Amanda MacKinnon Gaiman Palmer (//; born April 30, 1976), sometimes known as Amanda Fucking Palmer, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, author, and performance artist who was the lead vocalist, pianist, and lyricist of the duo The Dresden Dolls. She performs as a solo artist, and was also one-half of the duo Evelyn Evelyn, and the lead singer and songwriter of Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra.
Palmer in 2016
|Birth name||Amanda MacKinnon Palmer|
|Also known as|
|Born||April 30, 1976|
New York City, U.S.
|Origin||Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
Life and careerEdit
Palmer was born Amanda MacKinnon Palmer in New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital, and grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. Her parents divorced when she was one year old, and as a child she rarely saw her father.
She attended Lexington High School, where she was involved in the drama department, and attended Wesleyan University where she was a member of the Eclectic Society. She staged performances based on work by the Legendary Pink Dots, an early influence, and was involved in the Legendary Pink Dots electronic mailing list, Cloud Zero. She then formed the Shadowbox Collective, devoted to street theatre and putting on theatrical shows (such as the 2002 play, Hotel Blanc, which she directed). Another early influence is Judy Blume, an author of children's books.
With an interest in the performing arts, both in music and in theatre, Palmer spent time busking as a living statue called "The Eight Foot Bride" in Harvard Square, Cambridge; Edinburgh, Scotland; Australia (where she met Jason Webley); as well as many other locations. She refers to this line of work on The Dresden Dolls' self-titled CD, with the song "The Perfect Fit":
I can paint my face
And stand very, very still
It's not very practical
But it still pays the bills
as well as on the A is for Accident track "Glass Slipper":
I give out flowers
To curious strangers
who throw dollars at my feet.
The Dresden DollsEdit
At a Halloween party in 2000, Palmer met drummer Brian Viglione and afterwards they formed The Dresden Dolls. In an effort to expand the performance experience and interactivity, Palmer began inviting Lexington High School students to perform drama pieces at the Dresden Dolls' live shows. This evolved to The Dirty Business Brigade, a troupe of seasoned and new artists, performing at many gigs.
In 2002, after developing a cult following, the band recorded their eponymous debut album, The Dresden Dolls, with producer Martin Bisi (of Indie, Brooklyn, New York fame). They produced the album before signing with the label Roadrunner Records.
In 2006, The Dresden Dolls Companion was published, with words, music & artwork by Amanda Palmer. In it she has written a history of the album The Dresden Dolls and of the duo, as well as a partial autobiography. The book also contains the lyrics, sheet music, and notes on each song in the album, all written by Palmer, as well as a DVD with a 20-minute interview of Amanda about making the book.
In June 2007, as part of the Dresden Dolls, she toured with the True Colors Tour 2007, including her debut in New York City's Radio City Music Hall, and her first review in The New York Times.
July 2008 the Dresden Dolls released a second book, the Virginia Companion, a follow-up to The Dresden Dolls Companion, featuring the music and lyrics from the Yes, Virginia...(2006) and No, Virginia... (2008) albums, produced by Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie.
The Onion Cellar and CabaretEdit
Palmer conceived the musical/production The Onion Cellar, based on a short story from The Tin Drum by Günter Grass. From December 9, 2006 through January 13, 2007, The Dresden Dolls performed the piece in conjunction with the American Repertory Theater at the Zero Arrow Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While Palmer was openly frustrated with the direction of the show, fan and critical reviews were very positive.
Dresden Dolls reunionsEdit
The Dresden Dolls reunited for a tour in the United States in 2010, starting on Halloween in New York City and ending in San Francisco on New Year's Eve. They performed two shows in 2011, in Australia and Mexico, and seven shows, in Australia and New Zealand, in 2012. They performed shows in Kingston, New York, Boston, and Brooklyn in August 2016. In 2017, they performed a Halloween show in Washington, DC and 3 shows in November at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. They have recently announced (May 2018) two reunion shows for Halloween 2018 in the UK
In September 2007, Palmer collaborated with Jason Webley to release Evelyn Evelyn's debut EP Elephant Elephant via Jason's Eleven Records. Their full-length album, Evelyn Evelyn was released March 30, 2010, followed by a worldwide tour.
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In July 2007, Palmer played three sold-out shows (in Boston, Hoboken, and NYC) in a new "with band" format. Her backing band was Boston alternative rock group Aberdeen City, who also opened along with Dixie Dirt. In August 2007, Palmer traveled to perform in the Spiegeltent and other venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, and also performed on BBC Two's The Edinburgh Show. She collaborated with Australian theater company, The Danger Ensemble; both again appeared at the Spiegeltent in Melbourne and at other venues around Australia in December 2007.
Her first solo studio album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, was released on September 16, 2008. Ben Folds produced and also played on the album. The title is a play on an expression used by fans during Twin Peaks original run, "Who killed Laura Palmer?" A companion book of photos of Palmer looking as if she were murdered was released in July 2009. Titled Who Killed Amanda Palmer a Collection of Photographic Evidence, it featured photography by Kyle Cassidy and stories by Neil Gaiman, as well as lyrics from the album.
"Strength Through Music," a track from Who Killed Amanda Palmer, indirectly references August Strindberg. The song contains an audio clip of a web cartoon called Strindberg and Helium; the cartoon almost exclusively quotes Strindberg's work.
In late 2008, she toured Europe with Jason Webley, Zoë Keating and The Danger Ensemble, performing songs mostly from her debut solo album. She did most of the shows with a broken foot she had sustained in Belfast, Northern Ireland when a car ran over her foot as she stepped out into a street. In April 2009, she played at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
In 2009, Palmer went back to her alma mater, Lexington High School in Massachusetts, to collaborate with her old director and mentor Steven Bogart on a workshop piece for the department's spring production. The play, With The Needle That Sings In Her Heart was inspired by Neutral Milk Hotel's album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and The Diary of Anne Frank.
Palmer began using the ukulele during a concert as a goof, but soon it became a regular part of her repertoire. Later, she recorded a full album with ukulele accompaniment: Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukulele.
On April 20, 2012, Palmer announced on her blog that she launched a new album pre-order on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter project was ultimately supported by 24,883 backers for a grand total of $1,192,793 — at the time, the most funds ever raised for a musical project on Kickstarter. A widely reported and commented upon controversy emerged from the related tour when she asked for local musicians to volunteer to play with her for exposure, fun, beer, and hugs instead of money. She responded in the press and changed her policy to one of paying local musicians who volunteered to play with her on this tour.
On November 9, 2012, Palmer launched the first music video from Theatre is Evil for "Do it With a Rockstar" on The Flaming Lips' website. The video was co-created and directed by Wayne Coyne, lead singer of The Flaming Lips. Subsequent videos were released for "The Killing Type" and "The Bed Song".
In November 2014, Palmer released her memoir, The Art of Asking (ISBN 1455581089), which expands on a Ted talk she gave in February 2013. The book made the NY Times bestsellers list. The book also received several critical reviews, most notably from NPR. 
On March 3, 2015 Amanda began soliciting financial support on the crowdfunding platform Patreon. Palmer spoke at the 2015 Hay Festival about the prospect of reconciling art and motherhood. The talk was recorded for the BBC Radio 4 series Four Thought and broadcast on June 21, 2015. Also in 2015, she served as a judge for The 14th Annual Independent Music Awards.
Duo with Jack PalmerEdit
Duo with Edward Ka-SpelEdit
Amanda Palmer collaborated with Legendary Pink Dots frontman Edward Ka-Spel to record an album, "I Can Spin a Rainbow". The duo toured in May and June 2017 in support of the album, backed by Legendary Pink Dots' former violin player Patrick Q. Wright.
Palmer used to reside in Boston, Massachusetts, with other artists in a cooperative named the Cloud Club.
She has identified as bisexual, telling afterellen.com in 2007: "I'm bisexual, but it's not the sort of thing I spent a lot of time thinking about," Palmer said. "I've slept with girls; I've slept with guys, so I guess that's what they call it! I'm not anti trying to use language to simplify our lives." Palmer has spoken out on feminist issues and about her open relationships, stating in one interview that "I've never been comfortable in a monogamous relationship in my life. I feel like I was built for open relationships just because of the way I function," Palmer explained. "It's not a reactive decision like, 'Hey I'm on the road, you're on the road, let's just find other people.' It was a fundamental building block of our relationship. We both like things this way."
Neil Gaiman and Palmer confirmed their engagement in 2010 and Palmer hosted a flash mob wedding (not legally binding) for Gaiman's birthday in New Orleans later the same year. The couple legally married in a private ceremony in 2011. The wedding took place in the parlor of writers Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon. Palmer gave birth to the couple's son, Anthony "Ash", on September 16, 2015.
Palmer practices meditation and wrote an article titled "Melody vs. Meditation" for the Buddhist publication Shambhala Sun, that described the struggle between songwriting and being able to clear the mind to meditate.
Awards and honorsEdit
- 2012: Artist & Manager Awards - Pioneer Award
- 2012: Twitter Feed @amandapalmer in the Boston Phoenix's Best 2012
- 2011: Actress in a local production: Cabaret – Boston's Best, Improper Bostonian
- 2010: Artist of the Year – Boston Music Awards
- 2010: Cover of "Fake Plastic Trees" (Radiohead) named 13th of Paste magazine's 20 Best Cover Songs of 2010
- 2009: No. 100 on After Ellen's Hot 100 of 2009.
- 2008: No. 6 on the Best Solo artist list in The Guardian's Readers' Poll of 2008.
- 2007: No. 6 on Spinner.com's "Women Who Rock Right Now".
- 2006: The Boston Globe named her the most stylish woman in Boston.
- 2006: Listed in Blender magazine's hottest women of rock.
- 2005: Best Female Vocalist in the WFNX/Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll.
Solo studio albumsEdit
- Who Killed Amanda Palmer (2008)
- Theatre Is Evil (2012) (with The Grand Theft Orchestra)
- There Will Be No Intermission (2019)
Collaborative studio albumsEdit
- You Got Me Singing (2016) (with Jack Palmer)
- I Can Spin a Rainbow (2017) (with Edward Ka-Spel)
- Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukulele (2010)
- Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under (2011)
- An Evening With Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer (with Neil Gaiman) (2013)
- Piano Is Evil (2016)
|2014||Temple of Art||co-producer|
|2014||Lennon or McCartney||Short documentary film; interview clip|
|2019||Happy!||Leader of the Blue Feather (1 episode)|
- Palmer, Amanda (2006). The Dresden Dolls Companion. New York: Eight Foot Music. ISBN 978-1-57560-888-4.
- Palmer, Amanda; Viglione, Brian (2008). The Dresden Dolls: The Virginia Companion. Cherry Lane Music Company. ISBN 1-60378-079-3.
- Palmer, Amanda; Gaiman, Neil; Cassidy, Kyle; Hommel, Beth (2009). Who Killed Amanda Palmer: A Collection of Photographic Evidence. New York: Eight Foot Books. ISBN 0-615-23439-9.
- Palmer, Amanda (2009). Amanda Palmer: Who Killed Amanda Palmer?. Cherry Lane Music Company. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-60378-123-7.
A songbook with the chords and lyrics to the album Who Killed Amanda Palmer
- Von Buhler, Cynthia; Palmer, Amanda; Webley, Jason (2011). Evelyn Evelyn (illustrated ed.). Diamond Comic Distributors. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-59582-578-0.
- Palmer, Amanda (November 11, 2014). The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. New York: Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 1455581089.
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- Fawn Heun; The Battered Suitcase (June 1, 2009). Machel Spence (ed.). "An Interview with Amanda Palmer". The Battered Suitcase Summer 2009. Vagabondage Press LLC. 2 (1): 46. ISBN 978-1-4524-6181-6. ISSN 1942-0846. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
Amanda (Fucking) Palmer is one of ...
- Born as Amanda MacKinnon Palmer, with "Gaiman" added on the occasion of her marriage to Neil Gaiman."Wedding: Palmer — Gaiman", Lexington Minuteman, January 14, 2011
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- Boston Phoenix review of Hotel Blanc Archived 2007-10-13 at the Wayback Machine
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Last night in Symphony Hall, Amanda Palmer brought some spark and much-needed edge to the Boston Pops's EdgeFest. On her own terms, Palmer, in strong gravelly voice, gave a richly satisfying performance that had this crowd roaring far more than most in Symphony Hall. But even she couldn't overcome the deeper tensions that make the EdgeFest a strained format.
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The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer chats with SPIN.com about her forthcoming solo effort.
- Palmer, Amanda (April 1, 2007). "here to dispel". Speculation: Solo Album Title. The Dresden Dolls. Retrieved December 8, 2007.
.. i am recording the solo album....in nashville, at ben folds' studio, with ben, who is producing the record and playing on it.
- Palmer, Amanda; Gaiman, Neil; Cassidy, Kyle; Hommel, Beth (2009). Who Killed Amanda Palmer: A Collection of Photographic Evidence. New York, NY: Eight Foot Books. ISBN 0-615-23439-9.
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'I watch people proselytize this record all over the world, and it's like this secret brotherhood of awesome music that's never had any kind of big mainstream publicity,' Palmer says. 'It's just this sacred record that people connect through.'
- Ben Sisario (November 17, 2011). "Eddie Vedder, Amanda Palmer and Magnetic Fields Join Ukulele Craze". The New York Times (New York ed.). The New York Times Company. p. 9. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
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Around the corner, at the bandshell in Damrosch Park, you can catch Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra,...
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On the final weekend of Lincoln Center’s "Out Of Doors" Summer concert series, Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra brought their "punk cabaret" for a free show in a public park ...
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I figured out that I was bisexual when I was a teenager.
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Who: Amanda Palmer Birthplace: Lexington, Mass. Sound: Cabaret punk Palmer – one-half of Boston's Brechtian punk cabaret duo the Dresden Dolls – ain't no damsel in distress. The former street artist chokeholds her demons, teetering between sinister screeches and whimsical whispers of alcohol, self-mutilation and sexual exploration, while discordantly pummeling the piano – stocking-clad legs akimbo – in a sultry, sinful self-deprecation exorcism.
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Dresden Dolls lead singer Amanda Palmer, quite literally, has a rockstar wardrobe.
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Amanda Palmer – The pianist and singer of Brechtian Boston duo Dresden Dolls mashes up punk rock and cabaret, sings about transsexuals and explores the elaborate deceptions that alcoholics commit daily.
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In the 2005 WFNX /Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll, Palmer won Best Female Vocalist.
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In the 2005 WFNX/Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll The Dresden Dolls won Best Local Act and Best Local Album. Amanda Palmer also won Best Female Vocalist.
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