Tuesday, March 11, 2008

the downward spiral (a tragedy with a happy ending).

before i write about days as a mute 4-6, i had to share this video link with you before i forgot. kinda long story, but worth it. i promise.

so, last month i was in seattle with my good friend jason webley to finish producing the first album by the conjoined twin sisters Evelyn and Evelyn Nevel.
one night we had a small show in the studio/performance space owned by my fine pals in Estradasphere, who live, play and record there (jason and i also
spent a few nights crashing there...waking up in total darkness as the space has no natural light. and no heat. but that aside the place is RAD.)

anyway, there was very little space to fit people, only about 100 spots, so the tickets sold out almost overnight.
i felt really badly about this, because by the time i got my ass in gear to send out via myspace and to the e-blasting list,

(- break: i love this. brian just called me to tell me he was coming over and i answered his questions using only a shoe and a tambourine -)

most of the tickets had sold out. the show was a week or so away.
so i talked to jason and said: lets do a ticket giveaway contest! involving imaginative portraits of the twins since nobody's met them yet! he was like: yar.
we would give away 5 pairs of two tickets and one lonely ticket for a total of 11.

so i sent out a huge email blast, which i'm sure many of you got, asking for "pictorial representations" of the twins.
i suggested, with my typically winning sense of humor, that the pictures could be related in any medium: watercolor, crayon, acrylic, gingerbread, scarification, etc.
except i made a typo, and somehow the email went out just asking for "pictorial representations", without specifying OF WHAT.

jason and i were together in seattle by this point, working hard with the twins on the record every day.
the pictures started to come in, and jason was checking the account. and something was Very Wrong.

the first picture that came in was a complicated painting of two squids (not conjoined), one small one and one large, and some other sea life.
the second painting that came in was giant letter E floating in space.
and so on.
none of these pictures looked AT ALL like the twins and we were wondering if we were on crack.
then the most frightening entry came in. jason broke the news to me.
somebody had sent in a very fresh looking photograph of their shoulder, covered in deep spiral-shaped wound about 6 inches wide, cut into their flesh
about a half centimeter deep with a scalpel. wow. i said. that's heavy.
i had forgotten at this point, i should point out, about my scarification joke. so it did not bother me too much

things were getting weird and the art was getting less and less twin-looking. then we went back and checked the mailing and caught my mistake.
and i re-read my suggestions for mediums.
jason showed me the photo of the contestant's freshly-sliced open shoulder.
that night i told jason: "that's it. i'm going to hell".

i sent an email quickly to the list clarifying the deal, but blood was on my hands.

we gave scar-boy the lonely winning ticket.
here are the winning entries & some runners-up (not including the scalpel one, because it might make you faint):

-ursula rose



-beth and nicole




-miss oblivious


-emily (also, fyi, the artist of the "letter e" drawing. she re-entered and won :)

the show was excellent. we met all of the art-makers and saw all of the art first-hand and were really very happy.
we saw scar-boy and his healing scar first-hand (who had a name now: jes) and the twins were good but really nervous (it was their first public appearance EVER, so they were freaked out but honestly they did great, considering, they kept laughing for reasons nobody could understand...there's a good clip being put together of one of the new songs they played, we're going to post to youtube soon, i promise and will inform you when this takes place.)

this story did have a point.
this is the point.
after the show, jason did this thing he's been doing where anyone who wants can stay after the show and write a song with him, including an impromptu filming of song to be posted to youtube.
he's done some really excellent once in all different places lately (i recommend "frozen smiles of indonesia").

so it was REALLY late, about 1 am already, when this process was started

we found out, by the way, that jes's scar was NOT made expressly for the purpose of the contest.
which made me REALLY happy on top of our already excellent night because now i wasn't going to hell.

i ate some soup and was just going to WATCH the song-making promise but i'm a songwriter and a bigmouth so of course that did not happen.

about 15 people stuck around to write the song. we sat in circle and jason played guitar and then tim and (other) jason from estradaspehre joined in on bass and electric guitar.
we tried for a while to come up with a topic for the song, and we started talking about weird shit that had happened to us that week. we wrote the song in about 45 minutes and practiced it a few times.
by then it was 3 am.

and well....i'll let you see the results for yourself.
we did some slap-dash choreography as well. jason put his macbook on a chair and that was our camera.
i should point out that jason and i both missed our true callings as junior-high school drama teachers.
i should also point out that for the dramatic purposes of the song, jason embodies my pain.
i guess i don't need to tell you which one jes is.

ok, ok, enough, here it is ladies and gentleman:
"The Downward Spiral"
(or as i call it in my head: "I Am Going To Hell For Sending a Terrible Email to The Dresden Dolls Mailing List"):



p.s. i am addicted to being silent and don't want to go back.


JiltedAlice said...

Silence CAN become addictive.
I sometimes grow quiet and the headaches subside for awhile.
Just tread carefully "A"... don't fall too far down the rabbit hole.

Awesome vid btw, I wish I could have been there.

Pat said...

all i can say is no matter what you do A it is unbefuckinlievable!!!
re; the silence...I think my friends and sons would kill if they could get me silent for that long...lol
wish i still lived in the boston area...any chance DD wil be in orlando or west palm beach florida?

kuba said...

dear Amanda,

i was wandering if you have any crazy music stories concerning music albums?
you wrote about the neutral milk hotel, and is there any more?

i'm asking coz today morning, i've remembered how i've got my first d-dolls album. it was 2006, and i was still in china, studying chinese. really, really weird experience by the way... my mom sent me a polish music magazine and guess what? there was an article about Yes, Virginia. but fuck the article. the pictures of you guys made me want to own that record [you really ought to release a photo album. when you and brian are together, one can feel perfect harmony beaming from the photo. when i was girlfriend less, they made me jealous of that connection you guys have. ] but i'm still in the godforsaken china with no internet, so there's no way for me to get Yes, Virginia. but guess what? the week after i read the article i found your record on the shelf in a store i very rarely visited at that time. i noticed it only because of the cover, which was shown in the magazine. fuck me and bake mi in a oven, if that was a coincidence. and of course your music helped me cope with that scary place, and made me a better person. ha!

i've had also meetings arranged by fate with cocorosie and system of a down. crazy stuff, i say.

also.... i've watched some really scary documents about how USA turns slowly into a police state, and that Bush wants to turn America into a fascist nation. not even mentioning the 9/11 thing...
is it really that bad up there in the land of free and brave?
i don't like michael moore, but i've seen Sicko of his, and that made me wonder... is the health care system really that fucked up in USA?
those films were full of dark emotions, but on the other hand there are people like you, and all the musicians you write about, and it's like you show me two different USAs. Which one is more true?

and last thing....... i want to study in a movie school and it's friggin' hard to get there. i've had to make a movie for the exams and it would be awesome if you watched it. it lasts only 16 minutes. pretty, pretty please with sugar on top...

btw... the song vid is uber cool. spontaneous art kick ass!

the deviant tart said...

hahaha oooooooooh, man...that was so fun...i'm totally in the back by jason...you can see my head sometimes. we were so glad that we stuck around til 4:30 am to create this monstrosity with you guys! we keep showing it to all of our friends and trying to explain it to them...but you tell the background story far better then i ever can. i'm just directing them to this blog from now on.

don't become too addicted to silence...the world needs your voice! ^_^

S som i signatur said...

Im a bit in love with the downward spiral. It's been stuck in my mind for days.
Oh, the spontaneity. Wish I could join you art junkies in things like this someday!

Seán said...

Even if the scarification *could* have *possibly* made you a terrible person, it still looks really nice. >.> But that's probably because I'm a terrible person? It's like a tattoo, but more...personal.
I've been doing the silent thing a lot recently, because I had bronchitis, and sounded like an old smoking lady. But you win. By a long shot.

andrea said...

Fucking Awesome!

All my love,


Elise said...

I forgive you.
So now your conscience can be clean.
Be at rest my child.

Mark said...

I know you're a fan of Leonard Cohen, so I just thought I'd pass this along. He's announced his first world tour in 15 years.

Here's some more info:


lentower said...
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lentower said...
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Decidedly Bookish said...

Amanda, when are you coming back to England? We're just this sad, lonely little island with no Dolls goodness, and we're perishing, dammit. I saw you at the Astoria back in '06 and I was a very happy girl. Come back and I will bring you proper English tea. Please? xxx

Anonymous said...

Will the silence draw out the bride?

KK said...

loved it. and i'm glad you're not going to hell ;]

but here's something cool that you should check out, i think you'll appreciate it seeing as you're a living statue. You should get a bunch of people together and do this in harvard square this summer. it'd be awesome. i'd so do that.

here's the link:



Dave said...


I'm wondering if you can advise me a bit on keyboards. I'm looking to buy myself my first one - I don't know how to play - yet I intend to stick with it, so I'm not just looking for some $40 beginner's synthesizer off eBay. basically, I want something simple, preferably with the full 88-key range, weighted keys, and a good sound. I'm less concerned with having a million effects and voices and more with just finding a good, solid keyboard to play and record with. I've been looking at the Yamaha S80 and the Kurzweil PC88, which are both reasonably priced on eBay at the moment. my price range is around $600, more or less.
any thoughts on this would be most appreciated.



Yorksdevil said...
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Anonymous said...

the artwork and video are great thanks for posting these. lucky fans! they did very good in the video. i always thought it was weird that i enjoyed being quiet (i have a very loud family but somehow that trait got lost in me) maybe I should look for a career as a mime, that sounds appealing.

rory said...

I love The Downward Spiral, it looked like it would have been amazing fun to be part of and it's such a great idea.
I owe you a HUGE thank you by the way, as last week I picked up In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel on your recommendation.
There are no words.

Anna said...

The first time Jason played at Hampshire College when I was there, we wrote a play. I remember something about Dracula (& summer camp?) but not much else. The YouTube songwriting is an awesome idea...I showed "Frozen Smiles of Indonesia" to my little sister a couple months ago & she replied, "You know a lot of weird people".

You should make a video of yourself communicating through household objects. Like a seance but you're still alive. Example:

Lee: Amanda, why are you wearing nothing but a burnt American flag? Not that I don't appreciate it.

Amanda: (stomps feet, smashes two naked dolls together, slowly bangs a pot with a wooden spoon)

yay art! yay the first picture, i want to be friends with them!

yay jes the scar boy, you & your scar are both very pretty!

David said...

"...i answered his questions using only a shoe and a tambourine ..." I love that too! HAAA! I can SO picture you doing that. And I've never even met you!

I feel like we're all on that "downward spiral" toward the happy ending. Even so. Amen.

Glad you're enjoying the silence.

Anonymous said...

The shoe and Tambourine communication thingie sounds great, hah. My throat's been wrecked for 3 days; croaking and scribbling notes on paper is getting old.

And The Downward Spiral sounds gorgeous. :)

Marika said...

That was effing HILARIOUS!

Andy Pants said...

Is 'the downward spiral' going to be on the next album?

Emma said...

OK, so the Shoe and Tambourine combo is like, the best thing ever. Maybe that should be your new album title... Hee hee hee...

And the Downward Spiral is the coolest thing I've ever seen. Hilarious! For a second I thought you were actually (gasp!) singing in it, though. Naughty creature.

Enjoy the silence while it lasts! (You can always take an extra week and not tell anyone you're allowed to speak again...)

Emma said...

Er, of course you're singing in it. It was last month. Pfft, idiot me.

*jedi mind-wave*

You saw no stupidity!

Bobbing_For_Applesx said...

random question ive been wondering all day:
what are your thoughts on imogen heap?

Roronator said...

God damn emo kids and their scarification.

June Miller said...

That keyboard motherfucking rules.

For reals.

The whole video made me giggle and squeak a couple times. Fun! Fun fun fun!

That kid's really just hardcore, in my opinion. I mean, it's one thing to scar a little cross or some lettering onto yourself, but he went and removed a fucking spiral of his own flesh for his own reasons. Not solely to get a ticket or anything. Man, are you kidding me? I'd pass the fuck out. I was happy to see him boogieing in the video. Happy endings, all around.

But yes. All of the entries for the contest are groovy. I enjoy the "Evelyn Evelyn-ALIVE!' one especially, though. They look like they're engaging in a kicky tango number.


I've always enjoyed a silent stroll. Have fun out there. Silent fun.

Alameda Green said...

Didn't watch the video, I'm so on cloud nine that if I did my head would explode, but since you, Amanda, pointed this out, I figured I'd share:

I just got back from an Ani DiFranco show. Remember how you said there's always that ONE girl who screeches "I LOVE YOU ANI", "ANI!", etc, over and over all show long?

Yeah. Guess who stood next to me/videotaped AGAINST WHAT ANI ASKED OF THE AUDIENCE by steadying herself on some other chick's shoulder/spilled half her beer on me. THAT girl.

Ani, however, negated all this by being so awesome that even as a straight-edger reeking of beer, I couldn't stop smiling.

Thought of you when that girl opened her mouth, though. You were on the money there.

Silence is golden?

Rimmer said...

Gee... is there any chance to own Evelyn Evelyn debut still?

Yannic said...

Have you thought in write a novel in this silence time?

I'm reading "How Proust can change your life" and is fucking amazing.

Have a good silence,


Casandra said...

That was one amazing video! I hope you weren't singing in it, though. When are you allowed to talk again? I've done a few Days of Silence, but I always forget (like you did when your mom fell asleep), and I doubt I could do it for long periods of time.

Jes's scar wasn't very visible in the video. What other reason did he have to carve that into his shoulder, anyway?

Your blogs truly make me happy! But, your music does to, so that's no real surprise.

Much love!

Eli said...

uuhh ? what drugs were u on ?:P

or was it something else ?

funny video but prefer the Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral Spiral project ..gues you know it ?

love from the Netherlands

inklesswriter said...

Amanda you rock, even silently! I do have a question though, kinda awkward, but have you ever cut yourself (the song Bad Habit comes to mind) intentionally, not like scarification, but are you a cutter, or were you ever a cutter? And if you're over it, how did you stop?

sarah said...

the artwork is great, i love the hands one.
song is pretty bomb! i loved the video.

now something completely irrelevant:
Amanda fucking palmer, take me to see the rocky horror picture show on harvard square sometime! :] <3

sarah said...

p.s., i already am going to hell so tell me if you ever need me to save you a seat!

faeriewings said...

All the entries is really cool. I'm usually uninspired but if you have another contest, I'd be happy to enter.
I do the Day of Silence with my school's GSA every year. We are silent for an entire day to simulate the silencing of the GLBT community. It's really interesting and it's kind of like a different world. At first it's hard holding back on words but then it just becomes second nature... almost to the point that when you can talk again you think that you shouldn't be.
By the way, I am going to Boston for a music department trip in two weeks. I am so excited to be in the realm of the Dresden Dolls. It's so inspiring. (: I'll be looking for some jeeps on the bus rides there and back. ;)

andrea said...

I was driving to work this morning, flipping through the stations, when i heard a familiar song. It took a few seconds for it to connect with my tired brain. It was The Smiths. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. I have never heard them on the radio before, so my jaw dropped. So there I was lip-synching to double decker buses and ten ton trucks, as happy as could be. It felt good, and I remember thinking you would appreciate the magicness of this, and so I shared...

All my love,


Maria said...

amanda, your writing is inspiring.
I know a lot of people must say that.
But even though I write poems and am a philosophy student myself, inspiration doesn't come easily. That doesn't mean it's hard to get it, just that there are few things that strike me as exceptional. But when things do strike me, I am amazed. Which makes the art that comes out of me even more special.

The painting of Evelyn&evelyn by dixie is inspiring. It makes me want to paint big, thick brush strokes like Van Gogh's last painting in the cornfields with the blackbirds.

If I became temporarily a mute, I think I would never speak again. I don't speak much. I prefer thoughts inside my head. When written or spoken they can become somehow dirty. Inside my head their meaning is elusive and sacred.
And I need to sing.

The video was fun, I really like it in songs when one voice says a line and many voices echo that line. It just really works for me.


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