2012.01.06 blog-alt

i hate amanda infinity net

some exciting news for you before the blog…

our friends at moshcam are webcasting the show TONIGHT in high-quality-multi-camera-glory…find out what time it starts for YOU (wherever in the world you are) HERE, RSVP on facebook HERE, tell your friends to watch with you, tune in at partyontheinternet.com and we shall see you all on the internetz…or, well, you’ll see us.

(be warned, the player might not work on mobile devices/tablets/etc so try and get to a computer ASAP)

onwards…
_________

thursday night in brisbane was the first night of the australian dresden dolls tour.
 
the night before
 
i went into one of those AHHH I’M FINALLY ALONE youtube/internet holes i often find myself rapidly jetting down when i have my nights back to myself, cuddle-free, post-neil. useful, isn’t it? 
 
all that wiki-ing MUST BE GOOD FOR ME SOMEHOW. maybe it is.
 
the internet can poison you. but then provide the cure. watch.
 
i stumbled upon something totally unexpected that wound up jerking me around – the way it tends to. there was a thread i hadn’t noticed before on the band forum with a full 29 pages of discussion, so i clicked on it. i don’t post on (or read) the forum as much as i used to…i used to post daily. i still go there from time to time to share news or see how everybody’s getting on but twitter has become a much more immediate place to connect with folks, and the forum seems to have become its own self-sustaining community.
 
the thread was called “I hate Amanda”. as i read it i found myself being forced to examine, with fascination, along with a few dozen fans, the last 3 years of my life and career. all my choices and how they have and haven’t sat well with people. everything from my ukulele playing to going independent and constantly trying to raise capital via merchandising….all of it.
i forget that people have opinions sometimes. i think it’s a very good thing, that forgetting. the opinions are good, no doubt, even the negative ones…without them the fanbase would be an intolerable mass of sycophants, instead of a bunch of smart, funny people that i genuinely love most of the time. 
 
the girl who posted it was complaining about how she misses the old incarnation of amanda, how she hates the ukulele, how she’s lost her connection, how she doesn’t like my choices.
i watched myself, my projects, my business choices, my social skills….my life being academically discussed and batted around, defended by many, examined like a phenomenon. i’m always impressed, i have to admit, by the extreme intelligence and sheer civility of these fights on the board. there are multiple voices of reason who keep the debate relatively grown-up and on track, and people who simply whine end up looking like whiners, while everybody else engages in spirited batty-aroundy-dialogue. i’m always very proud of the people who write there. they’re smart. 
 
it was important to me that this girl wasn’t a troll from out of nowhere, posting that i was an evil scientologist gorgon (those people do exists, and they’re very, very easy to ignore), she was a long-time fan who just isn’t into me anymore. there’s been a lot of these people. i’ve changed. my music used to be angst and piano-driven, and i’ve spent the better part of a few years traipsing around writing three-chord songs on the ukulele.
 
but that’s what i’ve wanted to do. 
 
if you’re famous: i advise you to never read these fucking discussions. in the words of my best friend and mentor: don’t be like me. i’d (ironically) JUST been having the dont-read-the-critics-discussion with neil. for certain kinds of information, it can be wonderful and connecting, but it’s far too easy to fall down the bottomless pit of your own mirrored ego. anyway….i didn’t read all 29 pages, just skimmed. but it was enough to irk me.
 
it’s funny: sometimes i forget that people are judging me. most of the time i’m so fucking high on my own ideas and impulses that i forget someone might disagree with a single one of them.
 
this is, i think, the only way to ever move forward.
 
this is, i think, the only way to make art. 
 
not good art. not bad art….
 
ANY art.
 
i always feel lost as an artist. 
i actually have come, in a twisted way, to enjoy the lostness. sometimes, even, to enjoy the criticism. more and more i get that the criticism is a very real and important part of the story.
for every and any choice i make, there are a million i don’t make. 
 
do i make the choices to … make people happy? to make money? to stroke my own ego, or have it stroked by others? 
 
to fill some deep inner need to make art for no reason?
 
well….all of these, actually. in some impossible-to-measure combination. 
 
you have to work without critics in your head. otherwise you turn into a pleaser. 
which is boring to be. and boring to watch.
i know that, deeply. to the core.
 
it didn’t matter. 
i was irritated with myself for letting the hungry ghosts of other peoples egos penetrate my night.
i went to bed feeling soul-poisoned and grumpy and wishing i hadn’t read the argument.
tomorrow was the first night of our tour, and i was feeling knocked off center. 
 
i was in a terrible mood as i drifted off the sleep, and woke feeling icky and distorted.
 
…………….
 
the day before, zea barker send me a link the day before the brisbane show, about an installation in the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art.
 
the japanese artist yayoi kusama, known for her obsessive polka-dotted works, had set up a blank white room….
 

(these photos are by mark sherwood from the blog zea sent me)
 
 
…and let children loose in it, with stickers. 
 

 
….and it was opened to the public, who HAD AT IT. soon it was this:

 
 
 
…..the obliteration room.
 
i was entranced. i shared the link on twitter and immediately someone at the museum named dan tweeted me back, telling me they’d be happy if i stopped by.
i sent him a direct message: can i invite people and play ukulele? he replied: absolutely. 
 
and a ninja gig was born for 1 pm the next day. BAM.
 
sean (my secret blog-poster and internet-helper) wisely suggested that we ask everybody to wear solid colors if possible (hi-five sean) and i tried to rustle up something white. someone on twitter offered to bring some white thigh-highs.
 
it was the night before, and i’d just gone down the stupid i hate amanda late-night ego-hole, i lay in bed, reading up on yayoi. this is where the hole can take you beyond the ego-trench and into a land of beauty.
 
yayoi has been making art since the 60s and is considered a pioneer of performance art (lots of naked) and conceptual art.
she’s struggled with mental health issues from a young age, and her polka-dotted theme is pulled from the dots she would see when she had obsessive visions.
 
she calls the dots “infinity nets,” and says they are taken directly from her own hallucinations. she says:
“…a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity”. (from her wiki)
 
i read more and more. she loves naked. she’s influenced yoko.
 
and she lives, by choice, in a mental institution, and walks down the street to her studio.
 
she’s often quoted as saying:
 
“if it were not for art, i would have killed myself a long time ago”.
 
oh, yayoi.
 
art, and artists choices, are all subject to criticism. 
 
it’ll never go away…it’ll never end. we’re in an infinite hole of criticism.
 
but we must, as artists, we must never, ever listen.
 
you listen to the critics: you die.
 
dot on. dot on. dot on.
 
outside the museum….brian leading the ninja crowd in a game of RHUMBA SIMON SAYS:
 

(photo by erin smith)
 
me singing “amazing grace” with my friend gypsy on slide guitar…..


(this and the next few photos by dragonkatprincess)
 
brian and gypsy…


 
and a few more…
 

 
 
 
 
….then we piled into the gallery, and i let everybody HAVE AT ME with the fucking stickers….
 

(photo by charlyn cameron)

and played ukulele in the kitchen….


(photo by natasha harth)

and played the piano….


(photo by charlyn cameron)


(photo by @betsybookwork)
 

(photo by charly cauchi)
 
 

and jumped into the arms of my beloved….


(photo by megan andrews
 
 
 
and right around that moment….my bad mood was lifted.
 
and it was like
 
take THAT past self in bondage of critical academic discussion
 
I OBLITERATE YOU WITH PEOPLE WEARING TOGAS AND PROM DRESSES
 
yayoi
yayoi
 
if only an option like this was available on a daily basis…….
that room healed me.
 
i went to the show that night with a reminded heart, and the show was fucking fantastic.
 
 
(this, and the next few photos by erin smith)

and there was THIS….a secret surprise performance from captain kid of the boy-circus troupe BRIEFS!!!

this also improved my mood. sparkly cock ALWAYS does.
 

but: the final breaking of my bad mood came with a moment brought to me by our incredible opener, justin AKA the bedroom philosopher:

he’s known in australia for a song he wrote called “northcote”, a very fucking funny ditty that makes fun of hipster stereotypes in melbourne.
at the brisbane show, instead of the usual verses, he informed the crowd that he’d recently gone into a terrible 3 am youtube hole reading the comments on the “northcote” video.
he decided the only way to combat the evil was to incorporate the comments into the song.
so he sang “northcote” and replaced the standard verses with a recitation of long, stupid, un-intentially hilarious youtube comments read in a mlebourne hipster accent.
i don’t think i’ve ever loved anybody more. us and our internet holes. infinity death.
 
thank you grumpy fangirl.
thank you discussion board. 
thank you zea.
thank you dan.
thank you museum.
thank you people who came to the museum.
thank you brian.
thank you justin the bedroom philosopher.
thank you gypsy.
thank you dogs and children and people lying down.
thank you everyone who loves and does not love me.
 
thank you yayoi…..through staying alive you have made me more alive.
 
this is art. 
 
this is what we do for each other.
 
this is how it works.
 
do you see?
 
go into the bathroom
secretly crouch in the white bathtub or shower
get out the rainbow magic markers
you can DIY it in a pinch.
 
 
OBLITERATE
 
 
XXX 
afp
 
 
p.s. 
here’s a youtube clip of brian’s rhumba simon says line….if you want to see a bunch of people wildly running around in a park with confused onlookers….
http://youtu.be/UqDD9t2PD-s
 
also….if your’e in brisbane & want to see the room for yourself, get your ass to GOMA. it’s FREE: qag.qld.gov.au

Back to Blog
  • Alex

    thank you Amanda Palmer. 

  • Arinna

    This took my breath away & made me tear up with feeling. Is there any stronger place to stand in this world than in sincere authenticity? Mingus said; “Be yourself and play yourself.” Something I strive to do everyday – and something you do very beautifully. Thank you for sharing your experiences & for introducing my to Yayoi. I’m so glad she stayed alive too. 
    Much love & gratitude, Arinna

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eden-Anaimia/100000700695337 Eden Anaimia

    Oh Amanda.
    I love reading your blog, and this one made me think about many things, especially including my future career choice.

    Art Critic, Theorist and Historian.

    You seemed…conflicted? About critics. Saying they were necessary but not to listen. Now of course I’m not sure if you’re at all referring to the people who do it as their job?

    But I get it, I mean. We’re kind of hated. In art school I would be called to different critiques because I am good at it, no arrogance or modesty (either or), just truth. I’m bad at certain things but good at that. And most of the time I was resented. People would cry and blame me for calling them (not their art, but them personally which is never true) bad at something, or so on. A lot of people in the art world hate theory and criticism nowadays.

    And truly I mean, who wants to be criticized? It’s hard, really. We know why we do it, but artists generally just want us to go away and “let them do their thing.”

    And we want to “let you do your thing.” Because we generally like “your thing.”

    I think, in the end…that’s why we do it. We want artists to remain special and unique. We don’t want that kid somewhere who can draw a line or splatter paint calling himself an artist just because someone else did that. We want the art community to search and enjoy.

    I know you saw Midnight in Paris and enjoyed it. And that’s what the art community is missing now a lot of the time. Remember the Scene where Gertrude Stein is criticizing Picasso for the painting of his mistress? It was this amazing back and forth. This feeding and blending. Why he did it, what he feels it represents and what Stein sees.

    In the end, we just want to help. We want to point out when you’re bullshitting and embrace when you’re really shining. Show the world when you have an amazing idea and thought process and help you catch your own faults, then learn.

    I’ve ranted! But really, I don’t know how you feel about people who have a job to critique. It’s different in every business, definitely. I would never professionally critique you since my specialty is visual culture.

    But I suppose that’s my question. Do you embrace critics or push them away? Necessary or fault? In visual art, sound, and writing (which can be visual but for the sake of simplicity we’ll go with literary).

    :) And I know you may not respond because you’re busy! :P Which is fine. Just kind of putting this out into interspace.

    • lentower

      A lot of what Amanda does is visual art.
      Critique that?

      From what I’ve seen, Amanda values thoughtful criticism.

    • gedulous

      Eden,  I like what you’ve said here.  It illustrates the a clear distinction between a critique and a criticism.  A critique justifies a point of view, and should state its conclusions in academic, emotionless terms.  A criticism is all of the things that a critique is not – a personal, emotional response lacking foundation and is delivered without regard for its target.

      By all means, become a professional critic and delivery dispassionate critiques in an appropriate forum (which it sounds like you do).  It’s a living, right?  But more importantly if budding artists don’t have the benefit of technical perspectives, they may have to meander in the desert for a longer period before they find their own artistic mojo.

      My question for you, is whether there’s a second distinction that gets drawn when you choose WHERE to publish your findings?  Is a literate critique still a criticism when it’s published in one place versus another?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eden-Anaimia/100000700695337 Eden Anaimia

        I suppose I have to respond to everyone who responded to me here, which I was really surprised and delighted to see!

        First thing I want to address to everyone is that I can’t critique Amanda because she is first and foremost a performer (musician and so forth), and my critique is for visual culture which is to say specifically, Industrial Design, Painting, Drafting, Sculpture, Photography and so on. The purely visual.

        I feel like to critique Amanda myself would be off kilter because I have no basis, no foundational knowledge, of music. It’d be like a critique of only one half of her show/art and that’s really just…wrong!

        My main goal is and has always been to teach and be among art students and the budding artists. Beyond that, in the museums and the galleries. I don’t ever intend to show the laymen what they want to see or tell them where to go because in all honesty, the laymen wants what they want and will never really understand when I start bringing up theory and why something an artist has done is important.

        It is really, a huge problem in the world of visual art nowadays. Students/budding artists don’t want to hear that they’ve not yet reached that goal of “artist”, that they haven’t thought enough about what they’re doing to push themselves further.

        Which brings me to another point that was brought up, I will never ever try to change what an artist does. My goal as a critic has and always will be to have a two-way dialogue with an artist to help them understand why or why not their point of view is or is not getting across to the viewer. How they can plausibly push themselves to better visualize what they are thinking. It’s downright horrid to try and CHANGE an artist to your bias and make them change their work.

        That’s why critics are so necessary and different than say, a fan on a forum.

        Unbias, and lack of bias. Do I prefer one technical ability over another? Oh surely. But if an artist uses a technical ability I don’t like, or doesn’t appeal to me I’m never going to tell them to change it, especially if their point is getting across!

        Anyways, onto your question Gedulous.

        Critique is critique no matter where it’s posted. The difference here is who it’s posted by. I’ve always said when choosing a critic you need to pick someone who you know is unbiased and compassionate about what they do. Someone you liked working with, who has a large intellectual knowledge of what you’re interested in.

        Whether this person posts in a journal, newspaper or magazine hopefully their critique will remain a critique and not a criticism (obviously that depends on the context of their writings, but I’m hoping people don’t change too often).

        However, things are becoming blurred because of this thing we’re on now.

        The Internet has that effect on a lot of things. People can now post anything anywhere and call it a review or critique with no real foundation knowledge of how this profession is supposed to work. They don’t know how to be unbiased and therefore it becomes a criticism.

        All in all, you need to be careful of so-called critics. Even the professionals can get into the “I like this” or “I hate this” issue of subjection. Every critic has their niche, film, visual, musical, literary. Take them at that niche.

        So, if you choose to create a blog versus sending in to an art journal…no real difference. Just a different audience. The critic and critique should always remain the same, if not then you need to stop and look and say “Okay, what has changed here?”

        This has gone on too long! I hope I answered your question. It’s an interesting one and did give me pause to think about it. I’m sorry if someone said something that I didn’t see or respond to, I just don’t want to blast Amanda’s comments! I was very thrilled to see all the opinions and discussions though.

        • gedulous

          Thanks Eden.  Some interesting and clearly informed perspectives there.  I think we’re largely in violent agreement. Especially since much of what you’ve said holds perfectly true in a context when the critique has been solicited by the artist. 

          However, it’s my opinion (and therefore very much yours to acknowledge, applaud or ignore as you will) that when not requested, even a critique – a dispassionate score-card if you will – could be construed as an aggressive act when you post it within an artists home territory.  Their blog; the fan forums they host; their twitter feed; their FaceSpaceTubeCloud channel. 

          Even a compassionate critique in the wrong forum (and here I don’t just mean bulletin boards) is somewhat like a person from six blocks away from your house (not even a neighbour!) wandering into your garden unbidden and starting to paint the outside of your house to suit their idea of what it should look like.  Or walking into an elevator and farting loudly and stinkily.  Or walking into a group therapy session and shrilly accusing the therapist of malpractice.  It has no effect other than to shock and outrage onlookers, and the tone cannot help but come across as shrill and confrontational to those who have had it inflicted upon them without even being asked for a by-or-leave.

          I don’t say this as a student of the arts or of professional criticism, but as an internet early adopter, and as a mature adult who has seen a lot of human behaviour in his 41 years.  If you think you have something helpful to offer an artist, my advice is to write the criticism on your own blog or in the press and simply post a link to it on the artist’s forum explaining what the link leads to and inviting further engagement.  But I would advise against simply dumping an (even scholarly) opinion into a fan-engagement space directly.  In my opinion (fleeting and disposable as it is), violating an artist’s fan engagement spaces is simply poor form, lacks manners and disrespects the relationship the artist has with their fans.  If I should ever get to a point where I have fans of my own, I would have no problems with said fans tearing such a brazen critic a metaphorical “new one”; or to personally go down the path that Tim Minchin did with his song “Song for Phil Daoust”.

          As you’ve said, you would never do such a thing to Amanda since your credentials in the art-forms she engages in aren’t as complete as you’d like.  However, you’ve steered clear of stating whether it’s an entirely inappropriate act in its own right, and it’s possible to read your post as advocating the invasion of such spaces by sufficiently well-credentialled critics.  Is it reasonable for me to infer that our mileage varies on this detail?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eden-Anaimia/100000700695337 Eden Anaimia

            Not at all!

            Oh sheesh no. I honestly thought that was kind of a GIVEN. I’d never under any circumstances critique someone uninvited.

            It’s rude, plain and simple. The only time I think it’s appropriate are as I said places like art schools where it’s kind of inferred in the whole process.

            But no no no, I would never go out of my way to critique someone unless they placed somewhere “Critique requested/invited.”

            I agree completely with you. I would only ever critique when asked.

            I guess I never expected anyone to ever actually think of doing that? My brain just doesn’t work that way because it’s illogical and rude to critique someone when they don’t want to be. My only point was I wish people would invite two-way discussion more, because the actually trained critics simply want to help and engage and theorize.

            We’re kind of nerdy that way.

            But no! Haha. Again, no way. I will never ever critique someone uninvited unless they are in an inferred critique environment, like an art classroom or a museum/gallery that requests critiques of it’s exhibitions.

          • gedulous

            Then all is well in the world and I return you to your previously scheduled programming! :)

    • Lacedtight

      I think the idea is mostly not to read critiques of your OWN work. Other people will be interested in what the critics have to say and that’s fine, that’s how many people make choices as to what show to go and see, that sort of thing. It has a definite place in the world; there’s no reason to get rid of critics, because here they are enjoying your work (or not, I guess!) and telling other people about it, helping the public make a choice one way or the other as to whether they should buy this book or go to that gallery. And there are always going to be people who don’t like what you do, for whatever reason – that’s fine, if it’s not their thing, it’s not their thing. But if you’re an artist, doing YOUR thing, reading negative feedback from someone when it’s just not what they’re into doesn’t do anything for you at all.

      It’s different if you’re saying “hey, I need some constructive feedback”, or asking someone what they think of something. But critics often are looking to highlight what they liked and didn’t like, and why, rather than how to “improve” something – or how to improve it, but on *their* terms, not those of the artist who might have a totally different idea of what they want to say, and how. And you mention how you critiqued someone’s work, and they took it as a critique of themselves… often your work it yourself.

      As a writer, even asking for constructive feedback can be emotionally difficult, because you’re asking someone to go through your work – your heart and soul – with a metaphorical red pen and tell you what’s wrong with it. At this stage, where you’re refining an idea, refining a piece, that constructive criticism is really important. But once it’s done, as perfect as you can make it, and you’ve put it out there into the world, why would you want to read a critic’s viewpoint on it? Not everyone’s going to like everything you do – which, like I say, is fine. But change what you’re doing to suit some fans and you’ll just upset others; it’ll just frustrate you, and everyone else. Some people don’t like what Amanda’s doing now as much as her older stuff and some people find it incredibly inspiring. She can only please herself and hope some people come along for the ride… I think there’s an older blog entry where she talked about trying to please other people, and ending up unhappy. You can only do the best job *you* can do, according to *your* standards and thoughts and feelings. So why read the reviews? The good ones will stroke your ego and the bad ones will make you feel sad.

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

      Some really good stuff here.  I never bothered with the forum or taking any kind of stand with AfP because my feeling has always been “I’ll vote with my wallet and attention.”  But it has baffled me at times that Amanda might ask for input on doing something when she clearly has her mind made up already and when anyone says “no don’t” or “restraint” or “keep doing the other thing” Amanda points them out to the rabid masses who set upon the person who simply giving an honest opinion.

      But then I’ve come to my personal stance after years of being asked for my opinion and then pretty much getting shot down for giving it.

      I totally dig Amanda and the greater portion of her art.  But I don’t love every last stroke and move and tweet and blog post.  I, as much as anyone, am entitled to that.

  • gedulous

    Looks like the GOMA ninja-gig was great fun. 

    Regarding the criticism thing… there’s nothing that annoys me more than people who tear down artists for what they muster up the guts to actually DO without trying to do something similar themselves.  It’s HARD putting yourself out there, and even harder doing it day in day out as your “Day Job”.  

    Even when your fans are cheering and wanting more, the majority of them still have no comprehension of what it is to have a fan base that you want to make happy, to want to impress.  They have no idea how nerve-wracking it is to put stuff out there knowing that if you screw things up your rent might not get paid.  Being honest – I’ve only been a dabbler with a day-job to date, so I can only guess at the sense of anxiety that has to create.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t show some respect for those who ARE willing to take such risks.

    There’s nothing that says I have to like what artists and performers produce, create or drag kicking and screaming from the darkest depths of their psyche to leap, limp or lie about on a public stage. But I know enough about what that takes and and enough  fucking manners not to piss my opinions all over the places where such people are likely to read them.

    Sorry for the profanity, but the mind-set of trying to force an artist into a mould they broke a decade ago is a dangerous one.  If artists aren’t continually changing, they’re no longer creating art.  They’re simply regurgitating what passed for art in the past.

    So… for whatever you manage to put out there today.  And tomorrow.  And yesterday.  And all the other days you DO and DID and are DOING what you do… (and to all other artists doing whey THEY do…)

    Thank you for your art!

    • lentower

      Quite to the point. 

      Thanx!

    • http://naturallydotty.wordpress.com Dragonsally

      You’ve said exactly what I was thinking.

  • http://newageamazon.tumblr.com newageamazon

    Ninja gig in a Kusama piece?  EPIC.  The long term installation she has at The Mattress Factory here in Pittsburgh is one of my favorites. When I was a tour guide there it was always guaranteed to get a great reaction from visitors.

  • http://twitter.com/cookoorikoo shana lee hampton

    you’re complicated and evolving and human. and that is an awesome thing.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4P26YWAX2QZCSFVWXLG3TGBBWE norah

    thank you for yet another amazing blog. the pictures you post are amazing. you are such a beautiful person with a beautiful soul

  • Mia

    This is everything I needed to hear right now. You will always be my role model as an artist and as a person! Thank you so much.

  • http://twitter.com/Goodbye_Blues ellie

    Amanda, life is way to short to take other peoples opinions personally. She may not like you NOW, but she will always like a part of you. The part of you that connected with her on some level.

  • http://twitter.com/GDRPempress Good Day, Reg People

    Wow.  What an incredible life drinking person you are.

    I love this.

    I hope and wish I can raise my teenage sons into adulthood as in the moment as this one.

    Just amazingly powerful. On all levels. So glad you tweeted this out.

  • Carolyn

    You’re such a gorgeous person.

    I read that thread a while back. It felt weird. Some of the criticisms seemed “valid”, but then only insofar as everyone and everything has its flaws… You change and the flaws change and you’re different but you’re still there and so are the flaws. It’s just life, as it should be anyway (if you’re not changing, well, what’s the point?). When you change the people who circle you change and that can be really fucking cool. I guess sometimes the people who don’t fit the new paradigm linger, waiting for you to change back, but you won’t … you’ve grown. 

    I love your art, but I equally love your attitude to art (and life, and love, and pubic hair, and etc etc). 

    In web 2.0, you take the artist with the art and, in my opinion, the experience is so much richer for it. We see you grow and change LIKE A FUCKING PERSON. That’s more amazing than whether or not you play the ukulele*.

    *For the record, I have ALL THE LOVE for the ukulele.

  • Sarah

    It’s funny how sometimes things just happen when you need them to happen.
    I consider myself an artist, but I also battle with a wonderful array of mental illnesses springing from a childhood of abuse (I won’t chatter on too much about that though, that’s a story for another day.), I’ve been in a slump over the past few days because I’ve been trying to balance pleasing my family, my friends, myself, and my art all at once. And you’re right, it’s impossible to keep everbody happy.
    Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m glad you posted this because I really needed to hear it, so thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.
    And I can’t wait to see you & Brian in Auckland soon!
    x

  • Kris Panchyk

    I do not know if I am a fan of ALL of your music.  Some of the songs on the live album broke my heart, and some fill me with glee.

    However, what I do love is that in so many of the pictures of you that are out there, you look so HAPPY.  In that fifth picture down, you are obviously full of joy and love and just… I don’t know quite how to put it.  Tickled down to your very bones.

  • lentower

    Amanda:

    It’s pretty clear that, if the fan who started that thread could:
    they would go back and retitle it:

    “I hate Amanda’s recent work.”

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      i know. it was a good thread, len. you, as always, wise.

  • http://twitter.com/peedropaula PeedroPaula

    Trent Reznor went through much the same thing when a lot of long-time fans didn’t like the music he created as a sober and happy human being.  Create the art that makes YOU happy and the fans who truly love you will be happy too.

  • Fangirl

    Your ninja gig at GoMA was awesome. 
    Your cover of Creep filled me with emotion.You are inspiring, and I feel it’s very important. that you inspire women.
    You exude confidence and strength.
    Please keep being you. You are your number one fan, and as long as you are impressed and a total fangirl for yourself, then none of those other dicks can touch you.

  • Abagail

    I love the path you’ve taken, Amanda. I know there’s like a million people you’ve talked to who you’ll never remember, but when I got to briefly meet you in San Francisco, I told you that I started listening to the Dolls in 8th grade and now I’m a freshman in college. What I love is how your journey has influence and supported my own during that time. When I started listening to you in high school, I wanted angst and bitterness. Now, you’re doing a lot of positive self-reflection in your music, affirming your confidence in who you are and I am finding that this fits in perfectly with my own journey as I am starting college and starting to love who I am and what I’m doing. I would be disappointed in you if you weren’t following your own instincts and passions in your music and just keeping the trend going because that’s what people expected. I fell in love with you as a 13 year-old because you taught me to be comfortable in my own skin, which was very important to me at the time. I am really happy that you’re continuing to follow your own fucking instincts through your music.

  • Matt

    No matter what anyone ever says, you are an amazing person. In highschool (few years back), I went through a dark time where I pretty much hated everybody (I am much better now). There was only one person in the world who I thought was pretty much damn perfect and that was you. I could be bawling my eyes out and just hearing your voice in your songs made me smile and forget everything. You and your music helped me get through a lot of tough stuff and the truth is sometimes I think that I would not be alive if it wasn’t for you and your music. Your changing of an artist was part of the reason that I thought you were so amazing, so if all in all there is one human being still on this planet because of you and your changes.

  • Amanda B

    Within misplaced criticism lies a spark of creative power that doesn’t know how to birth itself. Whoa.

    • lentower

      A small truth.

      Many people criticize, instead of making art.

  • Roxiredbaroness

    Wow.

    I’m reading this while at work, I have the Dolls concert webcast from the Enmore in another window, and just…. wow.

    I got a little misty eyed! And it wasn’t just the Jane Austen providing the soundtrack in the background.

    I’ll have to read it again later but for now, yay for you using both my photo of the obliteration room and my white thigh highs at the gig!!

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      you’re welcome. while you do all that….i’m backstage reading blog comments. and warming up my voice. i kan mulitaskz

      • KaWaii PoLicc

        “i kan mulitaskz” WAI U SO CUTE?

  • Becky

    Amanda your music may be different but the soul of it remains the same. If your music never changed, then just as many other people would moan and say you have no imagination any more. You have to do what feels right; you’re always going to be able to earn enough money to get by as a minimum (I know “fans” hate thinking their idols want money, but a little is necessary and may I say it well deserved) I will always be a fan, Im not going to give you a review of what I like and dont like, there are far to many of us out there for it to be constructive, let the record sales and gig turn outs, and youtube views show how popular you still are.

  • Agent Phoenix

    I don’t comment often, though I read every post, but I just wanted to say that ALL the photos are absolutely gorgeous!

    Really.

    Especially the close-up of you with the uke. Stunning. 

    Much love from the Emerald Isle. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Nicole_in_Oz Nicole Simone

    But, but….Amanda!  It’s your *DUTY* as a human, and as an artist, to evolve.  If some of your fans don’t understand that, it doesn’t mean they still don’t love your earlier work – it  means they don’t understand that people have the potential to grow and change – and if the person is an artist, it will be reflected in their work.  And, your new fans you’ve earned from your latest work?  They’ll probably go looking for your earlier work, and appreciate it, too.

    I became a fan of yours from the first time I heard “Girl Anachronism” on Triple J.  And I’m still a fan, so you definitely haven’t lost all of your fans from earlier days.

    Oh, and here’s one of my favourite Amanda Palmer moments, done in the true spirit of the Ninja Gig:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcfHFf7xJnw

  • http://twitter.com/funketyme Tal Funke-Bilu

    A couple more shots of kids dotting the Yayoi room courtesy of Today.  http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45888267/displaymode/1247?beginSlide=1

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ty-Kirkpatrick/1507182785 Ty Kirkpatrick

    The thing about change is that if you never did, if you continued doing the same thing, playing the same instruments, shows etc etc then eventually you’d find yourself playing to less and less people. If the artist stays fresh and is constantly changing then the audience will too. 

    As you grow and transform so do your true fans. Just like in a relationship people grow apart, it’s no different and enviably some fans will stray and there is nothing wrong with that.

    However I think from Thursdays show and I’m sure tonight’s it’s pretty obvious you have plenty of fans still willing to go on the journey with you. 

    You always said “Long live the punk cabaret”…Well baby, it ain’t dead just yet.

  • Tina N.

    I have been in the position of hating an artist for changing in a way where I feel disconnected, but it is the same kind of hate when your best friend from childhood moves away. I still love them, horribly, but you turn that love into hate to survive. I will always love the people (artists) I loved in the past, just for a while when he loss is fresh I will disdain. My point is, as long as the person in question isn’t doing something against my moral code, they need to take their own path and if their path is away from you it hurts, but you will look back fondly once the wound heals.

    Love you Amanda.

    Tina <3

  • Superspanger

    I was only thinking (during the Sydney gig tonight) that the Uke had changed you. Made you more accessible and allowed you to become AFP. 

    Don’t get me wrong. I love and adore the Dolls. Have from the minute I heard Coin Operated Boy. I actually know exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard it (can’t say that for any other song). I still remember every second of the amazing 2006 gig (maybe more because it’s where you introduced me to Jason Webley) and I still come back to Dolls albums all the time. I fucking love the Dolls. 

    But we all grow up and change. Morph. Go from a Caterpillar to a fucking butterfly. I could never hate someone for doing this. I don’t hate my first boyfriend because we became different people 5 years after we left high school. I don’t hate the girl who used to be my best mate – we’re just different these days and have no reason to be in each others lives. People come and go in our lives for a reason. Artists are the same. Hell – the number of times I’ve thought “thank god I didn’t get a XXX tat (Insert artist of choice)”

    Since 2006 I have seen Amanda or the Dolls 10 times. I know of many others who have been to MANY more gigs. Without the uke I don’t actually think  many of these gigs would have occurred.  I know for a fact that we wouldn’t have the radio head album, we probably wouldn’t have had the “Down under” album…We would not have the massive online catalogue of youtube material. 

    My long winded point is – I was reminded to night that AFP and the Dolls are two very different things. This hater, who has an absolute right to her opinion, needs to just realise people grow and change and either come along for the ride or bugger off. I for one an grateful you continue to make art for our consumption and I hope to continue enjoying it for some time to come. I’m happier having you singing about vegemite than having nothing new. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9mWOARd2qQ 

  • Musings

    So much of what we attempt to do as human beings is communicate truths to each other.

    Truths of what it means to be me, what I am feeling, how I see the world. How I am evolving. Big truths broken down into little truths, and little truths blown up into big ones.

    Art gets at the very core of that. Criticism – constructive criticism – even what Camille was attempting to do in her thread — is saying the truths in your art aren’t connecting to those in her life right now.

    And that can be a hard thing, in any relationship, to walk alongside someone or some art and feel connected for a long while, and suddenly that person or art has gone somewhere else than you have.

    I think it is a beautiful thing to have the connection at all, so I appreciate that I had it once, with your music.

    ——

    I think the other thing I could say about criticism is this: certainly random people on the Internet are maybe not the best people to listen to. But if art is a form of communication – what kind of communication do you want it to be? One way or two way? That’s your choice. And if you decide (through talking to peers and professionals and writung blogs and twitter and forums and reading reviews) it’s two way — listening isn’t a choice any more. It happens. The choice is: do I risk listening and hearing truths I don’t connect with? Or worse, do I risk listening and hearing truths I DO connect with? And do I acknowledge those truths? Do I let them inform me as an artist? Is then my art more or less truthful?


    And lastly, the photos in this blog spoke directly to my truths of joy and happiness.

    • lentower

      One of the best replies to this blog.

      Thank You.

    • http://twitter.com/freelikebree Brianna Battista

      Thank you Musings.

  • Meowmeowkazoo

    I’m not famous, but I understand the pain that comes from criticism when you’ve created something that you love. I’ve been starting up a small business breeding snakes, and dealing with minor backlash from some people who don’t like me/my prices/my gender/my ads.

    Reading about you reading about yourself reminded me of that. And how quickly and easily other people will judge anyone. I’ve done it myself, though I think over the years I have learned to be a kinder, better person.

    Anyway, the point of my little story. Thank you for always being brave and passionate and strong. Reading this blog entry reminded me that critics are everywhere, and for every one person that doesn’t like what you’re doing, there are many more who love you. Criticism always rings more loudly in your ears than compliments, but I suppose both are just a part of living.

  • Bob W.

    I take this blog to be not so much hating on critics or the art of amateur criticism but more “I got myself into a spin, and here’s this wonderful art that got me out of it.”

  • Rose knows

    Amanda, if you were to listen to, believe
    or follow what everyone else thinks you should do/like/be/wear/behave – you
    would lose the will to live very, very quickly.  

    I’ve come to know you via the gorgeous Neil – I shall always love him for The Endless. But if my deepest, most selfish wish back then for
    him to keep writing solely about them came true – this amazing journey of his filled
    with novels, DVDs, CDs, Dr. Who, the Simpsons, shadow puppets, masked NYE balls, City
    Library Ninja gigs, Psycho, Door, Hounds of
    God, Mister Fox, Tristan, Czernobog,Wolves in walls etc. etc. and now YOU –
    would not have occurred so nicely – or at all -and what a loss that would have been to the world.

    Who
    knows what you two will come out with next?? I may absolutely hate it! -there’s always a first time . But I have faith that as a fan I will always have plenty to cheer
    about – if not now – then next month, song, story, blog or tweet! 

    Just stay Zen cool.. and your own person…and in Melbourne – often!

    Lots of love Rose x

  • http://www.jadelake.com/ David Rodwin

    Goddamnit, I love you Amanda Palmer.

  • cateflamingo

    i can appreciate that opening up to criticism/critique can be difficult, especially from your fans, whom you genuinely like, especially since, when your art is your life, a challenge to it can be deeply personal.  but i’d argue that, for those who can hack it — probably you — it’s ultimately more rewarding to read the negative stuff from time to time because it gives you a chance to take stock of why you chose to do x rather than y or z.  you don’t have to be a customer service agent for your brand and make sure everyone is completely satisfied with every part of their experience with your art.  you don’t have to be a politician and zig-zag your position every time poll results come in.  but i think it makes you stronger to be able to read critical comments when you choose to and still be able to remind yourself, you know, that not every choice you make as an artist, or in life, is going to be popular with everyone, but it’s still your choice. i mean, i guess there are plenty of people who would say ignorance is bliss.  but i don’t see that working for an amanda palmer.  

    i have no idea whether the words i just wrote explain exactly what i meant to say, because i usually think in words but i had a rare non-verbal reaction to your post.

    the mental image i had while writing was of gold in a forge.

  • http://twitter.com/domesticrat Chris

    Word to THIS: sometimes i forget that people are judging me. most of the time i’m so fucking high on my own ideas and impulses that i forget someone might disagree with a single one of them. this is, i think, the only way to ever move forward. 
    I’m a late-to-the-party Amanda fan, but this is why I’m a forever-and-ever Amanda fan.

  • http://twitter.com/niki_in_france Nicole Lacoste

    Amanda,
    You have a huge range, even on a single album, I love that about you. It feels like you are expressing your true person instead of creating a product.
    The polka photos are fecking amazing.
    Nikla

  • http://orphicfiddler.deviantart.com/ Tess Grover

    I’ve got my own little DeviantART account that’s been growing slowly over the years, and if I listened to everyone’s suggestions on there, I would never make anything. Some people think I ought to draw more, and why have I been writing, that’s silly, and others want more poetry (and then want it either to rhyme or desperately desire more free verse), and others want me to recite it, and some to sing it, and then a good number prefer my stories and want me to ditch the rest, and then complain the stories have been too surreal lately and I should write more about zombies. And these are the people who generally like me.

    It’s not bad to see what the critics are up to, and it’s certainly awesome to hear from the fans, but if you tried to please everybody, you’d end up pleasing next to no one, least of all yourself.

    In other words, keep being an Amanda. You’re damn good at it.

  • siorghra

    I’m pretty sure this is a weird thing to say but I’m going to go ahead and say it anyway.
    Yesterday I woke up very depressed and lonely. I’d had a PTSD nightmare and my valuable day off was not turning out to be productive or even relaxing. I was falling down an Internet hole when I opened iTunes and played the ukelelehead album just to break the silence. Now, haven’t seen you in a couple of years but the times that I have been fortunate enough to meet you and partake of your art, it was like hanging out with the coolest friend ever.
    Back to yesterday, I’m playing this album and I start to feel like maybe the day is going to be ok. I felt like part of you was there with me and I wasn’t alone. After half an hour or so of this, I took a shower and got on with my life.
    The validity of the choices you make that tend to lead you wide open to criticism is in the fact that you are doing exactly what you want to do, and by following your heart you are sharing your soul. You aren’t just doing things for the sake of fan approval. So while ukelehead,Evelyn Evelyn, and even some of the Australia stuff was not really “my kind of music”, I can still really get behind it. I guess Some people just don’t have that kind of relationship with art and with you.
    I’m really glad you had a healing experience so soon after that awfulness with the website. I am not a well-known anything but I have had the experience of stumbling across harsh criticisms of my character on the internet before and it’s quite a painful feeling. I am not as strong as you are so to me it felt like I was turning inside out as I read it.
    anyway, don’t let the hard-hearted get to you. You do far more good on this path than any other.

  • siorghra

    PS. I have a friend who is mentally I’ll and I introduced her To the early Dolls stuff over a year ago because it matched her feelings, and she loves it. A week ago I sent her “in my mind” with a comment that there is hope… You feel so differently just 10 years later. She was very inspired.

    • lentower

      I often wish I had found the Dresden Dolls lyrics a little earlier.

      They could have helped someone dear to me,
      whose addictions have taken from us.

  • shirleyfracture

    Brings a little tear. xx

  • jaylynne51

    Amanda, looking at your spot pictures made me wonder if you have seen this protest artist in China? http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chilloutpoint.com%2Fart_and_design%2Fcamouflage-by-liu-bolin-invisible-man-series.html&h=wAQGM_ZgwAQGv1eRdjfXVYmBKFj4Zo4O3ZiflUuycIA9C2w
    Love your smile when you’re out in front with your art!

  • Stevenbogart

    May I affectionately remind you of a poem that continues to help me live.

    The Journey

    One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began,
    though the voices around you
    kept shouting
    their bad advice–
    though the whole house
    began to tremble
    and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.
    “Mend my life!”
    each voice cried.
    But you didn’t stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    though the wind pried
    with its stiff fingers
    at the very foundations,
    though their melancholy
    was terrible.
    It was already late
    enough, and a wild night,
    and the road full of fallen
    branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do–
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.

    Mary Oliver

    • http://alwayscoffee.wordpress.com Ali Trotta

      How have I not read that before? That is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • TheUnderGroundScene

    I desperately needed that.

  • http://twitter.com/livetrout Leanne Troutman

    I go through the same critic battling, self-confidence rocking, periods of mood swings.  If I’m in a show and someone tells me negative things about a character that I put a lot of hard work into, and took a lot of joy out of creating, it definitely hurts.  But then I think about this quote from Charlotte Cushman: “Art is an absolute mistress; she will not be coquetted with or slighted; she requires the most entire self-devotion, and she repays with grand triumphs.”  And, spirit lifted, I go back to living life like a rock star.  So, don’t listen to the negative, Amanda.  Regardless of what people say that upsets you, remember the people whose lives you touch and the beauty you bring to them.  Your time’s better spent thinking about that.

  • livetrout

    I go through the same critic battling, self-confidence rocking periods of moodiness.  If I’m in a show and somebody makes a negative comment about a character that I put a lot of hard work into, and took a lot of joy from creating, if definitely hurts.  But one thing that always boosts me back up is thinking of this quote by Charlotte Cushman: “Art is an absolute mistress; she will not be coquetted with or slighted; she requires the most entire self-devotion, and she repays with grand triumphs.”  So don’t think about the negative opinions someone has of you Amanda.  Because for every one person who has something negative to say, there are probably a thousand whose lives you’ve touched for the better.  Your time’s better spent thinking about those thousands.

  • http://twitter.com/ctrymaus CountryMouse

    Bless your heart. Be you. And we’ll watch and be amazed and be inspired and happy. :-)

  • http://alwayscoffee.wordpress.com Ali Trotta

    This was so beautiful and life-affirming. Sometimes, finding out that
    someone dislikes your art (whatever form), it is a blackhole of suck. It
    can shake you. I can think of one instance that rattled me down to the
    bone. For days, I felt like I’d fucked up, like I’d failed so
    completely. It hurt it made me question a lot about who I am as an
    artist. And the there was my polka dot moment, where a friend said
    something that lit up the sky in my world. That small gesture saved me.
    And I got back to work, to making things. When I feel crappy, I remember
    that.

    Now, too, I will think of this white room, those dots, and finding hope in such an awesome space. Thank you, Amanda, for putting it out there — ‘it’ being your art, thoughts, music and everything between. It is inspiring.

  • Guest

    I don’t think “hate” can come from a neutral place. She must have loved you to “hate” you now, even though I’m sure she doesn’t hate YOU. I’ve experienced the same disgruntledness with other artists I’m attached to. For example, Enrique was my favourite because I thought he was so nice and romantic, and then he came out with “tonight, I’m fucking you”. D': 
    Same with Linkin Park. Their first 2 albums sounded more or less the same, and then they changed their style. As a fan, it’s sad because it’s like… Linkin Park is the only band that can make that* music with that* feel and those* lyrics. Linkin Park is the only one who can make “Linkin Park” music… and when they don’t do it anymore, it’s like that world dies. They’re the only ones who can do it, but they’re not. It’s heartbreaking because you know they’re never ever going to be the same.With artists who constantly reinvent themselves like Madonna, you know to expect change, and are even excited to be surprised, but when it’s unexpected, it’s a shock and it hurts. Especially if there was a style and culture around the music, and the new style opposes or undermines it.tl;dr: It’s not because you’re bad. It’s because you’re not what they wanted – and you were the only person who could be that. You ruined what you were to her, but only because she saw you not as you really were in the first place… “Mentiroso” by Enrique seems to have some appropriate lyrics for (my take on) this situation:”I am not that which you imagined,I am not that which the world offered to you,In which you blindly trusted,The man of your dreams – I am not,If sometime, looking into your eyes, I robbed you of a piece of illusion…”So, yeah, I think she saw you as someone else, so when you showed another side, it doesn’t match and she feels… disgruntled. It’s not you. It’s what you show. Even though all sides might’ve been there all along, people didn’t see it, so it seems unexpected and “out of character” to them. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with your new stuff, it’s just not in her taste. If EVERYONE abandoned you, that might be a red flag, but as long as there are still people showing you love, you can be sure it’s a matter of taste.Anyway, I like how you respected the girl’s opinion. (Y)Missed you in Brisbane, so I hope you come back soon. (don’t make me wait a year, pleeeeeez)<3 <3 <3

  • Zanken

    I like you’re new stuff more than Dolls stuff.

    That’s probably not really helpful to read by itself, but perhaps knowing that I’ve only been a fan for a year now.  The Amanda Palmer I know is passionate, wild and inspiring.  I’m not familiar with this Amanda who wrote those angsty and heavy piano pieces.  That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have liked it then, it’s just not the sort of person I am now as a fan.

    Over the last ten years I’ve followed Maynard Keenans career with a passion.  Tool songs helped me immeasurably as a young adult, moving from relative isolation to being thrown into a very social environment (university) and needing to ground my introspective brain in something to keep me sane.  When Keenan released his solo project in 07 I was told by all my fan friends that it was terrible, but I swallowed the new style whole and loved it.  It was new, dark, sexy, playful and more recently sentimental.  I won’t say it’s ‘better’ or more important.  It doesn’t need to be.  I consider myself lucky that I’ve been able to grow as a person, as a listener and as a fan of somebody I greatly admire.

    I think I would’ve liked the Dolls stuff back then.  I bought the albums on Bandcamp after ending a brief relationship that affected me more than I thought it would, and for about two weeks it’s all that I listened to.  It’s probably worth noting that said relationship started as a random encounter at the Forum gig here last year.

    Tonight should be interesting.

    Anyway, that was a bit of a ramble.  The point that I was initially going to make is that people will only follow you for part of the journey, perhaps because they are stuck on the old path or perhaps because they found new paths of their own to follow.  Consider though the people that you might not have met, and the new fans who might not have if you hadn’t taken your current path.  They’re probably reblogging ‘amazeball’ or ‘perfect couple’ posts on tumblr or playing ukulele’s on trains or trams.  They’re not likely to be found on the forum lamenting about the olden days.

  • http://twitter.com/bloodlesscoup Kelly Welch

    It’s refreshing to hear one artist look to another artist’s work and statements for guidance, much in the same way that I look to Amanda for guidance in my life.

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

    Something always prevents me from posting on Shadowbox.  I can’t say why, it seems cliquey somehow, and I’m afraid I wouldn’t “fit in.”  Which is dumb, because Amanda-fandom is all about opening arms to art-loving misfits of every stripe.

    But we all like to be liked.  And if that seems too cloying, we all like to be accepted, respected, acknowledged as a person who belongs on the planet.

    This is what makes me so in awe of artists.  None of my stories has ever been shared for public comment.  It amazes me to watch people bare their souls so freely, and keep picking up and going on whatever the reaction.  The question always has to be there — am I expressing the thing that is in me that needs to be expressed?  Or am I seeking acceptance and asking people to please like what I do?

    My brother (Tom, you know, Tom?) wrote in his writeup of your amazing NYE show: “I used to say that Amanda Palmer doesn’t sing for money and she doesn’t sing for your entertainment; she sings in self-defense because she’s got all of these songs rattling around inside her and if she doesn’t let them out they will destroy her. So that’s why I’m obsessed: everything she does is heartfelt and everything she does is authentic and everything she does is Quality.”

    Oh the truthiness!!  Maybe not everything you do will knock me over the head and make me see stars, but even if it’s not to my taste I can always appreciate the awesome art-making energy, and dedication, devotion and discipline that created it.

    But I also think examining your artistic choices goes well beyond just seeing you strum around on your ukulele and get more folksy with your tunage.  You’ve always got so many parallel tracks of things going on, and having been lucky enough to see you perform some of the songs from your upcoming album, and having been witness to some of the supreme effort you’ve put into it, and how much it deviates from what you’ve been doing, I can confidently answer anyone who thinks you’re slacking or losing your edge, or that happy married life has made you leave behind your rock goddess roots.  There is much more ass to be kicked, and you will kick it.

    One more thing.  No one who is as narcissistic as you are afraid that you are could ever be as good as you are at collaborating.  Whether it’s with Brian or  the JA Argument or Jason or Mikelangelo or Ben Folds or your new band or Neil, when you are performing as part of a duo or ensemble you are always very focused on making sure everyone on stage comes off looking like a freaking genius.  You never seize the limelight for yourself.  And you might even enjoy yourself even more when you’re part of an ensemble. 

    But I love you for caring.  It’s your self-doubt that keeps letting you put into words the things that tie us all in knots.  If you were supremely confident and emotionally detached, your music would have nothing to say to me.

    • RiverVox

      Come to the Shadowbox! We need more YOU there. I love your point about Amanda’s collaboration skillz. She is a great listener and a generous soul.

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

        Aww!  I am all blushie now and stuff.  I will give it another try, thanks :) :)  (I remember seeing you at the Brooklyn show … you were writing.  You looked very smart and fun!)

        • RiverVox

          Sadly, I was not in Brooklyn. I was at the Mill though.
          I encourage folks to join & contribute to the Box. It’s a good central location to find information & Fellow Travellers.

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

            Omigosh!!  I wonder who the woman writing in Brooklyn was?  All this time I thought it was you.  The Mill was a pinch-me night, wasn’t it?  But I totally do not remember you from there!  ha :)

            I think I remember Len, tho.  Cuz I think he and my brother both went to MIT?

          • lentower

            Yes, I went to MIT.

            I have to see a pic of you to remember you from the Mill.
            I don’tremember an ‘Esmertina Bicklesnit’ ; – }
            (I saw Ron last night (He was the host at the Mill) and he’s fine.)

        • http://twitter.com/HayleyFiasco Hayley

          Yes, please join the ‘box and post, you would most definitely be welcome there and would certainly contribute a lot to the discussions :)

        • lentower

          RiverVox is smart and fun.

    • lentower

      Come to the shadowbox!  RiverVox and I will help you along the way.

      There are N clichés there, and a lot of one-of people.

      Though it’s full of honesty, often harsh – that comes with love.

      I made all three of the June shows. 
      In Brooklyn, I sat under the bar rail nearest the front wall.

    • Carrie

      What they said! C’mon over. I just joined myself and am enjoying it very much.

  • Sennyo

    The video of Brian leading the crowd while you play the ukulele (and look at that dog rolling on the ground when everyone’s lying there! teehee) made me so happy tonight.

    You talking about Yayoi Kusama made me want to know more about her work, it looked really interesting. I enjoy her art.
    The funny thing is, this blog post made me realise, now and after 8 years, that there’s one of her floral sculptures in my hometown. I can’t wait to go back there and look at it in a new way.

    Every AFP blog post always leads to an adventure for me (whether it’s dicovering something or debating or feeling creative when I’m done reading it), it seems :)

  • http://davidlevine.wordpress.com David_Levine

    Thank you for everything you’ve been doing Amanda. It’s the most ecstatic & heartwarming unfolding & has been a pleasure to watch and hear.

    Those dots! Awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594547095 Shannon Blue Christensen

    Dear Amanda,
    (for context: I’ve never listened to your music and only quite recently began reading your blog, so this comment comes from, essentially, nowhere)
    I love the way you think. And your passion.
    Have at it, darling. Those who bitch are those who don’t understand. And people are terrified of what they do not understand, cannot predict, cannot define, cannot control, and cannot sell. 
    (And who cares if you sell merchandise to keep yourself in thigh-highs? Geesh. We’ve all gotta eat.)
    Best to you,
    Shannon

  • RiverVox

    When I first saw that  thread, I thought of an angry teenager telling her Mom “I hate you” and slamming the door. Feelings like that come from a place of frustration, connection and love. How this person who I love and who I thought loved and understood me, who is a part of me, be doing something I dislike? 

    It also brings to mind the Dylan goes electric controversy of 1965.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_Dylan_controversy

    In brief, the story goes that  when Bob Dylan, the beloved poster boy for the American folk movement appeared at the Newport Folk Festival playing an electric guitar with a rock band, the crowd booed. It was seen as a traitorous violation of what he represented. The self-identity of the Newport crowd was as folk music fans, NOT rock fans. So when Bob, the cult God of the folk movement plugs in, they tear him apart. We may never know the facts about what happened at Newport but the myth rings true.

    Most people would respond to hate and criticism by shutting down and closing off. Instead, you let fans decorate you with stickers. And that is why, no matter what instrument you decide to play, except perhaps the vibraphone, you always be my heroine.

  • gedulous

    I was going to steer clear of further comments on this thread, but I had a thought this morning… this whole thread tackles exactly the same kind of phenomenon addressed by Regurgitator in their single “I like your new stuff better than your old stuff” (from their album “Unit”).

    i see your band now and it’s not too bad
    you’re nothing like you used to be
    please write some songs that really do not suck
    please become what you were before

    i like your old stuff better than your new stuff (x4)

    i try hard not to bring up the past
    i’m sorry i had to again
    you don’t know me i feel you are my friend
    i’m trying not to be pretend

    i like your old stuff better than your new stuff (x12)

    i like your old stuff better than your new stuff (x8)
    ——————————————————————————–

    everyday formula
    everyday i shit into the sea
    it’s strange but it doesn’t mean much to me
    i’m living in a porcelain dream
    and things ain’t quite what they seem

    i try to keep things so nice
    each surface glowing snow white
    it’s good to be alive in here

    it’s gonna be alright (x3)

    everyday i talk to my machines
    more sense than talking to human beings
    it’s pretty in the land of the free
    where things ain’t quite what they seem
    my whole world’s cheap and phony
    dear hearts get lost and lonely
    i’ll get what’s coming to me soon

    it’s gonna be alright (x4)

    it’s gonna be alright (x4)

    it’s gonna be alright
    it’s gonna be all shite
    ——————————-
    Clip here -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JwT5PqD1xM

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      HA!!!! right before i read this justin (aka bedroom philosopher) sent me this EXACT SAME LINK. perfection….

  • Run2theMoon511

    Thank you, Amanda, so much for writing this blog. It’s such a perfect example of the importance of art, and even more important, of living without thoughts and actions wrapped around what others think. This is a constant struggle for me, in every respect of life. Lately I’ve been feeling (and wondering) if I’m not an artist at all. I haven’t been painting as much as I would like… I’ve been considering school/career paths that are not art… and worst of all, I think fear is the main reason I haven’t been painting. I’ve been completely paralyzed by fear and imaginary ideas of what other people will think. How horrible that these thoughts have stopped me from doing something I love? Paralyzing. That is the word for it.

    Thank you, thank you. You are a huge inspiration in so many ways. Most importantly for me, you inspire freedom; you inspire freely being exactly who you are.

  • http://twitter.com/WilliamAder William Ader

    I have never felt “betrayed” by an artist when they take an artistic turn that I just can’t “get into.”  I absolutely love Amanda’s piano-driven songs. Guess what? They’re not being taken away from me, even if she never touches another keyboard, and I’m pretty sure she’s developing a whole new fan base that really only knows her through her recent ukulele work. That’s great! Artists can’t stagnate. I’m pretty sure Amanda couldn’t write Glass Slipper today if her life depended on it, because she’s no longer that person. That’s a good thing! And if you really feel a “personal connection” with an artist, because their work has somehow touched you, then you should be happy that they’re happy doing whatever it is that they’re doing now. An artist doesn’t owe fans a certain type of art. All an artist owes fans is authenticity, and Amanda Palmer has always been authentic.

    I went through this same thing with Tom Waits. I’m a huge fan, but can’t really get into most of what he’s done since the late 80s. I’m okay with that. I still check out everything he releases, and out of every 50 or so tracks, there’s usually one “bone” for old fans like me. I’m thankful for that.

    As far as any criticism regarding how Amanda is marketing herself these days, well, there’s an old saying: Show Business is two words. These artists have to pay the bills or there isn’t any art.

     

  • Run2theMoon511

    And I forgot to  mention, these photos are BEAUTIFUL. Magical. Amazing.

  • Clare

    Thank you….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689704879 Susan Schloss

    Hi Amanda,

     

    I normally refrain from sharing my opinion if it’s not asked for
    but this blog has inspired me to share with you what I think.

     

    I was 21, single, and a party-hard type of girl when I first fell
    in love with the ‘Dolls’. That was 8 years ago.  Years in which I have changed IMMENSELY.
    And If I were to tell that fun loving anti-marriage 21 year old that 8
    years on she’d be 3 months off of becoming someone’s wife she would said ‘FUCK
    OFF!”.

     

    As someone not under the microscope of the world, in 8 years I have
    changed THAT much! Therefore leaving me with the question ‘Why do people think
    singers/bands/performers/artists etc should never change?’ 

     

    People grow. People change. That’s the beauty of life and to
    be honest, Thank fuck I have changed that much in 8 years because to tell you
    the truth that 21 year old wasn’t that happy. Every year I grow older
    I feel more like myself and every choice I make seems more like mine.
    People still dictate what I should do and people are
    still disappointed in me. But I look in that mirror and see eyes that
    finally know who they belong to and I have to live with those eyes every morning,
    every night and every day. They are mine and mine only.

     

    Amanda, my hope for you is that that you look into the mirror and see
    yourself and feel yourself and love yourself now, for the choices and the
    mistakes that you made.  People will
    criticise no matter what  and that is
    their right. Just don’t let that poison reach your eyes.

     

    Susan.

     

    P.S. I have not loved everything you have done but I have not loved
    everything I have done either.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      this is beautiful. thank you.

  • Mòrag

    I wonder how many of your fans who don’t appreciate your recent work will come to like it in the future.  I came late to the party (2 or 3 years ago), and found some songs really hit the mark for me whereas others didn’t.  Then as my life changed, songs I’d not really connected with previously began hitting the mark.  We all change, in a myriad of directions at varying speeds. Keep being you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashleytalkstoastronauts Ashley Seqüéĩrâ

    I enjoy every kind of music you make (if that’s not worded wicked weird), so I’m proud to say I will never have any interest in reading an “I hate Amanda” forum. Also, that obliteration room is pretty exciting.

  • Cecilyk

    Thank you. I just went down this same sort of internet rabbit hole of negativity and it sucked me dry. I needed to read this.

  • http://gabrielgrub.blogspot.com/ June_Miller

    It may sound a bit strange, but I was thinking, recently, of how I don’t really contribute to this fanciful blog as much as I used to.  

    It’s not that I don’t want to.  There’s a lot of interesting things you do/write about that I enjoy paying attention to–I just don’t know how to contribute to the recent topics.  I don’t like discussing things I don’t know very much about, so I keep quiet and listen/read.

    I’ve mulled on it, though:

    People are allowed to, and very well SHOULD, grow however they need to.  

    I’ve grown since we’ve first encountered each other, on this little piece of the internet.  

    You’ve grown since you first came out as the artist we all began to know you as, some 10-ish years ago (right?)

    You’re married to a lovely man now.  You aren’t in the same spot a lot of your fans are, fiscally, vocationally, whatever.  You’re a bit more…comfortable.  A little bit more secure, y’know?  

    But you were there, and that’s where the connection still lies.  

    You still need to make the art.  It’s your calling.  It’s what you need to do to function as a fucking person.  In the past–when you were in the kind of spot myself and other folks are in–your emotions were a bit more downtrodden.  You expressed it so beautifully, the pain you felt.  It was relatable.  It was palpable.  If you can’t gather, it still rings something true, with me.  

    But, you’re happier now.  Therefore, you’re making stuff that’s a bit more upbeat.  And y’know, while I’m more attached to the sadder things (in your art and maybe just in life in general), I still enjoy what you put out there.  There’s nothing to say you shouldn’t be allowed to express joy as well as pain.  

    Oh, and fuck anyone who downplays your being happy, or comfortable.  Everyone, everyone, should be allowed some happiness in their lives, goddamnit.  Everyone deserves a bit of comfort.

    You’ve always had sort of a ‘tip-hat’ view about things, as far as making money.  It’s the street performer credo.  ‘Please leave something, if you can.  Thanks.’  The only difference is now you’ve got a rather established fan base, and much more accessibility (various websites, Twitter, in short: the FUCKING INTERNET MAN).

    So you’re focusing on newer things now.  No problem with that.

    Which brings me back to why I can’t really contribute to things as much as I could in the past:

    I think, maybe, I’m in the same spot you might’ve been in when you were 24-25, emotionally.

    You once wrote, about a year or so ago, about how you played an amazing Dolls reunion show and soaked in the crowd and all the love, and then went back to the hotel room and had to cry with Neil because the adrenaline had worn off and they were all gone.  It was so silent.  You were so happy to make them happy and have that connection, and then too suddenly it’s gone.

    I get that.

    I’ve been getting it more and more, with each gig I do, DJing.  

    If one thing goes wrong that night (technically or emotionally), I survive off the adrenaline I got from the crowd interaction for as long as I can before it all comes crashing down on me the next day, because of that one fucking thing.

    But when it’s good…man.  Is it good.

    I don’t just become part of the equipment.  I don’t only make sure my levels are set correctly (but I do pay attention, no worries).

    I perform.

    I engage them, and they engage me.

    I’ve been told I look crazy, in a good way.

    People are starting to yell out my DJ handle instead of my real name, when I make entrances in different places, and it startles me slightly.  I like my real name.  But I also enjoy this recognition.  I seem to be doing something right.

    But it doesn’t really feel right calling myself a performer when I’m only playing other peoples’ music, no matter how passionate I get on that little stage.  

    I know I’m creative.  

    I know I can write.  A short story of mine was recently published in a young adult’s lit magazine.  Spooky stuff.

    I want to perform to my own music.  I just can’t exactly say what nor how it’ll manifest itself as.  Could be electronic, and danceable.  Could be punk.  Could be Cave-esque.  Could be all.  Who knows anymore?

    I’ve also grown and worked on myself more this year than any other point in my life.  I’ve had to tone down things with myself.  I’ve had to lose certain things.  But I’ve also made myself healthier.  So much healthier.  Emotionally, mentally, physically.  It’s pretty amazing.  And frankly, I know that if I want to live something close to a life you live, I have to.

    It’s like this:

    I’m on the cusp of something, and you’re established with it.  

    I’m a DJ–a hell of a DJ, but still just that–and you ARE the performer.  

    We are at different points in our lives.  

    Yet, we are still just growing.  And living.  

    So while you may not be shaking it at any industrial clubs anytime soon (probably reminds you of Germany too much, I’d imagine), and I may stick to the somber piano stuff more so than the catchy ukulele stuff, there’s still admiration all around.  There’s still support.

    Keep doing what you’re doing.  

    Your art, and your view on life, is pretty much the same influence Yayoi had on you, with me.  

    .

    Incidentally, I do have to listen to “Mrs. O” every year around the holidays, at least once.  I did at Christmas, this year.  Pretty good New Year’s song, as well.

  • clarity

    I’m having critic dilemmas at the moment – thanks for this post. So easy to get sucked into the hole of pleasing others and risking nothing.

  • Luci

    Relating to this a lot, despite not being a rock star :P

    “the internet can poison you. but then provide the cure. watch.”

    I’ve had this experience.  Not people on the internets criticising me in detail, but the up-and-the-down in quick succession.  Probably because I was spending too much time on the internets… but I came across three things I found pretty hard to deal with just browsing around or being given links from friends.

    One was pictures of a girl butchering herself…Not shallow cuts, a real proper mess. I dunno if they were real or fake, but it disturbed me.  The second was a story about a woman who’d gone to live with her boyfriend in Brazil (I think?) and he’d killed her, chopped her up and taken photos on his phone (which is how he was caught).  The third was a photo of a girl who wasn’t stereotypically beautiful posing in front of a car in a bikini.  The internet hate machine decided to bully her continuously and harass her on social network sites etc.

    It made me feel tired.  It made me feel like people suck and the world is an unfriendly place.  I wanted to crawl in bed and never come out.

    Which is, ofc, profoundly unbalanced by the fact I’d just come across three negative things in quick succession.  It was cured by two other things I came across while browsing the internets – the ‘free hugs’ campaign (which may even have been linked to from your blog?) which, despite not being a huggy person myself, I found incredibly inspiring.  And the story of Christian the Lion, who was bought as a cub from Harrods or something equally bemusing, then released to the wild when he was older.  The people who had raised him were told he would not recognize them now he was a wild lion. AND HE BLOODY DID :P If a lion could run up and hug someone that’s pretty much what he did.

    For some reason that cured it.

    “she was a long-time fan who just isn’t into me anymore. there’s been a
    lot of these people. i’ve changed. my music used to be angst and
    piano-driven, and i’ve spent the better part of a few years traipsing
    around writing three-chord songs on the ukulele.”

    Yah. And Dylan went electric. People need to get over it and accept CHANGE HAPPENS. Some people don’t like it, and try to stop it (myself included, in my own life very much so :X) because they want to hold on to what they have and not lose it. But that reminds me of a quote:

    “Nothing is lost. Everything is transformed.”

    I also very much agree with your comments about being a ‘pleaser’.  It’s very easy to accuse artists of ‘selling out’ (to the extent it’s a cliche) , and ironically, people taking a different direction in their music are often accused of it. But I think what it means, fundementally, is to cease to be authentically yourself and attempting to please others instead.

    But if you’re doing things you believe in, your own way, then the people who appreciate it will appreciate it for what it is, and you for who you are.  Which has to ultimately be so much more rewarding than trying to predict what people will or won’t like.

    And the ones who don’t like it can lump it :P

  • deeza13666

    I finally got around to reading some of the “I hate Amanda ” on the shadowbox and I can understand you feeling upset by this. I find it ridiculous thatsome people live in a fantasy world and have expectations about someone they may have met once or twice. Although I was disappointed that the one and only time I got to see the Dresden Dolls at the Roundhouse in Sydney, and  not long after you broke up. I was sad because I had found a band that I really liked andwould not be able to see them again. What gave me hope was Amanda continuing with a solo career. I was happy because I could still see at least see half of my favourite performers, and live in hope that you and Brian would get back together to perform again, not always just occaisionally. I love the stuff you do as a solo artist and I feel that the ukelele playing shows your lighthearted and fun side.

  • Ryan_Anas

    Your art, your songs, what you have done, what you do, all that you give… it has done more for me than I could ever say. I have no doubt that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love you. With every cell in my body I say I love Amanda.

    You have given your life to sharing your gifts and talents, your you, up to the public in order to touch lives and bring that kind of meaning, art, beauty, love and hope to lives like mine. It has also left you open to the kind of pain that comes from a thread like this. I think about that a lot, and I just want you to know that I thank you. Please, never stop following your heart, and please know that there are those who will never take what you give for granted. 

    Time and again you cover my white heart with colorful infinity nets. And I share that beauty and love with all that I meet. Because that’s how it works. That is the only life I will live. Back and forth. Forever!! 

    And again, and again, and again, Thank You.

    Love,
          Ryan

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

    Hey, I’m a fairly new fan. Was introduced to your music this past summer. Personally, I’m mesmerized by you. You whole persona is gravitating. You’re diverse in what you do and aren’t afraid to act silly. Months ago I was bedridden for about 2 weeks due to horrible pain. During that time I went through youtube and found everything I could of the random songs you’ve performed only live and saved them, I’m pretty sure I got at least most of them. I didn’t get bored for a second looking through tons of videos because all your performances are different. You will banter with the crowd or whoever else might be on stage with you, giving us a more in-depth look into you and your life. It’s remarkable how much you do and of course you can’t make everyone happy. But it’s your life and you shouldn’t regret what you do. You’re an amazing woman. You’ve got a comrade for life in me =)

  • Obscurelily

    I love you. I don’t know what else to say. You inspire me on a humuYan level. I love you, that’s all.

  • Hpassow

    Dearest Amanda,
    Regarding the haters: If they are loving you originally, for JUST your music, then I think they are just bound to be fickle to begin with.  If you love Amanda Palmer, you love her for WHO she is, not JUST for what she creates.  Sadly I don’t have a lot of time to read all of your blogs (I sure as hell wish I did) but someday I hope to, even if it’s long after their relevance and current-ness.  For now they sit, collected, in my e-mail in a file labled “Amanda Fucking Palmer”!  I even hope someday to complie a sort of book of them all, because quite frankly, it seems to me, that collevtively they would make a right fine bad-ass book!  Anyway, my point…If you love Amanda Palmer, you love her even when her music evolves into something you’re no longer evolving alongside with. 
    I continue to be proud to be your fan and to wear my homage to you on my wrist, a tattoo I got a handful of years ago: The word “Boston” with the “o’s” as hearts and a version of your eyebrow design that underlines it!  Please, do stop me and say hello if you’re ever roaming around Boston/Cambridge/or Somerville!  It would make my day…year…decade!  <3  Stay true to you (and thanks for the memory of you feeding me pinapple during Cabaret and for wearing that spectacular dress for the "I Don't Care" number.  The image of your beauty during that number is seered (sp?) into my memory!).  Rock on girlfriend!  <3

  • kmwilliams

    I love you Amanda Palmer. I love you Yayoi Kusama. *polka dot mushroom cloud of love*

  • Wearexthedead

    Actually, you’re alienating a lot of people who used to be huge fans because of your horribly privileged hipster behavior. I used to really look up to you, but I’ve come to lose all respect I had for you.

  • Sylvia Moranda Benoit

    Artists should welcome critics. If they understand the process of art. Critique is fundamentl

  • Sylvia Moranda Benoit

    Right on the nail. This is friendship we have. Borderline stalker ish. But friendship none the less.