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the story behind "Evelyn Evelyn"

the press has recently announced the release of my new project with jason webley, “Evelyn Evelyn”, a mysterious record created by two conjoined twin sisters from a small town near Seattle, WA.

jason and i, along with sxip shirey, are taking the twins on an EPIC tour of the states and europe starting in just over a month. a few of the shows are already sold out…(see tour dates at the bottom)

many of you have been asking, curious about and (sometimes) confused by this project, and my involvement, so finally…..this is my
Big Blog of Evelyn Evelyn.

you guys know me – i generally blog about everything as it’s happening (and let it all hang out in excruciating detail), but there are certain things about my life and my work that i’ve needed to – out of personal and/or business mandate – keep under wraps. this record was one of them.

first of all, the Neville Sisters, who work under the moniker “Evelyn Evelyn”, are EXTREMELY protective about their privacy.

second, my situation with Roadrunner Records (ahhhh) has made things very complicated.
i’m still very legally entangled over there (though there is light at the end of the tunnel, and please say a little prayer for me every night!!) and while this isn’t even technically MY record (my name appears nowhere on it, except as a producer and a guest artist, along with jason webley’s name), i’ve needed to hide away and work in private as to not put myself, the project, or of course the girls in harm’s way.

so be it.

painful birth or no, label or no….a few weeks ago, we put the finishing touches on this record, and i daresay…

it’s a FUCKING MASTERPIECE.

……………………………

it’s slated to be released on MARCH 30, as a totally independent split release between jason’s label, 11 records, and my label, 8ft. records
(does that make it a 9.5-foot record? an 8’11” record? or a nineteen foot record??)

here’s the cover art:
01
(the drawing is by the artist cynthia von buhler)

and here’s the story….

jason webley, my awesome friend and endlessly touring minstrel-comrade, and i found the twins on myspace, about three years ago.
we were on tour together (jason was opening up for the dresden dolls) and working away on our laptops on an off day…i think we were in new zealand.

we were both emailed the link to their page at around the same time. mine came in through the dresden dolls’ fan address.
jason followed the link and listened first.
“you HAVE to hear this”, he said.
their myspace page was spare, to be kind.
they had TWO friends (tom, of course, and a chick named “sandy fishnets”), their graphics were AWFUL, and they only had ONE song posted (and that song had about 13 hits).
but the song was hilarious, and sweet, and totally compelling.
it was really raw, really genuine, and the way they played it, showed they had serious talent.

jason and i talked about this for endless hours over endless meals.

we wanted people to hear them.

we asked them if they were willing to record something for a little 7” vinyl series project that jason was doing on his record label, 11 records.

they said yes, and so about 6 months after talking to them for the first time, we flew to washington, rented a van, and drove them down to santa cruz, california (they refused to get on a plane) and recorded 3 “demo” tracks with them in a friend’s house  (many thanks to tim smolens, jason schimmel and many other folk.)

here’s a little photo of the loft / recording studio where they cut their first demos, in seattle, WA:

02

they’re conjoined at the side, which makes moving around for them difficult.
they share three legs, but have only two arms, and they play of their instruments together – at last count, they’re kicking ass on piano, accordion, guitar, ukulele and we discovered recently that they also play DRUMS, which blew our minds.

they have similar personalities, but if you hang out with them long enough, you’ll notice that they’re actually quite different. they were christened “eva” and “lynn” at one point in their lives – but they strangely like being referred to by the same name, in a sort of weird solidarity, i guess. so they both go by the name “evelyn” – and they answer for each other all the time. it takes some getting used to, trying to figure out how to communicate with them, and the learning curve has been steep. they’ve been driving my agent and management team crazy because they’re really detail-oriented and demanding but also really non-communicative…leaving everybody frustrated a lot of the time. we’re getting there. jason and i spend a lot of time translating what we now call “evelynese” into normal-person speak.

when we hit the studio, they’d only ever recorded into a laptop and they had no idea what making records was all about.  we released this teeny little 7” that included demos of the songs “elephant elephant”, “have you seen my sister evelyn” and a cover of joy division’s “love will tear us apart”…it was done as a very small edition (1,111 copies) – which sold out almost immediately…here’s what the cover looked like:
03

and over the course of our little recording, we finally got to know them.

well, WE didn’t. they had real problems warming up to jason. they were freaked out (seriously) by his beard and didn’t want to talk to him very much.

they could handle me a little better because i was a girl.

XXX EDITED DUE TO CONTROVERSIAL CONTENT XXXXX
(for more information of the disturbing life of the twins, please buy the record.)

“EVELYN and EVELYN NEVILLE are dicephalus conjoined twins, sharing between them three legs, two arms, three lungs, two hearts, and a single liver.  Born on September 11, 1985 on a small farm on the Kansas-Colorado border, the Evelyns have lived in Georgia, Manitoba and South Dakota, and have traveled the greater part of North America performing with “Dillard & Fullerton’s Illusive Traveling Show”.  They are fluent in chicken and their favorite colors are purple and yellow.”

XXXXXXXXXX  END OF CONTENT EDIT XXXXXXXXXX

when we met them, they were 22. they’re 24 now.  the record took forEVER…. it has been demo’d for ages and we finally laid down the real tracks in the last few months.

the artwork, as you saw, is fantastic.
here’s the back of the record:
04

and the record itself? it’s full of really wonderful, lush production….jason engineered & orchestrated much it himself and brought in a lot of heavy-hitter instrumentalists to flesh out the songs. there are full string sections, tons of different styles, and you’ll just have to hear it to know how awesome it is.

we got a slew of guest vocalists to join in on a song called “my space”. let it be known: this wasn’t a “we are the world” type situation in which all these people flew to LA and recorded different lines of the song in a studio under the direction of quincy jones. just so your bubbles aren’t burst when you get the record: everybody took 45 seconds out of their lives and EMAILED us a file of their voice singing THE SAME LINE, and we mixed it all together, gang-vocal-style. there was a minor tabloid blow-up while i was away announcing the album features the “singing debut of frances bean cobain.” oh good god. if you’re looking for that, wrong record. everybody was just having fun, and there’s almost no way to distinguish who’s singing what…it was mostly a show of symbolic support for the twins on the parts of all these kind people.

the guests include “weird al” yankovic, tegan quin, sara quin (from, um, tegan & sara), soko, jimmy urine (from mindless self indulgence) and his wife chantal claret (from morningwood), eugene mirman, corn mo, ethan and ari gold, andrew w.k., gerard way (from my chemical romance), kirsten vangsness, frances bean cobain, neil gaiman (how’d we get HIM??), margaret cho, franz nicolay, reverend peyton (of big damn band fame), kim boekbinder, zoe boekbinder (the two of which are known to many of you from vermillion lies), jason, and i think that’s it.

the album will be available for PRE-ORDER very soon (within the next few days, actually) and will be available digitally, on CD and/or VINYL, plus we’re coming up with a bunch of creative bundling packages at all different price levels with different goodies included….
PLEASE, PLEASE…take the time NOW to sign up for THE MAILING LIST.

it’s at http://www.amandapalmer.net/emaillist.html (just making SURE you have it)

THE PRE-ORDER WILL BE ANNOUNCED TO THE MAILING LIST BEFORE IT POSTS TO THE BLOG OR TO TWITTER, OR ANYWHERE ELSE!
if you’re not on the mailing list, you’ll be out of the loop until a few days later.

cynthia (the artist), jason and i are also encouraging the girls to work on a graphic novel depicting the story of their lives…and this is in full swing to be published by dark horse comics sometime next fall.

….and now?

it’s time to hit the road.
the twins have stayed living in their same town in washington (we gave them a really small advance on the record, and they’ve been able to move into slightly nicer room) and this tour is going to be their first forray into the world of rock and public performance!!! we’re all hoping of the best.

we did one little show in NYC a few weeks ago to get them their sea legs and it went pretty well.
we invited a few contest winners and friends and tried to make them as comfortable as possible.

they had a beautiful conjoined-dress hand-sewn for them JUST for the tour by the wonderful designer Kambriel (yes, THE Kambriel)…here’s a shot i took of her fitting them up in a new york hotel room a few weeks ago, while jason makes endless production phone calls….the video camera you see was Michael pope, who is the only videographer allowed anywhere near them (he shaved):
05

we’re trying to keep the tour relatively simple. they REALLY hate plane travel and so getting them to commit to the european tour was near impossible.
but they did it (and the first three london shows are fully sold out, which is fantastic! we just added a fourth; see dates).

the insanely talented and charming sxip shirey, who many of you already know, is coming on tour to help manage them and to play his own solo set.

the order of the evening will go something like this:

-doors-
a short set by JASON WEBLEY
a short set by AMANDA PALMER
a short set by SXIP SHIREY
-intermission- (GO BUY MERCH!!)
an hour-long set by EVELYN EVELYN
-end-

the whole evening will last between 2-3 hours, depending on the venue.

note: **jason, sxip and i will be signing stuff on any nights where there isn’t an absurd curfew or we don’t all need to fly out at 6am the next day.**

we tried to get the most high-class, comfortable venues possible, because we really want people to pay attention to what the twins are doing onstage.
if you’re coming to any of the shows, please respect the twins’ wishes that no photograph be taken of them unless you’ve been formally informed that it’s ok.  (but take all the photos you want of me, jason, and sxip; we love it)

and get tickets NOW — with the three shows in london being an indication of what’s to come, these will no doubt sell out like hotcakes…fast.
send these dates to ANYONE you know in these territories! here’s a link to tweet (feel free to edit/repost a similar link on facebook, myspace, etc): TOUR DATES for @AMANDAPALMER, @JASONWEBLEY, @SXIPSHIRY, and @EVELYNEVELYN up NOW at http://bit.ly/seeEElive

USA:
April 12 – OBERON in Cambridge, Massachusetts
April 13 – OBERON in Cambridge, Massachusetts

EUROPE:
April 17 – Òran Mór in Glasgow, Scotland
April 19 – The Academy in Dublin, Ireland
April 22 – Koko in Camden (London), UK
April 23 – [SOLD OUT!] Bush Hall in London, UK
April 24 – [SOLD OUT!] Bush Hall in London, UK
April 25 – [SOLD OUT!] Bush Hall in London, UK
April 27 – L’Europeen in Paris, France
April 28 – Melkweg in Amsterdam, Holland
April 29 – Kampnagel in Hamburg, Germany
May 1 – Babylon in Berlin, Germany
May 3 – Gloria in Köln (Cologne), Germany
May 4 – Arenbergschouwburg in Antwerp, Belgium

for additional information on all of these shows (including ticket links, times, ages, and more) click HERE.

oh, and
MORE US DATES FOR MAY/JUNE SOON TO BE ANNOUNCED, stay TUNED, and if you’re not on it: JOIN THE AFP MAILING LIST for first crack at many tickets and the pre-order packages!

love
AFP

p.s. my upcoming solo tour dates in oz and new zealand are HERE, too! sadly, i’ll be jason-less, sxip-less and twin-less, but the show are going to ROCK nonetheless-less.
plus neil will be with me for part of new zealand, hoorah!

06
(“stencil” mockup by cynthia von buhler)

Cross-posted to MySpace

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  • http://twitter.com/Jamwa Jamwa

    Will the girls be coming to Melbourne any time soon?

    • rachelsoma

      Probably not, the same question came up at the Sydney Ninja Gig (except about Syd instead of Melbourne) and Amanda said the girls were too uncomfortable with flying to come to Australia anytime in the near future

  • http://naturallydotty.wordpress.com Dragonsally

    ohhh, goodie. I’m looking forward to putting in my -re-order.

  • http://www.alifelessbinary.com/

    You are doing a beautiful thing here amanda, while respecting them as individuals and not cash-cows.
    I hope they will enjoy being on stage!

  • sharann

    This was awesome. I love that they are ducking the trend and making bad experiences into art. Fuck the man trying to keep the kids down. Go Team EE!

  • http://www.twitter.com/bekabee bekabee

    Amanda, I fucking love you.

  • Jonathan

    Can’t wait for the pre-order, Amanda. Excited to hear this record.

  • Kristin

    this sounds like an absurdly complicated venture. best of luck to all involved.

  • Jacinta

    Wow. Mind-blowing.

  • http://tiny-little-dot.livejournal.com/ tiny_little_dot

    This is wonderful. I love the art for the 7″ as well as the full album… and the graphic at the bottom of this blog post! Who did that?

    And lo, my sister & I are the same age as Evelyn-Evelyn! How about that.

    I love elephants. Despite the fact that the circus experiences were apparently awful, I’m a bit jealous they got to be friends with elephants.

  • http://twitter.com/skyler Skyler

    I love you Amanda Palmer. Break a leg on the new project.

  • Cas

    This sounds amazing. Pity I won’t get to see a show.

  • Shlay

    I hope the new album is as good as the Myspace teasers….

  • nicollee3

    Wow! That was incredibly interesting. Thanks to EE for letting that information be shared. ;) Thanks Amanda.

  • Sad.

    I was looking forward to this being an honest explanation of how Amanda and Jason came up with the fun idea to create and perform as these characters…and ever since the photo of “the twins” in the Spin article, I’ve been really disappointed that it’s just….kind of an odd lie. It would be one thing if it was just a vague performance art, but the whole horrible sob story to go along with it, when it’s obviously Jason & Amanda singing on the MySpace tracks, and obviously them in the photo? I don’t get it. I have no problem with the alter-ego performers as an act, it’s a brilliant idea and I love the music, but I don’t get why it’s cute to be dishonest with your fans. I’m a little offended by it, I was hoping this would be the outing of the joke.

    I really hope I’m wrong, and that they’re real, and there’s an explanation for the photo and the recorded tracks….but at this point I feel like my parents are still trying really hard to tell me Santa is real, after I’ve found the costume and the fake beard.

    Just be honest for half a second, and then I’m okay with playing along, I promise…

    • Boristhespider

      I think it’s more like us all getting together to pretend that Santa Claus is real. The idea of Evelyn Evelyn is a wonderful story. Obviously they’re Amanda and Jason. That’s obvious from the photos, the YouTube videos and the songs. You would have to be blind, deaf and very very stupid not to notice.

      Why do you think that telling a story like this (and it is obviously a story) is lying to fans. And surely the “outing of the joke” that you are asking for means the end of the joke. We are all at the beginning.

      • Andrew

        Then perhaps, since y’all are in on the joke, those of you who are quick to jump all over everyone who says the joke isn’t funny because people with disabilities don’t really enjoy being the butt of the joke could stop? That would be awesome, k?

        • Boristhespider

          I don’t see anyone mocking people with disabilities. Did I miss something?

          • untiltheviolencestops

            No, no one is mocking anybody outright. But to create a disabled alterego, especially one (two) whom we are asked so blatantly to pity, is grotesque and disrespectful to people who actually DO have to live with disabilities. Sorta like giving a model in Vogue a pair of crutches; it may seem fun/ interesting/ hardcore to the photographer who has a “vision,” but it’s probably not too fun/ interesting/ hardcore to the person who actually has to use crutches every day.

          • Min

            Well, I don’t think that it’s actually in any way mocking/exploiting disabled people, and I myself have grown up with a disability. What doesn’t sit right with me is how sad the story has gotten… child pornography? really? Unless this is real, which seems ridiculously unlikely, they’re going a little overboard with the backstory. I liked it a lot more when it was fun and quirky. Now it feels like they’re trying to make more of a statement, and its ruining things for me. Simplicity was good.

          • untiltheviolencestops

            exactly. if their alter-ego was a pair of conjoined twins, but they were just fun and fabulous and whatever, that’d be totally cool with me. sorta like being a drag queen, but a pair of conjoined twins instead. but to give them this very childish voice in their tweets/interviews, and then to be all like “THEY WERE ABUSED BY THE CIRCUS AND KIDDIE PORN,” is just icky. hell, even if they weren’t conjoined it’d be icky. it just gives me major douche chills.

          • graveyardfashions

            So, you’re saying that disabled people shouldn’t be in magazines or on stage? That someone wouldn’t want to emulate one of us disabled people honestly, but instead they must be making fun of us?

            I suppose if I bleach my hair, I’m making fun of blond people?

            You’ve got a strangely bigoted view of the world.

            Did you see the show _Carnival_ (in particular, the conjoined twin sisters who are “exploited” by the show), or ever read _The Phantom of the Opera_ (the phantom suffered a similar background as EvelynEvelyn). These are both fictitious characters that have had troubled pasts. Are they making fun of disabled people? Heck, Phantom isn’t even a hero – he’s the bad guy. You’d think that’d be even worse.

            As a disabled person, I’ve got to say this outrage is ludicrous. Of course it’s not making fun of us. It’s a story.

          • profmeta

            Right, because blond people are totally as marginalized and degraded in society as the disabled. Great analogy there. Next time compare racism to people who don’t like smokers.

          • untiltheviolencestops

            I don’t think I’m bigoted. Analogy: some people who didn’t like “Oasis” thought it was insensitive to rape survivors. I happen to think “Oasis” is brilliant. I also happen to be a rape survivor. But I don’t think people who find “Oasis” insensitive are automatically bigoted. I recognize that, in many cases, their concern comes from compassion.

            That’s what this is all about–compassion. AFP is a hugely compassionate person, as evidenced by her music, her project with Lexington High School, and basically everything about her. This story seems, well, not compassionate.

            Do I think inventing a disabled persona automatically means you’re making fun of disabled people? No. But I think giving that persona a very childlike voice, as AFP has done for Evelyn Evelyn, comes awfully close.

            And for the sake of argument, let’s say I wasn’t really a rape survivor and I just said that I was to “tell a story.” Would I be making fun of rape survivors? No, but it would be very disrespectful to people who actually were.

    • untiltheviolencestops

      I’d hoped for the same. I find it disingenuous and kind of upsetting. However, I also understand that AFP is in a shitty situation with her label, and I’m sure that has something to do with maintaining this charade. For that reason, I’m not actually upset about the fact that they’re being dishonest with their fans. What I’m upset about is the cover story they came up with; it seems discompassionate and exploitative to choose THIS particular cover story. The sob story, complete with the abusive circus and child porn; the cartoonishly childish voice that “the twins” take on in their tweets and their interview; etc. If you’re going to have an alter-ego, why does it have to be a pair of conjoined twins?

      And if this is NOT a hoax, then Jason and Amanda: please don’t dis on the twins by dressing up as them in SPIN. And if this is not a hoax, why the hell do the twins sound so much like you guys?

      I, too, really hope it’s not a hoax, because if it’s not a hoax, it’s kind of a beautiful story. I really am NOT easily inclined to be pissed off at Amanda or Jason; I’ve seen each of them live 3 times, I mean, I wrote a play called “Ampersand” for Pete’s sake. I just don’t find it cute or interesting to pretend that you’re helping a pair of lonely conjoined twins become rock stars when you’re not.

      • Sad.

        I completely agree with you. It’s the level to which they’ve gone with the sob story that is just…unsettling. And I’m not pissed off either, I just don’t understand why it had to go that far. I love Amanda for being one to push the envelope, but something about this doesn’t feel right anymore.

      • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

        So it’s “a beautiful story”, unless it’s a story?

        • untiltheviolencestops

          basically, yes. let’s say you and I were friends, and I told you that I’d had leukemia, but that I took a chance on some new medicine and it wreaked havoc on my body and it was awful but I persevered and now my leukemia is gone. if that story were true, that could be a beautiful story. if I wrote it AS A FICTIONAL STORY, it could be a beautiful story. but if I were just telling this to you, person to person, and you believed me, and then you found out that it wasn’t true, I have trouble imagining how you’d still find the story beautiful.

          many people on here are saying, “but it’s a work of fiction just like any other!” I disagree. it’s being presented as truth, and that makes it different. it doesn’t make it performance art, it just makes it a lie. I really had no reason to suspect that Evelyn Evelyn weren’t real. Amanda Palmer has done everything from stripping on the red carpet to getting engaged to my favorite author, so why WOULDN’T she be helping a pair of conjoined twins get their big break? typical AFP, really. when I discovered that they weren’t real, I was disappointed and angry because I’d been lied to. just like I’d be angry if I found out that my friend who told me she had leukemia did not actually have leukemia.

    • Laura

      … seriously? :|

    • Boristhespider

      I think

      second, and more painfully, my situation with Roadrunner Records (ahhhh) has made things very complicated.
      i’m still very legally entangled over there (though there is light at the end of the tunnel, and please say a little prayer for me every night!!) and while this isn’t even technically MY record (my name appears nowhere on it, except as a producer and a guest artist, along with jason webley’s name), i’ve needed to hide away and work in private as to not put myself, the project, or of course the girls in harm’s way.

      is fairly explicit as to why this isn’t an Amanda Palmer project, don’t you?

      • Sad.

        Yes, I do understand why her name might not legally be able to headline the project. It could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for needing the twins facade, and a very clever one at that, but that’s not really what I’m concerned with.

        I mean, I’m not arguing with what you’re saying. Maybe you’re right, and maybe at the end of the Roadrunner nightmare we’ll be allowed to hear another side of it that she just can’t publicly say right now without getting herself into trouble. I just don’t know.

    • Richard Fairgray

      Isn’t the fun of a fantasy being in on the fantasy? Are you the kid who punched magicians? Are you the person who ruins Princess Bride for people who believe the introduction? Welcome to the world of fiction and reality blurring, it is fun and we have cake.

      • untiltheviolencestops

        who said anything about punching magician? I was the kid who got sad when I realized the intro to Princess Bride was fake, and I’m sad again now. if Amanda Palmer were giving me cake I’d be less sad.

      • nogoodnik

        But do we have to have an exploitative and ableist fantasy?

        I don’t care that Amanda and Jason are making up fictional alter-egos – I understand the label situation, and I enjoy taking art to extremes as much as the next AFP fan. But… really, I’m shocked that so few people seem to be bothered by this, when if it was, for example, blackface, there’d be a huge outcry (no, I am not saying Amanda is likely to perform in blackface). It saddens me that the fiction has to be this PARTICULAR fiction, y’know?

        • Sad.

          Yes. Exactly.

          And….@Richard …I love magicians, and Princess Bride, and cake. But I think this has gone beyond blurring the lines of fantasy and reality. This is blatantly and grotesquely and shamelessly telling a large group of people (some of whom would follow you blindly to the ends of the Earth) that the fantasy is very real and had a horribly painful childhood, which judging by their Twitter account and apparent fear of facial hair, may have caused developmental damage.

          • Connie

            I can see where you’re coming from but I personally don’t think the backstory goes overboard. I agree that they probably shouldn’t have included the sob story, but I see that story and their being conjoined as two entirely separate things, not cause and effect.

        • http://blog.themerchgirl.net Creatrix Tiara

          I was reading a blog article (http://disabledfeminists.com/2010/02/09/evelyn-evelyn-ableism-ableism/) about the potentially exploitative nature of this project – man, talk about seeing things in a different light! I didn’t pay much attention to this beforehand, but now with this blog post and the comments after this thread (and having seen stranger things happen) I am now thoroughly confused. Real, not real, exaggerated?! It’s like Blair Witch set in a carnival.

          There are probably actual conjoined twins out there that are entertainers to some degree; I wonder what their take is on the whole matter. And, as a newbred circus kid, if I knew there were circuses peddling in child porn and abuse my first instinct probably wouldn’t be to make a record but to actually highlight the issue of exploitation in the circus industry.

          Though it would be a lovely twist if the proceeds from this album went towards a social circus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Circus) project! Have fun, do good, have this story make a little bit more sense. Some examples:
          http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/about/global-citizenship/community/social-circus/cirque-du-monde.aspx – Cirque du Monde, Cirque du Soleil’s social circus program
          http://www.ikoporan.org/en/social-circus.html – Social circus in Brazil
          http://www.letscircus.com/community.htm – Let’s Circus in the UK
          Australian women’s community circuses (I’m part of Vulcana, they are AWESOME, and the scene in general has been a key part of women’s communities in Oz)
          http://www.circus.co.za/socialcircus.htm – African social circus for disadvantaged kids

          *is now both confused and buzzing with ideas*

    • nrc

      I can understand why she can’t be up front about it. I could probably overlook all of it and just be amused if the result of the subterfuge were something really brilliant. Sadly the three songs posted on MySpace so far just seem like a goof.

      Maybe there’s more substance in there that we haven’t heard so far. I hope so. It would be really unfortunate to follow up something as brilliant as WKAP with a lark like this appears to be.

      Add to that the show line-up. Short sets by Jason and Amanda followed by an hour of performing as EE – a convoluted charade that prevents either artist from performing to their ability? I’m sorry, but the “art” of this bit doesn’t merit asking your fans to play along with that.

    • West Texan

      This may be off topic (and WILL be lengthy) so I apologize where appropriate, but I wanted to share my thoughts on Neil Gaiman’s role in all the Evelyn Evelyn publicity:

      Several weeks ago, after one of NG’s posts or tweets (don’t remember which) I discussed the “red flags” with friends to see if it was just me being super-skeptical. 99% of me says, “It’s clearly a publicity thing,” but 1% of me is uncertain, because of Gaiman’s seeming confirmations.

      Now, I love fiction, the weirder the better, and I will buy almost anything with the words “Neil Gaiman” on the cover for that reason alone. Which is where my unease lies: When I spend money on something of Gaiman’s, *I know I’m getting fiction.* It’s very clear that these are made up things and, though they might be BASED on real experiences, are not meant to be taken as real in and of themselves. (Unless, of course, he’s writing a textbook or… oh, you know what I mean.)

      If, however, I were to buy tickets to the Evelyn Evelyn show based on his assertion that the twins are legit and it’s “the grisly truth” – if I were to take his statements in good faith and put my money there to find out it was all an elaborate prank or work-around for contractual issues, that’s… well, yeah, deceptive.

      Fortunately, I’m not a live-music person (health issues), and I doubt the show will ever be within 800 miles of where I am, so it’s moot for me personally, but it still feels a bit icky. If he’s using his influence (for lack of a better phrase) to convince people that it’s For Real, so that it catches more attention and Amanda makes more money, IMO that’s dishonest. And I don’t like saying that about someone whose writing and mindsets I usually enjoy and agree with so wholeheartedly, but there’s really no other word that suits.

      Given what Amanda’s written above – child porn, circus life – along with all the other red flags, I’m convinced that it is a hoax. Perhaps for a good reason (label issues, not that I understand that stuff), but even so. A hoax that you pull off on April Fool’s Day and everyone laughs is one thing. A hoax that you profit from… whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

      I’ve only known of Amanda through NG’s relationship with her, so again – I have nothing vested in this… other than my (now shaken) perception of NG as someone I can quote with reasonable assurance of his trustworthiness, accuracy, and integrity. (I’m reminded of his recent queries to find out about the alleged Viking tombs in the Great Wall of China and his conclusion that “it was a journalistic trick called ‘making stuff up for effect’. Pity.”)

    • goughicart

      I think because this is music, as opposed to film, theatre or a gallery setting, the pretext may feel somehow disingenuous and therefore unsettling. Rock-or straight out rock- has always been presented from the subtext of authenticity over artifice, but Amanda has always flouted rock credentials, for spectacle and performance in her act-and remember this is an act.

      To my mind, this is no different to the alter ego characterizations of someone like Bowie, who in 1995 created an album (1.Outiside) based around the death of a seven year old child, whose body had been dissected and displayed as an act of ritual art. Of course, Bowie never approached it from the premise that this was anything other than the work of fiction, but again personal subjective distaste for the subject matter does not preclude the fact that such awful things as infanticide are a reality.
      The question then is should any author take on any uncomfortable subject and make it art-and if not, then what should comfortably fall within the auspices of considered art and what would fall outside that boundry? I don’t think there is an answer to that because art by its nature should challenge the equanimity of social rule, and ask questions of preconception.

      • http://blog.themerchgirl.net Creatrix Tiara

        I suppose the good thing about work like these is that it makes us think – and hopefully, in some way, the Evelyn^2 project will get us thinking of the other “freaks” in our world and whether they are given a voice – or whether their agency is taken from there. Considering it was a lot easier to get RATM #1 on Christmas than it is to work out a solution for stopping child porn…I’m not so sure.

      • Jenn

        “[A]rt by its nature should challenge the equanimity of social rule, and ask questions of preconception.”

        Except, this doesn’t do that. This is exploitation of a fictional narrative, which in and of itself is the exploitation the exploitative themes.

        One could claim that the status quo was being challenged if, and only if, the subject being exploited here was the establishment that actively exploits others, but that is not what is happening. Instead, what we have is the (forgive me, I know the word is being used in hyperdrive, but it does help to drive my point here) exploiting the exploitation of the exploited. The victim, real or fictional, remains the same. And when we live in the context that the establishment frequently is guilty of manipulating and mining the tragedies of others, this does not even come close to challenging social rule.

        Unless, of course, you are just opening the door to conversation on such injustice. When you actively refuse to join that conversation, however, you negate the possibility of this option and one can only assume that this is not the objective.

        • goughicart

          I hear what you are saying, but again we are dealing with a fictional narrative as metaphor. By the same set of assertions of exploitation that you ascribe to this project, one should denounce something such as Oliver Twist or the Lovely Bones for the same.

          I don’t see this as anything less than an extension of the who killed Amanda Palmer project-I don’t recall any such vilification of its themes or its inherent implication. After all, was that making any less light of mutilation and violent death?
          And here is another thing-if Amanda was to suddenly announce that she herself had been a victim of abuse as a child, would it make the project less vilified as objectification, or would that somehow give her a free pass as catharsis? What does that say about how we speculate authenticity and how we perceive art? Very little-why, because it’s always going to be subjective when filtered through the head space of the viewer.

          As inherently colored by controversy as the concept is, it certainly is asking questions.What remains at the core is that Amanda as an artist felt integrally motivated to dress this project in those issues, and I don’t believe she did so lightly. In the sense that it has sparked debate, and requires deeper thinking, its remarkable in this age of pop vacuous and marks it as unique, certainly within the musical arena. Perhaps that’s the point.

          • Jenn

            “One should denounce something such as […] the Lovely Bones for the same.”
            I do. I say that, not to challenge you, but to offer you a greater picture that verifies that this is exactly where I am coming from.

            I view WKAP in a different light because it is the “victim,” which would normally be robbed of any agency, that is in control of the portrayal. I understand that this project could come from place of personal truth (in regards to the posed “And here is another thing-if Amanda was to suddenly announce that she herself had been a victim of abuse as a child, would it make the project less vilified as objectification…?”), but I would still expect better of this.

            I think what makes this particularly unnerving for me is not the seriousness of the subjects at hand (disability, “freaks”, child pornography, abuse, etc.), but the use of these subjects to build an outlandish story, a caricature. And what I find supremely bothersome about the narrative is the (quite enthusiastic) exploitation of the Evelyn characters by the Amanda Palmer character. The savior quality of the this Amanda Palmer character (and also the Jason Webley character), this aggrandizing is impossible without the purposeful exploitation of the Twins’ otherness and tragedy. Like I said before, it is not simply the exploitation of the story itself, it’s also the exploitation within the story. Even as metaphor, it fails to work if it continues to play into traditional tropes.

            All that said, I respect the right for AFP to make whatever art she feels compelled to. On that same note, I have the right to question it, criticize it, implore it and draw conclusions about it. And as fan, as a public that attempts to ask questions about the art in an attempt to understand it more completely just to be dismissed, we are left to our own conclusions.

            I would never demand AFP, or any artist for that matter, amend their work to my taste or preference. It does not change the fact that there are echoes of privilege in this piece.

          • Jenn

            Sorry to revisit this so quickly…

            In short, art exist to serve two purposes: the satisfaction of the artist and the satisfaction of the patron. One does not guarantee the other. It is not a balanced relationship for the artist and the patron, as their respective powers are completely different: one of intent, and one of interpretation, respectively.

            The intention is always true, even if it’s context is left unstudied. The interpretation is no less true. This entire controversy is evidence of that: Amanda Palmer meant what she intended. But, the privilege is still there. If art doesn’t compel both the artist and the patron to express their opinions and viewpoints and emotion, then it is empty. The conversation that bridges the two objectives, intent and interpretation, is where the beauty lies.

      • grumblepuppy

        I know I’m coming at this late, but…

        ” I don’t think there is an answer to that because art by its nature should challenge the equanimity of social rule, and ask questions of preconception.”

        Well, I do actually disagree about that. Art, by its very nature, should do whatever the fuck it wants. The creative process is whatever the artist makes it. Some art is uplifting, some art supportive of some folks, some disturbing, some offensive, some wildly psychotic. Some art even comforts the comfortable and mocks the downtrodden.

        And, of course, no art is immune to criticism.

        Art is what people make of it. I don’t think there’s anything terrible about taking ablist tropes and playing with them. Some folks might well be offended, and that’s OK. (This might just be me, but art that fucks with my sensibilities is frequently my favorite art.) And it is perfectly fine to disagree with me on this.

        If I had to guess, AFP’s dismissive replies are part of what she’s doing, but I could well be wrong about that.

        I guess I’ll end this rant with, “remember Pisschrist.” Whatever you think of merit, it offended a lot of very sincere people, and some very good people. The power imbalance between a previously not-very-well-known guy on the LES (in my opinion, a bit of a jerk, but that’s beside the point) and the church isn’t what made it “in bounds”.

    • cybergnome

      I suspect the line about Roadrunner Records may be the giveaway; amanda palmer is still technically signed to that label, so is most likely contractually obliged to not release records on another label. Evelyn Evelyn, on the other hand, are not.

      It would be a touching story if it were true, wouldn’t it? I guess I always thought it wasn’t but the longer it’s gone on and the more sure that it wasn’t, the more I wanted to believe it was. Horrible exploitative things happen to people all the time, wouldn’t it be nice if some poor naive folk who were ripe for record industry exploitation were, for once, helped along their way to being heard and supporting themselves with their music by people who treat them with respect and kindness?

    • insignifikunt

      I think coming clean right now would jeopardize the whole thing. Sure it’s obvious it’s Amanda, but if she were to actually admit it, she would be in trouble with Road Runner if things don’t go as she is hoping they will.

      Secondly, what is wrong with making up a story to go along with it? Sure maybe they didn’t have to go as far as to make it a sob story and bring in issues like child porn, but Amanda and Jason are creative people. They write lyrics, a form of story telling, some time fiction, sometimes not. That blog is another different form of story telling.

      I just think people have to take it as it is, two creative people creating something. It’s not lying, it’s storytelling. Why is it ok for authors to write fiction novels but it’s not ok for Amanda and Jason to create Evelyn Evelyn? I’m sure there are thousands of authors out there who have written novels about things they’ve never experienced in their lives and are they aren’t met with criticism.

      There are some things that are pretty tacky about this whole thing like the whole Amanda and Jason to the rescue thing but who cares, how many novels and movies are there out there that follow the same formula and they still entertain!

      Anyway I just don’t get why everyone is making such a big deal about the negative aspects in this and are failing to see just how great a marketing and publicity tool this is. It is genius and thinking outside the box like Amanda and Jason have done is a brilliant example for young musicians today. I’m not saying people should be making up different persona’s and or whatever, but knowing your obstacles and finding ways to overcome them….

      Maybe the whole sob story thing is a metaphor for Amanda finding a way to overcome her issues with RR? Maybe I am just making excuses… Either way I think there are some things about this whole project that are awesome!

      I know AFP isn’t perfect, there are quite a few things she has said or done that I don’t agree with or find negative but this isn’t one if them!

      • Sad.

        Personally, I know I didn’t comment here to “have a bitch” about the project. I’m actually really excited to hear it, and plan on getting in on the pre-sale action. I agree, it’s an incredibly creative, bold, quirky, and even FUN concept for an artistic performance, and I love that. I’m no prude when it comes to performance art, I’m a big music and theatre person. Amanda and Jason have created something very interesting and original and risque, and I’m looking forward to hearing the album and seeing them perform it live. I think they’re both very intelligent artists who can get away with being this edgy with their talent.

        I’m not angry with them, or the project. I know that neither of them would ever mean to insult anyone who’d been in similar situations as “the twins”, OR mean to insult their fans. That would be suicide, and they’re not stupid or insensitive. I’m certainly not saying they needed to ask a real conjoined set of twins/abuse victims permission to make up a story like this (although I think I do agree to an extent with people who are saying “fiction is consentual”)…. And yes, people can argue that it may have been obvious from the beginning, if you did immediately youtube and myspace and google the shit out of it instead of just trusting AFP, JW, or NG’s word that these girls were real. But in their defense, not everyone works that way.

        There’s no need to call any other fans idiots or bitches or haters or PC naysayers. We’re all fans, and we’re all entitled to our opinions. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the different perspectives and reactions to this. Amanda and Jason are passionate people, and they have passionate followers. Just don’t turn on each other, people. The beautiful thing about art, as so many here have been pointing out, is that everyone absorbs it differently. Some people have been turned off or offended or hurt at this point, and some people have solidified their unabashed support of the EvelynEvelyn concept. It’s making people react, and that’s great. That’s what art’s for. But I do hope they, in turn, have some reaction to all this feedback. A huge part of what I love about Amanda is her solid CONNECTION with her fans, and I guess I feel like she’s been less connected about this. And that may very well be because she CAN’T be connected yet (RR drama, etc.), and I hear that. I’m just very interested in what they’d both have to say about all of it.

        Express yourselves respectfully, ladies and gents and all in between. We are all fans. If we all had the same thoughts and opinions, it would be creepy.

        xo.

        • insignifikunt

          I didn’t call anyone an idiot, bitch or hater! I didn’t feel like my response was abusive towards anyone, just a response…

          • Sad.

            Oh, I wasn’t saying YOU did. I’m sorry, I should have clarified that, seeing as I was technically responding to you. I respect your responses because you’re speaking like a rational, thoughtful person, and not someone with blind blog-rage….

  • Randi

    I’m really hoping they can come do a show in the New Jersey/New York/ Philadelphia area!

  • Name

    What a compelling story! Thank you for showing compassion to two girls who have been throug a lot of hell, apparently. Another reason for me to love you.
    Love, Kate

  • Love.

    Come to Chicagoland. :] or Milwaukee.

  • Samismydog

    Amanda, I have read this blog posting three times. I am completely inspired, enthralled, and delighted. Your talents and taste have brought so much beauty to this world. Thank you for introducing us to Evelyn Evelyn.

    Should you ever bring this lovely duo to San Francisco, please let me know. I would be honored to put them up at a fancy hotel that I work at, treat them like princesses, and see to it that this lovely city welcomes them with open arms.

  • maevele
  • http://rumanddonuts.blogspot.com/ Morgan Atwood

    I say this with a great deal of love and compassion, really; Fuck the haters.
    Everyone ragging on Evelyn Evelyn and AFP, et al, sound like folks lacking imagination or a sense of wonder and fun taking shots at those who are rich in those things.
    Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. It really is that simple people.
    Me? I love wonder, imagination and fun. This is a cool project and an awesome idea. And so far, it sounds amazing. Looking forward very much to the full album.

    • Connie

      I don’t thing anyone is “ragging” on AFP – anyone who reads this blog is a fan to some degree. And as fans people are expressing their honest concern about her work. Nowhere does it say that a fan must follow an artist blindly like an automaton – AFP’s just human at any rate.

      • lesabo

        Like I said, I just feel it’s artistically dishonest. Theres people commenting on here that seem to think Evelyn Evelyn are real people when it’s just Jason and Amanda playing some silly songs together. Possibly in a conjoined twins dress.

        • Connie

          Speaking personally – I knew from the beginning because I simply recognised Webley and Palmer’s voices (and then YouTube confirmed for me). I’m actually surprised that people are getting fooled by this – but then again I’m a pretty hardcore fan and I think I’d recognise AFP’s voice anywhere. Seems like they may have had the same idea as me (ie. everyone will see through it) and that it was a good way to circumvent the contract (which may just be that Palmer’s name can’t be attached to a record as a singer-songwriter – regardless of whether her voice is recognisable – but that it’s perfectly fine for her to promote/produce a record.)

        • http://rumanddonuts.blogspot.com/ Morgan Atwood

          Short of plagiarism and forgery I’m not even sure artistic dishonesty can exist (and even then, is the art dishonest, or the artist?).
          If an artist is being true to their creative vision, their wonder and muse, then how are they being dishonest?
          I’m a writer – Some of the non-fiction I’ve written, from my own life, people have thought was fiction. Some of the fiction I have written people have thought was true. And people have been upset when they found out differently. But I did not betray them. I did not trick them. I was not dishonest with them. I simply told stories, I followed my muse, I committed my art truthfully to the art and the muse – If the reader walks away feeling betrayed, the reader betrayed themselves. Their conception, their understanding, and the desire they built for what they wanted the art to be is what betrayed them – The art didn’t, the artist didn’t.
          Does the artist create the environment for the audiences betrayal, their feelings of being lied to? Yes. But the audience brings the burdens with them, they create and hold the idols, the desires, of what the artist offers, that when unproven leave them feeling somehow lied to.

          As an artist, personally, I feel like maybe I’ve really done something when what I’ve created so stirs people, is so compelling in some fashion as to create deep desire in them for it to be as they first perceived it. As a reader, I know those feelings well, and I know the feeling of “they lied”, and I know that only comes from the desire I bring to the picture. If an artist so creates that desire, I think its a good thing.
          So maybe I should take back what I said… Love the haters. Y’all are awesome. You prove it works. In fact, no maybe to it, I take it back. I was wrong – Love the haters, y’all prove the whole eggo.

      • http://rumanddonuts.blogspot.com/ Morgan Atwood

        I think I sound too serious above.
        Everyone is entitled to feel how they feel – Obviously everyone here is a fan, or a random actual hater here to be a hateful hating… you see where I’m going. And no, blind following wasn’t what I was encouraging at all. I’d say you were all sheep if everyone just melted over the idea because AFP birthed it – Drinking the Flavor-Aid is bad kids. But I also think people are a wee bit worked up over essentially nothing.
        Its creativity, its art, its imagination – And it is the imagination/creativity/art of people other than the comment makers.
        I don’t think this is as serious as some seem to – It is not, as an linked blog post earlier suggested, some great travesty of able bodied people capitalizing on disability. It is not some grand dishonest scheme to trick or bilk the fans. It is PERFORMANCE. It either resonates with you, or it doesn’t.
        Evelyn Evelyn are characters, and while I realize some people miss subtlety and the misdirection requisite both this sort of performance and possibly the current label situation, for the most part I believe that has been clear. And if it hasn’t? Then the performance is even more of a success – Some performances are so good, the performer disappears entirely and that can be a very good thing.
        My point is, the performers job is to do their thing… The audience can take it or leave it, but the art is the artists. Speaking personally, I find the art in this case amazing.

        • stylishb

          Performance doesn’t get a free pass for simply being performance. Plenty of performance is negative and patronising and messed up. Are you arguing that obviously racist performance should go uncritiqued because it happens to resonate with some people? Homophobic performance?

          Nobody is calling for censorship. Just a recognition that using child porn as just another lever with which to be edgy is not good or interesting.

          • http://rumanddonuts.blogspot.com/ Morgan Atwood

            I think critique, to be valuable, has to be fairly substantial. Bitching isn’t critique, its bitching. I see a lot of this fluff as being bitching. Everyone is entitled to bitch, surely, but how much meaning do we attach to it?
            I think there is a difference between making a character choice, and actually engaging in abusive behavior. I do not see Evelyn Evelyn as abusive or exploitative of disabled persons (and are conjoined twins disabled? Has anyone asked the Hensel twins?). I see no desire on the part of AFP or Jason Webley to malign, attack or in any way put down anyone with a disability, a rough childhood, or anything else. I see them creating a very robust pair of characters, with detailed background.
            Obvious racism, obvious homophobia, are different. I still feel they are protected under the First Amendment, in the United States, and will fight to defend the right of people to say such things. Mainly because infringing their right opens up the way to infringing your and my right to argue the point.
            Racism, homophobia; Those are not things to be fought with bitching either, they are certainly to be met with strong critique. I think even a certain amount of vitriol is justified, so long as it doesn’t overpower the strength of our arguments as just, rational, sane people who don’t dislike others for nonsense like their skincolor or who they bump fuzzies (mmm, fuzzies) with.

            Authors, screenwriters and playwrights use disability, disease, childhood abuse (sexual and otherwise) and all manner of other horrors in creating their characters all the time. Some use it as a lever (ever watched Law & Order? Read a popular novel? Seen a mainstream film?), some use it more carefully in creating the definitions, textures and other fundamentals of a character, if not an entire story.
            Our experiences as humans, good and bad, are what shape us, or provide the material from which we shape ourselves. Childhood abuse is one of those experiences that, whether we want it to or not, shapes us as we grow older – Overcoming the tripping places my abuse as a child left in my worldview and psyche is a continuing process. In creating robust characters (of any sort, performance or on the page) this depth is essential. I don’t see it as exploitative or demeaning to those who actually have that experience. I don’t see it as using others pain merely as a leveraging tool.
            I cringed a little at the child abuse ref… but it is absurdist. Conjoined twin child porn starlets? It’s twisted, yes. It’s not supposed to give anyone the warm-fuzzys, I’m sure. But there is something to it… And it is more than just an edgy hook. I think there is a fairly fundamental something to it, like a lot of absurd stagings; It forces the audience outside both the box of their comfort zone, and the typical box in which they place the thing being used absurdly, in this case, child sex trafficking and pornography. This is a good thing – It doesn’t deaden us, it doesn’t demean the victims or cheapen their horror – Forcing the perspective to leap, sometimes quantumly, into a different place and angle is good for us, it gives our perspectives greater strength. We gain depth of field through this type of thing, which strengthens us in reviling and combating such awfulness as actual child porn.
            Or, I do, at least. I can’t speak for anyone else – I think this is generally true, what I’ve said here is part of my philosophy as an artist working with characters and their stories, and is part of what I want to do with my audience (readers). But, if it doesn’t work for you, okay. Not saying it has to for everyone.

          • stylishb

            This ‘bitching’ is grounded in logic and proper argumentation..two things you seem to be estranged from.

            ‘Character choice’ is not a get out of jail free card when the character choice plays into destructive, exploitative stereotypes. Using sexual abuse and disability (yes it is a disability..Christ..) as an edgy prop to add background coolness is not okay.

            If Law and Order does it..it is wrong. I have never watched Law and Order. I am talking about Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley. When they do it, it is wrong too. I would have thought that most people would hope that they would aim higher and be better than this.

            Nobody is arguing for censorship so your mentioning of that is utterly redundant.

            These are not robust characters with depth. They are kooky women-children who are presented as being innocent and enchanting and guileless which is supposed to be especially interesting and cool to us because gosh they were raped and abused. Only its all made up and the abuse is mentioned as a tactic to emphasise how wicked cool these creatures are.

            If you can respond succinctly and resist the urge to do what you just did and vomit a screed of pretentious cockwaffle in my general direction I will respond with further insight.

          • http://baylink.pitas.com/ Baylink

            Thank you. I’ve been a having a difficult time enumerating precisely why this pissed me off so badly, and that does it rather well.

            I see from comments further upthread that I’m not the only one with the B-word floating through my head.

            Clearly, the majority opinion is that I merely came to work in the NFL without my pads, something I would have thought impossible after 25 years on the net. But either all those people are nuts, or I am. I’m inclined to think it’s not me, but I’ve posted the link on my own Facebook page for comment by people whom I know personally are not at all nuts, and we’ll see whether my reaction (at which some people were apparently agahst) is really unreasonable or not.

            I’m sticking with “fiction is supposed to be consensual. Otherwise it’s just lying to people.”

          • http://rumanddonuts.blogspot.com/ Morgan Atwood

            Quote: “If you can respond succinctly and resist the urge to do what you just did and vomit a screed of pretentious cockwaffle in my general direction I will respond with further insight.”
            You accuse me of pretentious cockwaffle (love that by the way!), only to end by offering to deign to mingle with such commoners as myself and grant me the benefit of your (by implication) superior intellect? Arrogant much, friend?
            I didn’t realize we were in a logic or debate class, sorry, I’ll prepare better in the future. Actually I won’t, as I’m not arguing. I’m expressing a feeling, or a set of them -I came at it as an artist, it’s about feelings and perception. I didn’t sign up for debate class, I made a comment on how I feel about someones art. Maybe a cop out, but that’s okay I’m good with it (and that’s all that matters, I’m the one saying it).

            It’s art – Art is what it is to the people receiving it. I stick by everything I said.
            I have no clear idea what you actually take objection to in what I said. I have a rough idea, but you seem far more offended than the couple points I can specifically identify. Maybe if you clarified the extent of what I said that was so inappropriate, we might have some grounds to debate?
            On those few murky points…
            As for disability – Yes, many conjoined twins are disabled, but while rare some are fully able to do the things they desire (the Hensel twins I mentioned seem to be in this category) and may not actually be too keen to call themselves disabled. The Evelyn Evelyn duo, fictitious or not, are obviously in the able and capable category of conjoined twins – Would they call themselves disabled? I wasn’t saying they wouldn’t absolutely, merely making the suggestion. I’m fairly versed in disabilities and the disabled, from my own family, and I’ve been a healthcare worker before – I by no means meant any insensitivity or insult to those with disabilities with what I said. Sincere apologies if you, or anyone else, felt that I was.

            As for censorship – That word appears in both of your replies to me, and not in my reply to you. I have no idea what you’re on about with that one. I never once encouraged censorship or said anyone was encouraging censorship. Essentially I said many of the commentators appear to, simply, have sand in their nethers and be bitching. Maybe not an accurate generalization, but that feeling certainly pervades a lot of whats been said.

            I think we’re agreed that Law&Order etc. make wrong use of such material – That was my point, actually.
            I was not mentioning such mainstream abuses to justify, but rather to contrast. AFP/Webley are not Law&Order/Mainstream film. I find their approach much different, and not exploitative.
            That’s a perception we obviously don’t share,but really I’m not here to convince you, I’m here to offer my thoughts; take ‘em or leave ‘em freely.
            I think art is subjective, as the audience we are responsible for much of what we take away from it. We like it, or we don’t, we find it valid, or we don’t. It’s art, it’s not science, not logic, not mathematics – It’s art.
            I find the Evelyn Evelyn project to be valid – I like it. I’ve explained why I see it as valid, and contrasted that with why some people dislike it. So, we disagree, that’s cool. Like I said, I’m not here to offer my insights from on high – I’m just another soldier in the trenches, giving some support to a project I like.

  • lesabo

    I don’t quite understand the need to go on with this silly backstory, seems kind of exploitive of people who aren’t inquisitive enough to read further into it and just realize it’s another side project. Tricking a bunch of people into seeing something they weren’t expecting doesn’t quite seem right. On the other hand, she probably has to do all this due to legal reasons with Roadrunner, but I’m not even sure if that would hold up as they’d probably see through this too. Listened to the demos on the myspace and don’t much care for them anyways, oh well.

  • http://www.fashionadjacent.com/ Omega

    I too would have been delighted to play along… but this whole thing has left a really sour taste in my mouth.

    Child abuse isn’t a joke, and weaving it into a backstory for extra punch? Lying to all of us for all this time?

    not cool. not cool at all. I feel so betrayed :(

    untill now- this fan/artist relationship was based on honesty. raw, beautiful, ragged, sometimes uncomfortable, but always pure, honesty.

    Until now. :(

    (there’s still a part of me that wants to be utterly, utterly wrong about this.)

  • lynn

    will the record/vinyl also be distributed by amazon (europe)? ordering from overseas is so incredibly expensive and though i think you’ve naturally deserved all the money and i would order it if it weren’t about 20 bucks extra (from experience) … is there a chance?

  • chrisdonia

    It’s all a bit Emperor’s New Clothes around here…

    The real story may be in the question of what happened to the astonishing vanishing Edinburgh date – which has silently disappeared from all the listings :(

  • Dominik

    Won’t there be more dates in Europe like Vienna or Munich? :(

  • stylishb

    Enormous fan and first time commenter here…

    This is seriously distressing stuff. Using child porn, abuse and disability to add a bit of colour to a musical project is just so wrong and tacky.

    Oh but it’s fictional…right. Fine. But as others above have asked, why this particular fiction? Why does this seem interesting and meaty to people? Why is it predicated on the notion that people will be enthralled by misery and sexual violence? Is it really OK to coast along on that..to make hay with that?

    Even if Amanda and Jason turn round and say ‘well we’re doing it to provoke discussion on these issues PSYCHE’ it absolutely will not wash.

  • http://atrus.wordpress.com/ Atrus

    This is starting to look like those people who go to ARG sites and say “this is not real, why don’t you post a disclaimer saying this is not real?!”
    Well, because the ARG site is ‘in game’, so it can’t say it’s not real. For the purpose fo the EE project, Evelyn and Evelyn are real. To use the Santa example, it’s as if your dad came in in a full Santa costume shouting “By the way, it’s really me, dad!”. Yes dad, we know, duh.
    If someone’s really interested in EE they can make a quick google search and find the videos, the photograph, and all the other stuff hinting that it’s not real. If they don’t, they’re probably just going to forget about it in 10 minutes.

    • stylishb

      I don’t think it is the falseness that people are taking issue with, but the particular brand of falseness. The story of sexually abused circus freak conjoined twins who are eccentric but innocently wondrous and who need the assistance of two able bodied people to reach their full potential rests on any number of established cliches, media treatments and negative attitudes to disablity.

      Roleplaying these characters for edginess is not cool, just as it would be not cool for Amanda to role play any other minority that people have skewed fascinations with and attempt to speak for them.

      • Camilla

        Yes, thank you for putting it so succinctly – this is exactly why I find it disturbing. I hope people will take some time to go and read up a bit on ableism, power and privilege, and come to realise what is so problematic about this. I mean, even if it *was* true, the way it’s been framed would still be of concern.

        • http://baylink.pitas.com/ Baylink

          Oddly, I didn’t have any problem with it on that front to speak of — I’m a fairly liberal guy, even as the interwebs go — *right* up until I found out it was all a lie, and Mr Gaiman was quietly complicit in it.

      • http://atrus.wordpress.com/ Atrus

        I guess I’m then ‘jaded’ about that sort of thing. The child porn thing made me raise an eyebrow, but I don’t see it as an absolute no-no, since it’s the kind of thing that happens all too often to poor people left to themselves.

        It also actually makes sense with the concept they’re playing with: the vibe I got from their twitter was not that of a ‘genius cripple’, but of two very smart girls that life left a bit out of sync with society. Meeting with different cultures can have that effect: you can be a great person in your own world, but meet with a different way of life and for a good while you’ll be the guy everyone will be rolling their eyes at saying “God, he’s DUMB”. If that’s a stereotype, it’s a real one in all facets of our society.

        The circus life then made them good at synchronization, the abuse possibly explains some of their phobias (cameraphobia in particular) , and knowing how to play several instruments is hard but not impossible or ‘circus wonder’-like (after all, both Jason and Amanda do). As for them needing help getting into the business… well yes, that’s what producers and agents are for, because musicians are usually good at being musicians but not at marketing or sales or legal or any of the 1000 things that go behind being a performer. I’m sure more producers would describe the process of making an album as “frustrating” if they could, even without disabilities involved.

    • http://blog.themerchgirl.net Creatrix Tiara

      ha! an AFP ARG! that would be something quite interesting!

  • rukey

    To me, it has a kind of Victorian/Edwardian/goth-tinged cirque du freak appeal to it which makes an awful lot of sense, given Amanda’s aesthetic. More than anything, i’m reminded of Jeff Mangum’s obsession with Anne Frank – which inspired the whole incredible album of ‘In the aeroplane over the sea'; (which everyone knows Amanda adores too, rightly so) – the conjuring up of a powerful, ghostly, slightly uncanny channel for your music & art. I don’t have a problem with that, at all, or the elaborate invented backstory, though I can see how it might offend – it just doesn’t offend me at all.

    I think a bunch of people, including me, might be a little more put out by the fact that if anything, it seems like a massive in-joke which a select group of people think is brilliant, and which, of course, serves a legal purpose, but makes the rest of us feel like we’re saps. And the above post seems to shout that. I’m sure it’s not meant to, but it does.

    • rukey

      You know what, if it’s really obvious it’s not real and you can tell that straightaway then i just haven’t done enough research around it, and am jumping to conclusions. I guess the veil would be lifted if i actually bothered to look at the Myspace. I get that you’re not in on the joke unless you bother to inquire further. Well, that’s fair enough.

    • stylishb

      Reducing sexual violence and disability to an ‘aesthetic’ is problematic, no?

      This stuff is being used as a badge. To sell. To add flavour.

  • http://www.twitter.com/bohemiacademia Scarlett de Courcier

    It’s been said already, but I’m going to say it again…

    I think it’s always been obvious that EE is AFP and JW, and everyone’s been pretty cool with that. Personally, I wasn’t expecting an all-things-laid-bare account of the Evelyn Evelyn story; I have no problem with the fact that AFP hasn’t come out and told us everything about it, and I think that at base people aren’t having so much of a problem with that, even though some are disappointed because we’d love to know the actual story.

    The problem, as has been noted by many people above, is how the story panned out. If it had just been another “this is Evelyn, this is Evelyn” thing, we wouldn’t have minded. But child porn? Seriously? That’s the kind of thing you don’t mess around with lightly.

    Lots of people are really disappointed, and I’ll be interested to see how AFP responds…

    • http://baylink.pitas.com/ Baylink

      > I think it’s always been obvious that EE is AFP and JW, and everyone’s been pretty cool with that.

      Yup. Everyone to whom it’s obvious is cool with it.

  • http://scarygirl.tumblr.com/ scarygirl

    Fucking sweet! I can’t wait.

  • http://scarygirl.tumblr.com/ scarygirl

    Also the PC naysayers can go die in a fire. The Evelyn Twins *act* has themes of child abuse, violence, isolation and disability. Pardon them if they didn’t ask the awareness groups or whatever permission to use those themes. Boo hoo. Grow a pair and get over it.

  • barthes

    the author is dead..

    deal with it

  • barthes

    the author is dead, deal with it

  • http://samitachatterjee.com/ Samita Chatterjee

    Screw the label. My respect actually got to a whole new level. I love the story too. If fans take offence at OMG child porn! then it’s, well, very sad. GO EVERLYNEVELYN, this actually MADE a fan out of me!

  • http://blog.themerchgirl.net Creatrix Tiara

    It’s a cute idea, though marred in the complex world of disability awareness and exploitation. I know you mean well, and it sounds like a fun project, but the “saviour complex” of the story irks me a little. “Oh look, here are these downtrodden silenced vulnerable freaks, we are here to SAVE THEM through FAME AND GLORY”. Many real people have used that excuse to justify more exploitation and abuse. So yeah, do whatever you want, but bear in mind all the complex politics that slide within.

    • jostewart

      THIS. Among other things.

  • Annoyed

    I don’t see this as making fun of child porn in any way, shape or form. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were some INCREDIBLY sick footage/photos out there in cyberspace or in people’s closets.
    I also doubt that Amanda would bring it up lightly, poking fun at people for her own amusement. And I also doubt that she’d push that so far for publicity. The good thing about her is she doesn’t try to be rich and famous. Why would she be wanting such bad publicity from her fans, who she loves so much?
    Personally, I’m not following blindly. I’m also more aware of the sickness in the world, the kind of sickness that WOULD drag people out to see a pair of conjoined twins at the circus or see them in some kind of pornographic state. I’m disgusted at other people’s opinions of it.

  • insignifikunt

    In response to everyone having a bitch about various aspects of the whole blog/project…

    I think coming clean right now would jeopardize the whole thing. Sure it’s obvious it’s Amanda, but if she were to actually admit it, she would be in trouble with Road Runner if things don’t go as she is hoping they will.

    Secondly, what is wrong with making up a story to go along with it? Sure maybe they didn’t have to go as far as to make it a sob story and bring in issues like child porn, but Amanda and Jason are creative people. They write lyrics, a form of story telling, some time fiction, sometimes not. That blog is another different form of story telling.

    I just think people have to take it as it is, two creative people creating something. It’s not lying, it’s storytelling. Why is it ok for authors to write fiction novels but it’s not ok for Amanda and Jason to create Evelyn Evelyn? I’m sure there are thousands of authors out there who have written novels about things they’ve never experienced in their lives and are they aren’t met with criticism.

    There are some things that are pretty tacky about this whole thing like the whole Amanda and Jason to the rescue thing but who cares, how many novels and movies are there out there that follow the same formula and they still entertain!

    Anyway I just don’t get why everyone is making such a big deal about the negative aspects in this and are failing to see just how great a marketing and publicity tool this is. It is genius and thinking outside the box like Amanda and Jason have done is a brilliant example for young musicians today. I’m not saying people should be making up different persona’s and or whatever, but knowing your obstacles and finding ways to overcome them….

    Maybe the whole sob story thing is a metaphor for Amanda finding a way to overcome her issues with RR? Maybe I am just making excuses… Either way I think there are some things about this whole project that are awesome!

    I know AFP isn’t perfect, there are quite a few things she has said or done that I don’t agree with or find negative but this isn’t one if them!

    • maevele

      um, because much as I may admire the creative marketing aspect, the crip drag and “teehhee, conjoined twins=freakshow” it is still really disturbing in a bad way

      • insignifikunt

        ….and I find lady gaga disturbing and all the manufactured pop stars out there. Like I said in my response, there are negative things about this project that I don’t necessarily agree with, but I am choosing to look at the positive in terms of her career.

        Maybe this is an attempt to certain issues to peoples attention instead of sweeping them under a carpet and pretending they don’t exist though.

    • oldmanmuffinjar

      How do we know that the twins are not in fact saving Amanda and Jason? I think they are, and it is downright heroic.

  • reimich

    When will you be in Ausrtria with Evelyn Evelyn! Would be great to see you in Vienna!

  • http://samitachatterjee.com/ Samita Chatterjee

    Aand, I dont notice that she’s written anywhere in that blog that this is a true story. She calls it the story. period.

    • http://baylink.pitas.com/ Baylink

      Correct. We only mark fiction, whether we mark it on a story by story basis, or because a writer has a “fiction blog” or in some otherwise something is a venue for publishing fiction.

      Blogs are otherwise generally factual.

      • http://www.lisavollrath.com/ Lisa

        “Blogs are otherwise generally factual.”

        Yikes! I would say that unless they’re connected to a news organization, blogs are generally editorial or fictional rather than factual. They’re stories we choose to tell each other.

      • West Texan

        “Blogs are generally factual.”

        This.
        Although it’s not necessarily 100% (I know I certainly tweak my blog entries for effect) that’s what’s been itching at me.

        I should perhaps mention here that I’m not an AFP fan – nor am I a hater – so the statements many are making about “everyone here is a fan, except for those who are haters” aren’t necessarily true. I have been a *Gaiman* fan, and so my exposure to this has been entirely through the context of his links and commentary on it – and thus my reaction is largely in the context of his involvement. I was intrigued and fascinated at first, which is why I’m here, but all in all I’m just a passerby.

        Having said that, Gaiman has been presenting this on his blog/twitter with a straight face (until last night). And it’s a pretty out of the ordinary scenario… but you know what? It’s also pretty out of the ordinary to have a blind cat living in your attic who’s suddenly diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, who inspired so much love and devotion that people all over the ‘net write tributes to her and even fly cross-country to spend a few hours with her before she’s euthanized.

        Now, I didn’t doubt NG’s depiction of Zoe’s passing, BECAUSE we (readers) are led to believe that the blog is not fiction. His family, his Q&A with the fans, his dog, his authorly travails… I take at face value that those things are true. So when all of a sudden there’s this outlandish story of musical conjoined twins, there is an established level of credibility that’s backing it up… and for those of us who don’t know AFP, don’t know what kind of artist she is, or what kind of record label issues she’s having, the issue becomes clouded.

        Again, I know I’m somewhat out of line here (on this blog) because my unease is with NG’s role in supporting and publicizing the story. (Or, that’s all it was up until the child-porn thing. I get that it’s a way of throwing a big red flag out and saying “NOT PLAUSIBLE” for anyone who’s in doubt, but… child porn? Come on. Have them abducted by aliens or something.)

        I agree with those who’ve pointed out that it’s a brilliant concept, (mostly) brilliantly executed – I just wish it contained fewer deceptive elements, and as others have mentioned, fewer Savior issues. AFP fans might be expected to be in on the joke from day one, but I can’t help but feel like NG was sort of mining his fan base for additional $$ support, by going along with the ruse as if it were not a ruse at all.

        • West Texan

          And in case anyone reads and wonders, there are reasons – a recitation of which I won’t bore you any further – why I have not watched/cannot watch (or listen/ed to) any of the video or music clips. (I’m also in the dark about Kevin Smith’s podcast thing recently – something else I initially heard about through NG – and will have to wait until someone transcribes it.) I’m glad it’s obvious to some of you, but that doesn’t mean those of us who haven’t heard/can’t hear it are idiots or saps as some have stated.

          So again, yes, for AFP fans, whom one would expect to be here for the music first and foremost, it’s a non-issue and perhaps should be a giveaway. But some of us are hearing about it from other sources, and now feel foolish for having passed it on to others (who can/will hear the music, and might even buy tickets on the recommendation) as “I know it sounds bizarre, but Neil Gaiman posted about it on his blog; he says it’s real people.”

          • Sad.

            I initially found Amanda’s music via being a follower of Neil’s work & (obviously non-fiction) blog, so I can completely understand you on this, too.

  • kylejamesparker

    If we did work from the assumption that Palmer and Webley make up the entity of Evelyn Evelyn I can be pretty sure of a few things:
    A) We are talking about a woman who takes on gritty subjects with poignant honesty. Look at Oasis (rape/abortion), Runs in the Family (mental illness), Blake Says (A whole lot of things). She handles them in a way that provoke empathy.
    B) She is dealing thematically here with orientalism (by 19th century defintion- i.e. Anything not “normal” by Western European standards) and the concept of “The Other” (Its not like me=I don’t care/grieve/think about it). These two things are anything but abstract and have shaped real people’s lives and two things that need a lot more empathy introduced into the conversation.
    C) She will do it justice. Narrative is meant to make us think. A story makes the actuality of the concept more visceral.
    D) She didn’t mean to offend people. She loves her fans dearly.
    E) Echoing Goughicart, alter egos are nothing new in music, but still not expected. It will take adjustment time of listening to the first song.
    F) Trust her on this. She will do it Justice.

    • Sadexcusereally

      Thanks, Kyle. I’m glad to see some of Amanda’s fans are realizing who she is and what kind of point she is making.

    • bifemmefatale

      Yeah, AFP treats rape with empathy, uh-huh. Did you see this?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-zvRsT6o5k
      I’ve been a fan since the earliest Dolls days, but a rape survivor pretending to rape another woman is just beyond disgusting and hurtful. SHAME ON YOU AMANDA.

      B) Btw, ableism is NOT Orientalism. methinks you needs to look up the definition again.

      D) Intentions do not matter. You can still hurt people badly with the right intentions. It’s the *effects* of your deeds that matter.

      • kylejamesparker

        Statements, art and actions can be commentary on multiple concepts. So I agree that there is commentary on ableism within a culture, but that doesn’t exclude that there is also commentary about a cultural fixation and extortion on the exotic and things we consider foreign to us (Orientalism).

        I think philosophically we disagree on the importance of intentions. Again, the importance of intentions and effects isn’t mutually exclusive, but the parsing of details comes in what the balance should be. I was commenting in hopes that people would recognize that there was no malice in the project in hopes that people would address concerns rather then shout about them.

        Also, I checked out the video. I can see how you might be concerned that it was sexual assault, but I think you are mistaking bondage for assault. Listening to the lyrics I feel pretty certain that they weren’t trying to depict assault/rape.

  • Bad Kitty

    Hmm. The way in which the JT LeRoy saga played itself out should serve as a warning to any artist (of whatever medium) considering any kind of elaborate invention of a character (or characters) with even the vaguest intention of presenting them as real. It can go very badly wrong. I sincerely hope Amanda & Jason have thought this one through on more than the (please excuse me) simplistic level of creating something one could call art. This is a step beyond fiction.. and when you take the step into that beyond, you cross a line into a rather murky, treacherous area which must be traversed carefully. I hope Amanda & Jason have a map and a good compass.

    The whole thing does raise many interesting, discussion-worthy points, though. (As I’m sure the comments left after this blog will reflect.) Can fiction be exploitative? How far can you go with only the justification of “art” or “fiction” or “entertainment”? If the piece (whether it be theatre, music, a book, a sculpture) causes viewers/listeners/readers to debate such important topics, does that cancel out the offense it may cause to some others? Does the creators intention matter more than the publics reaction? (As much? Not at all?) Can you read/view/hear an artists creation “wrong”? To what extent should an artist be troubled by possible misinterpretation of their work?

    Curiouser and curiouser… xx

  • teespirit

    AFP is an artist, and it seems to me she has consistently pushed at the boundaries of what is acceptable from the very beginning. People will judge this from a moral POV, yes. This is an old, old debate. Is it art or is it porn? Is it exploitive or is it revelation? The fact that this makes me uncomfortable, pulls me out of my complacency and makes me examine my own moral stance is one of the vital functions of art. It’s not always supposed to be uplifting and easy. I think of Margaret Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale. It is wrong that the artists make money from these type of ventures? Making money from your art, especially these days, is no easy thing. But artists must have sustenance – they can’t live off applause alone. The debate, however, is a good thing and proves to some degree that the art is fulfilling its function.

  • Ender1818

    Everyone needs to take a breath and step back from this situation for a moment.

    First, for those who have not yet seen an EE clip, please go to YouTube and watch it. This will clear the air about who EE really is – Amanda and Jason. So, in response to the numerous exploitation concerns – it is not an issue.

    Next, I understand the concern about her mentioning child pornography but what about her displaying her gruesome death in countless ways? What about the myriad of films made in exactly the same vein? Amanda is creating a back story and you should take it as that. She normally invokes dark humor in much of her work, ie: The Lonely Organist Rapes Page Turner, Mandy Goes to Med School or more recently, Oasis. Two dealing with the controversial topic of abortion and the first about rape. The media is usually the one to attack her, it should not be her fans who know that she is not advocating any of these or using them for sheer comedic effect.

    Finally, for those not following her blog – she has had major issues with Roadrunner (her record label) for years. The problem is in regards to how many records she needs to create for them prior to being released from her contract. Re-read her post and think about that.

    No one is wrong, Child pornography is not a laughing matter. Fortunately, her one lined comment in the post evokes no laughter whatsoever. Lets trust that AFP, like usual, is creating amazing songs (especially with the talented Jason Webley being there as well) and doing the right thing.

    -Charn

  • Linnie

    Amanda only tells the story of Evelyn and Evelyn… and what she mentions is probably alreadye on the record so… here is a youtube video cantaining the twin sisters (couldn’t recognize Jason without the beard) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCPnTHXj8b0

  • http://www.lisavollrath.com/ Lisa

    Thanks for sharing this charming and grisly story with us, Amanda. I so hope the twins will be touring more of the US in the future. I live at The Ends of the Earth (AKA Texas), where I’m sure they would be well received.

    (And hello, all ye spreaders of gloom and doom—lighten up and play along, would ya?)

  • haikukitty

    You guys are a trip! Have you LISTENED to the music? It is OBVIOUSLY NOT two 28 year old twin females… If you feel deceived or a sap, you are idiots! I don’t think there’s really any attempt to deceive anyone – it seems pretty obviously tongue in cheek to me. Also, isn’t the story just a LITTLE over the top to be believed?

    Its performance. Alter ego. So what?

  • Leo

    i’ve been working on a short story dedicated to the fair sisters. It’s about a man who loses his face in a horrible accident at an athletic tape factory and thus must keep his head wrapped in athletic tape. There are proposals, themes of eternal love and separation and hope in hopelessness.
    My regards, and good luck to all.
    S

  • Sadexcuse,really.

    Amanda and Jason,
    Despite the disappointment expressed by the previous comments on your blog, not all of your fans fall to point fingers at how wrong the mention of the mistreatment of the twins is. These things happen and not Amanda or Jason can be blamed for the past.

  • ZeBaronesse

    What ever happened to people respecting an artists right to the concept of the nom de plume?

    As far as I’m concerned, if AFP and JW are, in fact EE, then good on them. When was the last time you were so transfixed by an artist that you were teleported to another time or place and thoroughly enjoyed it? I can’t say when because it’s been a long time.

    GWAR, possibly?

    Honestly… How are you all going to feel if it turns out you’ve been so busy trying to up-skirt EE that you missed the show that was being put on for you?

  • lesleyd271

    So very excited to hear about Evelyn & Evelyn. I think it is incredible what you are doing for them. Many prayers of good shows and vibes going out to ya’ll!!!

  • Sad.

    Guys….the name calling? Relax. I will offer this again, because I know there are a lot of heated comments here:

    Express yourselves respectfully, ladies and gents and all in between. We are all fans. If we all had the same thoughts and opinions, it would be creepy.

  • lauraiam7

    sooooo looking forward to seeing you all in London town. Love the story of EE brilliant fabulously dark as most good stories are.

    I can almost imagine Count Olaf turning up to do something nefarious…..

    Well done hun as ever you have created something Dark and Beautiful
    buckets of love
    Lauraiam7
    xxxxxxx

  • starsdied

    Huh. I thought this was real until I did some Googling. Well played, AFP, well played. I get that the child porn is over-the-top, but now there’s this great discussion going on. Frankly, the whole story is too over-the-top to be real. It’s a good way to duck Roadrunner, that’s for sure. The whole thing is a joke hoax. People aren’t supposed to think this is real.

    You know what it reminds me of? The naked dress. All these people got all up in arms about AFP being naked at the Globes and she just sat back and laughed at us. This whole thing is a joke. That’s why the story is so ridiculous. We’re not supposed to believe a word. I think she trusts us all to be smart enough to GET IT, and then like the music and go to the shows anyway. So yeah, a lot of people find it offensive. But now, a) there’s this big old discussion about it, and b) if we didn’t find it offensive, would we have questioned it at all? When you pay for the music, you’re not paying for the story. You’re supporting Amanda. And if you like the music, then you should support her.

    I think a lot of people are going to say, but should we be laughing at ableist humor? In response, I would argue that she’s not actually ableist. She could theoretically have done anything. Evelyn Evelyn could have been a pair of flamingly gay dudes instead, but she picked the conjoined twins arbitrarily as a way to dick Roadrunner over on this album. So yeah, there’s this charade, but the charade could have been about anything at all, and it’s not some weird, creepy comment on child porn and disabled people — it’s freaking about screwing with her record company and making money from her music. In short, the conjoined twins are irrelevant. The circus story is irrelevant. It’s all just a bunch of arbitrary, melodramatic nonsense that AFP made up in order to get us to notice that she made it all up and buy her music, not the music of some fictional pair of twins whom she likes.

    I guess what I mean to say is, if you don’t like it, don’t buy the album. If you do like it, know who you’re buying the album from, and don’t feel betrayed when Amanda and Jason trundle onstage in an oversized sweatshirt and giggle because they’re making all this money right under Roadrunner’s nose.

    • Iris

      I like you very much based on this comment.

      I also love Amanda. Looking forward to London!

      • starsdied

        I like you too based on the fact that you like me based on this comment. I think we will get along very well.

        PS, I am sort of amazed that anyone still thinks this is real for longer than it takes to read the blog entry and then google “evelyn evelyn”. Have people SEEN that photo in Spin? It’s like, “Hi! I’m Amanda!” “Hi! I’m a dude in a dress!”

    • charlotteperth

      I really think you have ‘hit the nail on the head’ so to speak.
      I completely agree with you on this one.
      I can’t wait for the London show :)

  • farlikeastar

    It shocks the hell out of me that people who could be so uptight even became fans of AFP in the first place. I mean, have any of you LISTENED to any of her other music?

    The concept of this project is so unique. Who cares if AFP and JW are Evelyn Evelyn? This is performance art AND great music, which means there’s an added bonus as far as I’m concerned. They’ve created such a cool thing here. As many others have said, this is no different from your favorite books, films, or television that involve and address controversial topics. The fact that Evelyn Evelyn has made you all so uncomfortable or at the very least made you THINK, then the artists have done what the likely set out to do. And even if that wasn’t what they originally set out to do, they’ve created an amazing work of art.

    Users Morgan Atwood, Ender1818, and teespirit hit the nail on the head as far as I’m concerned.

  • Concertina

    I think the problem is that if you don’t know it’s fiction, you read the story about the poor girls and feel pain for them and their story and all they went though, and then you realize later that it was indeed a hoax, you feel betrayed. That’s the bottom line. And why did she have to add the bit about child pornography? Sorry, but my reaction is Grow Up Amanda.

  • Ratatosk

    Sorry Amanda, disabilities and especially child abuse is just a bridge too far for me. I don’t think I’ll be buying the album.

    • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

      Yeah, because Amanda has never sung about those subjects before. She’s also never done songs about rape, murder, abortion, prostitution, bullying, or abduction. It is very odd to see her subject matter taking such a dark turn from the songs about unicorns, penguins and rainbows she usually puts out.

  • lulu

    Wow, Amanda, what a way to parady yourself. Please, step back, get some perspective, you’re dangerously close to the ‘batshit fucking annoying crazy’ line that many celebs seem to cross over. You seriously can’t come up with anything else than this? Making fun of kiddie porn and disabilities? And your whole idea of ‘we’re all disabled’ just reeks of your priviledge as a non disabled person. What next? Blackface? I seriously thought you were smarter than this, guess I was wrong. Your desperate need for shock value has worn thin. Oh, and by the way, we’ve all seen your tits now. Keeping them covered up would be more shocking at this point. Just a tip.

  • Ariel

    Was loving the project, the art and the whole building of the twins as “real” until this back story came out. A little less detail and hints of running away from the circus would have still made it dark, gothic and “plausible”. Weaving the “fairytale” in the way a certain writer close to AFP does would have added an extra layer to the art and concept IMO. This story just feels like being hit around the head with a large club, it loses the clever nature of what had gone before in bringing outsiders into the world, into the concept. Just my opinion of course but once in while AFP subtlety can be as effective to make a point as “in your face”.

  • http://twitter.com/Miss_Temple Miss Temple

    Some people take some things too serious. And some people seem to have no humor at all.
    I think the girls have a strange backstory which exactly fits the whole Evelyn Evelyn thing.
    Well I’m looking forward to the album and the tour.

  • J

    I’m really sad you’ve chosen to taint your talent like this, and your blase, callous response to your disabled fans made everything even worse. I’m sorry you feel so broken inside that you choose to fetishize disabled folks and then minimalize their struggle. I’m disappointed that you feel the need to “other” yourself irrationally to make yourself feel better.

    Your privilege is showing, Amanda.

  • Kai

    I am a formerly abused child with 18 years of physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse on my personal record. I’ve been in therapy for almost 10 years now.
    …And I’m not offended by this at all.
    I don’t see much of a difference between Evelyn Evelyn and watching episodes of Law And Order: Special Victims Unit where they portray beaten children, rape victims, etc.
    People always get defensive when artists drawn upon ‘real’ and ‘sensitive’ issues.
    But those issues are just different colours of paint with which it is possible to paint a work of art.
    If they’re there, why not use them? It sheds light on the issue, at the very least, which helps stir awareness.

    • http://www.youtube.com/afpislove AFPisLOVE

      I like your style and I agree with you.
      Kudos to you truth.

  • anon

    Content, whatever. I think what I find frustrating about this thing is not that it’s fiction, but that it’s kinda bad fiction. Afraid of beards and can’t figure out the @ function on Twitter? Uh huh.

  • Malach

    I always believed this story to be stupid
    Now I realized it is made up for legal reasons
    it’s still a stupid story anyway

  • Guest

    Wait, why do people think this is fake??

    • Why People Think It’s Fake

      If you listen to the music clips on the EvelynEvelyn MySpace page, you can tell it’s Amanda & Jason as the vocalists, not a pair of 24 year old girls.

      And the photo which claims to be them in the Spin article is Amanda & Jason in a costume: http://www.spin.com/articles/meet-amanda-palmer-proteges-evelyn-evelyn

      • starsdied

        I can’t believe anyone is getting all uppity about being lied to. This is about the farthest from a lie she could possibly get without jumping out of our computer screens, bonking us on the heads, and yelling “JUST KIDDING!”

        • Why People Think It’s Fake

          And that’s your take on it….but you are one person. Everyone’s seeing it from a different perspective, a different age, a different upbringing or sense of humor or politics or art.

          Everyone seriously needs to chill out and respect each other’s points of view. There’s no need for all this bickering. Feel free to join in on the conversation intelligently with whatever opinion you have, but don’t do it just to make fun of someone else or to act like a child and call names. No one here is better than anyone else.

          Pretend this isn’t such an impersonal, faceless outlet and speak to each other like decent human beings. You are capable of this, I believe in you! Come on, guys.

  • Sam

    After every post I read from someone who thinks that the mere mention of child-porn is “making fun of it” I get one inch closer to slamming my face against my desk. Same for the whole disabled thing. I mean, it’s almos the exact same issue that all of Amanda’s fans rallied behind when the whole Oasis issue was around. But for some reason Oasis is ok, but EE isnt? Rape and abortion ok, child porn not?

    Moral relevitism is a bitch.

    • the_reflex

      Could we not resort to name calling or ridiculing fellow fans?

      The difference, for me, between this and Oasis is that Oasis carried a message. So far this is nothing more than a horrible attempt at looking edgy. Something I don’t agree with using child abuse or disability for.

    • ThatBastardErik

      “I get one inch closer to slamming my face against my desk. ”
      Try slamming someone else’s head. It’s a lot more satisfying.

  • oldmanmuffinjar

    Pete Townsend took some heat over “Tommy” and the abuse that a disabled boy suffered in the story. And much like Tommy, I think the end game of the project was about human redemption. Maybe some of you need to wait until the whole thing is out before passing judgement.

    Amanda is clearly just trying to give the info she can, when she can and i am shoked by how many of you are not giving her the benefit of a doubt.

    As far as the “we are being lied to bit”, for fuck’s sake! How come this much furor was not raised over Hair Machine? It is entertainment, and telling stories is part of the deal sometimes. Good lord.

  • Caz

    IF this isn’t true (not gullible, just reluctant to believe someone would go to all the effort to make this awfulness up) it’s gone way too far here, and not funny. Seems to me like pure arrogance – dismissing real issues as fodder to shock, based on expecting to receive unconditional respect and support from fans. Even when said fans are lied to for months.

    Pretty disappointing. I’m less of a fan, and i never expected to say that.

  • totalfrog

    Love the concept. Love the story. Love the music.

    Maybe of some of the haters could stop being so politically correct for a minute then they could stop and see that this really is an exquisite piece of (and I hate to use this word) gothic fiction.

    If you don’t like it then don’t buy it.

  • Bad Kitty

    I think some of the commentators on here (who are leaping to the defense of this project and dismissing its critics as “humourless” or “overly politically correct”) are perhaps failing to take into consideration the line between something that is presented as fiction and something that is presented as fact. And there IS a line. A precarious one. And an artist has to be very sure of what they are doing if they are going to attempt to cross it or blur it. A persons reaction to something they know to be untrue will always be different from their reaction to something that is real (or, a third option, something that they are unsure about.) I think, perhaps, in this case, Amanda’s past openness and honesty is working against her. Perhaps some of her fans have simply come to expect that same high level of openness and honesty from her in all her work.. and perhaps they feel disappointed by the comparitive dishonesty and subterfuge of something elaborately fictional. Particularly something involving some sensitive subjects. And particularly when she is on some level at least playing with the idea that we should regard this as real and truthful.

    PS – I am in no way offended by Evelyn Evelyn. But I would question the wisdom of some aspects of its presentation. That’s all.

    • Sad.

      Yes.

    • Guest

      Also agreed.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/nightlydeity ALKrisitin

    Why does Cambridge get all the fun?

  • Bad Kitty

    Oh, also, I should probably add the tedious footnote that *legally* authors of fiction are required to state that their work IS a work of fiction (I’m sure you’ve all read/heard the “any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental” caveat a million times) and that they are the acknowledged author of said work. There’s a good reason for that. They can get in terrible trouble without that disclaimer. And vice versa, by presenting something as non-fiction that is actually untrue (see: JT LeRoy, James Frey). Neil Gaiman surely is aware of this.

    • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

      I would like to see this law you are referring to.

    • http://atrus.wordpress.com/ Atrus

      They write that to protect themselves from lawsuits, actually. And “Anonymous” and pseudonyms are there to prove you don’t have to attach your name to your work.

  • http://mightykaytor.webs.com/ Mighty Kaytor

    I’m puzzled as to all the hand-wringing over this. Why not just wait and see before crying foul? Anyway, why do the twins have to be ABSOLUTELY HONEST-TO-GOD-REAL PEOPLE? Are you guys so thick-headed that you can’t wrap your minds around the concept of story-telling? Same with the twin’s sordid history: when you make a character, you don’t always call the shots strictly speaking; sometimes the story, as it unwinds, takes you dark and unexpected places.

    Additionally, why are some of you so offended that this project has been kept under wraps? AFP doesn’t have to take the time to write these blogs or hang out on Twitter; no one’s twisting her arm to add the “Ask Amanda” section to her live shows. We are not entitled to know everything all the time- why can’t Evelyn Evelyn’s clandestine process be seen as a surprise rather than a betrayal?

    That said, There are going to be a mess of sad faces if The twins don’t make a stop in Toronto and Canada.

  • RiverVox

    I bought my tickets for Cambridge today. I am thrilled to be able to attend this event where people are going to MAKE THINGS UP. New things that never existed. Things that might be funny, or ugly or strange or uncategorizably magnificent. There will be ART and JOY and things that make me squirm and I can’t think of any place I’d rather be.
    (Plus, I gotta see if Amanda and Jason can really play an accordion together without cracking up. )

  • gildavehement

    we’ve all been following this… and we’ve all had different reactions. i doubt anything one side says will change how the other feels. it’s not a reason thing. the key word is ‘feel’. my heart dropped and i got depressed when i realized a while ago this was fake. but i shrugged and forgot about it mostly. there is so much to love about amanda afterall. but the ‘sob story’ had me doubting myself. i got halfway through this blog and was so shocked i started texting my boyfriend saying, ‘i was wrong, it is real afterall, it has to be real, it obvious, no one would go on and on in admiration over themselves, and the tragedy is so heartbreaking i would expect people to immediately pour out their love to evelyn evelyn in compassion and understanding……… and it would be cruel to twist people’s hearts into sympathy like this and it ends up not being real…. cruel because it would awaken the hearts of those who’ve been abused and they would reach out to evelyn evelyn to find mutal support and share their story….cruel to rip open wounds and rouse emotions towards fake people…we reach out to them sobbing and find they aren’t there and it’s only amanda pulling the strings. and we feel tricked…..so yes it must be real. i had to be wrong. it has to be real. it has to be…’

    then i finished reading the blog and then read the comments. there’s too many to finish. and everyone seems to struck and heartbroken. the feelings are pouring out all over this page. this is a feeeling issue. i appreciate the intelligent conversations back and forth. but it just makes this ordeal even harder to deal with seeing us bite at each other. of course, i understand that, too. we’re all torn up. we’re all emotional about it.

    and those of you who are not emotional about it seem like you’re trying to calm us all down. which is admirable. but understand, we are emotional creatures. we love amanda. that’s why we’re upset. if we didn’t love her so it wouldn’t hurt us so. you’re trying to talk us out of our irrational pain. but mind doesn’t always win over heart.

    we’re just confused and the story has opened up all sorts of sensitive wounds. we’re not sure how to process this. and we’re all just waiting…… for amanda to speak.

  • AlwaysATourist

    I like how people keep saying “I feel so lied to!” It’s art, kids. It’s art. You don’t go to a play, look at the performers, and feel lied to. No, maybe that isn’t REALLY the Virgin Mary/Rudyard Kipling/Mary Tyler Moore up there on that stage, but that doesn’t mean the actor is lying! It means he or she performing.

    Also, it’s amazing how so many people assume that just because a touchy subject is a concept in anything artistic, whether it’s visual, written, or musical, that means that the artist is promoting that iffy subject. Evelyn and Evelyn might have gone through some terrible things in their life, but that doesn’t mean that Amanda is laughing her ass off at child sexual abuse.

    If there’s anything positive or profound in the Evelyn Evelyn discussion for me, it’s this: beautiful things can come out of terrible situations. here we have two girls who the world has tried to treat like freaks. They have gone through terrible things, horrible people, and all sorts of obstacles because they are different, and because of that the world did not care about them. But through all of that, they found that in art they could be appreciated by others, and they could reach others. Why did you start listing to Amanda Fucking Palmer / The Dresden Dolls. if you were anything like me, you saw that they were different from the normal crowd, and YOU were different from the normal crowd too. They probably went through the same stupid crap we went through as kids and teens, and now they’re being genuine, through ART, and reaching us. Maybe they’re trying to tell us that we may feel like complete freaks, but we are capable of doing incredible things.

    and as for the “insincerity” of Evelyn and Evelyn, keep in mind that these are PERFORMERS! Amanda has dressed up like Lady Gaga, Meg White, Cher, Britney Spears, and so on. Is that because she wanted to be all of these people? No. It was a performance. And sometimes, performers act like people who they aren’t to get a point across. It’s called Acting. it doesn’t matter if they really mean every word they say, but the main point is still there.

    Now, back to the Evelyn Evelyn thing. How do we know that this won’t reach people on a profound note? How do we know that people who were exploited as children (like all those freakin 5 year olds in pageants) or have had WORSE things done to them as children will see this as salt in their wounds? How do we know that this album won’t reach this really awkward pair of twins that nobody wants to hang out with? The possibilities of art are endless, so I’ll stop bombarding you with examples of lonely people.

    Jack

  • Bad Kitty

    “it’s pretty certain that they were being exploited by the child porn industry.
    (with my support they’re looking into possibly pressing charges. life is crazy.)”

    Reading through the blog again, I am still uncomfortably struck by this part. This part is problematic for me. It is, specifically, the “with my support they’re looking into possibly pressing charges” bit. That crosses a line. (I am not angry, I am concerned.) That statement blurs the boundary of reality and fantasy in an uncomfortable way for me. I am beginning to have genuine concerns about the legality of not implicitly stating that the twins are not real.. if she’s going to make statements like that. That is a very serious thing to say. And not something even an artist should risk being vague regarding the veracity of.

  • http://thewolfhouse.net/ Mary

    Your disregard of the feelings of “disabled feminists” (of which I am one) is totally vomitous and childish. You’ve lost yourself a fan in me, and I’m so sorry you turned out to be such a disappointing, shallow, thoughtless person.

    • http://twitter.com/Miss_Temple Miss Temple

      I think it’s the best she can do. I read the post over there and I was constantly confused and wondering how anybody can really see this whole project like this. If someone wants to see bad in something he will find enough to be satisfied and will happily be able to rail against it -> “See? AGAIN someone is against me/my people/my haircolour/my shape/my car …..”

      • bifemmefatale

        Lemme put it this way, Miss Temple. If AFP was doing a show about African-Americans while wearing blackface makeup, would you have a problem understanding how that was bad? She’s an able person doing a show about disabled people while in disabled drag. Can you see how that might be offensive and hurtful to actual disabled people?

        • Miss Temple

          As I don’t have any connection to the whole blackface thing (in Germany where I live it’s hardly known) I’ll make up an example which relates to me. As I’m overweighed I imagine Amanda to wear a fatsuit and act like a fat person. This could be offensive, but it could also be strange and entertaining. And for me this project is really entertaining. I think the problem is, that some people are to serious about it or to politically correct and feel offended to easy. I don’t think it is distasteful or even utilizing and I really don’t see the insult at all. Sorry.

          • just a quiet fan

            Miss Temple, you are from Germany. Now imagine someone in a neighbouring country decided to make a musical show about you and all Germans. While wearing Nazi uniforms, chortling while saying “Sieg Heil!”, and insisting it was art. And taking it around the world.

            /Do you understand now?/

          • Miss Temple

            It depends how it’s done. I think it could be incredibly entertaining. Well at least if you are a bit self-ironic and don’t feel offended too easy. But a musical with Nazis, maybe Mel Brooks could do it. ;)

            Now serious: No matter what one does there will always be complaints, you just can’t avoid it. I just think some people are just too sensitive and some even want to have something they can be mad about. I don’t get why just portraying something is supposed to be an insult automatically. They are not even making fun of them they just made up a strange backstory which fits exactly for a subject like this. And they don’t show the twins in a harmful way, they are just conjoined twins who had no nice life and are now making music. That’s all.

          • ruharper

            Oh, but there’s a lot more to that.

            If a person is differently-abled, or differently-constructed, are they definitely ‘disabled’? What happens if they don’t define that way? Is it for anyone else to judge?

            Race/gender/disability/orientation – have things in common, but they are not directly analogous – any discourse in this area needs to account for ablism, disability (and its definitions), the history of the freakshow and circus (and the bald fact that for a good number of people, they were a way of making a living when no other was available) – and let’s just pause for a moment to remember that children are still mutilated in some parts of the world, because it makes them better beggars.

            And then let’s rejoin the western discourse to have a quick look at the 21st century tendency towards medicalisation, the shift in identity politics from world-changing to victim-creating, the collective failure across the spectrum of liberation movements, and perhaps a second to pause and reflect and wonder why that might be…

            Is identity politics still empowering? Some would argue not. Are Evelyn Evelyn better off as silent victims of their experience, or as agents in and masters of their own destiny, in collaboration with other artists? Is it patronising to the disabled community at large for these characters to want, ask for and receive help to achieve their aims?

            I don’t know if the EE project answers any of these questions in the definitive – but, at the very least, it asks the questions.

            Unlike Miss Temple (with whom I otherwise largely agree), I can see where offense would arise. But I don’t think it’s appropriate to demand an apology for offense that was taken, but not intended. All Amanda can do is say “I’m ossry you were hurt by this. That wasn’t the idea” – you cannot demand that she change her art to suit your politics – that would make it *your* art, not hers.

            If you think you have a better idea for a more perfect model of how you would like to talk about these issues, then go ahead and do it. There’s little point in kvetching on the interwebs about the unfairness of it all.

            I saw the Evelyn Evelyn show. It was warm, well-executed, funny and heartfelt. EE don’t speak (much), but they are by no means mute, and the impression I was left with had far more to do with making the best of the hand you are dealt, with good humour and honesty – than about exploitation in any sense.

  • a good little trout

    dearest,
    having read through all the comments (and having read your twitter comments as well) i really hope you do not take things more seriously than you should. when the time is right, you will post again the things people have now missed to hear/read.
    you are a lovely person who doesn’t have in mind the evil things some people would like to cruciate you for, from what i got from sitting with you and drinking tea as well as from all your posts, comments, whatsoever.
    breathe. life. love.

  • nooneofconsequence

    neil gaiman has played along with AFP twice now, and both times he’s come off with a funny smell around him. neil. neil.

    neil.

    • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

      HOW DARE MASTER STORYTELLER NEIL GAIMAN INVOLVE HIMSELF WITH THE TELLING OF STORIES? WHY NEIL, WHY?

  • DO NOT PRE-ORDER.

    My only comment is don’t pre-order. The pre-orders for WKAP were an absolute NIGHTMARE. Lots of promises they didn’t deliver on, not to mention everything getting to us MONTHS LATE. DON’T BE A SUCKER. DO NOT PRE-ORDER. I can’t even believe she would insult her fans by trying to do this again.

  • BR

    I have so many things I want to comment, but I’ll leave it at this:

    Amanda/Jason/all involved, I support your project. I love EP, and I’ll buy the new album. I sincerely hope this is a mere bump in an otherwise smooth road for the project.

    Cheers!

  • LCG

    Okay, I am decidedly NOT an uptight hand-wringing office of the politeness police, but I have problems with the way this Evelyn Evelyn project is presented here.

    I’m a casual Amanda Palmer fan; I like her music, “Yes, Virginia” is in heavy rotation in my car, I dig her. I’m not a rabid fan who would follow her to ends of the earth, though. I’m not such a huge fan that I will toss around accusations of “betrayal” or defend her just because she’s Amanda Fucking Palmer.

    The problem I have with this whole scenario? THE WRITING.
    Oh dear god, Amanda.

    Obviously you’ve read “Geek Love” and enjoyed it immensely. Awesome. But if you’re going to go to the trouble of concocting an outlandish, elaborate story about practically feral conjoined twins who escape the circus and achieve indie rock stardom with the help of yourself and your pal Jason Webley, and you’re creating dummy MySpace and Twitter accounts to flesh out the fantasy, couldn’t you have had you fiance proof-read this blog or something? This is written like poor Harry Potter fanfiction or something. I’m sorry, I have a problem with people defending something such as this as “art” when the “art” in question reads like a 15 year-old pounded it out in the Livejournal at 3am. Maybe if you had put more thought, and more writerly skill, into presenting this story, it would be better received.

    And maybe if you learned how to edit yourself and punctuate properly, your blogs would be something approaching readable.

    This kind of reads like, “OMG YOU GUISE! I met these crazy conjoined twin musician sisters and we’re totally helping them in laif and they are releasing an album! It’s so awesome!”

    I mean, especially if you are going to bring up issues such as exploiting the disabled and child pornography and sexual abuse, put some pith behind your words. All we have is a cobbled together bare-bones story with no substance. And, jeez, if you’re going to use the I Am An Artist defense, write like an artist writes and give your words & actions the thoughts an artist would.

    I happen to agree with the blog on Disabled Feminists and many of the comments below. I think it’s distasteful and crass and insensitive toward a lot of different people.
    I was willing to accept that you weren’t being disrespectful or making fun until I watched this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCPnTHXj8b0

    Dude, you’re making fun. You are GIGGLING ABOUT IT while you are performing. Isn’t this absurd?! Isn’t this grand?! And that vacant, glassy-eyed, mocking look on Jason’s face is the final nail in the coffin. You’re making fun. You think the whole thing is hilarious and fabulous and oh-so-creative. It’s really not, though. Maybe it’s a clever way to get out of your contract with your record label, but in every other respect, it’s a total creative failure.

    Also, in this case, a little bit of mystery could have gone a long long way. Maybe start studying The Residents next time you want to undertake a project like this. If you had been more careful, and more studied and calculating, this could have been a fantastic project.

    • supertnova

      okay, i don’t really want to get into this “discussion”, but i really felt the need to respond to your comment.
      they’re laughing in the video because they’re attempting to walk in a dress and play an instrument meant for one person. remember those phys. ed. games in elementary school where you tied your ankle to the ankle of your friend and tried walking? were you laughing? yeah. me too. and so are they. AND it’s what people do when they’re on stage and they’re trying to portray a character. some people can pull it off, others laugh.
      not to mention, that it is a silly band! (not a silly concept, don’t raise an issue about this) their songs are about riding elephants and myspace! it would be weird if they were serious.
      lastly, on why jason looks so scared (vacant and glassy-eyed as you put it): amanda did write that the “twins” are shy…maybe that’s the reason? not the fact that they’re conjoined/exploited/etc.?
      i’m shy and i play an instrument…i look like i’m about to die before i go on stage. and no, i’m not mad because they’re “mocking” the shy community.
      but, i digress, i hope i don’t insult too many people,
      i think Yes, Virginia is grand, and we have that in common. smiles & hugs & kisses all ’round

      • LCG

        I wasn’t saying they’re mocking shy people. They’re mocking the disabled. Oh, isn’t this ridiculous and hilarious, pretending to be conjoined twins? Haha! Imagine that instead of being in a sewn-together dress trying to play an accordion, they were in a wheelchair or using crutches or using a prosthetic limb and giggling away at how absurd it was. Or if they were doing some crude imitation of the mentally challenged. Wouldn’t be so silly, wouldn’t it?

        Have you ever seen “The Lawnmower Man?” There’s a really horrible portrayal of a mentally handicapped person in that movie. Jason’s face reminded me of it. Draw from that what you will.

        It would be a “silly band” if Amanda hadn’t attached Serious Issues (such as: able-bodied people “rescuing” these poor disabled girls from their sad existence and teaching them about the world, child abuse and exploitation, etc.) in such a flippant manner. I honestly feel like it could have been a very interesting and fun project if Amanda had maybe kept people questioning a little bit more and kept a little mystery and maybe didn’t tell their tragic and grisly backstory in such a “HAHA THIS IS SRSLY A TRUE STORY GAIS I SWARE!” manner.

        What I find most offensive?
        That someone who SHOULD be more socially and politically conscious, that someone who has mostly SEEMED to be socially and politically conscious, probably never even considered that she was being offensive.
        She didn’t expect a shitstorm because it didn’t even occur to her that just maybe this little tale might be a shining example of “ableism” and making light of child sexual exploitation.
        Remember that old Disney movie “Song of the South?” Which is a perfectly mundane movie except that it is centered around a jolly ol’ slave who love being a slave? And no one even considered, as they were making it, that it might be just a little bit racist? This is a lot like that.

        And, seriously, I wonder if Amanda’s ego is getting the better of her. If her intent was to keep her face and name AWAY from this project, she should have, y’know, kept her face and name AWAY FROM THE PROJECT. If she could have just, like, kept herself out of the spotlight for maybe 5 seconds and just quietly released the album as the producer with a truncated, better written backstory that didn’t have her playing Messiah, it could have been really interesting.

        • supertnova

          i’m not saying it’s funny to pretend you’re conjoined twins. it’s FUNNY to be stuck in a dress. i never said it was funny to be in a wheelchair. it’s funny to be in a dress with your friend. i’m sorry if that wasn’t clear. to me, the whole point of this record is: jason and amanda are really good friends and they thought it would be interesting to perform together. i don’t want to make an assumption and i don’t want to come off crude/rude/politically incorrect, but i think the point of evelyn evelyn is that they’re “conjoined” in the artistic/friend sense. i guess they didn’t think about the fact that there’s so many people who will take that the wrong way. and i don’t appreciate the fact that you’re taking my points and making them sound like i’m laughing at disabled people. it’s silly to play an instrument meant for one person together. i’ve tried it. that’s what i’m talking about. i didn’t, for one moment, say it was silly to pretend you’re disabled.
          i’ve never seen that movie, but jason’s face can remind anyone of anything. saying that someone’s expression looks like that person’s expression in that movie doesn’t get you far.
          on “serious issues”: i feel like this might actually make others more aware of them. i think i saw that in the comments. personally i was never abused or exploited as a child so i don’t know how to react. i’m also not disabled, though i have (not to equalize this to being disabled) my share of “shit”, if i may so put it, in life, and i don’t get insulted by people laughing at problems that i’ve had. honestly, i laughed more than anyone on that onion video about giving chipper people depressants so they would do less with their life, and i’ve been through depression. i find divorce jokes HILARIOUS, especially the ones about fucked up kids of divorced parents, and my parents are divorced. maybe it’s just me. i laugh at myself a lot. not to mention that this is a story, and it doesn’t directly laugh at disabled people.
          and the “why did the twins have to get discovered” argument is, “silly”. why else would amanda and jason endorse them that much? why would they need to be involved? i don’t even think this is a valid argument for anything.
          and what you find most offensive is actually what should be considered LEAST offensive. people that are aware that they are insulting a group of people and still doing it are MUCH worse than people who are not aware. would you get mad at your friend if he/she accidentally hit you or if he/she hit you on purpose? i think the answer is obvious. i’ve never seen “song of the south”, but i am aware of the fact that walt disney is a douchebag. sorry to use such an unsophisticated phrase in this sophisticated argument. but i know i’m getting something offensive from Disney, i EXPECT it. and i expect for him to be aware. i didn’t think amanda was offensive, but if she offended someone, i know that she didn’t mean it.

          she can’t keep her face from this project because she’s a very active part of this project, and happens to be one of the now infamous evelyn twins. i think amanda palmer’s ego is the one of the reasons she is successful and broke through unlike so many indie bands nowadays. i think you learn to be assertive in the music industry. my inability to be assertive is one of my greatest weaknesses and i applaud amanda palmer’s ego. and really, after creating so many wonderful things, anyone should be bursting with ego like a fountain.

          hooooly shit this was long. i don’t want to start a long chain of comments here, so if you’re tired or sleepy or not in the mood, please feel free to disregard, and don’t get insulted. in real life i’m really nice and i like ice cream and ponies.

          • LCG

            Okay, there’s a comment above by jostewart that sums my feelings up better than I did. I’d go read that.

            I suppose what I would argue is that art is not worthwhile or wonderful or okay simply because it’s art. It almost seems like Amanda is sulking and pouting like a child because this project isn’t going over as she intended and it hurts to see herself skewered by her own fans. And here’s the thing: Art is a living, breathing thing. The creator can’t control it once it’s been seen/heard/felt by other people. Their reactions are important. Audiences define art. If you a paint a masterpiece and no one ever sees is, is it really a masterpiece? If you write an amazing song and never play it for anyone, does it serve its purpose as a song? Performance is all about the performing. Being a songwriter is all about having someone to listen to your songs. So I think all this controversy, and all the responses, negative and positive, deserve to be considered.

            I think Amanda’s Tweeting about “disabled feminists” and “people who actually know me” were very dismissive and kind of childish.

            I don’t think anyone has been upset in an unthoughtful way here. Her fans are articulate. No one’s said, “OMG U R A BITCH AND I HAET U” or whatever. A lot of people read the blog, and thought, “You know what? I’m really not so cool with this. At all.” And proceeded to comment accordingly. Everyone’s reactions are valid and people aren’t just being mean by voicing them. I really do think Amanda expected all of her fans to pat her on the back and tell her how wonderful she is and how gifted she is and how much we all love her, but when the honest reaction to this project was not what she was expecting, she sulks. She hides. I can only hope her follow-up to this blog isn’t more of what we’ve been seeing on her Twitter because that would be truly unfortunate.

            And, you know, there’s a reason it didn’t occur to her that she might be offending a lot of people in her audience: PRIVILEGE. She’s able-bodied. She is not disabled in any way. She was not, to our knowledge, exploited sexually as a child. None of the issues she’s brought to the fore with this project are HER issues. They don’t impact her directly. That’s why she couldn’t see that people might taking offense to them. It’s because of privilege that most men don’t have an interest in feminist, and why your average middle-class white person isn’t crusading for civil rights, and why us able-bodied folks aren’t typically passionately involved in rights for people with disabilities. For instance, we might not notice that a building doesn’t have proper wheelchair access if we’re able to walk and don’t need to use a wheelchair. For a person who is in a wheelchair, trying to navigate a building with no wheelchair access is either outright impossible or very difficult. So, maybe it didn’t occur to Amanda that this project might piss off some people because she’s a nice person (and I’m not saying she isn’t), but most likely it didn’t occur to her because she wasn’t personally affected by any of the issues she’s making light of in this blog post.

            I guess what just irks me about her response is that she has massively devoted fans. She has fans who stood behind her when the “Oasis” controversy broke out; personally, I hated “Oasis” and thought she was shocking just to shock and just flat-out hated the song & video. But everyone stood behind her. When she took guff for her appearance at the Golden Globes, flashing her tits on the red carpet and proudly displaying her hairy pits to the world, her fans stood behind her. But now, her fans are divided on this, and she seems to be sulking away and pouting about it. Well, gee. Tough shit. I mean, does she want a fanbase of INDIVIDUALS who have opinions and can respond to her work (and blog) honestly, or does she want a brainwashed AFP cult who likes everything she does and says without question? I’m not so sure at this point.

          • supertnova

            i guess the two big points that i do not understand are:
            1. why everyone is upset she is taking a few days off.
            2. why some believe she is mocking the disabled.
            so,
            1. i understand that twitter and the like have made everything quicker and have forced us to expect for everyone to keep up with the pace, but taking a few days off to formulate a good response isn’t dismissive. it’s smart. also, i should mention that, amanda palmer has a life outside of her blog. she has a life outside of her fans. she has the right to take days off. maybe she is “sulking” and upset, but i don’t know why she can’t be allowed a few days of meditation.
            2. to continue your metaphor, if someone sees a building without wheelchair access, the logical thing would be to tell the administrator “there’s no wheelchair access here, you should do something about that” and not “you’re mocking disabled people!”, which is something that many have said. okay, she lightheartedly talked about serious issues. she never mocked them. she didn’t say, “o hai look at these disabled people! they’re hilarious! and they did child porn! hilarious!” she just created a story that included serious subjects. maybe she shouldn’t have done that. but she’s not laughing at anyone.
            and, on your privilege comment…can you really be mad at someone’s ignorance because of privilege? no. you need to educate that person. if the person chooses to stays ignorant after they’re educated, that’s a real problem.

          • LCG

            Have you actually listened to the 3 songs available by Evelyn Evelyn?

            Here’s the first verse of “A Campaign of Shock and Awe”:

            “Behold, the eighth wonder
            Of the natural world!
            Come one and come all
            See the two-headed girl
            Stupendous! Revolting!
            You’ll be shocked, you’ll be awed
            A true freak of nature
            A blunder of God”

            Uh-huh. Yeah, there’s no mocking tone there. None at all.

            And, yes, I realize that “A Campaign of Shock and Awe” is supposed to be written from the point of view of the people exploiting them in the circus. But it all gets a bit muddy when the last few verses roll around and they sing, “Critics and hipsters, have you heard the new album by the Evelyn sisters?” and “As featured in Rolling Stone and Spin, the New Yorker, and Pitchfork, there’s an in-store appearance today at the corner of Bedford and Seventh Ave.” So AFP & Jason Webley have written a song in which they themselves make light of the exploitation of these fictitious conjoined twin sister, going so far as to compare themselves to the terrible owners of Dillard and Fullerton’s in a song they wrote themselves? Alrighty then.

            This whole thing started out as a joke between them. They are giggling in the recording of “Elephant Elephant.” Maybe they’re planning on turning this idea they had into something more fleshed-out in the album; that remains to be seen. However, this whole blog post was just clumsily and immaturely written. There’s no “art” in the telling of this backstory at all. It’s literally like, “Okay guys, here’s this story I made up! This is the plot…”

            And the costume she & Jason appear in is crip-drag. It’s like blackface, only the target is disabled people instead of African-Americans.

            Furthermore, she is NOT taking a few days off. Both she and Neil have Tweeted about this situation multiple times. And what did she have to say? Some snide, crude remark about “removing the disabled feminists from her periphery.” Nice. Real nice. I’m interested to see the blog she’s supposedly working on about this whole hubbub, I hope she takes some accountability instead of saying I AM MAKING ART I ANSWER TO NO ONE. That’s a cop-out. She’s the one who raised these damn issues, she needs to address them.

            And basically, this is her fans’ way of complaining to the manager. “Your blog post offended a lot of people, you should do something about that.”

          • ambbb

            LCG, I have read through your comments and I agreed with most of your points. I get where you’re coming from. That being said, in regards to your criticism of how Amanda Palmer wrote this blog, I wanted to say something about that. Basically all I wanted to say is that it’s a blog, she wasn’t writing a story, I mean, she was, but I’m assuming she wanted to write it in the same tone as her other blogs, don’t you think? As if to seem more real?

            I completely agree with you that it could have been better executed. It could have even possibly been a good idea if done the right way, but this was written like a blog because it is a blog, not a short story. I realize the lines of fiction and truth are being blurred a lot with this whole Evelyn, Evelyn thing, but it was a blog so you can’t take too much offense to how shoddy it was written. I know that’s not really what your argument was about, it was a little point lost amongst all of the bigger issues, but I wanted to add that in there.

            In summation; Bad writing? Not so much offensive. Not realizing you could be hurting others when all you probably wanted to do was screw over your record label? Kind of offensive, not the screwing over the record label part, that part is kind of funny.

          • LCG

            Fair points.

            I find bad writing offensive, personally. I guess the tone of The Great Reveal (not to mention the fact that it is riddled with typos and grammatical errors) is part of what’s confusing to me. I have a blog. If I’m writing about my trip to the grocery store to buy eggs, I use the spell check function and read over to make sure that what I’ve written is coherent. I don’t want to misspell “quiche,” for instance. If I were a songwriter and I had spent any amount of time working on a project, collaborating with another songwriter, and working out the particulars of this project… wouldn’t I put some real thought into how I presented it? Honestly, the sexual abuse and child pornography parts of the backstory almost seem like afterthoughts, parenthetical asides. If this were my baby, and I had spent time birthing it, I’d want it to make a grand entrance, y’know? This was a really clumsy, ham-handed entrance. This was a Cosmo Kramer entrance.

            Ultimately, I think it’s a rather clever way of sticking it the record company. I really do just wish it could have been better executed. And I’m really not digging the martyrdom poor-me attitude in her last handful of Tweets. It appears as though all the thoughtful, fair criticisms that have been voiced in these comments have all been interpreted as “FUCK YOU”s to Amanda, which is a real shame.

          • supertnova

            ah, i’d love to reply to this now, but amanda palmer seems to have made another blog.
            last point
            neil tweeting isn’t the same as amanda tweeting, they’re engaged so technically they’re still not ONE person, but two (depends, of course, on your marriage traditions..).
            and saying that laughter on the recording of ‘elephant elephant’ is somehow related to disabilities is insane! they’re laughing because the song is about riding an elephant. maybe you’re not much of a humor – type person.

          • NJ

            Try this: how funny would it be if they were wearing blackface? To disabled people, like it or not, that video is the equivalent.

          • LCG

            EXACTLY.

          • caddycat

            Dear non-Blacks, stop exploiting Black struggles in your PC arguments. Be creative, and exploit another race’s trials and tribulations for once.

          • LCG

            How do you know I’m not black, eh?

          • caddycat

            Are you? Wait, you probably shouldn’t answer that. This is the internet, and I wouldn’t believe it anyway.

          • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

            I had no idea disabled people think of themselves as two-headed sisters. Learn something new every day!

          • James

            As a black person here who has experienced near violent racism several times i think it would be hilarious. But thats me. i have a dark sense of humor.
            As for the rest of this mess, i can’t speak to it. The great thing about art is that people appreciate it differently. In math 2+2 inevitably =4. In art one can think a Pollock looks like shitty finger painting or Oasis is distasteful *and still be right*. Its all a matter of taste. So before you go pillorying people over their reaction to AFP’s little joke–or crucifying AFP over her reaction to some of the less thoughtful criticisms of her little joke–take a moment to think about that.

            have you done it?

            Alright then, carry on with the war. Iced tea and cake and hugs for all are in the next room when you tire of it.

    • theperfectfit

      Thank you, LCG. Your response covers it all. At least for me.

      For awhile I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve been so put off by AFP. I’m tired of people claiming IT’S ART! IT’S ART! No. It just isn’t the same anymore. I can’t say she isn’t the same…I’ve never met AFP. But all of “it” is getting to be too much.

      Maybe I’m just selfish b/c I miss the days when I enjoyed her music and didn’t feel tainted by reading things like her blog/Twitter. There was none of that when I first became a fan of hers. What I did have when I first listened to her music was a sense of feeling so grateful that this person had written these songs. Songs that I identified with.

      I’m glad you wrote this how you did. And much <333 for the Geek Love reference.

      • LCG

        I feel you, dude. I started reading her blog and Twitter after liking so much of her music and felt torn because I wasn’t really digging her online presence. I still like her music. A lot. I wouldn’t be on her website reading her blog if I didn’t like her music, obviously.

        And that’s the thing: Opening yourself up to your fans through blogs and Twitter can mean a close, cool connection with your fans and it can also mean that it’s a little harder to hide when your fans take issue with something you write. If you don’t want to deal with the criticism, close yourself and your personal life off. If you want fans to feel a personal connection with you and offer up their couches when you need a place to stay on tour and bring you wine and offer praise when you do awesome things, you’ve also got to deal with them when they have opinions.

        Much <3 for Geek Love. One of my favorites. One of my first thoughts after reading about this project was, "Ha! Sounds like she's read some Katherine Dunn lately!"

  • Shayla

    I’ve been downright perplexed about people’s reactions to this back story. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now.

    The themes of Evelyn and Evelyn have been used hundreds of time in books, plays, music, and other art as pure fiction. Yes, it happens in real life. People go through even more than the twins did. There’s nothing taboo about having a sob story childhood, and nothing wrong with using it as a part of a fictional tale. If every bad or touchy thing that happened to someone as a child was off limits for stories, then TV is going to get really boring. So are books. And So is music. THIS cannot be the real reason everyone is so upset.

    This has nothing to do with the the story. Nothing to do with the twins in general. It has to do with the fans and their relationship with Amanda.

    They want to think Amanda has changed. She hasn’t. She’s more and more popular for the exact same reason we all started listening to her. Other people are just now catching on to how fun, crazy, and talented she is. NOTHING about that has changed.

    The only thing that has is how the fans want to perceive her. Either everyone had the wrong perception of who Amanda was to begin with, or everyone needs to realize that she’s not going to change to make you happy. She is who she is (and always has been.) You don’t have to lover her, or her projects. You can take it or leave it, but there’s really no need to go on some crusade to “fix the recent so-called wrongdoings of Amanda.”

    There are worse and more serious things going on in the world for you to be concerned about. Instead of complaining about THIS particular project, go out and donate money or time to help stop ACTUAL child porn and help people with ACTUAL disabilities, because these obviously seem to be topics that many of you feel very strongly about.

    I’ll just sit here and happily await the pre-order for the Twins, because I don’t feel the need to get worked up over everything even slightly “questionable” that I see on the internet.

    • Nonymoused

      You’re deliberately ignoring the fact that many of the people voicing their objections ARE “people with ACTUAL disabilities”.

  • Sid

    Man, I should not have read all of these comments.

    But I have come to a conclusion.

    I quite liked the story and am looking forward to the album.

  • maurinamaurina

    Yeeeaah, I’m not sure where I stand on this… there is the whole “blogs are art, ergo what is presented cannot be taken fully on face value” — in other words, don’t be naive enough to assume that an artist’s blog is factual.

    On the other hand, AFP’s blog has recently (and usually) been about events and musings. Content has reflected reality, as seen through AFP’s entries about travels, creative process, life experiences etc. This Evelyn Evelyn thing is way out of the norm for her BLOG. Not for her artistic endeavors, per se, but posting a huge back story on a blog is a bit much – again, for her BLOG.

    Also: The picture was a bridge too far really, as was the Dillard’s reference (Robertson Davies, anyone?)…

    As I said, I’m still not sure how I feel about this whole project and the way it’s been presented. I mean granted, it’s 1000 times better than the appalling and embarrassing thing that Garth Brooks did with the whole Chris Gaines thing. And now that I type that, I realize how badly it dates me.

    Anyway. Fictional back stories that include child molestation and exploitation of disabilities aren’t exactly new, nor are the necessarily exploitative or being used as a punchline, per se. I think the negative, visceral reaction people are having here has way more to do with the chatty, as-usual-here’s-the-news-from-me stuff one typically finds on a blog, contrasted with more recognizable fiction.

    • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

      I’m glad I haven’t cited any similar circumstances. I’d hate to date myself with references to The Travelling Wilburys, The Ramones, The Rutles, Spinal Tap, The Archies, Josey and the Pussy Cats, Eddie and The Cruisers, or The Commitments. Maybe we both should have just said Sasha Fierce.

      • maurinamaurina

        Hee! Yes. I admit it. I am old enough to remember when “This is Spinal Tap” came out. Hell, I remember when “All You Need Is Cash” came out. And now, I need to go take a nap and some Geritol.

  • http://cynthiavonbuhler.com/ Cynthia von Buhler

    I have agreed to illustrate this graphic novel (and album) because the story is strong and important.

    It reminded me of the following:
    There are children living today who are sold into slavery.
    Elephants are not commodities. They should be in the wild and not in circuses or zoos.
    The conditions farm chickens live in are disgusting. ( I stopped eating chicken after reading this story).
    Women who are too poor to get proper medical care frequently die in child birth.
    There are doctors who care more about their own agendas than the welfare of their patients.
    People should never impose their religious beliefs on others who may not have the same beliefs.

    Painful things should be looked at and not swept under the carpet.

    • Norah

      I agree that ‘painful things should not be swept under the carpet.’ But contrast this AFP project to, say, ‘Precious’ (film and book). The cutsie-pie tone of the songs, and the generally light-hearted ‘freak cabaret’ tone of the website, graphics, etc. belie any claim that the artists involved in this project want to talk about painful things in a respectful way.

      Let’s face it: child pornography, human traffiking, child abuse and animal abuse are basically off-limits except in certain very specific contexts (especially since, narratively speaking, animals generally stand in for infants). An earlier poster compares this project to L&O:SVU, but IMO this comparsion doesn’t hold: SVU is noir police-procedural fiction. It doesn’t pretend to be a factual back-story for an artist who wants out of her record contract. And ‘Precious’ & SVU treat their victims as victims, not circus freaks dolled up in purple frilly gowns, handed a banjo, and told to sing into the mic.

      If we take AFP’s story at face value, then her behaviour smacks of the same sort of exploitation that she describes in the twins’ back-story. There’s no mention of any attempt to get the twins therapy, support, careworkers, a well-paid contract, accomodated housing or travel arrangements, long-term care (surely conjoined twins have serious health complications?) or to offer them the opportunity to say no – a fundamental right that is stripped away from any victim of any sort of abuse. Instead, we’re told that at every turn that they resisted AFP & Jason, and were ‘coaxed’ into performing. Perhaps it’s just that the story isn’t framed properly, but (again, taking the story at face value) overall the impression I got was that AFP and Jason found the twins on the web and mounted an aggressive campaign to get them to sign to a record label and get into the studio so that they could build a show & tour around them. The narrative left me thinking: ick.

      Note too that victims of this sort of extreme sexual, emotional and physical abuse don’t generally turn out to be cabaret singers singing adult Raffi-style songs. They end up being Sybil or Truddi Chase or Hedda Nussbaum.

      Mostly this seems to me like a fun idea gone completely sour, and I’m sorry for it. I understood the steam-punk Victorian freak-show Elephant-man cabaret vibe that they were going for with the original concept, and like ‘Oasis’ there was an opportunity here to push a few buttons and create an intersting discourse about a single topic: how do we feel about the disabled? ‘Oasis’ took the subject(s) of date-rape and abortion and put it jarringly out of context, forcing people to at least talk about their reaction to the song, if not how we react to victims of abuse. But, (a) the ‘victim’ in Oasis was AFP herself, which gave her a sound platform from which to speak on the issues and (b) the ‘victim’ was clearly old enough to seek out help, care, support, etc. The message of ‘Oasis’ was: I took a terribly painful episode and de-clawed it, and now I can tell you about it.

      But since we know that this whole project is fiction, in the E/E story the added layer of child abuse and horrific exploitation, heaped on top of an already potentially ‘dangerous’ topic of disability and birth defects, leaves the reader of AFP’s narrative exausted and turned-off. It gives the whole project a blythely indifferent vibe, as if those involved sat around drinking wine, pen in hand, asking ‘how much more damage can we do to these characters just to freak people out?’

      Too much, too far, too bad.

      • stylishb

        Eloquent and comprehensive..thank you.

      • Camilla

        Norah, thank you for this lucid and well thought out response. You put into words what I could not.

      • oneiricackle

        Just a general remark before I tackle this post specifically: I anticipated that there might be some backlash about this (even months ago) but some of the criticism I’m seeing is blowing my mind. I can’t believe how many people have not been able to distinguish between fiction and reality! As for stereotyping, it is only bad if it remains unchallenged. If stereotyping did not exist we would forfeit much of our shared reality and our ways of identify things would be seriously hampered. Since stereotypes exist, and are not going away, it is better to get it on a platform and discuss it than sweep it under a carpet of political correctness.

        Onto this Post:
        I’m very much in agreement with Cynthia von Buhler’s comments.

        Amanda is well known for her dark twists. Why shouldn’t “Cutsie” be the veneer for a deeper exploration of the twins that have for months been portrayed as vulnerable adults? I could argue as a person who experiences acute social anxiety (amongst many other troubling mental ailments) that the reality of the eccentricities of EE are easily accounted for by damaged lives (for whatever reason the damage has been caused by). I’m not going to complain that Amanda is doing people like me an injustice on that count and I’m not going to criticise Amanda for opening up avenues where these issues can be discussed.

        I’m not convinced by the “taking the story at face value” argument. Isn’t that making the assumption that people who might have difficulties are always in need of help? When that happens to me it can be patronising because eventually you pass the limit of available help and you make your peace with whatever hinders you – This is not to say that you shouldn’t demand more assistance if you feel you are being discriminated against in the level of support that is available… Also “Coaxing” is word that is often used jokingly as a way of saying gentle encouragement. The pressurising is not evident aside from what can be misconstrued from that tone.

        As for the victims of sexual abuse. How is it possible to generalise about what might become of them? Statistics put childhood sexual abuse as being experienced by between 15%-25% of females and 5%-15% of males. That is far more common that most people realise. Why shouldn’t there be variation in how these individuals deal with their experiences? A certain amount will have very damaged lives but that shouldn’t condemn the resilient to hopelessness.

        (O)

      • Gavin

        I applaud your eloquence. I disagree with you, almost completely. But, I respect your right to an opinion. I don’t believe that we should think ‘child pornography, human traffiking, child abuse and animal abuse are basically off-limits’ because if we think that, we can never address these issues. By keeping things in silence, we don’t hear them, we can’t make a change.

        Is AFP going to radically change the way we approach and resolve the issues the ‘Evelyn Evelyn’ story appear to be raising? Probably not. But she doesn’t have to. What she is doing is brining all sorts of issues into the light. She sang, as you mentioned, about date rape and abortion in ‘Oasis’ and was slammed for it. Her response? She asked if it would’ve been more acceptable if it was in the minor key. And she’s right there. These issues are serious, they are life-altering for some. But they deserve discussion. No matter how controversial the response.

        I don’t think that her comments, or lack thereof, are damaging. She’s not damaging people. She has created a story. A story that discusses things which ‘freak people out’. I think the fact that people still get freaked out about real-life atrocities such as child pornography and human trafficking is more of an issue than anything AFP has done. We shouldn’t be freaking out about realities. We should be addressing them. In the most appropriate way *WE* think.

        Art is subjective. Reality happens.

      • Dorothy

        Or they end up being Oprah or MacKenzie Phillips…and what is your point with that ?

        If you were told that this is actually Amanda or Jason’s story and that they used it creatively to transcend their pain, would you suddenly have respect for it ?

        It’s art. Nothing is off limits for art. The world can’t hear anything about abuse when it’s spoken seriously either. Are you kidding me? Did you see how many people signed to defend Polanski?
        This might be a better way to actually get people to care about this shit.

        I am a survivor of abuse and I work with disabled people and I ‘m not the slightest bit offended by this. Should Catherine Dunn not have written Geek Love? Should she be banned?

        Wow. This is nuts, people.
        Seriously.
        No one is harming anyone here.

      • Phedre

        “If we take AFP’s story at face value, then her behaviour smacks of the same sort of exploitation that she describes in the twins’ back-story…”

        Isn’t that the point? When Amanda hinted at this project before, I thought perhaps it was real. But when she launched it with that blog post I knew it wasn’t. What I read was a project that symbolized several things, but at the core it is about people exploiting other people. Like the record labels do with their artists, and so-called-lovers to each other.

        I don’t agree with some aspects of it. The idea of the graphic novel, while a venue that could be beneficial for discussing hush-hush, sweep-it-under-the-rug concepts such as child pornography and rape, is reduced by being tied into the larger project.

        I do think that the “cutesy” aspect that offends people is entirely appropriate. I have known women, an unfortunately large amount actually, who were abused as children, who’s concept of personal self-worth was based on sex. Many of these women expressed their sexuality by dramatizing the childishness, attracting those interested in a legal “barely legal” and generally being childish in their relationships. I don’t really understand it, and I don’t assume every girl who dresses or acts in that fashion was abused. But I can see why they would use such a tone in presenting the story.

        Honestly, I can think of 2 songs about rape (Tori Amos, Fiona Apple) and one about child molestation (Lush), and while the first two are dark the second one about molestation is a sing-song almost happy sounding song. It doesn’t diminish the story being told. So I don’t think this project’s approach will diminish the stories they are trying to tell.

      • Anon E. Mousse

        I know this has probably already been said, and more than once, but I would just like to ask…

        ..what about the people who are disabled, birth defects or anything that keeps them from being what society calls ‘normal’….that would much rather NOT be fussed over?
        I’ve had Arthritis since I was born, I know what it’s like to not be able to move any part of your body, no matter how hard you try.

        But what I hate the most is not when someone takes the ‘disabled’ parking spot, it’s not when someone gives me a weird look. It’s when people constantly ask questions. I can barely walk around a normal store, and having to use a wheelchair is painfully embarassing. It should be left unsaid that people with certain disabilities need some assistance. Duh.

        But we just want to be people. Just fucking people. We know you look, we know you think to yourself ‘how weird’. We’re used to it…really.

        But we’ve lived our entire lives like this, most of us without sympathy or caring relatives or insurance funds for full-out accommodations. We can only be victims if we choose to be seen as one, we’re normal, we function. We just need to sit for a while, or special clothing.

        Some of us feel worse when we hear ‘oh you poor thing, let me get that for you’ than when some ignorant little kid points and stares.

      • Guest

        “the ‘victim’ in Oasis was AFP herself, which gave her a sound platform from which to speak on the issues”
        But what about people who write fiction novels? Surely they didn’t have those things happen to them. Does that mean they can’t write about it? (I’m not trying to sound rude, I’m just wondering what you mean by that because it sounds like you’re saying people can only address issues if it concerns them)

        It’s hard for me to find information on this but all I’ve seen so far is people getting upset that the twins are disabled and not real. Maybe it’s just my personality or whatever but I feel like I’m missing the whole reason for the anger. (Again not trying to be rude, I’m really curious)

        • Norah

          Wow, it’s been a while! Briefly: I have absolutely no truck with people writing fiction about the disabled, about abuse, etc, as long as they recognize that they’re going to upset at least some people quite badly. My original (and, in the end, only) complaint was that AFP’s approach to launching this project was stupendously clumsy. In other words, my complaint is about project management (or lack thereof, in this case). Art is what it is – subjective. I don’t have to like it, but I also don’t think that art should be (a) tossed it at me in a really thoughtless, off-hand manner and (b) something that’s so exclusive that if I don’t like it, I’m dismissed as an ignorant hater.

          The issues AFP’s chosen to present with E/E are hot-button topics, so I could not understand why she was surprised that folks reacted negatively, and then her own response to the negative reactions was IMO petulant and dismissive – bad for someone who claims to be feminist and progressive and an ‘outsider’ due to her queer status. Had she taken a few minutes to acknowledge that the material is sensitive and possibly upsetting, or apologized for failing to do so after the poo flew, I don’t think it would’ve turned into such a marathon debate.

          If you’re interested in this debate, I’d recommend reading this blog post over on Asking The Wrong Questions – http://wrongquestions.blogspot.com/2011/02/pull-trigger.html. A similar argument broke out when Bitch Magazine fumbled the ball with a list of recommended reading. I think the issues are the same, as was the reaction from those involved on both sides of the debate. And in the end, it boiled down to a badly handled project.

          Norah.

    • http://liz-henry.blogspot.com/ Liz

      I agree — Painful things should be looked at ! Including all these criticisms. I hope your illustrations add depth and complexity to the characters and story and that they’re deepened by the online discussions and by the contributions of us “disabled feminists”

  • ThatBastardErik

    @Kai: Most eloquent. The portrait you paint is quite vivid.

    I, on the other hand, am about as subtle as an anvil falling on your big toe.

    I tweeted the following earlier on this subject: “THE WORLD. HAS GONE. FUCKING. STUPID!!!!!!!”
    Jeebus!! Everybody went off the handle on this without getting their shit straight. Unfortunately, outrage travels at the speed of the internet nowadays.
    “That AFP! What an insensitive whore!! I’m gonna cut off her Twitter feed!!!”
    Damn right, kiddo, that”ll show ‘er.
    This is art.
    This is a project.
    If an artist took into account every single person their work could possibly offend, there would be no art.
    Don’t like it? Don’t support it. Turn the channel…whatever. I think it’s pretty creative. Maybe not the route I would go, but damn creative.

    • http://www.youtube.com/afpislove AFPisLOVE

      I concur, dear sir.

  • http://www.youtube.com/afpislove AFPisLOVE

    I have been trying to come up with a decent comment for a while now that would satisfy me.

    I have failed miserably.

    All I know is this. I Love Amanda Palmer. For about six or seven years now, I have rarely missed a day of just listening to Amanda Palmer or The Dresden Dolls. This music she makes… Something about it speaks to me and makes me … well… makes me not feel so alone after all.

    Long Live the Punk Cabaret

    • AlwaysATourist

      Hear hear!

  • caddycat

    If you feel conned, you conned yourselves. I know a 6-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 10-year-old who would laugh at any adult who believed these sisters actually existed. Go go gadget concept album! *ahem* Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. …or an Eva and Lynn. Oh dear.

    • http://tr.im/btonic Baylink

      You’re not familiar, then, with Abigail and Brittany Hensel?

      • caddycat

        Great attempt to twist words. I said Eva and Lynn weren’t real, smartie pants. Not conjoined twins (previous siamese twins) weren’t real. But thanks for playing our game. lrn2read.

        • http://tr.im/btonic Baylink

          You’re projecting.

          I didn’t twist anyone’s words. I merely took the only actual *concept* in your posting: “any adult who believed these sisters actually existed” and replied to the only obvious meaning I could see in it.

          • caddycat

            I am projecting. It’s called angst over the fact that people love to misconstrue things to their liking. Like you just did. Like all of these people are doing over this little project. I’m glad you noticed. Please feel free to tell me the obvious again whenever you get the free time.

            The meaning behind the post was, wow, there are idiots who actually believed the sisters themselves existed. If you can’t read that into something so simple, then I fear you’re in the same boat as those who believe circus conjoined twins with a two-headed elephant exist.

    • just a quiet fan

      They did exist. Their names were Daisy and Violet Hilton, and they are long gone now but their actual story was highly borrowed, whether intentional or not, by Amanda and Jason. Education is important if you’re going to be snarky.

      Yes, Virginia, singer sisters conjoined at the hip who were abused in the circus DID exist.

      • caddycat

        So basically you researched performing conjoined twins, and said that maybe Amanda knew and maybe not (whether intentional or not, as you said), and applied that. Again, you’re not reading. I just said a pair of conjoined sisters named Evelyn Evelyn do not exist. Those specific sisters. And it is so depressing that I have to specify my words, when that should have been obvious all along. We’re not talking about stories /possibly/ based on, but the story in question. How is that not getting through? Holy shit. People believed that the sister, Eva and Lynn existed. Not the Hilton’s or the Hensel’s. The Evelyn’s. That’s like me saying Santa Claus doesn’t exist, and you turn around and say, “Well, a man who delivered children’s toys to the poor named St. Nicholas existed, and here is the proof of his history!” We’re not talking about the story based on. We’re talking about the jolly fat man with flying reindeer in an open sleigh. You people make a living at arguing twisted words, don’t you?

        That said, from Amanda’s latest journal,

        “good art often comes from stories.
        and often making art from stories is a way of not letting those stories rule and control our lives.”

        There. She said it. It’s a story. Be happy. We can all move on.

  • caddycat

    Double post!

  • http://www.atomicpanda.com/ Eddie Perkins

    Good lord, people. Lighten up.

  • Misty_M

    I’ve never commented on a celeb’s blog before, but the level of entitlement being displayed kind of compelled me to do so. I mean, if you don’t care for the project, for whatever reason, that is certainly your right. But to be ‘betrayed’ and ‘hurt’ by what is basically a concept album about a twisted little Cinderella story seems to be a gross overreaction. No writer or performer is YOUR writer or performer. They may create art/product that you love, that you find meaning in, but that doesn’t mean you know them. They will also create projects that you like/are indifferent to/absolutely hate. To treat it as a personal affront and to use such emotional language is really blurring the line as to what it means to be a fan. The people you know might have the power to hurt or betray you; an artist you like, whom you’ve never had personal contact with, shouldn’t. Yes, of course you can question motives or themes in a person’s work; that’s a good, healthy thing to do. But to take any project from any artist to such an emotional level probably says more about you than it does the project in question. This may not be the Amanda Palmer you expected/hoped for/thought she was. She doesn’t have to be. And you don’t have to buy it.

  • ??

    Quoting Blog: “it’s time to hit the road.
    the twins have stayed living in their same town in washington (we gave them a really small advance on the record, and they’ve been able to move into slightly nicer room) and this tour is going to be their first forray into the world of rock and public performance!!! we’re all hoping of the best.”

    What is this “we gave them a really small advance” business. It’s this sort of stuff that frames this narrative in exactly the wrong way and just makes me feel that the whole thing is not just ridiculous, but also disgusting. Is Palmer trying to look like she’s exploiting ‘them’ to make some kind of point? It’s not working.

    I’m not going to buy this or anything else from Kambriel, Palmer or the lot.

    • Nadz

      I read all of the comments on here. Well, okay, I skimmed some of them. And I read the disabled feminist article. My thoughts:

      Honestly, before this whole controversy erupted I wasn’t all that into this Evelyn Evelyn business. I listened to some songs and they just didn’t appeal to me. I’ve known since forever that EE is Amanda and Jason. Said so on Wikipedia. Also EE SOUNDS like Amanda and Jason. And there was that picture of Amanda and Jason showing them to be EE. So I am really confused. I can’t believe that there are fans out there that didn’t know. It is OBVIOUS.

      That leads me to believe that you people who are so “betrayed” by the “lies” aren’t really fans. You’re probably Neil Gaiman fans who semi-follow Amanda because of him, and because of this, you’re not familiar with Amanda and Jason’s previous work. If you were, you’d know that Amanda uses a lot of dark, icky themes in her work. Is she exploiting rape in songs like Lonesome Organist Rapes Page Turner, or abortion in Oasis? Some people think so – they’re the same kind of people who got Oasis banned. She forces listeners to see controversial issues in different ways than society tells them they should and that they’re used to. I get that people less familiar with what Amanda does artistically would misinterpret the EE record and think it is dissing people with disabilities. But respectfully, if you really understood what Amanda stands for and what she is trying to say with her art you wouldn’t be offended.

      I seriously think most of these people aren’t fans. Not that I’m Fan Number One and have the right to determine who is or isn’t a fan, but I’d rather believe that I’m right than to think so many of you other fans Just Don’t Get It. And that goes for Neil fans as well. I mean maybe the new AFP fans who jumped on the bandwagon cause of Neil aren’t serious Neil fans either/misinterpret his work. I mean come on, fellow fans. I thought we were for the most part intelligent, creative, artistic-freedom type people. I thought we were all in this together. I’m disappointed in you guys for causing drama over something like this, but you have the right to your opinions. I just wish you’d take a long moment to really think about the situation. Just because you didn’t care enough to do the proper research about EE doesn’t mean you were lied to. The information was there; all you had to do was look.

      Personally, I’ve been a fan of Neil’s work since I read my first Sandman about seven years ago, and I got into the Dresden Dolls my sophomore year of high school, about six years ago. And I’m not one of those fans who will blindly support anything they do. I love most of what Neil writes, but I can’t stand his poetry, for example (sorry Neil), so if he ever released a poetry collection it is unlikely that I’d buy it. Similarly, I like most of Amanda’s work but I wasn’t planning on buying the EE cd before all this hubbub. Now I feel like I should buy a copy or two to make up for the fans who won’t buy it solely on the basis of that disabled feminists article. You guys didn’t need to make it such a big thing – you could have simply not gotten into EE like I had originally planned.

      So whatever. Agree or disagree with my take on things. I really just needed to vent about this unnecessary fracas you guys have created over nothing.

      • lauraiam7

        well put Nadz. I too am disappointed that folk haven’t understood the art of Ms Palmer…. It’s all such a storm in a tea cup.

        • starsdied

          She seems to provoke a lot of those. I can’t decide if that’s just a consequence of her being who she is, or if she thinks it’s entertaining. I, for one, think it’s entertaining and interesting. But that’s just me.

      • jostewart

        Hm. Some of us are actually major AFP fans who love her art and have no problem with the deception/alter-ego/performance art aspect but have *major* problems with her seemingly unexamined use of harmful tropes.

        I don’t doubt that her intentions are both interesting and benevolent, but in light of her presentation of the project and her responses to early criticism, the whole thing smells strongly of ableism and cultural appropriation. I don’t think the cultural critiques leveled against the project are meaningless. I think an able-bodied person with great creative gifts and formidable independent-media power should think *hard* about the end results of using crip-face (and creating a back story that plays into nearly every fetishization of disabled/freak culture there is) as a work-around for legal difficulties.

        I am fan–I am still a fan. The fact that I won’t switch off the part of my brain that does politics and cultural critique doesn’t make me less of a fan. I look forward to seeing how Amanda addresses the fallout of her creative choices, and I will defend to the last her right to make those choices. What I will not defend is the blanket dismissal of those who criticize her. She made the art; she hurt some people. What happens next is important.

        • LCG

          This.

          I personally have NO QUALMS with her creating an alter-ego and releasing an album under the guise of her alter-ego. Goodness knows she wouldn’t be the first artist to do such a thing. And, if I’m totally honest, I don’t have any problem with the conjoined-twins-escaped-from-a-terrible-circus ruse. I have a problem with how it was presented, and AFP’s reaction after her fans cried foul.

          Also, the three songs we have to go on here aren’t serious songs by any account. I mean, on song actually refers to the sisters as “revolting,” for crying out loud. They’re silly, catchy songs. Amanda & Jason are actually giggling in the recordings. Seriously. And that’s all well and good until you attach this horrible backstory to these three songs.

          I am also sick of the attitude AFP seems to have, “I AM AN ARTIST, I don’t need to be accountable.” No dice. Sorry.

          She also seems to take any sort of criticism of her work VERY personally and seems to get upset and hurt by it very easily. It’s almost like, as someone pointed out above, she doesn’t want to hear from her fans unless they’re telling her how wonderful and gifted and edgy and gorgeous she is. I mean, when she’s gotten hurt by the press criticizing her (“Oasis,” Golden Globes), she’s called on her fans to pump her back up and defend her. And they have. When her fans are hurt and upset by something she’s done, she snaps at them (“Y’ALL DON’T KNOW ME!” “Enough with the disabled feminists!”) and sulks and wants a pity party.

          • Jenn

            “She also seems to take any sort of criticism of her work VERY personally and seems to get upset and hurt by it very easily.”

            She does, because art is very personal. I think the art doesn’t even happen until the manifestation of such a personal viewpoint is brought to the public to interpret, criticize and admire. When criticism happens, it is going to be very personal. And there is nothing wrong with that.

            However, at the same time, there is nothing wrong with an alienated fan voicing their discontent or walking away from an artist. It is not wrong to desire more from an artist, just as it is not wrong to defend your art and refuse to alter it.

            But the badgering and dismissive tone on both ends of the spectrum is not productive. If anything, it is counterintuitve. I think the amazing thing happening here, all the controversy aside, is the bridge-building, the encouragement of conversation by people like Jo. A call to collectively think and talk about this.

            And, LCG, I just want to be clear since this is shows up as a direct response to you, I’m not opposing anything you’ve written, just explanding on it.

          • LCG

            Valid point! I can understand being hurt when you put something out and feel that it’s being misinterpreted and have to deal with a major fallout. That sucks. It’s no fun.

            I guess what I’m referring to is the rather martyred reaction AFP seems to be having to all of this. No one is trying to nail her to a cross and damage her career. I don’t think anyone has even said she’s untalented or questioned her right to produce whatever art she likes. I see a lot of people who are very confused, for various reasons, and a little upset. I see some people wanting to have a dialogue with her about this, and what they find objectionable. 90% of the responses are intelligent, thoughtful, coherent, not personal attacks on her. Her latest Tweet indicates that she’s interpreted all of these thoughtful critical responses as “FUCK YOU on repeat” which is really dismissive and sort of tragic and immature. I mean, if the people who object to the unveiling of the E/E project can be called “hypersensitive,” what is AFP?!

            This is the cool thing about an artist opening themselves up the way AFP has, on Twitter and on her blog. It’s also the dangerous one. Her fanbase is strong, and supportive, but it’s comprised of individuals with strong opinions. You can’t just let them in when they want to tell you how wonderful you are and block them out when they tell you they disagree with something you’ve said.

          • jostewart

            I really don’t want to approach this from a perspective of value judgment, because I think it’s very dangerous to say okay, these topics are fair game, but only for “serious” art, or for art that is, by some particular definition “good” or educational. Silly, catchy songs are fine by me, and I don’t think I have any right to tell Amanda Palmer what to do with her art, or what subjects to broach.

            That said, if she chooses to address child abuse, disenfranchisement in porn culture, social isolation, and physical disability, I would hope that she would expect some discussion about how those concepts are presented in her work and how they affect her fans. I fully respect your opinion of the EE material, but it’s not what I was getting at. Her reaction to and interaction with criticism and fan support is more what I was talking about. You touched on that, too–forgive me if I’m preaching to the choir, I just wanted to make my position clear. I don’t want to make any of this about whether AFP is a good enough artist to tackle these issues, or whether her work is serious enough–I’d probably answer “yes” to both questions, but it shouldn’t matter. The problem isn’t that she wanted to tackle these things, it’s how she’s doing it and how she’s responding to her critics. I would never want to discourage anyone from taking risks and wrestling difficult issues.

            Also, I’m sure AFP will have more to say about the EE project. Her handling of it so far has made me wary, but it’s not as though I’ve written her off. I don’t know her and I can’t tell what she wants or what motivates her. I don’t think she wants a pity party, and I hope she’s not too angry. I hope she keeps talking to us about this.

      • wtf

        No one gets to say who is or isn’t a “real fan”. That’s ridiculous, and it makes you sound incredibly pretentious, venting or not.

        Of COURSE there are hundreds of fans who only knew of Amanda’s existence because of Neil Gaiman. I’m one of them. WKAP was the first music I ever listened to of hers, and I loved it. THAT makes me a fan. Seeing her live, buying her stuff, supporting her, makes me a fan. The act of enjoying her performance makes all of us fans.

        The idea that that everyone should immediately Wikipedia/YouTube/Google search EVERY ARTIST YOU’VE EVER HEARD OF AS SOON AS YOU HEAR OF THEM so that we don’t miss a single detail of an elaborate fairytale performance art facade is just absurd. I agree with the person who said they just trusted Amanda & Neil that the girls were real cuz they SAID they were real, and we looked forward to hearing the album. I don’t obsessively fact-search bands I’ve been listening to for YEARS, because I don’t neccessarily care where they grew up or if they have siblings or when their first ever recording was made in the basement of their mom’s house and if I can see it on youtube. If I like the music, it’s on my ipod, I buy the concert tickets, and I happily await new material. There is no “real fan”. We are all real fans of different levels of support and interest and devotion and obsession. No one is better than anyone else.

        • Nadz

          I said I didn’t mean to imply that I had the right to judge the definition of a “fan.” I really didn’t mean it in a pretentious way, I only meant to say that you aren’t fans in the sense that you don’t seem to be familiar with Amanda’s treatment of controversial topics in her music. I’m not sure why it’s suddenly a big deal because the controversial topic this time is disability and it was acceptable to a lot of you when they were more lighthearted topics like rape, abortion, depression, and drug use. Seriously, I apologize for having come off as judgmental, that’s not what I wanted to express.

      • just a quiet fan

        “But respectfully, if you really understood what Amanda stands for and what she is trying to say with her art you wouldn’t be offended.”

        You are not being respectful to people who live what she is “trying to say with her art”. We have the right to be offended by the ableism that runs throughout everything she has done and said on this, and what you have said. You do not and will not know what it is like until you live it. Until you become disabled yourself. No, breaking your leg and being on crutches does not count. You have to live it for the rest of your life. God knows I didn’t understand, until it happened to me. And I’ve lived with being looked through, ignored, pitied, condescended to, “helped”…you don’t get it. You don’t know how it is. And you’re lucky that you don’t, trust me. This is not an experience you want to say you have.

        I’d love to just brush you off with some obscenities and insults. But I don’t think you get what you’re saying, and how horribly disrespectful you are for saying it. (I think this goes very much for Amanda too, she just had no idea.) Which is sad, and yet par for the course with ablebodied people. The Clara/Colin complex/ideology is just too strong. And if musician Amanda Palmer can get away with it, then the trend will just never freaking stop, will it?

  • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

    The thing about playing to a bleeding heart, desperate to be offended, politically correct audience is that eventually they will be offended by you.

    The trick is to not get jaded when it happens, or to just start catering to a audience of middle aged conservative white guys like me. We’ll only get offended if your music starts to suck, or the places you play serve crappy beer.

    • teespirit

      It always puzzles me that people use the term ‘bleeding heart’ in a negative way (not that you have!) because the fact that I feel strongly enough that my heart can bleed for others (compassion) has always struck me as a good thing.

    • bifemmefatale

      Did it ever occur to you that some of the offended people are actual people living with disabilities rather than just “politically correct”?

      • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

        If two people wearing one dress and using one arm each is offending you, I don’t care if you are in a wheelchair, walk with a limp, can’t drive at night, need a pony to get out of bed or what. You are just trying to be outraged.

        Oh and you should probably stay away from public parks. There might be people having three-legged races.

        • just a quiet fan

          I’d say you missed the point, but you aren’t even in the same zipcode as the point to be able to miss it, Keith Malloy. I hope you’re simply being willfully obtuse but you actually DO get the point of what all the “bleeding hearts” are saying, because the alternative saddens me.

  • Neil

    It’s not a masterpiece, and AP is a sorry excuse for a human being.

    You know who thinks the fantasy of conjoined twins abused as children for child porn is fun? Pedophiles think that is fun. Psychopaths think that is fun. I hope you and your apologists are having a really good time. Child abuse is a hoot, hysterical! What a thigh-slapper.

  • http://www.fashionadjacent.com/ Omega

    I’m just going to put my hand up and say I fell for this, lock, stock and barrel.

    Apparently according to some commenters that makes me stupid, really stupid, “blind, deaf and very very stupid” (ableist much?), “not a real fan” and all sorts of gullible.

    I am not going to get into a “who is the biggest fan/who is a real fan” contest, because I think that is really silly – but I have loved the Dresden Dolls for many years, and have followed Amanda’s solo career with interest. I have seen her live every time she’s been in Australia. I have traveled interstate to see her more than once. I have bought the merch. I have followed the blog, and the tweets, and all that..

    I feel pretty confident in describing myself as a fan.

    When Amanda said she had discovered these twins, I was intrigued, but I didn’t search youtube and I didn’t seek out their music immediately. I just didn’t. I filed it away as something to check out once it got released. I was confident it was going to be good, after all, Amanda had said so, and other people I trust (Neil, f’instance) said it was going to be good, and I trusted that. When the album was released, it was on my list of things that will probably be awesome to check out.

    Amanda’s led me to other insanely talented people in the past. Like Zoe, the beautiful girl who creates breathtaking, inspiring soundscapes using nothing but a cello and a looper. Or the dance troupe, the Danger Ensemble that manage to be funny and heartbreaking and thought provoking and entertaining all at once. With interpretive dance.

    .. neither of these discoveries are likely, or sound particularly plausible on the surface. But they’re real, and they are people that Amanda has bought into the spotlight. She has a knack for that.

    So.. when she said she had discovered the twins, i believed her.

    When she told me that they’d gone for a snack break and disappeared for hours… I worried for them. When she told me they’d be found, safe and sound, I was relieved.

    When she spoke of the difficulties with the project, her frustration, her struggle, I admired her determination to see it through. I was profoundly grateful that these artists were being taken care of someone who GETS IT. Who would not exploit them or ruin them, but who would let them shine. I could see her approaching this with a respectful attitude – and I felt.. proud.. that Amanda was using her fame and popularity, once again, to shine some light on artists that deserve the attention. Passing it forward. I also applauded her honesty about talking about how hard it was, that sometimes making art IS hard, and projects don’t always happen easily… this is the sort of honesty that other artists desperately need.

    Because that, for me is what AFP is about. She is an artist who has shown others how it can be done. You can be yourself, flaws and all, you can reveal your personality and your true self to your audience. You can show them your soul. Let them in, and you will find your fans. They will support you and fight for you and throw money at you, just so you’ll keep doing what you are doing.

    Amanda’s been honest with us all for years. And we’ve loved her for it.

    I had no reason to doubt her, when she said she was helping these artists.

    When this blog was published, I read the story of the twins. My heart went out to them. To have been through so much… I felt another wave of gratitude that they had fallen under Amanda’s wing, and not someone exploitative.

    And then? Then I found out it was all just a lie. A joke. And that HURT.

    So call me stupid, or gullible, or “not a real fan” if you want. I am speaking my truth, as AFP has done all the way along. If I hadn’t felt this honesty from her, I probably wouldn’t have said a damn thing when this came out in the open. I just would have ruefully cursed my own gullibility and let it go. The thought of actually contacting the celebrity in question.. would never had occurred to me.

    But Amanda? Amanda is different. She is honest. She’s connected to her fans in ways most other artists aren’t. With her – I felt I had to speak. More, I felt I’d be listened to.

    Amanda told me on twitter today that she’s going to explain more in another blog entry, soon. I’m waiting for that. I’m sure many others are too.

    In the meantime – perhaps we can all think a little bit about how we’re treating one another. I don’t think I am stupid, and I don’t think I am “not a real fan”. But I fell for this. And the revelation that it was a joke was a punch in the guts to me.

    I don’t think I am/was alone in that. And the namecalling and accusations? are salt in the wound.

    We’re better than this, people.

    (Aren’t we?)

    • Camilla

      Thank you for this Omega, you pretty much summed up my reaction and feelings about this. I too am looking forward to Amanda’s follow-up.

    • maurinamaurina

      Omega: While I didn’t have the same reaction to all of this that you had, I think you expressed your point of view quite thoughtfully and succintly. Very well put indeed.

      Especially regarding the nonsensical and silly arguments about who is a “real” fan, and all the pointless and rude name calling. I agree with you 100% on that. It is possible to have a passionate, intelligent argument with other people without resorting to Junior High tactics of insults and “you’re not really part of the club” type responses.

    • Why People Think It’s Fake

      Very well said. I’m glad someone gracefully shed light on the point of view of the fans who DID fall for the joke, and NOT because anyone’s stupid. It was because of trust, and you really expressed it wonderfully. I hope the quick-to-judge, better-than-you-because-I-knew-all-along commenters actually stop to think about this.

      And I hope most of all that Amanda, Jason, and even Neil do as well.

  • http://www.justanotherfuckwit.com/ fleacircus

    Couldn’t this energy be channeled in to fighting these problems OUTSIDE of fiction?

    I’ve also just noticed a wonderful kind of irony – none of the hateful comments take in to account how Amanda might react to the abuse going around right now. As far as I’m aware Amanda is a real person and thus worthy of more consideration than a work of fiction.

    In summary, unless you’re going out tomorrow to prevent child abuse and exploitation: Fuck you guys.

  • steffwhitevotta

    Ugh. I won’t be able to express myself as well as some of you, but…
    As a longtime NG fan, and newbie AFP fan, I’m surprised at the level of vitriol. The WKAP project made the performance art/storytelling aspect of AFP fairly straightforward for me, and helped me appreciate some of the “I’m gonna sit at the piano and play” even more. This project seems _not_ so different to me. It tackles difficult subjects in difficult ways, yes. But the childlike aspects of it make it more approachable to me.
    Childhood can be horribly scary, and some people have horrible childhood stories behind them, myself included. As an old person, these stories get buried – time and experience pile on top of the memories. So far, this project has reminded me of them – but in an artistic medium, not journalism. That helps, for me.
    I now have a 2 yr old boy. It is important to me to remember some of the scary parts of childhood, not that I want him to experience horrors, but even “regular” experiences can be terrifying, and I want to better understand some of the darker parts of childhood for his benefit.
    That being said, I am looking forward to hearing/seeing more of this project, and wish that they were playing somewhere near mid-Michigan so that I could see it in person.

    • shizzzle

      I like what you’re saying. There are definitely scary aspects of childhood…things like the Grimm fairytales were supposed to help kids deal with issues in their own lives upfront, by scaring them and promoting a healthy cathartic reaction. Then everything got all disneyfied and we seem to have lost appreciation for this. It’s important to embrace the dark and light side of things.

  • jostewart

    Dear Amanda,

    I’m by no means an expert on the subjects you’ve–intentionally or unitentionally–gotten yourself into a wrestling match with, so I’m not going to jump down your throat about them, but I am absolutely going to tell you how the EvelynEvelyn project makes me feel, as a fan.

    I never for a moment believed that the characters were real people, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. From your first mentions of them, they had the feel of archetypes, and that didn’t bother me. I have less than no problem with you creating however many alter-egos you think are useful to advance your creative ends. I don’t care if you pretend to be someone else. I don’t care if you try to trick me for a while, to better serve your art. I like your art a lot, and I want it to grow and be great. I want more. I want to support you. I want to continue to feel great about the fact that I turned my mother, the Super-Serious Heavy Duty Lesbian Feminist, into an Amanda Palmer fan.

    The way you’ve handled the project post-reveal, and the way you’ve responded to valid criticisms from people with life experiences different from yours, though, has made me *really fucking sad.* I would be the last person to tell you to stop making art simply because some unspecified group of people finds it offensive. I don’t want you to stop making art. I don’t even necessarily want you to stop making *this* art. Offensive is not the problem, actually. Dismissive is the problem. Privileged is the problem. I will defend with my last breath your right to make this record, your right to use your own art to address the difficulties of your world in whichever ways you see fit, but that’s not where the story ends for me.

    You’ve become deservedly famous for your close connection to your fans, to the people who support your work and in turn spread it joyously all over the world. We carry you, we love you, we watch you on the internet, we cheer when you have hairy pits at the Golden Globes, we feed you, we respect you, we bring you wine, and we want you to be happy. I would argue that in the context of a project that has made some of your fans feel really insulted and dismissed, you have a responsibility to that connection. You don’t owe us our happiness, but maybe you do owe us the same desire-for-another’s-happiness that we have for you. The same respect. We want to listen, and we want there to be a wonderful reason for you to be doing the EvelynEvelyn record in the way you are, and we haven’t heard that.

    I haven’t heard that. I’ve heard you completely dismissing the concerns of disabled people and feminists, just as the rest of the world does on a regular basis. I’ve heard you saying that we don’t get it, that we don’t know you, that we’re taking it too seriously, that it’s your art. Art, damnit!

    I love art. I want to get it. I’m not angry that you made a piece of art that has upset and hurt people–most good artists do that at some point, whether they mean to or not. I’m not angry about your creative impulses, and I’m not angry that you didn’t anticipate all this and decide not to make the record. I’m angry about what has come after making the piece of art that hurt and upset people. I’m angry that you seem to completely dismiss all the very intelligent people who are looking at the project and going “Hm, that seems a little dicey and ableist and culturally appropriative. Maybe we should talk to her about it.” I’m angry that you get to decide that their hurt doesn’t matter, because they’re sensitive, or they don’t get it, or they’re angry feminists, or they don’t understand that your intentions were profoundly good and joyful. These defenses are woefully familiar to anyone who has ever had a real conversation about racism and white privilege.

    Living as we do in a world that is full of hurt and riddled with ideological tar pits, we are all going to put our feet in it sometimes. We will probably even put our feet in it when all we are trying to do is make beautiful art and talk about important ideas. What we do *after* that is vital, though, and that’s where you’ve let us down. I do not know you well or personally, but I know what I expect from artists I cherish and respect, and that’s what I want from you.

    Thank you for all your work and all your art. I will continue to support you, I will continue to talk back, and I will not be buying the EvelynEvelyn record.

    Love,
    Jo

    • maurinamaurina

      Wow. For every name-calling, vitriolic comment on this project, there’s yet another amazing and thoughtful comment like this one. Jo, I think you’ve put your finger on a big reason a lot of people are upset.

      I’m not an AFP apologist but I will say this: I don’t know if she understands how all the tweets etc are coming across. It’s like the mistake so many people make with email. It’s very easy to shoot off an email that fails to convey your actual intentions and meaning, and can be totally misconstrued because so much face-to-face, conversational nuance/humor/etc simply doesn’t translate in an email.

      And with Twitter, especially, those quick off-the-top-of-my-head, 140 character responses can come across as… well… snide, curt, and dismissive. I’d like to think (and in fact, I DO think) that AFP is actually none of those things. But when communicating, you have to consider the method you are using if you want to be sure people understand your way of thinking.

      I look forward to Amanda’s next post on this matter.

      • jostewart

        “I look forward to Amanda’s next post on this matter.”

        Me, too, and the problem you mention is part of why I posted.

        Yes, it’s good to think about AFP’s intentions, and no, I don’t think they were at all malicious. We live in a complicated world, though, and in the end, the fact of hurting people is more important than good intentions. Roads to hell, and all that.

        I’m a well-intentioned person, and I certainly have not made it through my life without doing some offensive things and saying some things that hurt people. What I want from Amanda is the same thing I work toward and expect from myself: If you hurt someone and they do you the favor of telling you how and why, listen to them and think hard about it.

        • maurinamaurina

          Just to be clear: I actually agree with you regarding AFP’s lack of response – or rather, the seemingly flippant and dismissive nature of her responses.

          Again, I really doubt that is her intent. But I also know that just because you don’t MEAN to totally piss off and dismiss people doesn’t mean you aren’t doing just that. And that merits an actual reasoned, thoughtful response – not just offhand tweets. I’m assuming that Amanda will give us that response on her blog… eventually.

        • Norah

          Hear hear, Jo! I agree with both comments.

          No artist works in a vacuum, and all art is about risk: risk of failing (the obstacle that stops most would-be artists cold), risk of displeasing, risk of criticism, and risk of offending. The more alternative or experimental the art, the higher the risk. AFP took a fairly dangerous risk with the E/E project in taking on so many hot-button issues. I honor the risk-taking as an artistic act. But as I pointed out earlier, while this sense of adventurous risk has worked really well for AFP so far, on this project, (again IMO) she and her teammates missed the mark.

          I want AFP to keep trying, though, because her successes are so awesomely pleasing. And wow, take a look at the smart, articulate, carefully thought-out comments she’s generated from you, Jo, and so many others. It speaks to AFP’s biggest gifts as a performer: she attracts really smart people, and engages them so completely and creates such an intimate relationship with her audience that we feel totally invested in her successes and failures. And when we think something does fail for whatever reason, we feel like we can tell her so and why, hoping for an interesting conversation with someone we’ve befriended online. We feel part of the conversation.

          You’re right, Jo, this is where AFP’s attitude becomes puzzling and disappointing. The effect, intentional or not, is to give the impression that AFP only wants to hear from us when we’re prepared to applaud; or, as I follow her Twitter feeds through France and Australia, when we’re prepared to feed or house her or bring her wine or buy tickets to her concerts or participate in ninja events, a jaded view that only came to mind after this E/E thing went sideways. Criticism, even the well-crafted, supportive ‘hmmm, well, that doesn’t work for me, let me give you some feedback’ kind, does not seem to be not welcome.

          Like you, I assume that AFP is not malicious – my impression is that she’s smart, very talented, and is fully engaged with the world at large. I believe these traits feed into her art, and make her a pleasure to watch and follow. I believe AFP sincerely likes communicating with her fans. But here’s a thought: I wonder if she realized just how big her fan-base really is, and how many of us may not normally engage with her online or in person, watching silently in delighted awe as she makes her art. Maybe this is the first time she’s met the rest of us, the silent observers. Maybe this is the first time that she’s struck a wrong cord with us, and is surprised to find that we don’t like some part (or all) of this new project and want to tell her so. Curious.

          At any rate, I remain an AFP fan and hope that she can take some of what’s been said to heart, and learn from it: from how this project was perhaps ‘mis-crafted’ or badly presented, and from how much actual support and encouragement is couched in the very sincere concern many of us have expressed about the content and marketing of the E/E project.

          Amanda: we don’t want you to fail, really. We just want you to understand and acknowledge us when you don’t succeed. We’re trying to help. Honest.

          • jostewart

            I wholeheartedly agree with all of this. I really hope that she can keep engaging with us. We’re not out to get her–we are just thinking people responding to art, and we’re concerned about some of it. Maybe she’s already thought of all of this, and dismissed it. I hope not. I hope she’s listening and learning and I hope she has more to say.

          • http://tr.im/btonic Baylink

            I was probably the second or third person to misinterpret this, the other night when it got posted, and my inability to put my discontent as lyrically as Jo has is probably largely responsible for me catching Class-1 shit about my reaction.

            Partiaally, too, I suppose, my reaction came from being taken; no one likes to feel gullible, and I have effectively no experience with AFP except that she’s Neil’s fiancee’.

            So thanks, Jo, for that thoughful response. Good luck getting the reply you all await; I too hope you do.

      • meagan

        whats funny about this is that in her first record with the dresden dolls, she talks about how technology is slowly taking over.
        im glad to see she is using it to her advantage, but sad she isnt realizing what is going on with her tweets and other blog posts.

    • untiltheviolencestops

      She has said a new blog is on the way. I, too, bristled a bit at the “disabled feminists” tweet, but I feel pretty certain that she’ll respond to this thoughtfully and in depth.

    • A314

      Thank you, Jo, for writing this. And for doing it directly to Amanda, and so eloquently and respectfully.

      I really hope she doesn’t just dismiss all of these comments, because there ARE some very insightful gems inside this “drama drama”, and I completely agree with you. I think being an artist who prides herself on being so wonderfully connected to her fans, she has to carry the responsibility of caring when even a small group of them feels hurt by something she’s done. I hope she understands those fans aren’t bashing her or abandoning her, like you said, we just want to talk to her about it.

      —————————-

      Amanda,

      I still love you. I’m still supporting you on this project. I’m not angry, I’m not a disabled feminist, and I’m not someone who wants to be shrugged off. Please don’t be dismissive or angry in return…we’re willing to hear you out if you hear us out. You’ve created a strong relationship with your fanbase, it’s one of the best things about you as a performer. I’m very much looking forward to your next blog entry because I believe you *will* explain yourself and you *will* do us justice. However this drama pans out, and putting everyone’s feelings aside on the matter (including my own), I’m looking forward to seeing in person what EvelynEvelyn is all about. I don’t think you or Jason will let us down.

      xoxo

    • JC

      Really well put. I think you speak for lots of us.

  • shizzzle

    Guys…please relax. People get so PC crazy. Some people are even saying that the vacant look on Jasons face looked like he was taking the piss out of a mentally handicapped person? Really?? To me it just looked like him pretending to be a slightly nervous kid.

    Do any of you actually have reason to care about this? If you actually know conjoined twins and find this offensive then fair enough, but otherwise, I just can’t see how this is offensive.

    AFP and the dolls have always focused on circus-y freak show stuff, and death, and various other dark material. It doesnt seem to have bothered you before.

    How about the whole who killed amanda palmer stuff? That was focusing on murder and (if you choose to look at it in this light) violence against women. I didn’t hear many of you complaining about that, even though violence against women is something that happens on a daily basis all round the world.

    Regardless…who cares?? She chose to focus her material on this and some people liked it and thats cool. Some people didn’t. Thats also cool. Thats life.

    It’s a story. It’s fiction. It’s poetry. It’s a project. WHO CARES? She’s not exploiting anyone, or hurting anyone…who CARES?

    I can understand that people might not warm to the idea…and I can understand how people might not warm to the idea of WKAFP…but to actually get offended and abusive towards her about it…just seems stupid.
    She’s allowed to do projects about whatever she wants.

    You also must remember…she is only human. Yes the disabled feminist comment was rude, but I’m certain I’ve said worse when under stress and when people are pissing me off. I am a feminist and I work with people who have disabilities and…I’m not that offended.

    Just…chill out everyone. You don’t know her. Shes done some awesome things that youve loved. You may not love this current project. Just skip it if you’re not into it. No need to throw a hissyfit and disown her. Just get on with your own lives.

    • shizzzle

      ALSO…just booked my ticket to see EvelynEvelyn at Koko in london. Very excited.

  • Jess

    Hi Amanda (and everyone!)-

    I’m a new fan, I discovered you through Neil’s blog. I fell in love with your aesthetic, your energy, your moxie, and your voice. I love how accessible you are, and I’m falling in love with your music.

    Nalo Hopkinson has this great quote-she’s talking about racism, but I think it applies here. Essentially, it’s “Saying you aren’t racist is like swimming in shit and saying you don’t stink.” Ableism, racism, sexism, etc. are all really deeply rooted in our (and, I would argue, everyone’s) culture. This means that everyone, at some point or another, is going to make a mistake and be called on it. As a performer a really accessible, indie performer with a socially engaged fan base, you are going to get it a little harder than a lot of people, I think. (just ask Joss Whedon.) Partly because you are so accessible, and partly because our expectations of you are so high. It doesn’t feel like it now, I’m sure, but the call-out, from a lot of us, is just more evidence of how highly we think of you, that we are surprised when you make this sort of very common human mistake.

    In fact, POTUS made the same mistake on Letterman. The fact that a professional politician of Obama’s caliber could make this same mistake-on national television- says a lot, I think, about just how deeply culturally ingrained a lot of this stuff is.

    I’m not a fan of the practical joke-gotcha flavor of art (I don’t like Andy Kauffman either, which is what this makes me think of. ) so the EE fiction bummed me out a little, but I wasn’t terribly upset.

    I didn’t cotton to the “exploiting the disabled” theme until I read the disabled feminists post. I feel like an asshole for missing that, but I’m glad I read the post and I get it now.

    I do have the same feelings about “sexual abuse used for effect” that a lot of people have here, and I trust that you will address it fully when you blog next. What I wanted to say is that you’re not alone-everyone makes mistakes of this flavor, I think. What matters is how you respond to it, and the choices you make in the aftermath.

    Anyway, good luck to you, thanks for being available and open and accessible like this.

    And, backstory issues aside, I think the EE music is all really fun and catchy. That damn elephant song, in particular, is a Brain-Eating Earworm of Doom. =)

    • http://penny-dreadful.net elanorelle

      ::This means that everyone, at some point or another, is going to make a mistake and be called on it.::

      This is very nicely put. We shouldn’t belittle such mistakes in art – art is too important for that – but neither does noticing that a piece of art is potentially racist/sexist/whateverist mean that we have been forever betrayed by the artist/will never enjoy their art again/they are simply awful people/etc etc (although if people want to have this reaction, go for it.)

      It shouldn’t be a big deal to raise our hands and venture that, gasp, Amanda and Jason may not be perfect.

  • A.

    Some readers, I am certain, have their mind made up, and neither reasoned argument nor name-calling will convince them to regard the Evelyn Evelyn project differently. I would never go so far as to proclaim that any person’s interpretation of a work of art is wrong; no one (not even the artist) can make that statement. A person’s perspective may be different from what was intended by the artist. Even if Amanda and Jason were to clearly lay out for everyone what their intent was in creating this project, still people will judge as to whether they were successful or not, or whether they were sensitive or not, or so forth.

    I don’t often read the comments on any blog that I read, because ordinarily, I follow that blog to read what the writer has to say, not their readers. I only read this because of Amanda’s mention of “the Evelyn Evelyn Drama Drama.” Until then, it hadn’t occurred to me that anyone would find cause to take exception to Evelyn Evelyn. I must say, I remain confused by the reactions.

    I suppose by admitting that, I’m leaving myself wide open to the “ableist” criticism that has been tossed about so frequently. Maybe I’m guilty as charged, but I promise it was unintentional. I’m only entering this stew to raise some points which I have not yet seen mentioned.

    Regarding the criticism that Amanda and Jason have been lying to their fans and continue to do so; some of you might be familiar with the works of Lemony Snicket? It was several years before Daniel Handler officially revealed himself to be the author of Snicket’s works, even though it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone when it was revealed. He consistently concocted stories to excuse Snicket’s absence from public appearances, released an autobiography, and even provided an audio commentary for the DVD of the film adaptation. Can Handler similarly be accused of lying? It was always my understanding that it was a slyly winking and incredibly entertaining means of building on the mythos he was writing. It would not have been half as much fun if Handler had not been insistent that he was not Snicket. I feel that Evelyn Evelyn has to be regarded in the same way; by now it’s fairly obvious that there is, in fact, not a real Eva and Lyn Neville, but the album would not be nearly as inventive if it were billed as a concept album from Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, just as Daniel Handler’s name on the cover of The Series of Unfortunate Events would have made you felt more cheated rather than less.

    Lemony Snicket shares something else in common with the Evelyn Evelyn project; a whimsical-gothic-circus styling which presents stories of utter despair and misfortune. Topics of exploitation of people with differences, of child pornography and of social alienation are not funny, that much we can all agree on. Neither is the loss of someone’s family, a marriage of an older uncle to his child niece, or the other abundance of atrocities which Snicket chronicles. Yet Snicket’s books were for children. They received some complaints, for sure (as everything does), but ultimately were praised as being appropriate for children for depicting the resourcefulness of children against the obliviousness and foolishness of the adults who didn’t take them seriously. We must come to terms with the fact that it is an unkind world; art can handle this in different ways. This can be a straight faced, realistic (but nevertheless every bit as fictional) faux-expose on a topic, or it can be handled with a more whimsical, less realistic approach. Both have its drawbacks, and both have its benefits. I, for one, would rather hear the story of conjoined sister’s tragedies and exploitation at the hands of the circus and the child pornography industry told in a more whimsical fashion, and I don’t think that this style and tone needs to necessary belittle the topics it deals with. Style and content are separate, and a disagreement between the two can oftentimes be more effective than agreement (as Amanda’s own minor-key transposition of “Oasis” demonstrated very effectively).

    I hope this has provided some further things to consider when trying to assess Evelyn Evelyn, but I would like to stress that no one can fairly judge this project since we have yet to hear the whole album, nor read the graphic novel … we have heard none of the songs that deal with these topics which some people are objecting to. From what we have heard, our impression of this album as a completely light-hearted, silly vaudevillian throwback may be inaccurate. I look forward to hearing the whole album, to see how it handles this story that Amanda and Jason have created.

    • JC

      Hi, Neil.

      • Concertina

        So… where’s Neil when we need him?
        Seems we keep getting this story twisted.

      • Nadz

        so now every eloquent comment-writer is secretly Neil? Yeah that makes so much sense! Clearly it’s just another component of the ELABORATE CONSPIRACY OF LIES that Amanda created to deliberately ruin your lives.

    • Alex

      The difference is, as you already stated yourself, that the Snicket books were clearly a ‘mythos’, with the author preferring to remain anonymous to lend more credence to this mythos – but it was always clear from the start that ‘Snicket’ was a pen name and that there was someone behind the works. He wasn’t claiming that the stories were in any way based in reality.

      The issue here isn’t that the E+E story is exposing the ‘unkind’ world, or that art’s purpose is to tackle painful subjects in a variety of ways, whimsical or otherwise. We all know that, its one of the reasons people love Amanda’s music.

      Many fans were taken in by this story, which is problematic. Clearly the reveal has caused a great deal of head scratching, mis-trust, and suspicion. Amanda and Jason can tell themselves that everyone who was taken in is an idiot, but that’s as rude as their original assumption that people wouldn’t question either their means or motivations in creating this project to begin with.

      In regards to your suggestion that we cannot judge this project without hearing the album, or read the graphic novel; how can we judge either without knowing the back story including the ham-handed way the big ‘reveal’ has occurred on this blog? No matter how good a work of art, the entire story tends to color the way it will be remembered.

      Take the story of James Frey and ‘A Million Little Pieces’, the guy who sold a million copies of his entirely fictional memoir. Would you read his book now and considering it a work of honesty from a troubled soul? The problem with hoaxes is that playing in the real of alternative identity tends to muddy the waters of artistic intent, and artistic integrity.

      • A.

        These are good points you raise regarding Snicket, and I can’t speak for Amanda and Jason as to whether they were making a serious effort to convince us that the twins were real people. I suppose I viewed this equally as a “mythos” which is being created, and while some people clearly believed their story to be true, I don’t feel it is fair to hold them responsible for what others believe, no more than I am responsible for some people seeming to believe that I am Neil Gaiman (who I am not … though I am nevertheless flattered that someone would think so).

        This is what separates Evelyn Evelyn from James Frey. Frey published his work as non-fiction and publicized it based on everyone’s belief of it as truth, whereas this has never been billed as anything but fanciful music with a blog entry serving to introduce us to the mythos they’ve set that album in. If indeed Jason and Amanda set out to fool us, I will concede that they are as guilty as Frey of hoaxing.

        Of course, I don’t expect anyone to entirely disregard the blog entry which introduced them to the story which backs up the album. That story must be regarded as part of the whole project. I will agree, there may have been better ways to reveal the back story – a personal blog is probably not the best place to deliver fiction, so, yes, the launch may be badly managed, as NJ notes. My suggestion to wait and pass judgement until we have heard the album or read the graphic novel was simply to dissuade people who seem to be attempting to judge the entire project based on this back story alone, similar to judging an entire book by a review in a paper or on an interview with its writer.

    • NJ

      If what you say is true, and there’s more to come that will put all of this into context, then we’re not arguing about ‘style’ vs ‘substance.’ We’re commenting on a badly, badly managed launch of a new AFP album. Still problematic, no?

  • trahg

    I can’t believe I’m taking the time to write, but I feel really strongly that AFP is being unnecessarily attacked.

    I don’t have time to read all the responses so hopefully I’m just echoing other sentiments, because I can’t believe I’m alone in feeling this way as a fan.

    3 main points:

    1. I’m pretty sure from the time Amanda mentioned the Evelyn Evelyn project she would post brief videos of EE performing and it was QUITE clear that it was indeed AFP and Jason Webley stuck in a dress together, playing and singing. Anyone who feels “lied to” by the whole scenario needs to really reevaluate their own issues with trust and also needs to read/view/listen to the blog more closely. NEVER ONCE did I or any of my friends who read this blog think that EE were “real.” And I know I will sound like an insensitive jerk, but I’m stunned that anyone over 10 would not get that it’s a concept/fictional scenario….

    2. In all the clips and blogs I’ve read did Amanda ever say or act in a way that represents being a conjoined twin as “bad.” She’s not mocking conjoined twins – she and Jason are acting as if they are conjoined twins to frame the songs they have written and perform together. They are portraying creative, sensitive characters (that they created) who are conjoined. I am not a conjoined twin so I cannot answer for a population of people who are different than me, but my guess is some conjoined twins may be offended; some may think it’s cool, some will not care AT ALL. I just need someone to explain the anger rather than just expressing anger – why is it offensive to you to see AFP and JW play music in the guise of conjoined twins? My guess is the response is “it’s insensitive to conjoined twins,” but WHY? If an actor with perfect vision is portraying a blind person who also happens to be an ice skater is that offensive to blind people in general? Probably, not but maybe sometimes. We see non-disabled actors in movies and plays act as if they are disabled all the time and these performances are often beautiful and help us to understand a perspective different from our own. Does the hostility arise because this isn’t a dramatic interpretation of conjoined twin life but rather a vaudevillian musical performance?

    3. Which leads to content…Have the people getting upset that EE are singing about
    serious issues (child/animal abuse etc.) in a light hearted tone EVER heard AFP’s songs before? Oasis is a musically lighthearted poppy fun song and it’s about abortion and rape. SOOO many of AFP/Dresden Dolls songs lyrically cover serious topics to cheerful, fast-paced pop melodies and beats. LOTS of music does that from the Beatles to many operas! I don’t think that means she doesn’t care about the topics or is insensitive to them AT ALL. And it doesn’t equate to exploitation. Great artists meld genres and tones. That is what postmodernism is all about – the blending of parody and self awareness, irony and playfulness sometimes focused on nonsense and sometimes focused on the horrors of the human condition.

    Alas, I’m late in posting, but I just feel badly that so many people are attacking her for a project that looks creative, interesting and fun. I plan to BUY the album from the AFP website and am EXTREMELY excited about catching a show (please come to Baltimore/DC AFP). Keep up the great work, Ms Palmer. You are brave and we love you!

    • Camilla

      trahg, you really ought to take the time to properly read the responses here. Very few people are ‘attacking’ Amanda – in fact, there are a lot of people who are taking the time to post their thoughtful and well reasoned responses to the Evelyn Evelyn debate. You do them a disservice by dismissing them so.

      • taraglickman

        I went back and read some of the other posts and I feel bad. I don’t mean to make anyone feel “stupid” or not a “real” fan. I’m not claiming to be brilliant or an uber AFP fan. I just remember from the first time I recall her mentioning EE in her blog it was usually with a link or photo of her and Jason. I didn’t mean to be dismissive, I was just really surprised by how many people feel that she was lying when as a casual blog reader I thought the whole charade was extremely transparent. And I’m sure since she was posting photos and videos of herself and Jason as EE she did not intend to be deceptive at all. But who knows, maybe this is how she will take over the world.

        However there are a great MANY attacking type posts here and on twitter and they are what inspired me to respond, not the well thought out rational comments.

  • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

    Boy the shit is going to hit the fan when people find out “Fucking” isn’t really your middle name.

    • Miss Temple

      It’s not??? Nooooo, I feel so tricked!

      Nah, really I only feel disconcerted because of all this uproar. I love you Amanda and I think this is truly brilliant, don’t let them get you down!

  • taraglickman

    I can’t believe I’m taking the time to write, but I feel really strongly that AFP is being unnecessarily attacked.

    I don’t have time to read all the responses so hopefully I’m just echoing other sentiments, because I can’t believe I’m alone in feeling this way as a fan.

    3 main points:

    1. I’m pretty sure from the time Amanda mentioned the Evelyn Evelyn project she would post brief videos of EE performing and it was QUITE clear that it was indeed AFP and Jason Webley performing stuck in a dress together playing and singing. Anyone who feels “lied to” by the whole scenario needs to really reevaluate their own issues with trust and also needs to read/view/listen to the blog more closely. NEVER ONCE did I or any of my friends who read this blog think that EE were “real.” And I know I will sound like an insensitive jerk, but I’m stunned that anyone over 10 would not get that it’s a concept/fictional scenario….

    2. NEVER ONCE did Amanda say or act in a way that represents being a conjoined
    twin as “bad.” She’s not mocking conjoined twins – she and Jason are acting as if they are conjoined twins to frame the songs they have written and perform together. They are portraying creative, sensitive characters (that they created) who are conjoined. I am not a conjoined twin so I cannot answer for a population of people who are different than me but my guess is some may be offended; some may think it’s cool, some will not care AT ALL. I just need someone to explain the anger rather than just expressing anger – why is it offensive to you to see AFP and JW play music in the guise of conjoined twins? My guess is the response is “it’s insensitive to conjoined twins,” but WHY? If an actor with perfect vision is portraying a blind person who also happens to be an ice skater is that offensive to blind people in general? We see non-disabled actors in movies and plays act as if they are disabled all the time and these performances are often beautiful and help us to understand a perspective different from our own. Does the hostility arise because this isn’t a dramatic interpretation of conjoined twin life but rather a vaudevillian musical performance?

    3. Which leads to content…Have the people getting upset that EE are singing about
    serious issues (child/animal abuse etc.) in a light hearted tone EVER heard AFP’s songs before? Oasis is a musically lighthearted poppy fun song and it’s about abortion and rape. SOOO many of AFP/Dresden Dolls songs lyrically cover serious topics to cheerful, fast-paced pop melodies and beats. I don’t think that means she doesn’t care about the topics or is insensitive to them AT ALL. And it doesn’t equate to exploitation. Great artists meld genres and tones, from the Beatles to the Velvet Underground. That is what postmodernism is all about – the blending of parody and self awareness, irony and playfulness sometimes focused on nonsense and sometimes focused on the horrors of the human condition.

    Alas, I’m late in posting, but I just feel badly that so many people are attacking her for a project that looks creative, interesting and fun. I plan to BUY the album from the AFP website and am EXTREMELY excited about catching a show (please come to Baltimore/DC AFP). Keep up the great work, Ms Palmer!!!!!

  • http://JeAxra.livejournal.com JeAxra

    Honestly Amanda, I can’t fucking wait for this CD & I hope like hell they make an appearance in Northern Ohio so I can go see & support them live.

    The concept is great, creative, amusing & fun. I really don’t find it offensive at all. I think people are seeing too much into things and blowing it out of proportion into something it was never meant to be, & never should have been looked at as. I could easily write several pages on the subject, but I REALLY don’t want to get into this now.

    everyone’s known about them for a really long time, so why is anyone just now saying anything?

    • Nadz

      Cause people thought they were real. The possibility that anyone believed that seriously never crossed my mind until I saw this blog. i’m going to quote trahg’s first point because he/she said what i was trying to say earlier in this thread but trahg put it better :)

      “I’m pretty sure from the time Amanda mentioned the Evelyn Evelyn project she would post brief videos of EE performing and it was QUITE clear that it was indeed AFP and Jason Webley stuck in a dress together, playing and singing. Anyone who feels “lied to” by the whole scenario needs to really reevaluate their own issues with trust and also needs to read/view/listen to the blog more closely. NEVER ONCE did I or any of my friends who read this blog think that EE were “real.” And I know I will sound like an insensitive jerk, but I’m stunned that anyone over 10 would not get that it’s a concept/fictional scenario….”

      • http://JeAxra.livejournal.com JeAxra

        Exactly my thoughts. How in the hell could people not have known? Rather, how could fans of Amanda or Jason not have known. Had these people actually HEARD or SEEN Evelyn Evelyn there would be no question of it. And, more importantly, why ON EARTH would ANYONE feel the slightest bit betrayed. It honestly makes NO fucking sense!

        So there’s several options here: they’re obviously not very big fans, they just want something to protest or everyone’s a complete dunce.

  • Nicole

    Anyone who heard, and bought, the original LP had to have known that this magical, musical creation was indeed Amanda and Jason. And now, all of a sudden, we’re throwing stones and screaming “how dare you”? In my opinion, I never felt like a lie was occurring. I felt like I was part of a beautiful story. It’s like totally emerging yourself in a play and feeling like you are one of the characters… You see everything as a whole, not just a piece.

    I send my love and admiration to Amanda and Jason for being so brave to enter the world of “Evelyn Evelyn”. I can not wait to hear the masterpiece!

  • ashley

    Just throwing in for all the people who are saying, “how is it possible you didn’t realize this was fake?”

    I didn’t. I didn’t watch any of the videos, or listen to the songs, or even check out the myspace page. I’d read the passing mention in AFP’s blog and think it sounded cool and that was the extent of it. Even after this long missive about E/E here on her blog, I still naively thought it was real, albeit vaguely horrifying given the twins’ background. So when I read AFP’s mention of drama drama, I was confused…and then kind of disappointed. And frankly, while I wasn’t that interested in E/E before, I’m even less interested when E/E turns out to be Amanda and Jason wearing one big dress.

  • Arran

    “Have you seen my sister?”
    I can’t remember how long ago it was when I first heard that song, but I liked it & looked forward to more material from this ‘side project’, Because that’s all this really is. Amanda & Jason’s work, outside their work. I had no idea people actually thought the twins existed, but I always thought that the project was fairly straight forward.

    It’s not the ‘being lied to’ thing, that has folk loosing their shit, I think it’s the seemingly tacked on & exploitative back-story. Yes, they’re creating a unique persona(s) through which to release original music & utilizing multiple media to tell a story isn’t uncommon, but while I can respect Amanda’s artistic integrity, I don’t think she’s handled this as well as it could’ve been.

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned JT Leroy in here, but (Sarah & The heart is deceitful above all things, are some of my favorite pieces of fiction) I was reminded of when the ‘truth’ about JT came out when reading all this. It’s not about presenting fiction as fact (because we KNOW who the twins are) but it’s about feeling as though an artist is trivializing issues & circumstances that cause great pain to many real people for the sake of ‘impactful/edgy’ art. & while I’m sure Amanda knows this & doesn’t take it lightly, a lot of her fans have felt as though she has taken a bit of a liberty on this.

    & IMO, it’s unlikely that just releasing the record as it was & letting it speak for itself would have generated this kind of response.

  • http://tr.im/btonic Baylink

    I am, though, going to repeat her the underlying concept about this whole incident that troubles me so much, because it seems to echo in all the other comments I read by people who a) aren’t real big AFP/DD fans and b) therefore didn’t get this and freaked out to one degree or another:

    Fiction should be consensual.

    People generally don’t have any trouble with fiction — even if the topics aren’t palatable to them — because all parties involved agree that it’s fiction: it’s in a novel, or a film, or what have you, and we all understand that framing: I’m about to lie to you for a couple of hours; I hope you enjoy it.

    That’s not what this was about.

    The framing of a blog — with the occasional exception of blogs used as a mechanism for publishing short or episodic fiction *and clearly labeled as such* — is non-fiction: here’s what’s going on in my world.

    The writing style that AFP used in this posting is in fact just that; it involves lots of real people, and other real events, and there just isn’t anything at all about it that says “I’m lying to you now, k?”

    So if you aren’t aware that Amanda is prone to “performance art”, and thereby likely to support such a thing with a posting like this, which unlike *every other current posting on her blog* is fiction, then of course you’re going to take it seriously.

    It’s the art version of ‘nerdview’, the propensity of technical geeks to forgot how to write documentation normal civilians can read.

    But nerdview generally only *irritates* the reader, because it doesn’t invite them to become emotionally invested in the subject matter, as this posting did.

    Perhaps now those people who shaking their heads at “the rest of us”, completely failing to understand how we could *possibly* get so worked up over such an obvious goof as this… will.

    I retract “rape”, which offended a couple NG followers on Twitter.

    But I stand by my original assertion, from which that flowed:

    Fiction should be consensual. Artists can do whatever they like, but they’d better be prepared to take their lumps when they’re banging their shoulders against the edge of the envelope.

    • http://twitter.com/kurometarikku Keith Malloy

      I don’t think anything has made me laugh as hard as “Fiction should be consensual” in ages. You are a hilarious person.

      I am going to feel so unsafe walking to my car tonight after work. What if there is FICTION in that dark alley?

    • Lucretia

      This is the most hilarious comment I’ve ever read. I still have no respect for anyone spouting vitriol and essentially asking for censorship rather than free exploration of the darker sides to humanity. Fiction isn’t about respect, it’s about creative freedom. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, but don’t expect everyone else to agree with your personal view of the world.

  • lisahillmer

    I don’t think AFP needs to respond to any of this. It’s HER art. It’s HER project. It comes from HER imagination, and it can take any form SHE wants, without an explanation. Amanda Palmer is not your bitch.

  • lisahillmer

    I don’t think AFP needs to respond to any of this. It’s HER art. It’s HER project. It comes from HER unfettered imagination, and she doesn’t need to explain any of it. Amanda Palmer is not your bitch.

    • Lucretia

      This! AFP, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for you art. Not about Leeds United, and certainly not about this.

  • http://www.Kambriel.com Kambriel

    As Jason Webley wrote in his new blog:

    “I generally don’t like to offend and belittle ANYONE, but if there is anybody that I especially don’t want to alienate with this project, it is the people who might already feel marginalized and dismissed in our society.”

    Eloquently put Jason.

    I have to admit I’ve learned a lot reading all of the various points of view as well, some of which focus on aspects I may not otherwise have even considered, and I’m appreciative of that. Frankly, there are even a few new words/phrases I’ve heard now for the first time through this, and so I can admit that it has already served (for me, and hopefully others as well) the unexpected, yet valuable purpose of shining a light on a wide-spectrum of people’s feelings surrounding a vast, and sometimes disturbing array of topics.

    For those who might be offended by the idea of a conjoined twin outfit ~ as the designer of the Evelyn Evelyn outfit/s, I can say from the bottom of my heart, that such a thing was never created out of any sense of disrespect towards anyone. On the contrary, the first conjoined outfit I ever made was years before Evelyn Evelyn’s first song was penned… and the single reason it was made? Friendship. I was invited to a birthday party with a cabaret/vaudeville theme, and since it was my brithday as well, and I was attending “alongside” my best friend, I somehow got the idea to make an outfit we could wear *together*. It was a celebration of our closeness as friends that first brought it about, and to this day, I still consider it as such when I am making something new for Evelyn Evelyn. To me, it’s always been a celebration of their “joined” effort, and a testament to the intimate connection shared between fellow artists and close friends.

  • Mrs Arkban

    After explaining the controversy to my husband (who does not listen to AFP) and reading some of the comments to him, I have to agree with his theory. Clearly, Jason and Amanda have been tasked by a coalition of governments to run Operation Stupid Storm. The end goal of the operation appears to be capturing all the stupid people and then releasing them somewhere they cannot hurt the rest of us (a remote island I suppose, perhaps specially built to give them something to do). I would say the stupid people know who they are, but if they knew they were stupid people, they wouldn’t be stupid people. Such is the Stupid Paradox. Also, I would like to point out that just because you’re articulate, doesn’t make what you’re saying smart. That is how politicians keep getting elected.
    He also suggested a drinking game that could be played while reading the comments (we don’t drink, so we can’t play, but anyone else can). Every time you read the word: betrayed, jaded, engaging, artistic, lie, deception, honesty – drink a shot. See how long it takes you to get blitzed.

  • Linda_L

    I think that as long as the twins aren’t reduced to cartoon characters, it’s not offensive. If any serious issue in their backstory is given the gravity that one would rightly give to a real, live person who’d dealt with struggles, then these fictional twins are being treated with respect and with the equality that you’d give them if they were real.

    I think that a good novelist, for instance, who was writing about characters who were conjoined twins, would probably do so with compassion. Probably conjoined twins would be able to laugh at themselves sometimes, just as regular people can laugh at themselves; likewise some things would be off-limits, sensitive points that are not laughing matters. Probably conjoined twins would react to hardship in a way that many humans would; still, some of their coping mechanisms would likely be unique to their personalities and situation. So long as these characters are imbued with genuine emotions, it’s not exploitative of a disability. If the characters are written shallowly, in the tone of an outsider’s amusement, it’s distasteful, and the writer becomes a sort of villain.

    I say, if the twins become multi-dimensional characters rather than quirky-yet-flat Muppet personalities or–God forbid–a comic exaggeration like something out of a minstrel show, then these alter-egos of Jason and Amanda’s are inoffensive. The musical Side Show comes to mind as an example of conjoined twins who are respectfully drawn, with discretely individual personalities rather than one shared personality. Hopefully, with time, Amanda and Jason will evolve Eva and Lynn into something more interesting than a personified palindrome. Hopefully Evelyn and Evelyn are more than a talented curiosity.

  • http://penny-dreadful.net elanorelle

    I feel a bit apart from the crowd since I discovered Evelyn Evelyn on Youtube months and months ago and so it hasn’t occurred to me for quite a while that one could be fooled by the “hoax.”

    I like hoaxes in the name of art. I read the first book of Promethea by Alan Moore last year, and I was completely delighted to realize that I had been fooled into believing that Promethea was an actual series of literary and comic book characters that Moore was reinventing. Moore created this illusion through a fake forward talking about the various Promethea characters. Like a blog, forwards are expected to be factual. By subverting this convention he allowed me to believe, briefly, in his story, and to think about the nature of fiction once I had discovered the truth.

    Personally I feel inclined to believe that the inclusion of Evelyn Evelyn’s dark backstory was an attempt to give them reality. Rather than creating purely flat exoticized characters, Jason and Amanda sat down and tried to build realistic, complex histories for the twins. I agree that sexual abuse should not be used to “be edgy” or “for effect,” but considering how common it is, I don’t find its inclusion here offensive.

    I think it’s fair enough to argue that the characters as they are currently presented are still too flat/exoticized/innocent/passive and are thus drawing on traditional ideas of what it means to be disabled. That’s because Amanda and Jason are being ambitious – they’re taking a traditional image, the circus freak, and trying to strip it of its offensiveness without stripping it of some of the traditional associations that make the circus and its performers interesting to the popular imagination in the first place. They’re retelling a story, which can be difficult without telling the old story at the same time. Certainly they could have handled it with more finesse and thought.

    And of course it’s appropriate to offer Amanda our critiques (although the “how dare you lie to us” and “gee, this might be offensive” critiques are two separate issues, IMO). I have to say I feel a bit torn while reading the posts here – because while I’m not particularly offended and thinks that art probably works best when there’s some leeway to be offensive, the “who cares it’s just art/how dare you be so PC” camp is a bit wearying.

  • tundrabunny

    I’m weighing in late and don’t think that I’ll be of real interest to anyone. I just wanted to share that I had a good discussion with my partner this morning on the whole drama unfolding.

    I was a little torn about the whole thing because there are two sides to everything. Unlike AFP, I am a feminist. I have taken courses in feminist theory, communications theory, (tho clearly readers will be able to tell by my horrible spelling and grammar that I’m not incredibly well educated or anything.)

    I work at a Women’s Center and I work every day with people who live with a variety of disability, I also work with people who’ve experienced abuse. I have experienced abuse, and while I might be making huge unfounded assumptions, when I listen to some of AFP’s music I get the sense that she is an artist who has experienced some of the things that she sings so cathartically about.

    One side of me says that I can take a critical analysis approach and chastise the “able-ism” that narrates this story, in the same way that the movie Avatar gave us another story illustrating the great white male saviour (without whom the aboriginals would have been surely lost!), but another part of me recognizes that perhaps (as a person who supports herself through art) that politically correct messaging probably wasn’t the foundation behind this project. AFP isn’t someone who portrays herself as being at the forefront of feminist thought and anti-oppression practice.

    I think that the discussion that has come forward is really nice because it helps us to consider social narratives and how they A)effect real life people who have the experiences being portrayed and B)give us a chance to mindfully consider how narratives reflect the norms and taboos of our society.

    IMHO I think people expected AFPs response to be equal to the appropriate response of someone who works in the field (of social work, politics, political activism etc) or has a back ground in anti-oppression or an understanding of marginalization and critical analysis. I’m not sure it’s fair to expect that kind of response from AFP.

    I think that AFPs response was pretty natural for someone who was engaged in a creative process that she invested time and effort into without malicious intent. She was being creative and had people criticize her very harshly and accuse her of being ignorant and/or intentionally unkind.

    I know not everyone was equally aggressive in their responses, BUT I know that if I worked really hard on a painting or a sketch-those being my typical artistic efforts- and then someone came along and said that I was being mean spirited or intentionally disrespectful/dismissive/whatever, ESPECIALLY if I had no idea what the proper lingo or theoretical approach was in dealing with the matter at hand, I would probably get a bit defensive and want people to leave me alone.

    ESPECIALLY if the criticism was delivered in a spirit of punishment and chastising rather than genuinely wanting to work thru the issue in a helpful and constructive way. I read Jason Webley’s response, I thought it was great. He obviously considered the issue and presented himself in a very non confrontational way, clearly a natural practitioner of verbal judo.

    i would really hope that from this AFP would learn about anti-oppression and activism for the elimination of marginalization of women, of people with disabilities etc. but I would also hope that people who come across art and artists that engage in controversial reflections of THEIR PERCEPTIONS AND IMAGINATIVE STORY WEAVING/TELLING ….

    remember that we are all human, and we are all doing the best we can with what we have. So be kind to one another because but for the grace of God (or Cthulu, or whoever) THAT could be you.

  • jwdmeow

    I personally got that evelyn evelyn were not real. And so perhaps that is why I don’t feel betrayed or lied to. I think maybe some of the anger comes from people feeling gullible? Which would be sad. It would be nice if people weren’t so jaded that they thought maybe there could be conjoined twins doing a show on the road somewhere in the world.

    As for the backstory, it is a story. It is fiction. Since when did we start demanding characters with only happy past lives? For all we know, that “past” features in a song or the graphic novel or some bit of art yet to be revealed. Why is Tori singing Me and A Gun somehow considered acceptable art and a story of conjoined twins abused in a circus not acceptable? I don’t see the distinction. Anyone should be able to make art about abuse victims. Not in an exploitative way, but in an honest and truthful discussion. Amanda is saying that the ‘circus’ was accused of slave trafficking. To me, she isn’t being flippant, she’s very seriously stating a tragic ‘fact’ about the girls’ story. Even if the evelyns aren’t real, I’m sure the situation is somewhere. Should she not mention that circuses have exploited people, particularly the disabled or unusual? That would be weird, and it would come off as false.

    And someone brought up the point that elephants should not be in circuses? Well yes, that’s true. Don’t go to circuses that have animals. But it’s a historical fact that there have been and still are elephants in circuses. Are we not supposed to talk about it? Not create art about the distasteful parts of the world? How else does one affect change?

  • goodserving28

    Some really good discussion on here, but I can seriously predict the response or follow up blog. It will include the word “art”. There will be mention of her own problems or things overcome in the past. And I also predict “trust me” to pop up in there. It bothers me because there really is a difference here. Fiction and storytelling are one thing and when done well-very moving and effective or even just fun. This whole backstory is just sort of lame and not handled well at all. Everyone is free to make art, that is cool-but…but just bothers me personally when certain topics are not handled well.
    maybe read some good stories…I can recommend a few.

  • Valerie

    Dear Amanda,

    I just read all 258 comments on your blog and am absolutely fascinated by the level of response your Art has provoked. Whether or not it was your intention, you have once again brought many people to a serious critical awareness of some of the more “outlying” members of society. I think this is a really wonderful thing and I appreciate the thoughtfulness of many of these comments, as well as that fact that all these people are now thinking about these issues of disability and child pornography.

    Love,
    Valerie

  • catbunny

    I see this as another situation where people are choosing to be upset about something and make a big deal out of it. Part of what intrigues me about all of this is finding out if the conjoined twins are real or if this is all just a story (my guess). Either way I will be happy. What is the twist? There is nothing in all of this to show that anyone is trying to take something serious like child abuse (or conjoined twins or whatever it is about this that people have decided to be upset about) and marginalize / exploit / make fun of it in any way.

    If you don’t like it, don’t support it. Don’t listen to it. Don’t go to the shows. Simple. That is the wonderful about art – you can enjoy it, or not.

    • Jenn

      “There is nothing in all of this to show that anyone is trying to take something serious […] and marginalize / exploit / make fun of it in any way.”

      Except that in the fictional backstory, AP and JW are actively exploiting marginalized people by coaxing them out of their troubled past and onto a stage to entertain people that paid to see a show. There are many interesting elements and angles to this story, but most potential was lost in the execution. Instead of asserting that people are “choosing” or “have decided” to be upset and offended, take a moment to think of the actual implications of such a set-up.

      No one is claiming that this was a malicious act or ill-intentioned. Sometimes our own abilities and privilege blind us from other’s realities. It is only the resistance to consideration that make us insensitive.

      I think people are missing the mark when they assume that those upset are aiming for censorship, political correctness, or demanding some sort of amendment, alteration or apology. I’ll admit, those people are out there, but I am not one of them, and I’d venture to say that most that are upset aren’t either. All we’re asking for is a little thoughtfulness, some conversation and discourse on not only the topics that have arisen within the actual text of the story, but also on what their implementation implies.

      “That is the wonderful about art – you can enjoy it, or not.”

      While I agree that one can enjoy a particular work of art or not, I would disagree that is what is wonderful about it. What is wonderful, in my opinion, is the conversation it facilitates. Shutting out that aspect of it is completely counterintuitive.

      • Just Visiting

        “Except that in the fictional backstory, AP and JW are actively exploiting marginalized people by coaxing them out of their troubled past and onto a stage to entertain people that paid to see a show. There are many interesting elements and angles to this story, but most potential was lost in the execution. Instead of asserting that people are “choosing” or “have decided” to be upset and offended, take a moment to think of the actual implications of such a set-up.”

        I apologize in advance if I misconstrued what you’re saying here. Are you saying that you are upset the AFP and Jason are unaware of how exploitative of the twins they sound? That they are blinded to the fact that by “coaxing” them or “treating them humanely” sounds exactly the opposite? If so, then it’s fascinating to watch how different people treat the same paragraphs differently.

        I read that with the knowledge (in my own mind at least) that AFP knew exactly how horrible she sounded about her treatment of the twins. Couple that with the “voice” Evelyn Evelyn has on Twitter…meek, apologetic, child-like and easily manipulated by promises of candy or treats…and I had assumed that they were saying something about people with the best of intentions. I thought it was a haunting portrayal that holds up a mirror and forces us to look at how we treat people and WHY we treat them the way we do and if, in fact, that is how they want/should be treated.

        • Jojo

          Good points. Actually that final paragraph is exactly what I think this project failed to do, what makes it seem different from Oasis, and what makes me cringe. It doesn’t seem have been executed with any irony or thought, but rather, as people have pointed out, it seems like it was just done cos it seems cool and edgy. I think she didn’t bother to think about what it all really means – or if she did, she did not communicate the tone you describe well enough for people to pick up on that.

  • liesekins

    Amanda and Jason have written a story, folks, no different than Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex in some ways. Two women from a background and perspective very different from the privilege of an abled perspective, who have experienced very unfortunate events (some of them disturbingly common, some of them less so), embark on a wild and exciting journey outside the only world they’ve ever known to share their feelings and thoughts and music. EvelynEvelyn are characters, they have a backstory, and in place of dialogue and plot they have Amanda and Jason to speak and move for them.

    Having written about 8 paragraphs and then deleted them all, I guess what I want to add to this discussion is that when we try to limit artists’ imaginative forays into the lives and feelings and thoughts of people who are very different from themselves (and thus, often, very different from their audience) we lose a chance to ask challenging questions of ourselves and others in respectful ways that build understanding and acceptance. The key to ending oppression is the ability to imagine a world where people of all abilities, colors, education levels and sexualities are judged for the content of their characters and the work of their lives. People who enjoy relative privilege and power in our society, such as Amanda and Jason, do carry the responsibility of creating that world thoughtfully and respectfully, but the process is not going to be neat and clean. Mistakes will be made, or at very least perceived, and by no means will everyone agree on the most or least appropriate depiction of a person/group/cause.

    I think it is fair to point out concerns with Amanda and Jason’s portrayal of two disabled women, but I also think it’s fair for them to consider that criticism and continue on with the project if they judge it worthwhile.

    Ultimately? I find the back story they’ve written haunting and interesting and I hope they honor the gravity and creativity of what they have created, especially given the criticisms leveled thus far. I haven’t heard any of the CD yet; I’ll listen to it, and if I like it, I’ll buy it. Much like I do with most other media I consume.

  • Greig

    Really? Who are the people who honestly thought that Evelyn Evelyn were real? If you have ever listened to Amanda and Jason play before, you could hear their voices easily. It’s also no small wonder that the Evelyn sisters play the following instruments :Piano, Accordion and Ukulele. All of which are the trademark instruments by Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley.

    If people want to get offended at the back story of these characters, it is well within your right to do so. I’m generally more upset with the people just complaining that Amanda and Jason have “betrayed” them and that you are deeply hurt by this. This is just blatant attention seeking, if you had simply done a little background check you would have realised far before this blog that EE did not exist.

    There are youtube videos of Amanda and Jason performing the song “Elephant Elephant” on youtube, dressed up as “the twins” no less.

  • Someone

    I’m as gullible as the next cat. More gullible even. Even now part of my brain says there still really ARE a pair of twins. Still, the myspace has only Amanda and Jason’s voices singing, and since both “twins” sing, either these recordings are just guide-vocals or placeholders, teasers for the “real” vocals on the album, since the twins are so protective of their privacy.

    I’d like to think I would have bought their album, because the twin’s story is so tragic and I want SOMETHING to go well for them. But…

    But I don’t know about this sham story. Simply put, I am not disabled. I am white. I have never been abused. I am a liberal and try to be sensitive to the concerns of the marginalized, but what the hell do I know about the pain caused by alienation, abandonment, and mockery?

    Buying their album would have been one small thing I could have done to make their lives better. Now it is looking increasingly like they do not exist.

    Part of me is relieved, actually. I don’t know what that says for my liberalism that I’m kind of thankful these tormented lives were just fiction.

    Another part of me is just numb. I can’t say what’s offensive or inoffensive. I just don’t know.

    I don’t know what the fall out from this is going to be for Amanda and Jason. Maybe the shitstorm will die down. Maybe the artists have crossed a line they didn’t know existed. Hey, this controversy will probably be good for sales.

  • wakingdreaming

    I’m a disabled (male) feminist.

    My girlfriend and I have the EP that Amanda and Jason put out as Evelyn Evelyn.

    I’m not offended by the disability aspects of the back story on this project. Maybe I should be. Maybe I’m not sensitive enough. However, I just think that the disability experience, so to speak, is so wide and varied, and there is plenty of room for poking some fun at disability. Yes, I’m disabled, and I want to be respected and treated well, but I do NOT want to be treated with kid gloves. I, personally, feel like the disabled can handle this project without it causing us any harm. I’m very open to other views, though.

    The child pornography thing is bothering me, though. I don’t think that little detail was included in the back story when the EP came out. I think it’s inappropriate handling of a very serious problem in our world. I don’t want to see (even fictional) survivors of sexual abuse played for laughs and bizarro value. I really wish Amanda and Jason would retract this detail from the Evelyn Evelyn story or find a way to artistically redeem it, because right now it just seems to be there for shock value, and that really rubs me the wrong way.

    I’m a big Amanda Palmer fan, and I expect I will continue to be a big fan, but I’m really disappointed in the handling of this issue. I hope Amanda (and Jason) will put some more thought into it and give the whole issue a more respectful treatment somehow.

  • RiverVox

    Having moved on from bewilderment at people’s reactions to fascination with the level of anger this seems to have triggered, I am reminded of the Too Perfect theory of magic that I read about in Adam Gopnik’s New Yorker article “The Real Work”:

    “The magician teaches us that romance lies in an unstable contest of minds that leaves us knowing it’s a trick but not which one it is, and being impressed by the other person’s ability to let the trickery go on. Frauds master our minds; magicians, like poets and lovers, engage them in a permanent maze of possibilities. The trick is to renew the possibilities, to keep them from becoming schematized, to let them be imperfect, and the question between us is always “Who’s the magician?”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/03/17/080317fa_fact_gopnik?currentPage=all

  • calamitylill

    wait, amanda palmer isn’t actually dead? shit. i feel so betrayed. :( :( :(

  • just a quiet fan

    Amanda, please. I am disabled, I am a feminist (since we’re all feeling the need to declare this type of thing in the comments), and I just want you to do one thing for me. Jason, too.

    Please obtain a copy of a Broadway musical called “Side Show”. I don’t care if you’ve already seen it, read it, listened to the music…I want you both to get copies of an actual performance. Then, I want you to watch it. I want you both to do nothing but watch that show at least 5 times in a row. And I want you to LEARN what it has to teach you about Violet and Daisy Hilton, the women that you are not-very-successfully ripping your story from, from the side-by-side conjoining to the twisted circus to the various fears. I want you to see them as people, the strong, powerful, yet vulnerable women they were. Not a story. Not a fiction. Violet and Daisy were real, actual people.

    Once you GET it, then I’ll have no issue with Evelyn Evelyn; I know you’ll be able to do this right once you get it. But so far…I haven’t been impressed. This is not of the caliber people expect from you. You can absolutely do better than this, your brain is capable of sheer brilliance. This? Isn’t.

  • http://mytwoinnings.blogspot.com/ My Two Innings

    Comment on the Evelyn Evelyn controversy and the communal role of cabaret theater: http://mytwoinnings.blogspot.com.

  • Anonymous

    Actress Marlee Matlin has recently expressed some relevant perspectives on her Twitter feed that could just as easily have been written in reference to the Evelyn Evelyn discussion. Check it out: http://www.twitter.com/MarleeMatlin.

  • Jemima

    The album comes out the day before my birthday, making it the best birthday gift ever. (I am going to pretend that was planned just for me too). What I have sampled of Evelyn Evelyn’s music is just superb and I am so excited and happy that things are working out for the girls. <3

  • rubydanger

    dear amanda,i love you.and all of your personalities/projects/adventures.

    CAPSLOCK!!! FTW, GO BALLS FUCKING DEEP AMANDA!!!

    since when is addressing contraversial issues in music/literature/art new or offensive?
    for everyone saying its awful that sexual abuse/circus exploitation is involved with the EE story (whether EE exist in a true form or not) stop and think next time your watching law & order SVU or any of the 50 CSI shows…you are entertained by them.what about the documentaries all of you watch about human oddities,dwarves,little people,giants,conjoined twins etc…are those offensive or exploitive?
    no they are not.these are peoples stories.EE have a story,
    REGARDLESS OF HOW IT WAS CREATED.
    get over it.everyone has one.
    mine isnt that pretty.i was sexually abused,currently disabled,and i am ok with it being a part of my story.so stop getting so uppity about this shit…life happens,bad things happen,they build character,or CHARACTERS.
    ART ISNT ALWAYS PRETTY.
    LIFE CAN BE UGLY.
    ITS YOUR PERSONAL CHOICE TO SUPPORT IT OR NOT.
    STOP THROWING STONES.
    read geek love.
    xo~ruby

    • THB

      That’s just it, she didn’t address the issues. She used them superficially to sell a product, but she failed to address the issues. She’s treating these things as though they are trivial. Many people trivialise serious issues in their lives to help them cope, but for other people, this is hurtful, especially coming from someone who did not experience those hardships firsthand, as far as we know. Even if she did, it would be presumptuous to act as though no one else should be hurt by it.

      Oasis is a commentary about trivialising serious issues, and it was fantastic, thoughtful, and right on the money. But E&E is not discussing anything, not bringing anything into any light, it’s just entirely thoughtless, as though she didn’t realise that these things she’s playing with really mean a great deal to some people. I doubt many AFP fans have any qualms with discussing life’s ugliest parts, so it’s funny you should say that. It’s the lack of “discussion” behind this project that is disturbing.

      • rubydanger

        why dont we just sit back and see what happens and give amanda and anyone else involved a chance to let the story unfold,considering that this is the first official public statement regarding EE…
        everyone is so quick to jump on the bandwagon without waiting to see exactly whats in store…
        this could just be a preface to these “issues” being addressed through music and performance art…who knows?
        THAT IS MY POINT.
        WHO KNOWS?
        we dont,so dont jump to conclusions such as “She used them superficially to sell a product, but she failed to address the issues. She’s treating these things as though they are trivial.”
        lets give her a chance to possibly tackle these issues,and not assume that she finds these things as trivial.look at all of the other things shes talked about,i find it hard to believe that she would bring these things up without taking them seriously and addressing them appropriately.

        i never implied that AFP fans would “have any qualms with discussing life’s ugliest parts”
        in fact i was implying the opposite,considering fellow #LOFNOTC brigaders are greatly made from some of lifes ugly parts and thats what makes us beautiful. we find the beauty in diversity. we have found acceptance amongst those who have been through similar life experiences.
        this community is rare,and full of LOVE and encouragement.

        i think everyone needs to relax,and let AFP and friends do what they do best.CREATE. i have yet to be disappointed.and i am sure many of you will agree ♥

  • laura

    Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this was going on until now, but I want to say I’m surprised so few people have considered the idea that this may very well be an april fool’s joke. I mean come on, the album comes out two days before April 1. Why has this theory not been considered more in depth? A radio station near me always plans these really elaborate april fool’s day jokes and no one really ever picks up on them until the day of, and I’ve never understood how because it’s so obvious…however, some of the pranks that the radio station has pulled off has had the radio insisting it really happened even after everything turns back to normal, which seems like AFP might do as well. At least I hope everything will turn back to normal

    • BillyPilgrim

      Nobody considered it’s an April Fool’s joke because this album has been in the making for over a year and Jason Webley and Amanda Palmer fans have known about it for a long time. I have the Evelyn Evelyn 7″ in my room right now. I saw them perform. It’s a real thing. You are mistaken.

  • Someone

    Amanda will probably, thoughtfully blog her way out of this controversy like she did when the “Oasis” dust-up happened.

    I’m glad the twins aren’t real. I would have felt compelled to try and support their art. As it is, this concept album gives me the creeps.

    I couldn’t really spare the $20 anyway.

  • http://www.acuriousroom.com/ Chiara Ambrosio

    This is the first time I write a comment. Ever.
    I very rarely linger on virtual communication.
    But this was impossible to ignore.

    I am an artist, and as such I understand the vital importance of freedom of expression and freedom of thought when processing ideas and producing work.
    I also understand that, as a consequence of that, I have to take full responsibility for whatever I may think or say in my work.
    I do.

    An audience has the right to react to the work in whatever way they want- to be delighted and inspired by it, to feel offended or hurt by it, resentful because of it, remain completely indifferent to it, and so on.
    Although I am sensitive, alert and sympathetic to people’s- my audience’s- reaction to my work, I also understand that the source from which I draw ideas and inspiration is a very personal and insulated well, and that the substance from which such ideas and inspiration are made cannot and will not change according to the reaction that the work might receive once it sees the light and is shared by a wider audience.
    This is not because I am indifferent to the people I am trying to communicate with, but simply because my art is my own personal language, and as such it can only express my own sensibility, my own response to the world, my own idiosyncratic way of experiencing being alive.
    And this is the way it should be.
    It should not be a cause for disappointment or frustration if something I say may not appeal to my audience as much as something else, quite the opposite, it should be a springboard for constructive and supportive dialogue.

    Once upon a time, artists, scientists, explorers, were commissioned by the church to paint a picture of the world that had to reflect a selective and censored perspective of it, that excluded the vast majority of the truth, that left no space for speculation or reflection and that, as such, would perpetrate a uniformed ideal and breed unquestioning and unchallenged minds.
    Galileo, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, to name a few, paid a dear price for their rebellion to such dogma.

    We are blessed to live at a time when, both as active contributors and as spectators, we can take advantage of the freedom to express ourselves, to ask questions, to disagree, to make mistakes, and though taking responsibility for them, to learn from them and continue our process unscathed and unmarked by the fear of making even more mistakes on our quest to self-expression and understanding.

    Art is a tool through which we ask questions, it is not a way to inflict belief on other people, it is not an attempt to explain the world with facts. It is not a way of proselytizing, it is just one person’s view of the world, but one view that could resonate in the mind and hearts of another 1000 people who might not have the trust, freedom or self-belief to utter the first word on their own.

    Storytelling has always been a precious tool through which to explore dark and treacherous areas of our existence: metaphors and parables are an invaluable way to learn empathy, the imagination our only beacon of light when facing the thick darkness of all that we don’t know.
    It is dangerous beyond all belief to identify reality with myth or storytelling- both of them have their own distinct, incalculable value in the order of things and they need each other to be able to hold together.
    We could not face a life without stories, just as stories could not exist without a direct experience of life.
    But losing perspective on the distinction between the two is what causes religious fanatism and wars.

    To respect an artist’s fabrication is to understand that the world is much more varied than we will ever experience firsthand, and that this is a cause for jubilation and not for offense or frustration.
    We should rejoice when discovering that we disagree with someone’s story, that is certainly the first step into our own personal exploration of life and a glimpse of all that we are yet to encounter on our journey.

    An artist addresses a topic and abstracts it according to his/her own sensibility, be it disgusting, poetic, gluttonous, dirty, perverted, bittersweet, absurd, romantic and so on.
    We borrow archetypes from the world to make our discourse more universal- Diane Arbus’ wonderful photographs of the Coney Island freak show were as minutely obsessive and picturesque as the so discussed Evelyns’ back-story, but, in a similar way, they were lifted beyond the tragedy of each personal history and turned into a beautiful and poetic intervention, which I believe this album is doing as well.

    We should feel lucky to have the opportunity to turn pain, sorrow and tragedy into something beautiful, poetic, even funny. It is what allows us to survive. We all experience such things, whether daily or on rare occasions, but it is deeply human to come into contact with the worse and still be able to smile at the absurdity of life.

  • Rachel

    Wow! I’ve been reading through the comments and some of them have really been taking things way, way out of proportion. Here is my opinion:

    Some of you are outraged over the fictional backstory’s mention of child pornography and abuse. Why? I was sexually abused as a child- and have close family members with disabilities -but I am not in the slightest bit offended by what Amanda is trying to portray. Why should I be? She is not mocking people who have been through these things. If anything, Amanda is giving out a message that these horrors can be overcome, no matter what. And why should mentioning child pornography be seen as a taboo? We are in the modern world. We should feel free to discuss issues like that without people tearing us down for it. It hasn’t been glamourised here, after all. It is as it is; a terrible thing. But to call that ‘offensive’ is ludicrous, especially to those of us who HAVE been abused.

    Also, people are calling the lighthearted portrayal of the twins ‘grotesque’, amonsgt other things. I think this is the stupid outcry over Oasis all over again. If we are not allowed to take the darker things in life and still smile, then how can we ever bear them? It’s the ability to laugh at the darkness that makes it go away. It’s the exact same reason you get all giggly when you’re afraid. Being light-hearted can help people in these difficult situations regain strength emotionally, and I say this through experience. In no may is Amanda trying to mock or ‘pantomime’ disabled or abused people. She is trying to show that if you have suffered, you can get through it and be happy. Denying her of that would be like saying sufferers aren’t allowed to be happy- which, to me, is far more offensive that you claim this project to be.

    Also, as a performer it is in Amanda’s right to create a fictional backstory to make things more interesting. Without it, this may just be a bizarre little act with little substance. With the story behind it, Evelyn Evelyn has become something with a far deeper message. She is not the first to use this method, nor will she be the last. Many underground artists use alter egos with back-stories in their acts. But the moment ‘red flag’ issues are mentioned people start screaming like headless chickens over this, that and everything else. Just stop it.

    If you don’t like the act, then that is up to you personally to deal with. However, stating that Amanda is trying to be offensive, or that the elements of her act are offensive, is something I have a problem with. This is coming from a feminist and a survivor of abuse.

    Thanks for reading this comment.

  • Xenjn

    Oh, oh wow. I cannot BELIEVE the negativity coming from this post! What the hell? I mean, I really can’t understand why people are so pissed! Is it because you’re helping shamelessly advertise a project you and some other very talented people worked on? Is that it?

    Because really, that’s no reason to get this much HATE. People are looking at this the wrong way. They’re seeing an artist trying to be shameless and money grubby and blah blah. I see a friend of two very talented young women who really want to help them out.

    I mean, if it were me? I would do exactly what you did! No, really. Exactly. It’s bullshit that you’re getting hate for promoting your friends aka other artists. You’re doing nothing wrong, Amanda. So please don’t think that you are.

    For all the pissed off ‘fans’ reading this comment? Jesus, grow the hell up, would you? I mean, really! She’s just promoting her friends, trying to raise awareness of their growing talent! Can you really blame her for posting this blog?

    The woman has 300,000 people following her on twitter for fuck’s sake! If I had that kind of army to back me up then HELL yes I would promote someone else who I’ve worked with. Honestly I AM going to buy this record when it comes out. Not because Amanda Palmer told me to. She’s not TELLING us to, really. She’s suggesting that we do, because it’s a really great album and she thinks we’ll like it.

    I wonder if the same reaction would occur if Stephen King did a Collab with Neil Geiman and then posted on his blog about what inspired it and how you all should buy Neil’s new book because it’s great. Oh, because that would be the end of the world.

    You’re all going overboard, are people just LOOKING for drama these days? Isn’t there enough out there? Jeez.

    • stylishb

      I think you’re confused.

      • Xenjn

        Really? Then please enlighten me about why everyone suddenly has their panties in a bunch.

        • stylishb

          Well the two women they’re helping don’t exist for a start.

          • Xenjn

            …? Are you serious? What proof do you have that they don’t exist? Actually, please fill me in. What the fuck is going on here?

          • stylishb

            The info is all here. I understand there has been a lot posted but if you read from the top it shouldn’t be too difficult.

            Lots of people are annoyed that Amanda and Jason are deploying physical deformity, assault and molestation as casual plot points in a kooky musical venture. In doing so they have been guilty a lot of stuff and wandered in to a lot of cliches that disabled people continue to struggle against.

          • Rachel

            I see your point, but I respectfully disagree. People act like their using these issues in a kind of ‘mickey take’, (English phrase, sorry guys) but I don’t think they would do that. I was molested, and I see what Amanda is doing as showing that people who have suffered things like that can recover and be happy and successful in life. I don’t think any of the stuff the ‘Feminists with Disabilities’ lady was truly valid in this situation.

          • stylishb

            It doesn’t have to be a case of them making overtly jokey songs about child abuse for this stuff to be seriously wrong. You have to understand that somehow or other, Amanda and Jason have wandered into using very very very common tropes, apparently uncritically, and people are justifiably upset.

            The twins are presented as bizarre, otherwordly but innocent women-children. The ‘oh they are so broken and weird but we can learn so much from them!’ thing has been applied to so many groups. It’s a perspective that can only come from people who are not part of that group, who are willing to exotify and belittle, for whatever reason. Oh they were sexually abused and are all messed up but LOOK they are pure and jolly isn’t that mind blowing? Oh and they are apparently in need of rescue and promotion by these two able bodied people. ..isn’t that wonderful?

            This is not transgressive stuff. These are offensive cliches as old as the hills.

          • Rachel

            I do understand, but I don’t believe that is what Amanda and Jason are trying to do. She has fully stated that she is not trying to exploit these twins (fictional or not, I think it still applies) and that she wants ‘their’ music to be heard. The part of the back story mentioning A and J discovering the twins can only be interpreted as being ‘two able-bodied people rescuing them’ if this hasn’t been taken into account. The intention here is not to belittle, but to promote and empower. I am a feminist, so I am not purposefully over-looking the things which might offend people. I just firmly do not believe that Amanda should stop performing or apologise for something that other people are warping to mean something else.

          • stylishb

            Intent does not matter. She and Jason have to own their carelessness.

            It is not empowering for people to dress up as conjoined twins to be edgy. It is not empowering if, for example, Naomi Campbell does a Vogue shoot sat in a wheelchair.

            You say you’re a feminist. If a man ‘intends’ to be friendly and cheeky with a co-worker by grabbing her ass uninvited and she is upset, does that mitigate the action in any way? Should he not have to apologise?

          • Rachel

            The ass-grabbing and this is a completely different matter. The whole ‘ass’ thing would be considered assault, and would have to be taken a lot more seriously than Amanda and Jason’s project. I doubt it would have been taken very far, but at the very least the man would have to apologise. Besides, groping is rarely acceptable in public, consensual or not.

            A and J’s project is different in that it is acting, and although controversal(sp?) it isn’t exactly offensive unless you choose to take it that way. Let’s use an example such as: a director decides to film a movie about a disabled girl who has had a very bad, abusive childhood. She then meets two influential people who introduce her into the world of show business. She is talented and makes herself a fortune.’

            Now, going by your way of thinking, this would be demeaning because it suggests that the two able bodied people are exploiting rather than helping her. It may also be offensive because by performing she is being shown off, like a freakshow attraction. Now, the direction in our scenario did not mean any of this to come about. He wanted the girl to seem empowered, and able to make a life for herself. But the critics are saying he’s just trying to be different and exploiting people with disabilities along the way.

            The same thing is happening here. People are warping the intentions and messages of the performance to make it offensive, and that’s where I get slightly irritated. If Amanda was blatantly belittling those with disabilities, I would highly agree with you. But as it is I don’t, and I’m sorry about that.

          • stylishb

            Intent. Does. Not. Matter.

            So this isn’t against the law while groping is assault. So what? One is illegal and one (clearly)has upset very very very many people. More than this, you know full well that plenty of people would argue that it is political correctness gone mad for a man to be accused of assault for grabbing someone’s ass…it’s not what he intended..he was just being fun! This project is not fun for a lot of people.

            Not offensive unless people choose to take it that way? Why do you presume to tell people what they should and should not be offended by? When so many people with disabilities come out to explain precisely and moderately what they find wrong with this project, people should listen and respond to those points. Not attempt to police how they feel.

            This is not a movie about a disabled girl and I don’t care to debate hypotheticals. This case is wrong, for the reasons so many people have expressed. Of course a film can show an exploitative or even just plain bad approach to similar issues. In this case what has happened is that presented in half truths at the very least, Amanda and Jason have presented themselves as rescuers, and presented the twins as living breathing cliches. A weird gothic story along these lines may work but by bringing it into the real world with the Twitter, with talk of actually pressing legal charges, by taking interviews in their voices….it becomes all the more problematic. This isn’t just a bad story.

          • cherryzero

            You stated this probably better than I ever could. And now, with the redacted section of the original post, it makes it even more sensationalist. Does she think there aren’t screen captures and copies of the original post? Does she think we’re that stupid? While I liked the bit about learning to be brave in the follow up post (and that’s about all I liked), i have to say that cutting out the bit that people found so offensive is even MORE offensive.

            Thank you stylishb.

  • oldmanmuffinjar

    Just to elaborate on something I said earlier…
    I think the point of the darkness will eventually be redemption. Not hearing the album yet, I can’t be certain of that. I’m drawing that conclusion from what I have seen in Amanda’s work before. I also think that people have jumped to the conclusion that Amanda and Jason are “saving” the conjoined twins, but I think the twins are the heroes saving our beloved Jason and Amanda. The twins represent 2 that are forced together and have to cope. Amanda and Jason are two separate beings trying hard to really connect. Maybe it is a comment on how we think some of our relationships are a choice, but sometimes a connection is made that you can’t undo? Maybe the real hardwire connection is there between all of us, and we have decided to ignore it so we can justify all of our violence against each other?

    I’m pretty sure it is about shared misery, shared joy and shared redemption.

    Maybe some of the problem people are having is that Amanda labeled her blog as the “whole story”, and clearly it is not whole in the least. But can you ever really get the whole story?

  • Lumpkins McBumpadong

    Look how angry I’m getting!!! RAAAWRRR!! THE EASTER BUNNY ISN”T REAL! ME ANGRY!!! LOUD NOISES!!!!

  • Serena Snider

    I love Amanda, anything shes does I have 100% faith that its pure and shes not doing to hurt anyone.
    She is a GREAT artist, one of my favorite people of all time. anyone talking shit to her, should be ashamed of themselves.

  • VeganHeart

    I am disabled.I do not believe the concept and all it involves is disablist and…I actually adore it.What is disablist is the suggestion that Amanda should tread on eggshells regarding disability because that suggests that disabled people are to be pitied and patronised and therefore those who believe their critisisms of Amanda are valid and justified…think again and…LIGHTEN UP!I have a strong sense of Disabled Pride and Freak Pride and neither are compromised by aforementioned adoration – Disability pride is about expressing to society that disabilities are not negative and should not be perceived as something lacking, broken, or sub-par. Disability pride is a necessary ingredient in the larger diversity movement as it furthers the idea that differences are not only to be tolerated but also celebrated and that is exactly what Amanda is doing.Bravo Amanda, BRAVO.X

  • angryngman

    I’m really not seeing the issue here? Is there honestly something upsetting? An unwarranted and uncalled for backlash against an artist? People should not get offended over the expressive and creative just because you may or may not agree. How dare we as fans dictate what may or my not be appropriate to AFP. Are we to say yes or no to something just because it leaves us uncomfortable? Is it right to bottle her into a “safety net” of appropriate content? As an artist she has a right and an obligation to create and express as she sees fit not as we deem suitable

  • SaraJ

    Seeing a lot of comments about Amanda’s fans feeling “tricked” or “duped” into believing that Eva and Lynn were real people and not just performance characters. I think some people might have really missed the mark. I don’t think Amanda or Jason’s intentions were to trick anyone – more that the project was something all of us fans could get involved in and share together…like a little secret that only the fans would understand. Shame that a lot of fans have bitten her in the ass for trying to create something new and different for us. I was finding the whole project kinda exciting and intriguing until the drama kicked off. But such is the internet…

  • http://nobubblegum.blogspot.com/ The Raisin Girl

    I have never read the words “ableist” or “ableism” so many times on one page in my life. And I’m really starting to get quite annoyed by both of them.

    Who exactly decided that being conjoined twins makes people disabled? Do all conjoined twins think of themselves as disabled? Because I never thought of that as a disability, just a difference. Is anyone else bothered by the fact that so many people here are just slapping labels on entire groups of people in order to gain some sort of moral highground in a debate? To me, that’s far more disturbing and thoughtless than simply portraying these characters.

  • http://razorblade-cookies.blogspot.com emilly

    “Note too that victims of this sort of extreme sexual, emotional and physical abuse don’t generally turn out to be cabaret singers singing adult Raffi-style songs. They end up being Sybil or Truddi Chase or Hedda Nussbaum.”

    Not all of us. More to the point, which is better to get the point across: music with an edge, which people *will* listen to (or at least, that’s the hope) or a documentary which will capture 2% of the caring folks out there, and bypass nearly everyone else?

    Think about this, seriously–play ‘what if’ for a moment. What if Amanda and Jason *had* tracked down a pair of conjoined twins who could sing? They weren’t hiding under a rock; they had a MySpace page. They *could* sing; they’d recorded songs. What they had was a fear of people and a lack of marketing know-how; so enter Amanda and Jason to coax.

    Forcing damaged, broken people with nary an offer of care and therapeutic treatment, simply to get them to sign on the bottom line and pocket whatever percentage of the proceeds they’d managed to gouge them for, to maximize profits for themselves before dumping E & E unceremoniously in the nearest gutter…frankly doesn’t sound like Amanda. Nor anyone associated with her.

    Instead, we have ‘coaxing’. Gentle invitations to greater access. We have Amanda being amazed at the art around her yet again, with these two potential people: coaxing, not forcing; inviting, not stealing. Sharing, that might be a good word. And doing most of the work, for in the tales of Evelyn and Evelyn, they have a fear of beards. Well, then.

    I do not understand the controversy here, at all. I’m somewhat saddened to find out that fans of AFP–who have listened enthusiastically to AFP sing about personal medical issues, family issues, abortion trauma….in other words, deeply, *deeply* personal details of her life–suddenly backing up and saying wait, no, this goes too far.

    Why? Why is *this* too much? I’m planning an entry in the wee blog to bring my focus back to music, I was just waiting for the record to be announced. And suddenly there’s controversy, drama, screaming….and why?

    I’m disabled. I had an extremely abusive past. And a hundred years ago, I’d likely have been employed by a circus somewhere. If I’m not offended by this record, and Evelyn Evelyn as a concept…honestly? The rest of you need to back up and consider why you *are*.

  • maralily

    I don’t care that the ‘back story’ is made up or that Amanda and Jason are (obviously) the ‘twins.’ That’s fine, even clever. What bothers me is the inclusion of child molest and abuse in the back story- when these ‘twins’ are clearly supposed to be meant to ridicule. The inclusion of those themes does nothing to enhance the story. As a survivor of child molestation, it feels like the artists put that theme in to make these ‘twins’ seem more pathetic. Ok, let’s make them freaks- make them conjoined twins. Now lets make them pathetic- so make them victims. So with this project, they have managed to offend rape survivors AND disabled people. Not a good score. If they wanted to use those themes, they could have done so and made it worthwhile by making it disturbing- as it perhaps should be. Instead, they are going for giggles. Let’s face it, AFP fans are hardly easily offended types… and yet, many are offended. It (for me) is not any one thing that makes it offensive, but the whole package and how it is presented.

    Also, I want to point out that there ARE in fact a pair of conjoined twins who are country music singers.

    There are also a pair of conjoined twins who are gospel singers.

    There are also conjoined twin performers The Spider Sisters.

    Before seeing video of the E/E ‘twins’ it is very possible to believe Amanda and Jason’s stories. People like that DO exist. And maybe they should not be ridiculed with such poor taste. Perhaps themes of child rape should not be used for a giggle fest.

    I do like Amanda as a casual fan of her music and performance, but this is in VERY poor taste.

    • Paul Jon

      “also, I want to point out that there ARE in fact a pair of conjoined twins who are country music singers. ”
      -Not true: only one of them is a country music performer.
      “There are also a pair of conjoined twins who are gospel singers.”
      -Not true: they both died seventeen years ago.
      “There are also conjoined twin performers The Spider Sisters.”
      -Not true: they are not performers and they do not call themselves the Spider Sisters.

      • maralily

        Then why do they have a resume for vaudeville style performing billed as The Spider Sisters? I really don’t give a shit. This project is tasteless and offensive to many people. I am not saying censor it, but I don’t have to keep my mouth shut about it and I don’t have to support and artist’s career who chooses exploitation acts as a way to make money. If this project were done with a degree of seriousness, I might even like it, but the videos I have shown display two people having a giggle up while using themes of child rape to sell their product. So far, every response from the artists involved has been dismissive, condescending and tinged with more than a little bit of lack of caring. If you think it is OK to sell records that way, that’s your opinion. I personally don’t.

  • Marcy

    I don’t think this project is poking fun at disability but I can see why people might not like it, because we get uncomfortable sometimes with the unfamiliar or with topics that are often hushed up. We’re not supposed to acknowledge a disability when it’s obvious because then we’re admitting the person is disabled. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging it or even creating characters that are–and this is a fiction, just as if it were a novel–the problem would be if Amanda and Jason were mocking the disability, which they aren’t. I disagree with the person who compared this to blackface because that is offensive and for many reasons she probably doesn’t understand, but it’s important to realize that this project is creating alter-egos, just as Prince and lots of other artists have done. If this project was belittling or deriding EE, that would be a different scenario.

  • http://jmaybury.blogspot.com/ Jessica Maybury

    wow! Again I say wow! This is awesome! Can’t wait to buy the graphic novel!

  • dar

    I like the idea of alter egos and fake performers. But if you had to make up a character(s) with disabilities, why not make them actually amazing? You could have created alter egos of kick-ass musical skills. You could have created not one but two engaging personalities.

    Instead, you went with making twins so alike they even have the same name. You could not even be bothered to give them distinct personalities. Of course, they look nothing alike, and that’s part of the joke. One of these women is played by a man. Oh, so hilarious to see a man pretending to be a woman when he looks nothing like a woman, and the audience plays along and pretends they can’t tell he’s not a woman while laughing at how much he’s not like a woman.

    Not only that, you made them bad musicians. (I could be wrong there – maybe you both really do sing that badly. I’m not a fan so I don’t know. But let’s assume you are both at least competent musicians and singers, for the sake of argument.) So part of the point of the show is to laugh at how bad the singing and playing is.

    Usually, if a person pays for a show or record and it’s bad, they feel they wasted their money, but in this case, they are supposed to laugh, because these two, deluded women think they are good. Except they’re not supposed to be two deluded women. They are supposed to be a pair of conjoined twins so indistinct they share the same name. And one of them is a man. And they are funny because it’s so damn awkward for them to play their instruments because they are conjoined twins. Again, it’s so fun to laugh at people who have disabilities. and it’s funny to laugh at men pretending (badly) to be a woman.

    If two real women who were conjoined twins wanted to make it in the music industry, they would practice hard. They would get good, so good people would be amazed at their skill. So good that able-bodied performers would try to play instruments together in the same way but would fail. They would rock the house and people would adore them.

    And if they were still no good, and insisted on performing in spite of their lack of skills, people would laugh at them. They would not attribute the bad playing to poor musical skills and deluded egos. They would laugh at them because they are disabled and can’t play or sing, and they would be a freak show.

    That is what you’ve created. A freak show. and it’s not even a freak show; it’s a FAKE freak show.

    Some people are responding to it in the way they would respond to a real freak show.

    You may claim this to be some hipster parody of freak shows, and that people who respond as if it’s a real freak show don’t “get” that it’s actually a fake freak show. You may claim you are actually mocking freak shows, by showing how exploitative and offensive freak shows are. You may claim to have fake-plucked these fake-women from obscurity and forced (sorry, “coaxed”) them onto the stage so that people can laugh at how badly they sing and play, and how naive their lyrics are, and how shy and awkward they are, all to show that it’s wrong to do those things.

    You may claim that all you like, but your response to those who have been offended by the work shows that you have little awareness of freak shows and how they affect the “freaks” exploited by them.

    Also, the inconsistency is rife – the announcer in the youtube vid I saw said this was Evelyn and Evelyn’s first performance ever. Hardly likely, if they were abused and displayed in a circus,. If the circus abuse backstory were true, then this would have been their first performance on their own terms as fully functioning, in control adults, which is clearly not the case as you have made them infantile and reluctant and clearly just as exploited as they were in the fake circus.

    As for the sexual abuse backstory – shame on you.

    There is a bunch of fail here, and people are calling you on it. Own it. It’s yours.

    Yes, I am disabled. Yes, I am a feminist. And why, yes, I happen to be a twin as well.

  • maevele

    so you just edit out the sexual abuse/child porn aspect, rather than addressing those concerns?

    • stylishb

      Consider it like a little tease. We can still get the full exciting, disturbing story if we buy the album

      • maevele

        oooh, you think she’ll even address how fucked up it is on the album, since she won’t do it here?

        • stylishb

          Nope.

          What I do think is that it must be tempting for any journo reading this to do a compare and contrast piece about social media with reference to this and the reBELLYon. Y’know..what with Amanda being an artist who has incited and mobilised via social media but who has now been on the receiving end.

          With a tour coming up I’d probably be shit scared about that kind of story getting coverage.

  • http://www.csdaley.com csdaley

    I have been thinking about this a lot. Here are a few of my thought: Posted new blog: (Amanda Palmer’s Pile Of Pain) at http://bit.ly/2gGGCe

    This is part 1 and I will write part 2 tomorrow.

  • http://www.csdaley.com csdaley

    I have not stopped thinking about this for a dew solid days now. I wrote part one of my blog yesterday and then went in a completely different direction today for part 2. You can read it here: (Amanda Palmer So Close You Can Touch Her) at http://bit.ly/acRM4K

  • Samantha

    There’s a whole bunch of things that I find really interesting about this… I don’t even know what to call it, not the project,a s such, but people’s reactions to it.

    To set the scene, I’m disabled (registered blind), consider myself a feminist and have a successful career despite my disability. And I don’t find this project offensive. I find it interesting, and my brain’s not done mulling it over and deciding what I think yet. But I’m definitely not offended.

    There seems to be a bunch of people who *haven’t* experienced any of the issues explored in the twins’ backstory getting offended, that to use such topics in a fictional context is exploitative, and who also say that Jason and AFP’s relationship with the twins, as it has been portrayed, is equally as exploitative as the backstory. What I find really interesting is the completely paternalistic attitudes displayed in these posts. On the one hand, people are saying AFP and Jason are painting themselves as messiahs, swooping in to protect these twins, on the other, others are saying why aren’t they protecting them, helping them, instead of exploiting them? I’m sure if people needed help, that AFP and Jason would be among the first to offer it, but here’s the thing guys. Not everyone with a disability needs looking after. Not everyone needs your help, not everyone sees themselves as a victim.

    Secondly, there are other people with disabilities posting who are offended. I respect you and you have the right to your feelings and opinions, and to express them (I also respect the opinions of those who aren’t disabled btw, didn’t mean quite how that reads). But I don’t assume I know how every other blind person feels. I know how I feel. Being blind is a very small part of who I am, and I’m sure it has influenced the development of my personality in many ways, but it’s not who I am, it’s not my identity. I’ve had 5% vision since birth, and compared to people who have had good vision and lost it, I’m extremely fortunate. I learned to cope without knowing any different, without suffering it as a loss. I often get frustrated with the media when they trot out one disabled spokesperson to speak for us all. So just because you are offended, don’t assume that all disabled people are or should be, or that all feminists are or should be, please. Let’s all have our own voice.

    As an aside, I see people bandying terms like ‘ablism’ about, I found it interesting that several people in these comments have used the word ‘blind’ in a derogatory context (“blindly follow Amanda to the ends of the earth”) etc, but I don’t take offense at this, again, I find it interesting. One can take offense in lots of places it isn’t intended, if one really wants to. THe fact that people object to Jason and Amanda pretending to be disabled, shows just how uncomfortable society is with disability. It intrinsically indicates that it is bad, lacking, damaged, wrong to be disabled. Blackface was/is offensive because it was considered lesser, inferior by society. If we’re comparing pretending to be disabled to this, we are inferring that society considers it inferior to be disabled (not incorrectly, but it’s interesting that we are buying into those ideas without questioning).

    I see this project as performance art. Designed to provoke debate and discussion, and it’s sure done that effectively.
    The people who object to AFP and Jason pretending to be conjoined should ask themselves if they object every time an able bodied actor gets cast in a disabled role? Or if they take offense at fiction (films, literature), which feature themes of abuse and exploitation? Sure, the implementation here may not be as polished as that of a Hollywood movie, but isn’t that the point of the punk caberet style? Isn’t it appropriate to shine a spotlight on these issues, WITHOUT all the gloss? If we see something unseemly about this, maybe that’s the point. Maybe it’s supposed to make us uncomfortable. Maybe the relationship between AFP/Jason and the twins is *supposed* to seem slightly paternalistic, slightly rescuing, slightly exploitative… maybe that’s the parody?

    And as for those who are saying disability isn’t funny, well, of course not. No difficulty or suffering or abuse is funny. But it’s human nature to find comedy in difficult situations, and often it’s a way of dealing with those situations. If we lose our sense of humour about our difficulties- whatever their nature may be- we’re on the way to letting our spirit be crushed. Of course it’s funny when I mistake a tomato top for a spider, or accidently walk into the men’s toilets. And when I go with a friend who happens to be in a wheelchair to the cinema, much hilarity ensues- she needs pushing, but I can’t see a thing. Cue a farcical situation of her directing me to parking her chair, and then to a seat “there’s a seat in front of you”, “where?”, “right in front of you”, “I don’t see it”, “for goodness sake, put your hand out!”, “oh, there, oh ok”. Humour is one of the ways humans deal with difficult situations, one of the ways we rise above them, get through them.

    There are a band of comedians (French I think, I don’t know their name) who appeared on stage with Rufus Wainwright. The slot was supposed to be filled by a fan, a competition winner, who had to post a video of themselves performing on youtube to one of his songs. The winner selected at one particular show was a man in a wheelchair with evident physical and mental impairment, and his carer, who pushed the chair on stage and joined in, dancing and singing. It eventually became evident that this might not be entirely genuine, and that whoever selected the competition winner hadn’t been aware it wasn’t genuine. We later found out it was a French comedy duo, that these characters were part of their usual routine, and their whole point was to make people uncomfortable. Which it did. It seemed slightly exploitative to have this disabled person on stage, “making a fool of themselves”, when they weren’t aware that’s what they were doing, when they weren’t aware people were laughing at him (but he appeared to be enjoying himself so does that matter?). And it appeared more exploitative when we realised it was fake. This provoked some discussion on the fan site, but the main reason people objected to it, was that it had deprived genuine fans of the opportunity to win the competition. It certainly didn’t cause anything like the conflict this project has. And it made me realise that if watching it made me feel uncomfortable, if it had been genuine, that was my problem, my issue. So if “the twins” are enjoying themselves on stage, does the rest matter? (since it was acting, it provoked some interesting debates).

    Some seem to be criticising the work, suggesting that AFP and Jason have deliverately produced poor music, to mock the twin’s naiveties and childish natures, inferring that people would be laughing at them, and that would be exploitative. But if we, as audience, are laughing at them, that’s our issue. “ho, ho, ho, the twins are rubbish and they don’t realise it, the only reason they’ve been allowed on stage is as a freakshow”- that’s OUR assumption. Art is judged differently by different people, just because you don’t appreciate the work “the twins” have produced, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s meant to be mocking. (frankly, there’s lots of very successful so called artists out there who I regularly think are only on stage because they are physically attractive, rather than for any talent).

    Does it matter whether the backstory is Amanda’s, or Jason’s, or some other set of twins, something they read, an amalgam, or completely made up? Is it okay to talk about this stuff, as long as it’s painful, as long as you’re baring your soul, but not from an artistic or intellectual point of view? I read some of these posts, and I think “okay, so this person would *be happier* if they find out Amanda or Jason had been the victim of child abuse or exploitation?”. Just stop and think about that for a moment. You’d be happier if this had genuinely happened to someone who you admire and respect, rather than it be a fiction? Humans are distinguished from lower animals by our ability to imagine, to empathise, to put ourselves in another’s shoes, and feel genuine emotion. This backstory doesn’t have to be factually correct for AFP to identify with it, or be emotionally invested in it, just as we can empathise and feel emotion as a result of hearing somone else’s story. If this isn’t AFP’s story, does that mean it’s not one worth telling? Because it’s sure going to be someone’s story, possibly not one person, but several people, a lot of people, even. Because these things DO happen, to real people. And those people may not be able to, or may not want to, tell their story. But it doesn’t mean they’d be offended by someone else telling a similar story.

    It’s also not exactly the first time Amanda has used humour to address a difficult or contraversial issue (Oasis, Katy Perry/Prop 8). I don’t think she owes anybody anything, except to be true to herself. I think the close relationship she’s had with her fans have left some people feeling a sense of entitlement over the work she produces. To my knowledge, Amanda has never asked people to follow her blindly to the ends of the earth. From what I can see, she expects her fans to communicate and express their opinions intelligently, to support the work they think worthy of supporting. You’re under no obligation to like, agree with, or support, every project she undertakes. You’re under no obligation to buy the album.

    And for others,who like me, came to AFP via Neil, well, she certainly doesn’t owe Neil’s fans anything! And Neil doesn’t have to explain or defend his fiance’s work. They are separate people, who happen to have fallen in love. They are not responsible foe each other, or for each others’ fanbase.

    I’m going to stop now, because it’s 2am and I’m rambling. As I said, I’m finding this really interesting. Thanks to everyone who has left such thoughtful comments, because this has really made me think.

  • jessad

    As an art student, an artist and also an art teacher, I have always admired the work of Amanda Palmer, and also DD. I have often told my students, that she among so many others is a brilliant example of how one can live art – Live a concept. She has helped me re-affirm that life is art, and art is life.

    However, given how the evelynevelyn debacle has been handled, I dont feel i can recommend her to my students, other than as an example of how NOT to handle controversy, should they ever decide to pursue their art (i teach high school).

    Jess.

  • monawheeler

    People, REALLY. Get over it, and get over yourselves. It’s an album. It’s musical creativity. It’s FREEDOM OF SPEECH. If this is the way that they choose to express themselves, then so be it. Like she would *intentionally* set out to hurt anyone.

    Is the music hurting anyone? *No.*

    Is the Evelyn Evelyn story hurting anyone? *Not really.*

    People just love to disagree on something that may seem so controversial and trivial, when in all reality, it’s just a couple people who got together to further their musical abilities and have a little bit of fun. And if you’re a true fan, you will easily realize this. I honestly don’t think that anything horrible was done here, nor do I think that anything horrible will come of it.

    So just let them be. If you plan on buying the album and being a fan, and attending shows and whatnot, that’s awesome.

    If you don’t plan on buying the music, or seeing them live, or supporting them, that’s great too.

    Just stop acting like children that were scolded by an administrator for wearing inappropriate clothing.

    –Mona Wheeler

  • kiimmii

    I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I’m pretty sick of hearing the same things about this over and over.

    If you’re offended : Get. Over. It. Already.

    Such is life. and whether you’re singing, or acting, or lying, or living, creating, or just sitting on your ass, you will ALWAYS no matter what, be offending or ‘hurting’ SOMEBODY.

    Do you want to know what happened here? Some shit went down. Some great music was created, and a lot of potential fun was brought into play. A FEW of you, genuinely got offended. I’m not saying those few of you don’t have your reasons and such. But a very large number of you, dare I say, the majority, were perfectly content with everything until you read the few offended comments, and it blew up like the Salem Witch Trials.

    Just because a couple people are offended, doesnt mean you should jump on the fucking band wagon because you’re bored. This isn’t a pro-Amanda post. This is a pro-STFU post. Stop borrowing reasons from other people to justify your whining.

    • Charles

      Just an idea-
      What if the whole thing was created by them with the intention to question whether this type of thing was wrong?

      My point is that we, as the interpreters of this art, cannot know the intentions until Amanda or Jason decide to tell us. And even then, we can’t be sure it’s the honest truth. We don’t know them personally, they could have some profound reason to pull this off, or they could just have been having fun without thinking of the potential consequences. We’re not going to know, so I figure it’s best for us to just let it go. If you like it, great. If not, don’t support it, no problem.

      • kiimmii

        I’ve met Amanda a few times, and if people question her motives because they havent and therefore feel unsure about what kind of person she is, to some degree, I understand.
        But I have met her, and am thankful to personally be able to say that she is a good person. I’m just another fan and am in no way part of her inner circle, but she never once struck me as a malicious or intentionally abraisive to the feelings of those around her.

        One has to keep in mind that her brother, before he passed away, was severely handicap. Having seen and been apart of that, I dont think that anyone can fairly, and in their right minds say that she ‘invented Evelyn Evelyn’ just to intentionally start a controversial argument between her fans over eithical and moral ‘rightness’.

        And while she is a very nice person, and that works as a great argument about why she wouldnt do that, the more logical point is that people need to keep in mind that Amanda is a business woman of entertainment. A smart business woman will try to promote herself and her ideas, but would never intentionally create controvery to intentionally divide her fans, because that cuts into profit.

  • Whitewingtip

    I am a completely new fan.
    And I’m a fan of Evelyn Evelyn. I know they are not real, and merely fictional, but that’s what I like about it.

    I was introduced by a friend of mine who stumbled upon them on the internet. We didn’t know who Amanda Palmer was at the time. Had no idea who the artists were at all, actually, but we found out through Evelyn Evelyn.

    I was first shown “Elephant Elephant”, “Chicken Man”, and “Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn?” And I almost fell off my chair laughing. I am completely not offended by the condition of the fictional twins, because they are fictional, and I really had no ties to Amanda to being with. I had no idea she was selling them off as real.

    This being said, it doesn’t change my mind:
    I love Evelyn Evelyn.

    Sure, the story is disturbing, but since I heard all the fun songs, and the main song “Evelyn Evelyn” first, the backstory intrigued me as a fantastical, if not somewhat delightfully disturbing, story. That’s all it was to me, a story. The way they decribed all of the “Tragic Events of September” was great storytelling, but it was storytelling none the less.

    I found many aspects disturbing, but felt the need to listen to each Tragic Event once over to get an overall feel for the character.

    Then all of the songs I had come to love over the week were better ingrained in my mind and I understood the context, and the dark concept, behind all of the joyful sounding songs.

    It is a beautifully done album.

    I loved the harmonies, and the fact that Amanda’s voice is usually lower than Jason’s. It makes for an even more interesting sound for the music.

    Thank you for making the Album.
    Thanks for the story.
    It made me smile.

    ~Whitewingtip

    • Whitewingtip

      P.S: “Nothing happens when you’re offended…’I went to a comedy show, and the comedian said something about the Lord, and when I woke up the next morning, I had Lepresy!’ You have people coming up to you saying: ‘I was offended! I was offended! And I have rights!’ Nothing happens when you’re offended, go on, get on with your life, you’re an adult; deal with it!”
      -Steven Hughes
      (Comedian)

  • http://www.40thbirthdaydecorations.net/ 40th birthday decoration

    I’m astounded by people who want to ‘know’ the universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.

  • René

    Dear Amanda F!!!! Palmer:
    Greetings to you:

    Omg that´s really awesome i love this project Amanda, will be a total success, i have no words to explain how happy do i ´m feeling now, i want to let you know that i´m From León-Nicaragua, just right in the middle of Northamerica and Southamerica and all of you Guys will be having a great time in Europe, i won´t be there physically but spiritually all around the audience, on stage, backstage, after party hotel hhahhahha the really meaning of all around cause this project is to our hearts, i can sense it at the bottom of mine and for sure all of you do too, amazing!!!! Another important fact about this beautiful project cause there are many to names is the Frances Bean Cobain performance, this will give her the wonderful opportunity of share stage with marvelous people like you, the twins, Jason and everybody, this for sure will mark her life in a very positive sight and will learn a lot from each one of you something new just like you will too, kurt will be so proud of her and Courtney too, her grandma Wendy and the whole world, thanks God for giving you this project to you, at the End every single one of you will have a great time for to know each other and why not futures works, the twins are fantastic all the talent they have will be expose and we´ll be more than happy to give them the very welcome to the fantastic music world. God will bless you all during this tour and I would like to thank you for giving us the happiness. From now on I will be following every post of evelynevelyn and I appreciate very much if you please keep me posted, thanks. Please give my regards to Eva and Lynn, Frances Bean Cobain, Jason webley, ANDREW W.K. , Weird Al Yankovic , sorry if I can´t name´em all and of course you, and i think that’s it.

    René Ortega Romero.

  • Tylah

    I only JUST discovered this album and it is AMAZING. :) I absolutely love it. I understand that some people are upset but ,personally, I don’t understand why. It’s not like Amanda just took their story without their permission or poked fun at them either. Many people would not know the greatness of Evelyn Evelyn if she didn’t help bring it to light. There are many struggling artists out there and many times it is even harder for people who are against what the world considers the “Norms” of society. They have made a huge leap and I am grateful for them and their music. I want to meet them sooo badly. I find them extremely interesting and would love to just sit down and talk to them and find out what they are like as people. SO, thank you Amanda and Jason for an amazing album and thanks to the Neville sisters for their amazing contribution to music. :) I like your style. ;)

  • Anne

    Totally agree

  • Tylah

    I would like to add to what I commented earlier. Firstly, I do realize that Evelyn Evelyn is actually Amanda and Jason. Secondly, I do realize that I am commenting on this years after but I must apologize for, as I said, I have only just discovered all this. To those of you who think this is mocking by any standard or feel ‘betrayed’ at finding out the twins are not real…suck it up and get over it. They are characters, you watch movies and read books don’t you? There are plenty of people out there writing books, singing songs and making movies or plays about far more controversial topics. You are aware that the boy on stage in Equus is an actor that is playing the character of a boy that is sexually aroused by horses but is there offence? No! Of course not, obviously there are those that cannot appreciate that type of theatre or performance but my point is that it is not making fun of people that have strange attractions it is merely creating a piece means different things to different people. No one got this upset about Phantom of the Opera! That was about a disfigured man that lived under a stage and no matter how hard he tried could never get love. Does that mean everyone got mad and said “That’s like saying disfigured or disabled people can’t find love!” no! They are characters, if it makes you feel better think of the whole thing as a play. Listen to it, enjoy it and take the journey with the girls. Once you are done,, smile/clap/cry or whatever you want to do and move on as if it were just a play. Think about it as if it were a play…for that is why characters are created…

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  • Emily

    Anyone think this is possibly about three friends unintentionally? To me it sounds like to people are trying toget ‘Evelyn’s’ attention when they say
    ‘Why do we bother to stay’
    ‘Why are you running away?’
    It seems the first person wants to go somewhere with Evelyn and when she is going too the second person is asking why she is going. Then it says
    ‘I wake up first’
    ‘I watch you sleeping’
    It seems the first voices are contributing each other. The first Person wakes before Evelyn and so does the second
    I don’t think that the writers intention was for the song to come across this way

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