mermaids, guns & steel

hello dear friends.

first some quick news, then the dumping of my soul.

it came together fast as a slippery lady fish….i’m going to be appearing at a benefit to SAVE THE MERMAID PARADE of coney island.
may 25, bowery ballroom, NYC.
hurricane sandy was an absolute bitch and has threatened to shut the parade down. i have so many burlesque/performer friends who have taken part in this community tradition for so long, i felt called.
there’s going to be A LOT of special guests and i have the feeling this night will be an unparalleled THROWDOWN. come DRESSED in appropriate mermaid or merman (or just plain fucking nautical?) attire.
i’ll try to learn a special song or two :)

if you’re not in NYC, you can go straight to the kickstarter:

they’re currently at $63,226 of $100,000 with 1,408 backers, and some of the reward packages are AWESOME. i got the nipple-pasties.

tickets for the benefit are 18+, $25, and available HERE.

how could you not want these people to exist?


i spent the last few days in philly and new york doing weird shit and falling totally behind.

neil released a book of his University of the Arts commencement speech, it’s called “MAKE GOOD ART”
and i have to say, i was skeptical. how do you make a 25 minute speech into a book that’s not just…a speech?
you hire chip kidd, master designer, and he makes it all better.

the results are this amazing little book that’s deliberately designed like a designer’s worst fucking nightmare.
red on turquoise, pages offset wrong, the terrible works. it’s brilliant, and you can buy it at on AMAZON or POWELL’S or all sorts of other places… (watch the original speech HERE/listen to the NPR piece onnit HERE):

the night before he launched the book in philly, i did the philly house party, which was amazing – as usual.
here’s a pic kyle snapped (and my take on it as well):

so handsome.

ANYWAY…thank you to everyone who came to the house party, and to barb for letting us all use her house. magic.

i’m sensing a pattern with these house parties.
every one of them is balm for the soul.

this one had an interesting interloper….

jon ronson, a writer/novelist by trade, is writing an article about me for the guardian UK.
he’s the author of “the men who stare at goats”, “the psychopath test” and “lost at sea” (a collection he’s just put out).
but i was encountering him in his role as my guardian interviewer.

he said he didn’t just want an interview, he wanted to follow me around and see me be with people.

i asked him if he wanted to come to the party with me.

“you can’t be weird,” i said. “you can’t really come as an outsider. you have to actually come to the party and drink with us and possibly sing songs.”

he’s british.

but he said he was game.

by the end of the night, jon was reading his short stories off his phone to the living room, which was an assemblage of some of the warmest, wonderfullest people i’ve been with lately.

he fit right in.

here’s a picture of me with jon, and of me with every single person at the philly house party.

all photos by coriander under the mentorship of kyle cassidy (click ‘em to enlarge).

they’d just met. it was perfect.

bonus shots via kyle:

then i came back to boston, just in time to get to a cocktail party at the boston globe.
i wasn’t exactly sure why i was there, but i’d been invited and the boston globe is my hometown paper, so i thought, go…
maybe something interesting will happen.

something interesting happened.

i’d brought neil, and we stood there awkwardly holding our paper napkins and cheese and strawberries (which were excellent, by the way), and wondering what the hell we were doing there, when someone went up to a podium and started up a powerpoint highlighting and honoring the top 100 companies of boston. i hadn’t heard of any of them. i leaned over to neil and tried to apologize for dragging him to a giant lobby filled with people in suits, even though we’d gotten to talk to some nice people from the globe itself (including mark pothier…who is the deputy business editor of the globe and used to be in MINISTRY! MINISTRY!!!!).

so one by one, business people walked up to the mic and talked about boston unity, and how weird and hard shit has been around here lately, and how we all need to stay strong and help each other…

then there was a “and now the moment you’ve all been waiting for” speech and the top company of the year was announced.

it was smith & wesson, the gun manufacturer.

there was an intake of breath, a short pause, and then a smattering of polite applause.



p.s. i’m on TED RADIO HOUR today. if you’re an NPR-head want to listen to the podcast, head HERE (for iTunes) or HERE (for a direct link via NPR).

OH and p.s.s. there are still some tickets left for the brattle theater movies that neil and i are showing each other this weekend in cambridge.
let’s escape all the guns, bombs and drama AT THE CINEMA!!! tickets & info HERE.

Back to Blog
  • http://revsean.com/ revsparker

    Every now and then you make this small-town midwesterner wish they lived in the east coast megaplex. Every now and then you make me wish a lot of things. I do have to say though that the music they put under your TED talk was really distracting…

  • emilyrowan

    Oh, I am rather excited about Jon Ronson’s article now, in an understated British way of course. Any idea when we can expect it? I will keep my eyes glued to the graun for the foreseeable future, anyways.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      it’ll probably be out around the end of june. i’ll tweet it up.

      • interviewee

        I don’t think he was captivated. Throwing bloody tampons around doesn’t seem to charm him like it does your fans. (Poor Amanda; you still have Neil Gaiman.)

  • http://twitter.com/Marjorie73 Marjorie

    I love Jon Ronson’s work. And I’ve met him once on twice at readings – he’s always very friendly and willing to chat.

    He tweeted about your TED talk, and i told him he should go to one of your shows, and meet you. So glad he did, and I’m really looking forward to reading his take on the experience.

  • Joey O.

    Boston Unity…and Smith & Wesson…REALLY??? REALLY?!?!?!??!!?

    (Also hooray for Philly luv)

  • http://twitter.com/Albedo12 Alex

    Jon Ronson is a lovely unassuming fellow. You can listen to his radio programmes on all kinds of fascinating subjects for free on his website: http://www.jonronson.com/ronsonon.html

  • http://twitter.com/irongarlic Kirk Coughlin

    Its very easy to forget, but for longer than most of us have been alive Smith & Wesson has been providing the sidearms to the entire nations cops. Good cop, bad cop, federal, state, county, city… they may not all carry a Smith branded one now, but I’d rather they carried something when searching for and engaging in shootouts with bombing suspects… wouldn’t you?

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      it was more than that….it was the symbolic meaning behind the fact that everybody in this state is now buying firearms at record rates.

      i don’t see that as progress.

      cops having guns is one thing.

      everyone else feeling that they must be armed is another.

      • http://twitter.com/irongarlic Kirk Coughlin

        I’m not one to argue over symbolism, but there is one sure fire way to insure that firearms purchases are made at a much slower rate: Zero attempts at further federal legislation. And if you must, be sure the four or five congresspeople that folks who enjoy guns can’t stand are far, far away from the media spotlight.

        The state level is where its at if you wish to pass legislation that may resemble progress. Then again, that’s going to depend on the state.

      • http://twitter.com/WittyUnderling Witty Underling

        Having grown up in the hood, I distrust the cops wholeheartedly. It sucks, symbolically and realistically, that Smith & Wesson was “#1,” but I disagree with cops having guns being safer than citizens having guns. Cops shoot people (and their dogs) indiscriminately, waaay too often. http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/12/13_cleveland_police_officers_w.html


        One reason cops didn’t brutalize the tea party protesters the way they did the Occupy Wall Street protesters is because the tea party people (quite publically) had guns.

        I say, legalize drugs. That solves our gun crime problem. The thousands dying in our streets every year aren’t dead because of our gun laws, but because the drugs they’re selling are illegal. End the drug war completely, and the gangs and gun violence are nearly gone. Sunshine starves them out.

    • emilyrowan

      As uncomfortable as I always seem to feel when in the presence of armed police (it’s not very reassuring when you haven’t grown up with it), I find the links that gun manufactures have with pressure groups more problematic than who they provide with firearms. For example, Smith & Wesson donate to the NRA, which I suppose few gun owners have a problem with (and is indeed quite rational for them to do that), but it still worries me, given the political clout of them all together. It’s like saying, even though (or perhaps despite) so and so making bombs for the army (which in the arming cops logic is a good thing, because the army ‘needs’ bombs), they are also very influential in the Ministry of Defence, who decide how the bombs are used (which in my mind is bad). Apologies if this is a little rambling, but it’s late here.

      • http://twitter.com/irongarlic Kirk Coughlin

        I will readily admit emily, if they aren’t folks that I’ve fed back in my restaurant days, I’m also uneasy standing around cops until I am absolutely certain that they are sure I’m not there to do something stupid. Which, when they pull me over for doing something stupid doesn’t help matters. :)

        I have no problem if S&W donates to the NRA. I know some of my friends are members who like it, some who hate it (since the perceived sell out in 1992-3) and some of my non member friends who could care less. Not being a member, its no big deal to me… if they want what appear to be raving grandfathers from the 1850’s to represent them so be it. They’ll never see dime one from me. But they are effective. Their political clout was summed up by one Bill Cinton: “I believe Al lost Arkansas…and maybe Missouri, and Tennessee, and maybe New Hampshire…I don’t think the NRA got near as much credit as they deserve for Bush’s election.”

        The price we pay for living in a society that allows money freely in and out of politics. It happens, daily, on both sides of the isle. :(

  • http://twitter.com/codecore Scott Slack

    S&W is a great company,and introduced the very popular .40 caliber bullet.

  • damaia

    I’m sure Smith & Wesson had a great year. After Sandy Hook and the discussion about limitations on ownership of certain guns and clips, there was a panic in the gun-owning community and a run on firearms of any kind. I live in the Midwest and a person couldn’t find guns of any variety at any price for about six months around here. I understand it was the same way in the rest of the country. Same with ammunition. Of course, the ban talks came to nothing, and prices are starting to calm down. I suspect that the award must have been based at least partly on earnings for the fiscal year, is what I’m saying.

    Still, I’m sure the irony of the award isn’t lost on anybody. Good heavens, what a strange room for you and Neil to find yourselves in.

    • http://www.cognation.net/ deancollins

      love your music, also love guns……. though inviting you to a cocktail party full of suits sounds like cruel and unusual punishment for you….what were they thinking :)

      try and keep an open mind, not every gun owner wants to kill people/bambi (though it has to be said….bambi tastes great some times)….same as not every baseballer wants to beat people senseless with their bat.

  • http://twitter.com/GalInTheGreyHat CMPowers

    Smith and Wesson…seriously? That makes my heart hurt. :(

    In other news all the other things you’ve been up too are amazing…keep up the great work!!

  • http://twitter.com/collectdust christina

    i find myself listening to ani difranco’s “to the teeth” a lot these days… “they are gonna make a pretty penny and then they’ll all go to hell” (up until i looked up the lyric just now, i swore it was “and then we’ll all go to hell” which seems more fitting).

  • http://www.facebook.com/Hesseth Tiffany Jennings


    This should be one of the songs you do, Amanda!

    • pcoristi

      How have I missed this! I’m familiar with Great Big Sea (lived in Nfld for 12 years and return annually…like a minke whale) AND I’m a mermaid freak but I’ve never heard of this great little ditty!

      I’m going to suggest another one for Amanda. It’s a cover of a Robert Wyatt tune, Sea Song, by the amazing Unthanks. Not sure where the video comes from…but I like it. Kind of like Dracula’s wives under water.


      (Sorry if this ends up getting posted 2x…some weirdness going on when I added the screen cap)

  • http://www.authenticexperience.org/ nikkiana

    I might have cried a little when I saw that you’ve drawn attention to Save the Mermaid Parade. Coney Island USA is an organization near and dear to my heart, and their stage was where I made my burlesque debut… Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/sarahvulgaris Sarah-Louise

    I can’t believe you’re being written about by JON RONSON! One of my biggest idols being written about by one of my favourite journalists, this is like a dream come fucking true for me! I’m so excited to read it and so ridiculously jealous as that would be my idea of a perfect article, I doubt I’d ever get over it.

    Anyway, you seem to be a little happier. Love. x

    • anon

      I wiped my butt with the Giaman comicbook today. It felt wonderful. Truly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michele.worthington.7 Michele Worthington

    I don’t like your music, but I am sending $5 to pay for someone who does.

    • anon

      I don’t like plagurist liers and scammers. F you. F your ideas. And F your agenda.

      • Lucika


        Could you…make sense and/or explain what you’re talking about?

  • Stephie

    Way to be classy, Boston Globe.

    • anon

      Way to be classy Amanda. Back on the soapbox begging for spare change with you. Lier.

  • Jennifer Bisson

    Guns suck. Their only purpose is to kill.

  • Jennifer Bisson

    Guns suck. Their only purpose is to kill.

  • Jennifer Bisson

    Guns suck. Their only purpose is to kill.

  • Jennifer Bisson

    Guns suck. Their only purpose is to kill.

    • anon

      Editors suck. They work against everything you believe. F them.

      • anon

        Amanda Palmer is a plagiarist lier. Learn from your mistakes and get on with your lives as best you may. Stop blaming others for your own shortcomings. Peace out.

        • Lucika

          What ARE you talking about? Repeating “Amanda Palmer is a plagerist lier” endlessly and editing a picture doesn’t make it any more true. Provide examples or at least SOMETHING to back up what you’re saying?

          It’s just looking a bit crazed stalkerish at the moment.

  • go away

    HIJACKING THE MERMAID FESTIVAL!?! shame on you!!!!!!! seriously, GO AWAY. New York doesn’t want you!

    • GetaGrip

      Yeah, that’s right. Doing a benefit and generating large sums of money which she will then donate to the festival is deeply wrong. Supporting the festival so that it can continue to exist is “hijacking” it. And if you don’t like it you are welcome to fuck off.

    • keljen

      Not true.

      • anon

        World’s biggest lieing sack of shit. Plagiarist writer. Married to the same kind of plagiarist bullchit lier. You hire people to write your drivel, and take all credit for the work. What did you sheep expected? Christ himself? From the look of how some of you have behaved, it lends to the idea that you aren’t worth the effort in truly saving. You get the bullchit your truly deserve. It’s name is Palmer and Giaman. Screw the both of them. I hope they die.

    • former fan

      Agreed. Thought Amanda might have written one of her blog/essays explaining, but oh well. Worst hijacking was Occupy Wall St. Like Occupy Wall St was so cool so she must be too since she was there. Trivializing the whole thing for some publicity stunt.

    • Lucika

      Oh dear :( Some people apparently said the same with occupy. For some reason.

      Supporting != hijacking.

      Just because she’s pretty well known now, doesn’t mean she can’t support whatever movement or cause she wishes to…

      And you’re looking a bit sour grapesy if you’re saying “YOU can’t come to my party” – movements should really be about raising awareness, connecting people and working towards a common goal…can’t really do that by exclusion, defeats the object.

  • Val

    Speaking about guns, have you guys watched this http://youtu.be/DconsfGsXyA

    This is so scary ..I have a vision of a global civil war since I watched it

  • Cheap RS Gold

    Provide examples or at least SOMETHING to back up what you’re saying?

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