all the things i forgot on stage thursday, including “ask amanda” answers

hey lovers…most of you weren’t braving the bitter boston cold to see the show at cuisine en locale this past thursday, only like 400 of you were…
but if you WERE, you’ll have noticed that among the awesome spectacle of doing an almost all-request set and
singing the saddest version of “chandelier” known to man, i FORGOT to do two things:

i forgot to answer the “ask amanda” box that you all put questions in at the merch table
i forgot the announce the winner of the “name a sad winter cocktail for next week”.

i am a bad rock star, but we were having a lot of fun on stage, i forgive myself…dude…and i wasn’t even drunk. maybe i’m getting old.

anyway: this blog is my penance.

first, here’s a few awesome pictures of my opener, PWR BTTM, they were amazing:




and here was the set list:
– do you swear to tell the truth…
– the thing about things
– coin-operated boy
– in my mind
– leeds united
– delilah (w/ oliver from PWR BTTM)
– massachusetts ave (attempted and aborted! next week, we promise…)
– mrs o (w/ oliver)
– spontaneous birthday rock song for cassie (by ben mostly, with PWR BTTM)
– me and the minibar
– chandelier (sia cover)
– thirteen (big star: via elliott smith cover i sat out, JJ and PWR BTTM sang it)
– the killing type (with PWR BTTM)

i will answer some of the ask amanda questions here in bloggy form, but let’s start with the cocktails, shall we?

as you may know, i named three cocktails at the bar:

THE FUCK THIS ENTIRE WINTER (Slow and Low Rock and Rye, Absinthe, Fig Orange Bitters and Orange Peel)

THE FUTILE HOPE FOR SPRING (*PICTURED BELOW*) (London Dry Gin, St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur and Sweet Vermouth)

THE CAPE COD IS ALSO DEPRESSING AND HOPELESS IN WINTER (Bog Monster Cranberry Gin, Honey Simple Syrup, Ginger Shrub and Lemon Juice)


and these were PWR BTTM’s – not so winter-themed, but fabulous nonetheless:

THE JESSE TYLER FERGUSON (Ginger Shrub – ginger, salt and cider vinegar- Suerte Tequila and Candied Ginger)

THE LUMBERSEXUAL (Damnation Alley Bourbon, Muddled Mint and Maple Simple Syrup)

THE MX PIGGY (Bacon Infused Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth and House Fig Bitters).

the contest was simply to name a new cocktail and include at least TWO ingredients…
and the winner would get given a free drink at the bar (and of course, have the honor of being next week’s drink…)

after going through a giant pile of possibilities…

…i’ve picked the winners:

grand prize:
(gin, limoncello, orange bitters)

runner up:
(jäger, vanilla vodka)

second runner up:
(vodka and more vodka)

honorable mentions:
(vodka, bitter bitter bitters)

(vodka, rum)

(saffron simple syrup, amaretto, drambuie)

(oak-aged bourbon, grenadine, single cube of dry ice)

(whatever is left on the barmat)

(no ingredients named)

(jäger, goldschläger, red bull)

if you were one of the winners or runners up, i trust you, and if you’re at the show this thursday, grab me and tell me, and i’ll get you a free drink and give you stupid big hug.
if you aren’t going to be at the show…just feel happy.

also: we’re going to release just a handful (about 50) extra tickets for this coming thursday’s show…
link will be sent first to the original ticket holders for both shows, then we’ll release to twitter if there are any left, keep an eye out (or have a friend who tweets watch out for you). here’s me: @amandapalmer

as for “ask amanda”…


here were my favorites:

1. as pictured above: “what is niel’s (sic) favorite position?

fuck. if you’d just spelled his name right, i totally would have told you all about our sex life, including every position we’ve ever tried, plus our favorites.
but too bad for you.

2. “i am 8 3/4 months pregnant. what should i name my baby?

really? well…that’s an honor. if you’re reading this: i vote max, for either gender. it’s a bad-ass name.

3. “what is usually the last thing you do before going to sleep, and first thing after waking up?

it depends if i’m alone or with company.
if i’m with company before bed, it’s usually talk, and occasionally, have sex.
and waking, it’s usually the same.

if i’m alone, and being bad, before i’ll work on my phone until sleeping…fiddling with email and twitter.
if i’m being better, i’ll read. lately i’ve been reading “whip smart“, by my old ice-cream shop co-worker melissa febos, who went of to NYC to become a pro domme. it’s super entertaining.
if i’m being really good, i’ll meditate and drift off to sleep thinking about nothing.
if i can’t get to sleep, i whack off. nature’s sedative.

when i wake up alone, i usually get out of bed straight away and, again, if i’m being good, i meditate for 10-30 minutes before i do any phone or computer checking. if my life’s a mess, i know, because i go for the phone first.
for this reason, i try to keep my phone away from the place i am sleeping.

and 3a. (from a totally different person)
“how do you feel about people who sleep with their socks on”.

i feel fine about them, i’m one of them. it’s fucking freezing in boston.


4. “can you ever make it as an artist in boston…and STAY?

wow, what a painful question.

well, it is true. artists leave boston. i have, mostly.

it’s not the most artist-friendly city, but some people do manage…there’s a balance/eco-system between audience and artist that’s fascinating to me.

boston, i’ve found, is mostly an artist-unfriendly city not because the people here don’t love art in theory, but because it’s a city whose main enterprises are medicine, academics, academics, more academics, and other smart stuff. that means that the population of the city is very focused in their walled fields of study and work, or transient, which makes for venues and bars and cafes (there are some exceptions to be sure) that don’t seem to care very much about pleasing their clientele, because their clientele don’t care very much about them (because they’re leaving in a few years anyway, and one bar is as good as the next and will be patronized anyway). and when that scene isn’t great, the art scene diminishes.
that’s theory one.

there’s also the talent-drain to new york, where there’s just a shit-ton more work for artists of almost any stripe, and, i’ve found, there isn’t quite as much guilt or shame in being an artist, since it’s more common. that’s theory two.

theory three is that with boston’s puritan roots, and general attitude towards the art (heavy on the classics and the acceptable and not so much on the late-breaking and the risk-taking), there isn’t a lot of breathing room and space to play and grow. boston is known for producing people thinking outside the box when it comes to math, science and nuclear physics, but it isn’t historically known for it’s crazed downtown art scene. that lack of history has made it harder for boston artists to not throw their hands up and go “new york is four hours away, fuck this”. i’ve seen it happen to so many friends.

HOWEVER, in the spirit of hope, it means that anybody who DOES stick around to brave the slightly more soul-sucking elements can burst forth like a large fish in a small pond. brian and i dealt with this in the early days of the dolls by rooting ourselves firmly in boston and driving to new york a lot. the boston press paid attention to us because we were so totally different than anything that was going on in the boston bar scene (in 2001, it was mostly plaid-clad indie bands, and we were running around in kimonos and facepaint, we stood out, indeed). the new york press probably would have taken scant notice of us (ho hum, “another flamboyantly odd band”), but in boston, people really appreciated us, our smart, sharp and intellectual lyrics, our weird, punny, academic humor (this is, after all, the town that birthed tom lehrer). so score for us.

and let’s not forget: it’s also a COLD city, and artists have to be really convinced to stay in an inhospitably cold city when they have the choice of where to live…that’s the nice thing about art, it’s portable.

i still have a real fondness for boston, especially my old haunts in harvard square, but i definitely find myself feeling that, as an artist, it isn’t the most hospitable place.
if i ever chose to stay here, i know, i could make it work. i’ve been living with one foot out of boston for five years now because of anthony’s cancer situation.
sometimes i wonder if it’s a chicken-egg issue and if i kept all these thoughts to myself and just waxed endlessly about how wonderful and supportive and amazing and nurturing and fertile the boston art scene was, i’d be likewise somehow cosmically embraced and everything would change and i’d see the city through new eyes. but that mostly hasn’t been my experience, and my boston friends share their ups and downs with me. so, i’ll be honest with you: it’s not that hard to make it as an artist in boston if you’re willing to build your career here while you travel elsewhere to carve your place in the world. and LOTS of people have done it. i think it’s about attitude, embracing, and finding the good in everything. and when you create something where there exists a vacuum, people love you for it. so if you’re a painter and there are no good galleries or everyone is slamming a door in your face, FUCK IT, call a friend, organize house parties (that’s what we did). if you’re a musician and all the crusty rock clubs won’t book you, FUCK IT and waltz into a cafe that has nothing to lose and tell them you’d like to curate an open mic night (and then book your band. we did). where there is no scene, create one. then you’ll be happy, at least for a while, and you can spring out of here any ol’ time you want, or stay and reap the benefits of what you’ve created.

and, if in true doubt, aerosmith managed. so there’s that.

the end.



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  • Ann Battershell

    Love reading your perspective on making it as an artist in Boston and coping with winter. Wish I could see you live but I live in Montana, no one comes here, unfortunately. Have you ever had an ASL interpreter at your shows? I’m deaf as well.

    • Amanda Palmer

      actually, yes, a few times. usually when provided by a venue or festival and occasionally because fans requested them. we just had two interpreters at the show in tampa and they were AMAZING. they’re so good i get distracted on stage, because ASL fascinates me, its like watching a dance.

      • revsparker

        Best part of the Milwaukee Pride show was watching you watch the interpreter and then play with her during “Coin-Operated Boy.”

  • ed

    thinking about being an artist in boston in winter and all i can think about is how much more unmotivated i would be and how emotionally difficult it is to charge out into the world with your art when you are READY TO GO but then have the “oh shit, no, wait, hold on a minute” moment where you pull on two pairs of leggins two sweaters a coat socks boots a hat and god damnit by the time you put a foot out the door you feel like the michelin man and you’re perspiring slightly. living in places with snowy winters man :(

    • Amanda Palmer

      i feel this pain.

  • kmwilliams

    Little thing I learned from this blog: Boston is about the same distance from New York as Manchester (England) is from London (England). (200 and some odd miles, about 4 hours by car.) Interesting new perspective. Thanks, AFP.

    • Gareth Skarka

      It’s a totally different thing, though — that’s not really considered that far in the US, but in the UK, that’s the other side of the country. As I’ve always told my UK friends, when talking about the difference in our relative perspectives: “In the UK, 100 miles is a long way… and in the US, 100 years is a long time.”

  • Megan Campbell

    Not an artist in Boston, but an artist in Northampton – which is definitely a better “art scene” than Boston in a way, but still…there is always a sense in New England of the “traditional” and “known”. So I think point 3 about the Puritanical roots even applies out here in a town that is known for being so open and original but often still falls short.

  • LawyerForFun

    Hi Amanda – great show on Thursday. You read all your blog comments, so I’ll leave one here, but in case you miss it, I’ll tell you again on Thursday. I’m the douche that interrupted your Vegas story. I’m sorry. I really really really thought you were done, it was not my intention. I felt genuinely horrible afterward. I hope I didn’t annoy you too much because of it. Looking forward to a future PWRBTTM/AFP collaboration.

  • Damian Masterson

    Inspired by the question about Neil’s favorite position, how do you balance your openness in most things versus the privacy of the people in your life? I’m an intensely private sort, while my wife is the opposite, so we’ve always had to have some negotiation on that point and I would be curious to have your input.

  • Gareth Skarka

    Definitely feel you on the Artist-in-Boston issue — I struggle with the same issue regarding my home town, New York. Right now, the city is getting more and more expensive — to the point where it’s really in danger of becoming a walled enclave of the 1%. I currently live in the Kansas City area, because I can afford to be a full-time independent creative here (writer/game-designer) — but I miss NYC so much, and there’s no way I could afford to do the same thing there.

  • Kelly Taylor

    The arts scene in Somerville, while only what, 3 T-stops away feels really different to me, and is maybe more arts-friendly than it was even 10 years ago. There are plenty of “locally-famous” artists, but you’re right, it still doesn’t seem the place for the avant-garde. (Now trying to imagine you or the Dolls playing, say, Atwoods. Ha! I even know the owners!) Did you know the S’ville Arts Council now has a bus? It’s decorated all awesome on the outside, but the inside needs work. So far I think all it’s been used for is taking Parts & Crafts to a couple housing projects, but it’s a start! Anyway, till next time we run into each other at PSB, stay warm. :) Oh! And to the person in Noho: yeah, totally, though I love the music scene there & miss the Happy Valley. :)

  • Mary Kimball

    I make most of my art in Los Angeles. I just moved away, but I think I’ll have one foot in that door for a long time. Besides the sweet, sweet warm weather, there is an abundance of art in LA that I like and appreciate a lot.

    Regardless of the city, I think it’s so important as an artist to either be a self starter or have someone on your team who is. Good things happen to those who make opportunity for themselves. Also, team up and collaborate.

  • Natalie Newman

    The whole “Can I make it as an artist in XY?” is such a valuable question. I am from Vienna, Austria. I have a love/hate relationship with the state of art here. Anybody can go out and make art. And be seen. The community is nice, ranging from hard earned galleries to people who have mom and dad pay for their third degree in expressive dance art. But surviving here? Getting noticed because you are good and not because you get drunk with everyone in the city every other day? Hmmm, not so. I, being a socially quite awkward, love social media. I have my clients everywhere around the world, BUT Austria. The States, Canada, Asia… and so there is the question “If they don´t love me here, what am I waiting for?”

    I don´t know if leaving will make anything better, Amanda. I have no clue. I know that the world is big and vast. There is nobody in this city who would say “Awesome!” if you told them you are an artist. You might as well be filth. I have only recently told people that I paint and I´ve been doing this nonstop since I was fucking 3 years old. But I do not give myself permission, because, yes, I know people have no idea what it means, especially if you tell them that you paint holistic healing spirit animals. “Oh, and you can make money with this?” (Not having seen any of the paintings btw…) and the moment I tell them that I mostly sell overseas, everyone´s eyebrows go up. (And then they wanna see the paintings…as if that make them more valuable….sigh…)

    I´d love to have people around who get me. A little inspiring artist community. Let´s buy a large house some place nice and live togehter and rock. Anyone?

    • GorillaGorilla

      If that is your art in the “vanillary garden” then I will say you are talented and have skill. I have always wished for that kind of talent. I Have a friend in Vienna that is also an artist, her skill is in painting /photography.I wish you the best of luck with your art. Always do what makes you happy not what others want.

      • Natalie Newman

        Awww!!! Thank you SO MUCH for the research!!! I really don´t know how much talent comes with it, when I´ve spent so many years with practicing. (I will be 30 this year.) I think all you really need is passion and dedication and a big chunk of crazy mindedness, since you have to put that passion first, way before everything else and people won´t get it. Or at least some won´t.

        Btw, what is your friend´s name? Does she have a homepage? I always love to meet new people!!!

        Thank you again for your kind words, they are well apprechiated!!!

        • GorillaGorilla

          Unfortunately my friends art page doesnt seem to be up anymore. You may call it practicing your art or you can always call it a progression or development of your style. I do agree that a odd combination of passion, dedication and crazy mindedness will benefit those that are artists. Art is always subjective, some wont get it and may never will. You just need to continue following what is inside of yourself. Your original post /Reply to Amanda about” can i make it as an artist” I think you are on the way to doing just that. You have illustrations in a book, you have some commisioned art pieces…yes I did more research :) Hopefully i will see more of what you are able to create.

  • Am7anda

    My partner is stuck in a deep depression, I feel like I am living bed song at times. I stop myself from giving up on us. Any advice on living in limbo? The relationship is worth the wait, 13 years.

  • Imp and Petal

    I enjoyed reading this.

    Also throwing out a request for someone to throw up a bootleg of that Sia cover because I fucking need it in my life. Immediately.

  • Jessi Zollero

    answered very well :)

  • Pearl Outland

    Re: Non-monogamy and heterocentrism. As someone who is in a not 100% monogamous marriage, and as someone who is not heterosexual, how do you cope with other people’s misguided perceptions/ opinions of your relationship? It is easy to simply say, “no one else’s opinions matter. Fuck close-minded/ bigoted people.” But in reality, an optimal world is one where you don’t have to compartmentalize your significant other from your other friends and family. I think *most* of us would like to be able to have coffee with a friend and vent about the same day to day issues everyone has in their relationships, w/o first having to get through remarks like “you don’t actually love the other person- you just want to be promiscuous.” or “is it because you’re bisexual?” etc. How do you manage?

    • Amanda Palmer

      funny enough, it’s not that hard. i 99% hang out with people who don’t judge me like that. that’s the key.

      • Cat Speranzini

        Those people are hard for me to find, personally. I’ve been
        polyamorous for about a year and everyone in my life seems to judge the decision. There are very few exceptions. You’re lucky you’ve found such wonderful people. Until I can find people like that, I might have to keep the details of my relationship quiet. Coming out as poly felt the same as coming out as bisexual: my mother told me I was being greedy both times. Being bisexual, polyamorous, and young has been a recipe for horrible assumptions. One man I went on a date with said he’d pay me to “indulge his fetish.” Because apparently in his head being poly means being a prostitute. Needless to say, I never spoke to him again. Still, those things tend to hurt. Many others I’ve dated think I’ll “come around” to monogamy. But for me, being polyamorous isn’t a choice so much as something I was born being (similar to how being gay/bisexual isn’t a choice). Any relationship that doesn’t fit into society’s perception of normal can be difficult to explain/difficult for others to understand. The support of friends probably makes a huge

  • Sebastian

    Delighted (though on reflection unsurprized) to know you’re a Tom Lehrer fan.

  • Vampdaddy

    I love Boston – would move back in a heartbeat (from the burbs) if I could. Has always saddened me, however, about the artists I admire leaving town. But I think you frame the issue perfectly, and I couldn’t agree more. Early in my life I was an actor, I couldn’t imagine continuing to pursue my work in the theatre staying in Boston, and neither could most of my actor friends who ended up departing for the usual NYC or LA haunts.

    That said – the artists we breed are a hearty bunch. Boston pride :)

  • Tiana Hanson

    I totally get the thing about being an artist in an inhospitable town. I’m an actress born, raised and trained in Fairbanks, Alaska. In the nearly ten years I’ve been an actress, I’ve gotten two paying gigs (and they both required me to drive to Anchorage, 365 miles away and six hours by car). BUT Fairbanks is a very artsy city. We have a ton of community theatres and the like, just nothing I can actually make a living doing.

    (Plus I have SAD, and the constant darkness in the winter drops me into deep depression.)

    I’m planning to head for San Francisco; I’ve visited several times and love the vibe of the city. I think it’ll be a great change for me, and allow me to actually do the work I was born to do. And hey! Maybe I’ll make it to one of your shows when I’m not off in Buttfuck, Alaska, and get you to sign my copy of your book.

    • Christie

      Yay San Francisco! It’s most often cloudy in SF but not dark :)

  • Mika Cooper

    I find your somewhat negative take on the Boston scene fascinating, Amanda, because I respectfully hold the contrary view—a fairly positive one, that is—& I hold it largely because I’m part of the very same general group of creative people that you’re part of! It’s possible that we’re thinking of the same glass of water & I’m seeing it as half full. I think in Boston there’s especially a very vibrant performance scene (I don’t know so much about the scenes here surrounding the visual & plastic arts).

    There are a number of circles of smart and imaginative people that loosely intersect, all of which have brought tremendous vitality and innovation to the performing arts in the city. The circle of people at the Cloud Club (& their friends & the friends of friends around it), of course, is as creative & interesting as circles come! Mali Sastri’s band Jaggery is super awesome, & the twenty-some variety nights called ORGs she put together in recent years, bringing together creative endeavors from all fields (& multiple locations around the world) were really mind-expanding (& I hope she starts producing them again). Associated circles include those around the neo-burlesque & neo-vaudeville scenes (Sugar Dish & the group of performers associated with The Slutcracker & the nearly weekly off-the-rails burlesque shows one can attend at Oberon or The Midway Cafe); Niki Luparelli & Lainey Schooltree’s Steamy Bohemians, who put on the crazy Jerkus Circus shows for many years); the film-making & insane theme-band projects of Michael J. Epstein & Sophia Cacciola; Aliza Shapiro’s now-defunct-but-still-incredibly-influential avant-drag Traniwreck shows, which spawned the Perestroika series by Katya Zamolodchikova (whom you’ve met [saw a pic on FB] & who will be competing on RuPaul’s drag race starting tomorrow!); the maniacal world of Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys (whose 2nd theatrical spectacular, Shockheaded Peter, is opening this week); and the collaborative theatrical works of Liars & Believers (one of whose shows last year was directed by Stephen Bogart & was built around a then-unpublished story of Neil’s). And that’s just the few people & surrounding artistic circles that come immediately to mind. Oberon, to which via The Onion Cellar you had a hand in giving its current shape & sensibility, has particularly become a kind of hub for innovative performance of all kinds.

    Having said that, I do think it’s hard to make money in the arts. And maybe it’s harder here than elsewhere. That’s probably what you’re focusing on. And I can’t judge that. But I do believe that in the realm of performance,—especially with new musical blends of traditional instruments (cello, viola, harp, etc) into the alternative rock (& cabaret!) idiom and with all the weirdness that’s going on around town with neo-burlesque—Boston’s creative scene is hard to beat!

    • Amanda Palmer

      WELL SAID. and yes – i was talking about making a living, mostly. but all these things are true.

  • abby

    Dear Amanda! I love reading you and today you replied to my tweets so i decided to talk to you for a bit i hope its not annoying but i feel like i owe it to you to tell you these things. like i suffered from depression, anxiety, self harm and eating disorders for years and it wasnt easy to realise that somethings that hurt at the time SHOULD hurt; injustice should hurt; and others had nothing to do with me but with stupid ideas that had been sold to me (and so many others) for so long. im an actress, same as my parents. I love art and i believe ones painful experiences heal when you put them to good use. You inspire me so much. You say what should be said and dont give a rats ass about what people “should” do bc we live in a fucked up society. You inspire me to be better and to share my soul with others. so A MILLION TIMES THANK YOU. i hope you wake up everyday with a smile on your face and when you dont that you know it will pass and you will learn. sorry for ranting.
    love from distant Argentina!

  • Karamackie

    As an art student in Boston, I really do hope that I can make it work. I am young, so there’s absolutely time for change, but I am very much in love with this city and I want to keep trying here. I’m going to stay positive and trudge through this snow with a smile.
    Your commentary makes a lot of sense, and I hope that I am able to succeed whether or not I do stay here.

  • Heather Heddleson

    I love how honest you are, you could very easily have told us about what you do only when you are doing good.
    . I too enjoy nature’s sedative. To piggy back off that question, how has married life changed/influenced your routines? Do you and Neil get to spend more time together than apart? I’m a military spouse and at times I truly enjoy my alone time to accomplish MY tasks and other times the time apart feels like agony and I feel manic. I often feel guilt for enjoying my time to myself as well as not being “strong enough” to be alone. Does that happen to you?

  • Cheryl Forman Caira

    Thanks for the name suggestion! And thanks for giving us a great, “goodbye world, we are heading into the terrifying unknowns of new parenthood,” last night out. We’ll all find out if we took your advice by next weekend!

  • Guest

    To person who submitted #1: i before e except after c.

  • AndreaMajeski

    To the person who submitted #1: i before e except after c is not always correct when using a proper noun.

  • Allie

    Song requests for this Thursday
    Bad Wine and Lemon Cake
    Do it With a Rockstar
    Dear Jenny
    Girl Anachronism

  • Araceli Strudel De Anda

    Everyone talks about “leaving” whatever place you are in but not that many people talk about the implications of such a thing. I’m a dancer/artist from Guadalajara Mexico. So yes, from a fucked up city in the third world. I’ve been (barely) making ends meet as an artist for the past 9 years of my life (which is impressive given the situation of the country and the lack of art scene, I’ve been making my own, like Amanda said). I’d love to leave but I CAN’T. I don’t have the money or the connections. I spent a couple of months in London scrubbing toilets for a living until my tourist visa expired. I didn’t want to live illegally there (or anywhere) anyway. So I came back. Sorry for the rant U_U I’m sleepy and frustrated because my latest project is crumbling in my hands as I type this.