Monday, March 24, 2008

Footage of The Evelyn Twins

I am slowly crawling out of my mute stage, but it's no fun.
will relate more soon but i am holed up working hard on the text and
layout for the new songbook (i finally titled it & i went with the
very stately: The Virginia Companion).


i had to retreat out of my hole for a moment to share this youtube
clip with you.
it is a clip of the conjoined twins Evelyn & Evelyn performing their
very first live set when jason & I were out in Seattle finishing up
their record last month.
they were REALLY REALLY NERVOUS, it was their first public appearance
ever and getting them to do it was a herculean task.
this was a song they had just written called "you only want me 'cause
you want my sister"
at the end of the clip, they take a break for a snack.


Monday, March 17, 2008

days 4-12 as a mute

you fucking people are radical. i love reading your comments so much and i am struck helpless in the face of how much i want to be friends with all of you but here we are, stuck on the internet. the internet. i can't figure it out completely but i'm working on it, because it's obviously Real. i think we're making it what it is, as novel as that seems in this fucked culture. the future really baffles me.
mute life suits me so much i am seriously considering staying here for a while longer.i am going to reflect upon this separately.
i am upstairs and downstairs max and becca and sienna and some other people are celebrating sienna's 20th birthday with a box of wine and a bunch of becca-dj'd ipod music played through terrible speakers.
i may leave my writing of this blog on occasion to visit said party and refill my plastic cup of boxed wine. i am not supposed to be drinking. but my throat feels healed. alcohol is also an astringent and general antibiotic.

i have had a generally basic routine here at home for the past week.
i wake up at around noon.
when i am being good, i stretch or go to yoga. sometimes i sit.
when i am not, i begin immediately emailing. i have written, literally, over 950 emails in the past 6 days.
i am answering shit from august. i am answering fanmail from 2005.

while i do this, i spend the morning cleaning.
i have been on tour for about 5 years. seriously, i do not keep house. my kitchen is covered in CDs. i do not clean when i am home; i arrange and avert disaster and straighten....when i am feeling ambitious.
there is dust and caked shit in corners like out of a fucking bad b-grade horror movie. me and this shit, we hang. we communicate, then i pull the trigger. i am like an excited silent ninja with my windex all-purpose cleaner and my dr. bronners-soaked washcloth.

while i do this, i listen to things on my stereo.
mostly to vinyl. i have a collection of about 400 vinyl records. many of which i've never given much attention because they were purchased during my pack-rat-heavy high-school and college days when i would go to yard sales and buy every pice of vinyl that looked even remotely interesting (e.g."1963: walk in space", "exploring swedish in hi-fi" and "dances of the scottish highlands" - these are just a few of things i've been spinning). i've also been listening to ols musicals and frank sinatra. i haven't wanted to hear anything new.

while i do this, i email.
i get a SHIT-TON of emails. i tried to average it out recently day and i get around 100-200 emails a day, not including spam. many of these are emails i am copied into, but most of them need responses. i have struggled over the years about what to respond to and what to let go. i used to answer every single piece of email that came through the dolls website, and to do that i would stay up until 4 am and get no sleep. at a certain point, about 3 or 4 years ago, i realized it was a losing battle. so we transfered the band web email over to our beloved management and they would go through it and forward me a condensed email with every week's worth of email in one file, which i read when i get the time. the really important shit (gig bookings, lost cousins and friends trying to find me, people offering concrete services or having problems, etc).. that they forward to me immediately.

but i still get hundred of emails from people that i have Shit Happening With, friendships with, people i have met on planes .... and so on. i am a hoe this way.... i am known to give my email to just about every person i sit next to on a plane or a train. seriously. i do. i dig a serious hole. after years, this started to seem patently stupid. wy must i keep wanting to communicate with every person i meet on a plane??? why? because i want to, desperately. but i can't keep up with all of it. i am a total communicationholic and it gets in the way life? i don't know. but i do know that i realized about a year ago that i as reaching out too much and not having the energy or the time to reach back to what i was reaching out to. i was, as they say, spreading my self way too fucking thin. so i tried to cut back. i didnt' really succeed. but i recognize that i have a problem, that i have no control over this problem and am willing to give myself over to a higher power ... and i am wiling to make steps to change. hi.

i go through these phases where i let the emails pile up and pile up and pile up and as they mount i tell myself i am going to get to them at a very specific reckoning date in the future.

now i reckon.i take occasional breaks to watch youtube clips, but mostly, i read and write.
i have been watching the emotional parallels between answering 338 emails leftover from november and cleaning out the gunk from the wooden-carved spice rack above my stove and it's really - honestly- the same thing,
with every passing day i feel about 3 pounds lighter. i zap every old-but-easy-to-reply-to email with the passionate enjoyment of squeezing an over-ripe zit.

i have also been cleaning out the drawers and the tables. my drawers and tables and desk are full of Items

it is impossible to explain, but everyone understands it.
STUFF. THINGS. ITEMS that have no home but but be reckoned or dealt with.

i travel all the time and accumulate dozens of ITEMS per day that must be dealt with.
cds that people give me.
weird clothing items.
things to read.
things to watch.
these THINGS, over the course of many tours and then returnings-home, become an albatross of doom.
i look forward to going through these theory......and am REALLY attached to their THINGNESS, but never seem to clear them away to make counter space.
so i drown in a Sea of Things.

in the past four days, i have ejected 4 giant bags of THINGS to Away - to the trash, to the recycling (god only knows where that shit actually goes - i grow more skeptical by the second), to goodwill.
to max, to lee, to people In The Mail, or other purveyors of Thing who might find my discarded treasures interesting for a while. who knows.

and while i do this, i listen to Frock.
Frock is what brian and i have come to call what used to be called "Friend Rock", later shortened to Frock for brevity.
"friend rock" used to refer to friends (or acquaintances) who would give us their CDs, which would then join the Mountain Of Items In My Apartment.

i have to hand it to myself. for the first 2-3 years of the band, i was religious about listening to every single CD that was given to me.
i even started FILES in my FILING CABINET with ALPHABETIZED DIVIDERS for every band we knew and wanted to play with.
in said file i would put their CD, press kit, and any other promo or photos they had sent.
why? because we would bill shows together with these bands and i would send their materials out to the local press when they were on our bill. pay attention, this is Struggling Band In the Internet Age 101: Step One, be your own publicist.
i just emptied out that entire filing drawer (including tons of old bank statements from 2003 and instruction manuals for windows 98 and letters from the DMV from 1997) and threw that shit AwAY.

back to Frock.
Frock then came to refer to anything given to us, at all. when i tour, i am handed several CDs a show. multiply that by an 8 week tour and i return home with a bag of shit.
a lot fo it i deal with on tour. i can tell form the death-metal artwork and the band titles like "cleopatra's tears" that i am not going to dig the club promoter's girlfriend's sister's band.
in such cases, i do what we call "flinging frock".
you take said CD and with a great amount of relish you say "FLING" and you jettison the Item in whatever direction you wish. the Item usually does not survive the journey to where ver your Fling takes it.
but before i start sounding like an asshole, i keep about 85% of what i get, because most of it usually looks interesting. and i want to hear it.
so it comes home with me and joins The Mountain Of Items In My Apartment.

when listening to Frock at home, i listen to the first 15 seconds of the disc, and if i like it, i listen to the whole first track. if i like that, i listen to the rest of the disc and look for the and online. if i dont, i Fling.
i often unearth frock from three years ago and love it and get online only to find that the band became defunct two years ago. thats always depressing.
if i really, really, really like it i will email the band if they've included a contact or i'll message them through their website.

while i do this, i clean the bathroom and do laundry and throw away clothes.
somehow i manage to accumulate a ton of clothes on tour.....they get given to me. i can't throw them away.
so they join the Mountain.
for some reason, i can let go of something psychologically if it's been rotting in my apartment for 6 months. my brain goes: gave it a shot. but you've never touched it. Fling.

i still have dresses i bought six years ago that i am convinced are awesome in theory but i've NEVER worn them.
but i cant throw them away. this is an awful, and may i submit possibly very american, dilemma. i have a love affair with My Shit.
I did well this week, I am proud.

i have found that the only way i can get rid of my Shit is to give it to other people, thus making me think that my potentially-valuable-Shit might have second life with someone who love this Shit as much as i did.
i was really psyched when brians' little sister maia came on the scene because i started unloading all of my unwanted clothes on her. she was psyched at first.

to this end, i began a fantasy and started a huge box on my kitchen floor into which i started purging & Flinging every weird-ass THING and otherwise unusable and semi--but-not-totally-sentimental tchotchke i own.
in my fantasy, i am going to send every one of these Things Away in the mail, along with a CD of Frock to anyone who sends me an empty self-addressed envelope. i'm still waiting to hear back from my management
about whether they are willing to aid me in the organization of such a task (if i had the envelopes sent here, the mailman would fire me). more on this later.

while i do this, i drink tea.
i collect tea and infusions, and find that brewing cup after cup while working at home is soothing.

while i do this, i look for pens i can throw away. i mange to accumulate ballpoint pens. where do they all come from? hotels? i hate them.

i had five bottles of carmex. i buy carmex in winter in drugstores in the midwest when i have no carmex when my lips are chapped. i consolidated them into two jars.
why do i have so many teaspoons and yet so few forks? when did this happen?
i had three jars of cinnamon.i threw one away.
i had 7 corkscrews. i threw 4 away. 3 were technically sentimental.
i had two staplers. why? i took care of this problem.
there are big questions at work here. why do i need more than one thing of each thing? why didn't i just reject that second stapler when it appeared in my life?
i don't know, but i understand that past person who said : "yes!!! that second stapler may indeed be very necessary!"

life is uncertain.

i am going to write a spiritual sequel to the I Ching called the I Fling.

i threw away my VHS collection. lucky for my green-mind, i found this lovely site: they take technotrash.
i had over 100 VHS tapes leftover from the 80s, mostly 3-to-a-tape movies on EP speed from cinemax and showtime, channels which - by some fateful coincidence - my family got free in the mid-eighties due to a mistake at our cable company.
though it was difficult to part ways with revenge of the nerds, fatal attraction, spies are us, romancing the stone, dangerous liasons, the flamingo kids and trading places, i did it.
plus, i re-bought dangerous liasons on DVD last year.

i read a book about frank sinatra. it was great.

at night, at around 3 or 4 am, i take a bath if i am feeling ambitious. then i go to bed. in fact, i am going to go run a bath right now.
when i go to bed, i bring my mac with me and watch twin peaks. i am almost done with the second season.

i go on occasional walks to obtain food.
i am sometimes accompanied on these walks by loved ones.
i communicate via blackberry. these meals are enjoyable. i enjoy them more than usual

i've spent three afternoons and evenings so far at brian's house, sorting through endless photos to make selections for the new songbook.
brian's house is already very clean. brian has No Mountain, he's not the type.
we spend half the time working and half the time eating foods and making each other laugh.

i do not play the piano. i did vacuum the piano yesterday. the idea of playing it is Not Attractive. i don't feel guilty.

i agreed today to give my very first piano lesson. to a random Boston University student, who emailed the band, in april.
i don't know why i said yes this time. people have been asking me if i'll give lessons for years. i just felt like it.

i cleaned under the bathtub. i havent hit the bedroom yet. the bedroom is where the Letters are. the Letters and the Photos and the Songs.
thats very frightening territory.

i am supposed to be writing the text for the new songbook, i am procrastinating.

i threw away kitchen utensils that i have always had and never used, but that looked cool. like the tongs. and the big antique poundy wooden smasher. how could i throw that away?
it was hard.

i have gotten out a few times. i went down the street the other night with a friend to a night students' music pieces at jordan hall.
very experimental shit, the night was titles "notes on the theater of cruelty" and was based on artaud. i expected it to be awful but it was, for totally avant-improv shit, awesome.
the students made frequent use of the audience space (often you'd be surprised by a student next to you in a chair busting out a sax or muttering found text as part of a piece).
one student played cello upside-down. while i was there i was inspired to jot down the entire running order and events of my touring show in the fall.
it's going to be fucking amazing. i left inspired and excited. thought-based live art will do that to you. bad rock show in bad bars will not. i should go out more to Good Things.

on the Uggs.
jesus, people. hit a nerve, eh?
and the CROCS. such dramatic feelings! it gave an an interesting insight into the demographic here. you australians couldn't help it.

spinewillsnap said...
RE:Ugg boots...ugg.

That actually reminds me...a couple of friends drove me out to a mall so i could raid the hot topic there and buy a david bowie shirt, but as payment i had to go to abercrombie, a&f, american eagle, hollister, etc. with them.

it got to the point where i was so sick of the smell, the lights, the music, that i sat in front of a potted plant and began to meditate.

i love you. sit on.

elise said...
blogging at 1:19 in the morning? You MUST have a lot of time on your hands. Make sure to enjoy it while you can, although I do miss your singing. Hell, maybe your true calling was blogging...

a truer word was never spoken. i sometimes wonder if i will ever be inspired to write music again now that i have found this handy and direct vehicle.

the deviant tart said...
god i hate today's fashions. the best is when they have faux-fur on the top of those boots, and wear their pants tucked into them. it looks like they are trying to pretend they are on some sort of ski trip. Now, am i correct in assuming that the sweatpants of which you speak are the variety with words written on the ass? because i have noticed that the people who are most likely to wear those are the people who least need to draw attention to their ass!

pope, who was raised in manhattan, once told me that baggy pants were the OPPOSITE of cool if you were truly bad-ass in new york growing up, because you CANNOT RUN FAST IN PANTS LIKE THAT IF THE COPS ARE CHASING YOU. take that as you will.

altho, further to madonna/feminism/allthatjazz, someone the othr day proposed to me that they were the "ultimate feminist shoe"; comfy and unconcerned about their appearance. i think this is wrong, but i did stop to consider it. thoughts, o muted singer?

Posted by Ben on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 7:11 AM

ahHA! i think you're onto something here. it seems that BOTH footwear and madonna have stumbled into feminism by default.

just want to reply to the guy above who said ugg boots could be considered the ultimate feminist shoe...what the hell are you talkin about?? they may be comfy but i'll tell you this they give no protection whatsoever, my doc boots would stamp them out good and proper and they on the other hand represent feminism more accurately than those mushy things...doc martins depict the strength that feminism stands for and are not to be messed with...

also i know for a fact that 99% of the girls who wear uggs have never even heard of feminism..
get well soon amanda:)
although it is good when u cant speak,you start to see the world from a different perspective:)

Posted by Lorraine on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 7:31 AM

oh shit lorraine. you are actually correct. they may be comfortable but they probably provide zero arch support, and obviously no protection from actual riot grrls wearing steel-toed boots in the pit. fuck my theory.

I'm the 1% that totally rocks my 3 different pairs of Ugg boots & is a huge feminist.

What can I say... they are perfect in the snow - even though they are ugly!

Posted by milkshake & honey on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 9:02 AM

and the last word is spoken.


my clogs.

these sheepskin boots (evidently some yanky asshole put a world patent on the word Ugg) are best viewed with naked silky smooth pegs of shapely design reaching high to an angulated gap factor, clad in scottish tweed, etc

Posted by glenn on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 3:58 AM

of course, glenn, you would say something like this. fucker. i'm siccing madonna on you.

have you ever watched "the piano" ?

the main character is mute. its a fucking good movie.

random question: do you ever have trouble deciding how you are going to paint your eyebrows on that day in the morning? i imagine it would be like deciding what to wear. i mean, you can express a surprising amount of emotion through the eyebrows. confusion. anger. surprise. cynicism. anxiety. quizzical. its all there man. i know these things because i am one of those people who stands in front of the mirror sometimes and makes different shapes with the eyebrows. its a good procrastination mechanism. i feel that i somehow am accomplishing something because when somebody asks me why i didnt do it, i know i will have a GREAT facial expression, eyebrows and all, to explain why im a lazy ass.

but seriously, watch the piano.

Posted by George. on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 8:17 AM

amazing film, one of my favorites. re: the eyebrows, it's a very short moment of the day. i consider it at least a .0001% moment of the day that must involve some creativity. it's sort of an Art-Drill. one must alwats be armed with a liquid eyeliner, which is against my lo-maintenance state of being. however, life is full of paradox. dig.

hey amanda,
being an avid finger-picker myself, i was wondering if you still had the habit, and if you don't, how did you stop because i really think i should but i just can't do it! i've tried everything but alas, my fingers are still all red and picked apart. every single one of them. it'd be great if you had some advice. see you with the pops. i can't wait(my mom was so impressed haha)!


you know, the finger-picking is like a stress-indicator. i pick most of the time, but really badly (like, to the point of bleeding) when i'm super-stressed - then i know things are Not Good Around Here.
it's like a barometer. when i'm feeling really ambitious, i have found that one thing helps: i get a manicure. with clear nail polish if you're not into the color shit. they scrape every single hangy-thing away. and for about a day, you go to pick and there's nothing there to pick and you are taken aback. it's an eye-opener, at least. do it, the cheap place it town should only cost like fifteen bucks.

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.



i love the live sound of the kurzweil but it's a real subjective choice. it depends whether you want built-in speakers. i would assume yes, yamaha makes some good ones. go to the store and test that shit, thats really the best way.

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

2:54 AM

you know, someone from the netherlands WOULD ask that. trent had more budget and it was 3 am, ok? don't knock it, fella. fuck it

This is absolutely ridiculous.
And you know, it's silly that I'm bitching about this, because, I honestly don't give a fuck about what people wear. They do what they want, I do what I want. It's something I've striven for most of my life, as for most of high school I thought I was the biggest riot grrrl in the world and wore bondage pants from Hot Topic and band t shirts etc. RED AND BLACK allll the time. And I was constantly made fun of. I just wanted to be left alone. But at the same time, I remember one day...I was out of clothes, and one of the only shirts I had left was A&F or American Eagle or something like that. I liked the design, but it had the brand name on the front--something that, to this day, I still argh over. In any case, I covered the shit out of this shirt with duct tape (my own personal Jesus) and wrote Anticrombie and shit like that all over it. Man, I thought I was so badass.

Posted by Persona non grata. on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 1:57 PM

oh man, that opened up a floodgate of memories for me. i remember the whole year of 1989 when i would only buy black items of clothing. ocassionally polkadots and paisley and floral (somewhat random, doens't it seem? nay. i was following my idol, robert smith). i also got in the habit of rocking hospital gowns over long-johns and boxers (yes, with requisite doc martens. blue ones). i thought i was The Shit. i had all of these leftover clothes that were black.... but brand-name. so i went to town, ripping off all logos and brand-names with a vicious fervor, using scissors, bleach and sharpie.

it was the opposite extreme. and it was so sudden. it literally happened overnight, i remember it....i was getting ready for school the night before eigth grade started and i happened upon the combination of black jeans and black shirt and looked in the mirror. and i thought: that's it. this is me for a while. fuck all these people. fuck those other people at school. fuck my family. fuck my sister. fuck the mall. fuck the tv. weird. but probably not that weird. i went from trying to get in with the popular kids to wanting to torch them in 15 minutes. it was as close to a full epiphany as i;ve ever had in my life.

I have a question, totally non-UGG (stands for UGLY) and non-surgery related. A friend of mine and I were wondering if you and/or Brian had any "formal" training in performing? Such as acting classes, piano lessons, voice lessons, and the like. Experience counts as training.

Posted by Kellsj on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 7:05 PM

well, depends how you define formal. i was way into the drama shit in high school, and i had a genius director, who i still work with to this day. but i never acting school. by the same token, i was in a jazz improv band diuring school hours at high school because he has a kick-ass department, and i took some lessons on the side. but i was never very serious about practicing. i spent a lot of time alone, improvising and playing, but not a lot of time practicing. i still have practicing. i've been at home for over two weeks now and haven't wanted to play the piano once, that should tell you something. you said "experience counts as training". i couldnt' agree with you more, if you're passionalte about your experience. if you really want to be in a rock band and you already know what you want to do and play, fuck school. it might only defer your experience.

as for voice lessons, i've been taking lessons from a vocal coach occasionally since i started touring, i felt i had to since i was losing my voice so much. but i havent spent a lot of time on technique.

I work at a mall, and I've noticed that even though we're in the Northeast and even though it is COLD(tm), the big thing to do is wear Ugg(ly) boots with a big huge puffy coat.... and a denim mini skirt. It is as if someone did not tell these girls' vaginas that it is winter. Their upper bodies and feet were informed, but no one told their vaginas. Or their thighs. I can't wrap my head around it. 60% of your body is wrapped up like Nanook of the North, while your waist to knees are on a permanent Hollister-cponsored vacation in South Beach.

I'm so glad I'm in my late 20's and done with the adolescent THIS IS WHAT I MUST LOOK LIKE OR NO ONE WILL LOVE ME! bullshit. Because that is the only overriding logic I can think of to justify all these little girls all thinking that they must dress like this. I want to wrap them all in a blanket.

And PS-- Uggs are ugly no matter what you wear them with. I don't care what anyone says.

Posted by Hell On Heels: Red Hot since '81 on Saturday, March 08, 2008 at 2:41 PM

those poor deaf vaginas.
hallelujah to the end of adolescence. fucking hell.

Oh, and I have a question for the mute.
When organising tours, solo and with Brian, how do you choose the Support Acts? Do they have to come to you, and audition? Like a 'Dresden Doll Suport Act Idol' and get voted off every week?
Just wondering about the process.


Posted by ALICIA. on Saturday, March 08, 2008 at 6:16 PM

oh my god. no, but you just gave me an excellent idea for a reality web tv show. with all of my free time, i shall do this.
honestly, i keep a list. the Frock contributes to this list, and people send me links and tips all the time. sometimes i will see bands. it's always different. i hear about reigna because i was at my old high school helping out with a show and a student was playing her on the stereo in the drama club room. i was like, WHAT IS THAT, I MUST KNOW. i foudn the red paintings because i posted to the forum asking about good aussie support acts, and they wound up following us to the states. faun fables were old friends from when we toured with sleepytime, who brian knew from his old days as a pure fan. devotchka were recommended by a friends we had at management in denver. key ingredient: just be good. people will talk.

Also, after watching the brilliant video, I am fairly sure you need a keytar.

done. i have an omnichord. that's close. i'm also thinking of auctioning off My First Keyboard (a 2 foot casio i got for christmas when i was 9) for Obama. i can't handle looking at it anymore.....and, to be honest, i boight a better-working duplicate of it at a shitty fleamarket in leeds or somewhere godforsaken in the UK when i was there two years ago.

ok i stop.

while Flinging, I was very excited to find this shirt that i bought at dollar-a-pound 3 years ago.
i'd forgotten about it. i never wear it but i figured i might has well immortalize it, because it's awesome.

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.

Friday, March 07, 2008

days 2-3 as a mute

life here at my parents house has become a wonderful blur.
i'm pretending that i don't have any work to do, artwork to make, business to deal with or email to answer and that watching the entire two seasons of twin peaks is actually an important, nay, CRITICAL thing to accomplish.
i'm getting there.

i have been going for silent walks with my loved ones.

today i went for a walk and i cut through lexington center.
i love lexington center. this is where i grew up and shoplifted as a youth!
the skateboarders in back of the bank, etc.
except the skateboarders have been permanently banned from behind the bank. they're supposed to skate in an ACTUAL skate-park that the town BUILT using thousands of town tax dollars.
i don't understand.
don't they get that building a skate-park for frustrated teenage boys - who want to very purposefully skate their angst away in public parking lots - is dead wrong, it's like the worst kind of insult?
it's remind me of bansky's wonderful stencil.

anyway, it was a half-day (thursday, school lets out at noon) and there were millions and millions of tadpole-like middle-school kids all sprouting around, being all high on sugar and cellular technology and generally terrorizing main street with their deafening cries.

i listened to a few of their ramblings and shoutings as i passed by their groups. it was insane, they're all talking incessantly about shopping, money and brand names. and they're, like, 11.

however, i think i remember this being the age when i was at peak insecurity. that was the era of swatches, guess jeans, benneton, forenza and whatever the fuck else and NOTHING ELSE FUCKING MATTERED.
if my OUTFIT DID NOT LOOK GOOD AND I DID NOT HAVE COOL SHOES, I WOULD DIE. i really, truly, clearly remember the feeling. it was a strong sense of purpose, to shop (or shoplift, in my case) for the desired items in question was a kind of be-all-end-all of existence. seriously. those years were hell.

all of the junior high school girls were wearing jeans, bling t-shirts and Ugg boots. they look like this.

i have to talk about this, it;s been bugging me for a few years, since i noticed (at airports is where i mostly pick up on what's trendy, since there are always high-fashion chicks in line at security, and you can stare at them).

what is up with this shit? is it just me, or has fashion recently gotten ACTUALLY UGLY? legit ugly?
i think people felt this way in 70s - those with common sense were like: I aint' putting that shit on my body. go away with your bell-bottoms and shag hairpiece.

i think it's happening again. the big sunglasses, the ugg boots, the flared jeans, the velour matching sweatpants.
it seems like a cruel joke on the part of some fashion-designer-in-the-sky who wanted to see how far he/she/it could take this joke.

can we agree....

...that these are bland bedroom slippers, staple-gunned at the bottom for reinforcement?
i googled. they cost about $150. i don't know. i feel crazy. whats going on???????
it really feels like someone is laughing. i will not waste any more time on this topic.

on that note:

from comments:
How about lip-gloss and overall at the same time? Posted by Psychodelicategirl on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 at 10:41 PM


how about lip-gloss and nothing but these hideous things:?


so a man staggered toward me a few nights ago downtown, looked at me and said, "excuse me, am i going the right way?" I looked in his eyes for a second and quickly answered, "yes, you are." he thanked me and continued to walk...
these kinda things really make you wonder... where are we going?
ps. i absolutely love that you exist. Posted by LYNZ on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 at 10:57 PM

i, in turn, love that you exist. where are we going? to lexington center, of course!, for absolution in the blood of the middle-schoolers.


For live use the Shure Beta 87 is highly recommended to allow better clarity at lower volume.
It's a condenser with a 10 kHz boost and a sloped low cut filter for reduced popping of P's and B's.
A multi band compressor such as the Drawmer S3 may also allow you to preserve your health while still giving the audience everything.

I love you for what you are.
Eric Posted by Magnolia Studios on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 at 11:18 PM

yes, yes. yes. this is the microphone i use, wise man. i recommend. one of these days i need to do a tech/geek blog about all that shit.


i have a sort of serious question,
did your insurance cover the operation.... is there like a group plan for rock stars?.. do rock stars have insurance?
just a thought, Posted by The Debutante Massacre on Thursday, March 06, 2008 at 2:33 AM

thank you for asking. insurance is a fucking joke in this country, as we know. the answer is: no, virginia...rock stars do not have insurance. once my rock band got to be big and huge enough and we felt we could afford it, we turned into a business, employing me and brian the drummer as. we then bought a group plan to the tune of several hundred dollars a month per person. and no, my insurance did not cover the whole operation. i paid for it with a credit card and will have to submit the bill to the insurance company and pray to god i get paid back. the insurance did, however, cover the hospital costs. but not the surgeon. i am glad you asked this, because a friend of mine named jasmine just started a great organization called "rock for health" and they address exactly the "why do no musicians have insurance" issue. go visit, learn, and give them money and energy if you can, and from the look of their site they're going to be at sxsw in austin next week, so if you're there, give them a hug:


i can empathize. i got my tonsils removed last year. it was not a jolly week. but you're doing pretty damn well, i see.
now this is something i thought you of all people could figure out. i have to kick arse at a symposium organized by my university (where nepotism is the thing i struggle with on a daily basis). the theme is "cultures in transit". please suggest a topic! i've picked my brain for 48h and still haven't find the right one. just scribble anything that pops up in your head. something that can throw those bastards out of their chairs.
Much love,
Soso Posted bySoso on Thursday, March 06, 2008 at 10:03 AM

"The Impact of Environmentalism and Post-modernism on Pre-teen Footwear"


david said...

SSSSHHHHHH! Day #3. Have you spoken yet?

funny you should ask. i fucked up the other night. brian was over to watch the family movie and i totally forgot i was supposed to not speak. the movie ended and i poked my mother in the foot to see if she was still with the living. she didn't move. i turned to brian and said "she's out like a light". but it sounded more like "sheheheh uout likekekliggh". i realized i'd fucked up before the end of the sentence and we all agreed to pretend it hadn't happened, all exepct my mother, of course, who continued to be out like a light.


i'm really tired.


these boots would make an excellent album cover


one last word on madonna?

andy pants said...

Is someone being 'in complete control of their own life' really something to idolize?
I like to think I have some control over my own life. But that I also give some control to the significant people within it. The people that I feel matter.
Isn't to be completely independent ultimately to be completely alone? Isn't that alienating?....

oh god, this is the lonely at the top discussion i have been wanting to avoid for years. but really. i think you've hit another nail on the head with madonna and the feminism issue here. BEING IN COMPLETE CONTROL does not mean that you are a powerful woman, or person. it reads like a sign of weakness, of non-humanness. when madonna defended herself however-many-years-ago re: the "express yourself" video by saying "but I CHOSE to TIE MYSELF UP! NOT SOMEBODY ELSE! I'M THE ONE IN CONTROL HERE!" it just sounds so fucking terrible. this is not what i want to look up to. i am spending a lot of time harshing on madonna here, but the points being brought up are valid. i love her, love tons of her music and have been shaped by her to god knows what extent. huge. but i don't think of her as a powerful role model, not in the THATS-the-way-to-do it way i crave. she seems to be trying too hard to truly BE in control: a lady-doth-protesteth too much situation. in fact, thats the thing that makes me crack when i see it, that makes me not buy it. when i see a woman with a hard, fuck-you-i'm-in-control-here exterior, it's just as much of a turn-off as when i see it in a man. i don't want to see ANYBODY like that. it's a cartoon and i don't believe in it, because i TRULY BELIEVE THAT NOBODY AROUND HERE REALLY KNOWS WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!! if you're acting as if you do, you're LYING. that includes you, madge.

thats all i have to say from tonight's mute pedestal





Wednesday, March 05, 2008

day #1 as a mute

so, the voice surgery was brilliant.

i'm already bored of being a mute.

but i like it, kinda.

brian the sweetheart picked me up at my house at 5:25 am and i got to the hospital by 6 am.

i spent an interesting time in the pre-operative room, curtained off and listening to all the hospital sounds.

man, hospitals are fucking surreal. every time i'm in one i imagine what it's like to work there day in and out.

no sun, on your feet all day and with sick and crazed and dying folks around you. crazed.

by 8 am i was seeing my surgeon in the OR getting shot up with general anesthesia and the surgery lasted over 2 hours, way longer than expected since he found all sorts of juicy new scar tissue to shave away. waking up was the worst part...i was back in the room of madness and a million pre- and post-op humans and the nurses running everywhere and i hadn't been given any pain medication. it felt like someone had roto-rootered my throat, i had to keep a steam mask over my face, and it hurt like hell just to breathe. then things got better, my mum came to pick me up, and they gave me a cup of liquid percocet. that was yummy.

i was out by noon. i left via wheelchair and came back to my folks house for convalescence.

i had some sort of bizarre vision in my head that i wouldn't be able to work or email for a few days but it's actually all i want to do right now since i have no other means of communication. and i'm treating this like a mini-vacation, so the internet actually becomes a fun tool (finally watching the cowbell video! i'd never seen it! wikapedia-ing jodie foster! all the things i am always too guilty to do because it will NOT HELP! i do also have a back-up pile of about 700+ emails. for real)

i have eaten two pints of dolce de leche ice cream.i have zoned out to several episodes of twin peaks (true brilliance).

my sister came over and the whole clan gathered at the family television for a screening of silence of the lambs. i think it's my 6th time.

damn, man. i think it might be the best film ever made. this time i watched the entire documentary as well. simply amazing. i would kill to work with people like that. so fucking smart.

and jodie foster. i mean, before we start getting started on madonna again. i'd just like to say the name jodie foster about 36 times. she is the other side. if you haven't seen her in hotel new hampshire, see it. then read it.

damn private life she's got. she and pj harvey should move in together.

i didn't know that my favorite image (hannibal's bloody artwork: the cop's corpse stretched across the cage and all lit up with stage lighting) was inspired by the paintings of francis bacon.

this being an internet holiday, i got to go on a little google image journey and find out more about him, i'd only heard the name. quite incredible

i loved this photo-of-art, something ominous about it. featuring a francis bacon triptych.

and i was reminded that i keep meaning to turn my favorite painting by max beckman ("the actors") into a stage design somehow...

i might need a bunch of very patient volunteers. or do it all cut-out sgt. peppers style:

my mind is starting to slowly turn to All Things Artwork...i can tell. i'm looking at everything greedily and visually.

things start to happen. This Painting Would Make a Great Album Cover. This Color Would Make a Great Album Cover.

My Cat Would Make a Great Album Cover. Your Mom Would Make a Great Album Cover. etc.

the mind wanders.

i am wandering around waving my hands when needed, getting more and more constant reminders that 94% of what we say is useless anyway,and finding that typing on large sticky notes on my laptop is 400% faster than handwriting.

i heard that blackberries for communication are big in the deaf/mute community.

if you were living under a rock, by the way, brian plays drums on some tracks of the new NIN record.

go to the NIN site to download:

i'm so proud of him i can't tell you. he is a force of nature.

from comments:

lots of folks posted about a pull-out yoga section for the book. that could be so creative and yet is totally anathema to the coffee-table vibe i was going for.maybe i need yet another book project. thanks. fuck. better: live yoga classes from my mac in different club parking lots and theater broom closets across the world.

....also, i think you should jsut start an advice column. you are so good at answering all those little questions that sound trivial but really are more important than you would think. "which headphones to trust", "what type of yoga is for you?", "the best kinds of chai", "there is a bitchin´ cafe near you!"
well at least you know if your nodule surgery goes nuts, you have an occupation to fall back on. not that im putting bad zen on the surgery. *good vibes good vibes, zen zen* thats better.

so my question: have you ever been to munich, and if so, do you know any great cafes?
i just arrived in munich, im staying for a year, and to know where the best cafes are would be a valuable piece of information indeed.

Posted by George. on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 at 12:45 PM

you know, i always fantasized about having an advice column in teen people. or jane. or a place where totally deluded young 12 year old suburban girls might actually benefit. then i realized these people would never hire me to write in their magazines. so i gave up my dream. but this is fine, isn't it. you should come to a solo show. i often pull out my "ask amanda" routine (i leave a box at the merch table) and it's usually ridiculously fun. people do ask the stupidest questions though. i would need someone around to edit all of the "where do u get the ideas 4 your songs" out.

re: munich: don't know any hott places but i lived an hour from there in regensburg. go there for a weekend or i'll kill you. get a drink at the banane and go to the goldene ente beer garden (i worked there) when it's nice out.


bobbing_for_applesx said...
I ordered the companion book (what? two years ago?) and I remeber my mom finding it and ripping out all of the pictures(which was the primary reason WHY I bought it in the first place...)

She thought it was straight-up porn. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. I think it's funny, though, she left the very last picture. the one that mimics yoko ono and john lennon.

was it a statement about what nude art really is? or did she just forget to tear it out?

4:39 PM

can i tell you how happy i am to hear that?


malte said...
Good luck for surgery. I'd say your voice is still perfect for the things you do, so I demand at least a perfect queen of the night aria after the wounds healed ;)

Following this thought... What about a Mozart-/Haydn-/I-dont-know-all their-names- cover. Piano and drums should do a good job for some of those classical pieces, dont they?

5:13 PM

i have actually been thinking about that pretty hard. i am a classical hack, but i might be able to come up with something.
it would be great to play classical shiznit while even more interesting and parallel shiznit happens on or off stage.murder?

to pick up the madonna thread

proph said...You ranted beautifully on Madonna putting her vulva out there. I think the critical part of this process is not to allow our clothing, our faces, our packaging to define us. It's like a canvas we can paint a mood on, but what is inside should remain untouched by what we put on the exterior. Too much insecurity and self loathing come from body issues and beauty issues. We will be lucky to grow old and unattractive. Your sexuality is something so deeply internal, so connected to you inside and out, emotions, tactile sensations, mental bullshit. Sex and sexiness open up such a door to the inner person. To me it's as much an energy as an invasive "thing" I can get so hung up on. No matter which, the perceptions of others, they should not apply to us sexually. no part of this body or soul belongs to another, to know, or label, categorize or throw away. They may form their perceptions, but I'll not have them foisted on me. What should I be today? A slut? A frigid bitch, a tease? Maybe just be what I feel and make sure those labels peel off easily and don't take too much skin off with them.

1:12 PM

you took word out of mouth, friend from earth. so agreed.


I hate Britney and Madonna. Yuck. They're just attention whores. Don't even talk about them. I don't think there's any mystery--they just know what'll make people talk about them, and that's explains the unexplainable. (Posted by The Little Natasha In Outer-space on Sunday, March 02, 2008 at 10:59 AM

i disagree. i think the phenomenon is a great mystery indeed. it keeps unraveling and unravelling into endless halls of mirrors about culture and humanity.....................
Haven't thought about the Madonna book in years. .... I was working at a record store (that still sold records) at the time it came out. One of my friends came in a purchased the book and opened it right away. We browsed through... other than the visceral response of "getting to see a famous person intimately" we were both unimpressed. (I *was* disturbed that some boy-holes had been airbrushed out. eep! And by her questionable taste in Ice. Ice-T would've been hawt.).... My friend, he just looked at me and said "Sister, this wouldn't even qualify as risque on a *Wednesday night Green Bay*! (Posted by Sepiachord on Sunday, March 02, 2008 at 11:00 AM)

this seems to be the general consensus as i was mentioning it, and as i left it on my table at the weekend house festivities. there are pictures, brian and i had a mini0brecht party for a german TV crew. will post.


yorksdevil said...
I can't be alone in finding Bjork sexier than Madonna, surely.

11:50 AM

you are so not alone.

i feel like such an amateur feminist. some women at smith and stanford and wellesly spend their lives dissecting this shit.

or you could just ignore it, make choices, and live...period. ha.

someone sent in the camille paglia shit i was looking for. her book, sexual personae, btw, is awesome. read it for the insight. just to know.
(Posted by Musings on Saturday, March 01, 2008 at 9:11 PM)

"Madonna is the true feminist. She exposes the puritanism and suffocating ideology of American feminism, which is stuck in an adolescent whining mode.Madonna has taught young women to be fully female and sexual while still exercising total control over their lives. She shows girls how to be attractive, sensual, energetic, ambitious, aggressive and funny -- all at the same time.

Contemporary American feminism, which began by rejecting Freud because of his alleged sexism, has shut itself off from his ideas of ambiguity, contradiction, conflict, ambivalence. Its simplistic psychology is illustrated by the new cliche of the date-rape furor:" 'No' always means 'no'. " Will we ever graduate from the Girl Scouts? "No" has always been, and always will be, part of the dangerous, alluring courtship ritual of sex and seduction, observable even in the animal kingdom.

Madonna has a far profounder vision of sex than do the feminists. She sees both the animality and the artifice. Changing her costume style and hair color virtually every month, Madonna embodies the eternal values of beauty and pleasure. Feminism says, "No more masks."Madonna says we are nothing but masks.

Through her enormous impact on young women around the world, Madonna is the future of feminism."

ok. i agree with the date-rape overkill. lets not go backwards. let's not forget that sex is fun, a game, a power struggle of lust. but...

hang on there. if madonna is the true future of feminism, i think we might be fucked. i don't think madonna SET out to have us calling this shit. madonna wanted to be a star, the world was ready, it all worked.

camille. c'mon. this is where all my itchiness about madge comes in. ALL I SEE IS THE MASK. i don't see the woman underneath. THATS what makes me care with other artists, to want to care, to feel like the mask has real humor, real gravity. who's putting on the mask in the morning? when do i get to see HER????

so, camille:

Feminism says, "No more masks." Madonna says we are nothing but masks. Amanda says You Choose, Ladies: mask today, naked tomorrow, lip-gloss today, overalls tomorrow. fuck 'em if they can't handle you either way.



Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Virginia Monologues: madonna, sex and seattle.


on the plane from boston to LA.
i just read a long spread about britney spears ("an american tragedy") in rolling stone magazine. dammit, man. i feel terrible for her, poor baby. never got a shot to be human.
however, all the bullshit surrounding this chick is so indicative of EVERYTHING THATS WRONG AROUND HERE.

however again, fuck me. i bought the magazine. i always do, i allow myself at least 2 magazines of my choice per plane trip. i gave up my "teen people" phase two years ago. it got boring.

i looked out the window and wondered.

when i find myself sucked into reading this sort of trash/trainwreck stuff i always think i'm doing it as cultural research. following the movements of the masses, reading with my heavy media filter and bullshit detector, always trying to find the story behind the story behind the story behind the story our our cultural downward spiral.

but come on. i could just as well be sitting at the airport gate reading proust or hegel. i could!!!!!!!! i don't.
what makes me really wonder is how we all seem to approach the celebrity hype ironically, yet we're still there, flipping through the magazines, chatting about the trainwrecks....the most intelligent young people i know. i travel the country tirelessly and we have two things in common everywhere: the local weather and britney spears. village mentality, something to talk about, something to have an opinion about, something to chat mindlessly about with no danger. who is going to blame you for having an opinion about the snow or brit-brit? seriously? harmless. mindless, indicative. here we is.


What kind of yoga do you recommend? Should I use classes or DVDs, or what? I was actually planning on trying it before all of this happened, but I didn't know where to start.
You are the best. Thanks again.

i recommend any kind of yoga that touches on the idea of being present and mindful in the moment. some yoga is treated like aerobics. i would stay away from that kind.
i practice baptiste yoga, also called power vinyasa (i know, it sounds pretty embarrassing). there's a link of affiliate studios here.
bikram is good for people who want an ass-kicking jumpstart. it's not quite as mindfulness-oriented as baptiste but it's decent. there's a list of international studios here.
try going to a few studios until you find a good one. sometimes there's only a couple studios in your area and you have to hunt to find cool teachers. don't give up. they ARE out there.
if you can't find a class in your area, i've heard that there are some great feeds online. just hunt. but it's not the same as being in a class full o people, obviously. try to find someone who might know something about and see if they are willing to teach you. chances are if they're into yoga, they'll be psyched to transmit.
when i travel, i just plug "yoga near xxx" into google maps and look for places that have lots of classes and aren't cheesed out.



i just got back from seattle.
it was a great, hard-in-the-best-way trip, jason and i worked tirelessly with the conjoined twins Evelyn Evelyn on their debut record....all of the songs are recorded but not mixed.
the record is 100% awesome. what raw talent. it will most likely feature 11 songs and possibly one bonus track.

we worked days and into the nights (and mostly slept at) estradasphere's studio and also held one show there featuring the twins....they were really nervous but they pulled through.
some night we stayed at jason's houseboat, which is approximately 11x11 feet, and i'm not joking. there was room for a bed and a desk and a bookshelf. miraculously, there was cell service and wireless internet.

i spent most mornings at the ballard yoga studio and then jason and i would meet up at mr. spots chai house. we would sit there, plugging away at our email for a few hours and then one of us would say: "well, i guess we should go work on the record." jason made a comment about how we were obvious representatives of the glamorous rock star lifestyle. toiling away at and sucked into our macs. DIY has it's price, and i'm not even DIY. i have a fucking manager, a label, a lawyer, a business manager and publicist and the whole nine yards. the point? work is endless and i communicate and project beyond my means. This Is Not New. it's Life.

we made it away from our macs and our recording project long enough to go see st.vincent play at neumo's one night, she ROCKED as usual....we sang with her on "marry me" and i still recommend if you haven't checked out her last disc, marry me, do yo'self a favor and grab it,. if you're going to coachella, go see her there. she's just amazing live and her record is sublime.

....she's also in boston TONIGHT (3/1) at the middle east, if you get this in time. i'll probably be there, not sure, depends how my day goeses.

in the recommending department:
baby dee. baby dee. baby dee. she signs and plays the piano and the accordion and the harp and is devastating.
baby dee was first introduced to me a few years ago by sxip, who featured her at one of his variety show sin new york. she is hard to explain, but impossible to miss and totally in her own world.
instead of doing a lot of explaining, i urge you to just go to her myspace or site and listen to just about anything up there.
hymns for the broken. where antony and johnsons meets kurt weill meets bach.
she's on tour with a full band for the next long while....please, please go. it will be an experience you will not forget, so bring a loved one with an open heart and mind and prepare to weep a few times and also laugh your ass off. yes, it's that good. she's playing europe too....dates are up on her page. if you see her, and you probably will since the clubs are small and she hangs out, send her hugs & love and greetings from amanda.


i ordered the infamous 1992 madonna "sex" book while i was on the road. i enjoy ordering books from amazon when i'm on the road and then seeing them waiting patiently for me in yellowy packages on my kitchen table when i come home. i actually ebay-ed it. the best part was when paypal got all effed up and i had to email my business manager's assistant, to help me out with my payment for the madonna sex book, since all of my credit card and check billing goes through their new york office. i was like: IT'S RESEARCH, NOT PORN. truly spoken. (btw: it was $51.00. AMANDA PALMER, YOU HAVE WON,,,,,!).
it's not actually porn. unless you're into...god, who can say's not a turn-on. my business mind can't get off topic. madonna is so madonna.

why research?
i'm trying to mentally put together two books right now: one companion for "yes., virginia" and "no, virginia" and one for my solo record.
when i first got the idea for "the dresden dolls companion", which is the sheet-muisc-lyrics-photo book that came out about a year after our first record, the content seemed obvious. band history, stories of the songs, all of our awesome back-logged photos and artwork that had no home. with these books, i wanted to get away from an obvious formula.

don't start thinking that these books will feature pretentious photos of me and brian fucking each other, fucking goats, fucking lesbians, or fucking ANYTHING for that matter.

i don't know a hell of a lot about madonna. i was certainly as obsessed as the next 12-15-yr old with "like a virgin", "true blue" and "like a prayer". she was not to be defined, i had no opinions other than: she is MADONNA.
she simply exists, is a Rock Star, and that's it. we loved her. we dressed up like her. it was the way things were done, fingerless gloves & crucifxes and all, no argument. it was 1985. them was the rules.

i remember being in high school, actually, probably college when i think about it, far out of my madonna phase and well into coil, nick cave, death in june, current 93, the legendary pink dots and swans. madonna was by then way in the guilty pleasure category along with the thompson twins, the cocktail soundtrack and wham!. i was at a random friend's house and i saw the madonna sex book on his coffee table. i remember thumbing through it and thinking, eh. i remember loving her naked hitchhiking picture,

which is AWESOME, and lots of soft-to-medium-core art-porn...but thinking...good idea, madonna.
but what seriously gives? who is this for? what's the deal? shocking? personal? media whore? demons out? just cause?
c'mon, madge, gimme some truth.

tonight, i opened the book up and flipped through, having not seen it since then (which indeed must have been around 1993 or 1994).

i am Torn, the way i am always Torn about madonna. and not natalie imbgrulia Torn. the other kind.

on the one hand, my inner critic sees the whole thing as so stylized, so manufactured and so calculated that even the raciest photos seem transparent.
madonna kissing two women. madonna getting ass-fingered. madonna whacking off suggestively with a dog. madonna tied up and getting eating out, madonna smoking another cigarette. madonna getting humped by vanilla ice....etc. tons of confessional-down-dirty scribblings, not quite turning me on. would they if i were turn-onable by this stuff? real? fantasy? for you to decide. in my cynicism: it seems like she sat down in a boardroom with the photographer and gave them a checklist of taboos. the insertion of faux-fantasy letters between her (or, as the book would have it, her alter-ego "dita") and a fictional lover just seem....i dunno. bland? i attempt to imagine the impact it must have had at the time. i try to imagine, as i'm sure everyone must have imagined at the time, how madonna's dad reacted to his daughter putting out a book of totally r+ rated naughty fetish ( penises, lots of boobs and LOTS of baginas.).

on the other hand, somewhere in me is like: YAY! go madonna!!! YAR!!! show your bagina and get all fetishy and leathery and kinky and let us all make what we want out of it for Whatever Reason. why not?
i mean, you must have been paving the way for SOMETHING, loads of shit, who knows, for gad's sake. or if not, at least you pissed off a bunch of critics and sold books and records and probably put soft-to-medium core porn into homes that might not have otherwise had it in the (if perhaps thinly veiled) name of Art. what would camille paglia say?

the sex question is hard. beyond just the obvious: sex and porn are good/healthy/shouldn't be demonized, there's that other question of how you deal with yourself (ok, how I deal with Myself) as a woman in The Market. like it or not, you are out there and your tits must be dealt with. you can play it up like madonna, play it down like fucking, i don't know, ani difranco, or play it sideways like bjork, but they're under there, being assessed in all their glorious absence or flagrant blingy-blang.

this begs the question that rustles around my head and probably the heads of many women, the post-feminist question that haunts us all in the post-sexual-revolution age: women still wield all this sexual power but what do they do with it? to use what, where, to what ends? when to feel guilty and when to feel proud? can you do it without relying on it? can you glam up one night in heels and false eyelashes and go out the next night to the same restaurant with hairy legs, shorts and combat boots and feel the same amount of self-confidence? should you need to? is that where empowerment really lies? does it lie in being able to expose yourself like madge? not need to expose yourself like madge? wtf? camille, help.

i think the thing that consistently disappoints me about madonna is that i want to find out the truth behind the madonna and i never do. i remember watching "truth or dare" about 5 years ago and being totally fascinated by her willingness to live on camera but totally dismayed at the lack of actual truth or dare, lack of humanity. then again, this is coming from me. madonna, to be fair, offers more than what 95% of god-fearing citizens can handle. but on what level? what does this say about me?

here, i pour another glass of elderflower cordial and start to reflect.

why did i order this fucking book anyway? who am i to judge madonna? madonna job is to get us discussing this, right? she's not a pop icon, she's a cultural fulcrum. i said fulcrum!
fuck. i'll never know how much she/it/The Thing shaped me, and how much she shaped girl/rock/culture in general.
i have to leave that one up to camille. it's an endless chicken-egg battle. madonna as pseudo-sociological processing plant.
madonna as post-modern cuisinart.

one difference for sure: the thing that's interesting about these books that i'm about to compile (especially in the case of the virginia companion) is that i'm peddling wares to a pre-existing audience,
i don't plan to cross-over onto the NY times best-seller list or get any press attention or prove to the fetish/alternative/gay/fill-in-the-blank community that i'm down in the trenches with them. it's all me and blank canvas and not much to prove. i am preaching to the choir, writing for an audience that already has (we hope) some connection with me, my band, the songs. so why am i even doing it? here we go.

the only thing i can learn from this situation is what i already know: the closer the note is to it's neighboring string without being perfectly in pitch, the more discordant it sounds. why is anyone doing any of this shit?
i have been reading a bunch of rock biographies in the past few years hoping to either find out my answer, their answer or any answer and the only thing i can come up with is that i'd like to answer my own personal challenge of displaying some kind of truth that's profound but not shock-valuizing, meaningful without being pretentious, self-inspecting without being egotistical, and relatable without being stock and cornball. this is hard.

i don't think about these questions when i go to make a record, not as much.
i have some sort of instinctive song-making auto-pilot that doesn't question WHY. i don't feel that way about blank paper when it comes to book-making.

all this being rambled, any comments on upcoming content are heavily welcome.

i know this much: i have plenty to say about where the songs came from (though those stories are usually short and probably not necessarily exciting), there will be plenty of fan art and unused submissions from the yes, virginia booklet, and there will be lots of bizarre band pictures, studio and non.

we are saving all the naked band pictures (which number in the hundreds by now) for the dresden dolls sex book which will be issued at some point long after this blog has been forgotten so that i do not feel post-modernly self-conscious.

what else can i put in two dimensions? surgery is tuesday, i have plenty of time to sort through the boxes of crap in my bedroom to come up with something interesting.
perhaps i will watercolor. madonna doesn't watercolor. shit, wait, does she? what about that children's book? fuck fuck fuck.


on that note, here's a clip of me singing a madonna cover song last saturday night in seattle. it's barely recognizable from the original, it's called "i know it" and off her first record.
i arranged it, along with estradasphere, as a big band number just had to be done.

the sound is shite and it cuts off at the end, but it's still kind of awesome. please admire the glue-gun jean-jacket i bought at the goodwill across the street the day before.


hey amanda,
i would like to know, do you have a middle name?
(i may or may not want to call my kid after you, in the hopes that they will be excellent at life)

Posted by HANNAH on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 7:33 PM

i do indeed. it's MacKinnon, my scottish family name.

my alternate middle name is Fucking, which will upset my mother so don't tell her.



p.s. our good friend and genius-director-filmer-putter-togetherer of girl a, coin-operated boy, paradise, and sing, Michael Pope is up for "Best Visual Artist" in the Boston Phoenix "Best 08" poll. Please vote here. Also, feel free to write him in for "Best Filmmaker" here. just to be clear- you need to click the "skip to finish" button and fill in an email address and name for your vote to count. long live the pope!!!!!!!!!!!