nice article……….

  • Nathalie P

    Your TED has been one of the most emotive I ever heard, it even make me cry. I love it. It was very inspiring. Thx ever so much

  • Allison Davis

    I love this women she is very in spirational she thinks many thoughts that are goof not negative

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