Tag Archives: amanda palmer

Music Tattoos

It’s 2017 and to get out of my writer’s block funk and to increase the content on this blog, I decided to branch out beyond just albums and concert reviews and also get more personal. Today I’ll be discussing my music-related tattoos.

The art of tatooing has been around for thousands of years. The more commercialized forms of tattooing we see today is still somewhat stigmatized and considered especially taboo for women. I’m a firm believer in one’s own body autonomy and that anyone can modify themselves however they want regardless of gender. For some young people it can be a sign of rebellion and a way to show that they’ve broken free from their parents at 18. Some people get tattoos solely because they like the image or design at the time. And for others, myself included, each tattoo represents an important piece of themselves and tattoos become a written history on their bodies. While I will never judge someone’s reasons to get a tattoo, tattoos with stories and especially fandom connections are the most significant and interesting for me personally.

I currently have 8 tattoos on my body. Since my very first tattoo in 2010 till today, there hasn’t been a single tattoo that I regret. Each of them signify a significant achievement in my life or something I am proud of, be it a movement, ideology or fandom. Even if I get older and may not necessarily agree or like what I have tatooed on me, it will be a reminder of my journey in life and where I was at the time of that tattoo and how much I have grown as a person. No apologies. No regrets.

I currently have 4 music related tattoos which I will share below.

The first ever musician whose music connected deep to my core was Amanda Palmer. Like most fans, I began by listening to a few albums and then found myself following all her social media on which she is very active. Like any musician, her style changes with each new album, but the woman behind the lyrics inspires me every day with how she connects with the world and her fans. I have seen her perform 3 times and twice I got to meet her in person after her shows. It took me almost 2 years to decide on what sort of tribute to Amanda I want on my body and on my birthday in February 2010 I went in and got her signature eyes on my back. It was also my first EVER tattoo so I was especially nervous about doing her justice. Amanda is also the type of performer who wants to know her fans personally and will sign and hug each and every person after each gig. After the gig in November 2010, Amanda had “personalized” my tattoo and now I have a full Amanda face to be proud of. While I do not like every single one of her songs equally or agree with all her decisions as a person, her art has shaped me to be the person I am today. I’ve also been very lucky to meet some of the most incredibly kind and wonderful people through her fandom and will be eternally grateful for her existence.

 

My most painful tattoos have been my feet and I choose those quite deliberately. The music of Trent Reznor and Maynard James Keenan and their various bands (Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, etc)  have always spoken directly to my dark side which I battle with almost on a daily basis. Their music reaches into the darkest parts of me and soothes those demons. To take a metaphor and make it literal, they “ground me” when it need it most and thus they are represented on my feet. These have also been the most painful tattoos since the skin on the feet is the most sensitive and that had also been a conscious choice.

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Lastly and most recently in my collection of music tattoos, after having seen Aurelio Voltaire in concert 3 times and not only fallen in love with his music, but with him, I decided it was time to permanently show that love. Not only does he write wonderful music which brightens up even the darkest days, but having met him, I’ve see the kind and generous soul who also embraces his own darkness and goth style much like myself. I’ve found a kindred spirit in the music and the person behind the glamorous musician. So just last week shortly after Voltaire’s 50th birthday and close to my own 29th, I decided to add more permanent “goth” to myself that’s not just disposable clothing or makeup. In such way I am embracing myself in a world where often alternative people aren’t always accepted.

Finally, semi-related to music, I also added more “gothness” by adding bats to my head not only because they are cute but also because of Voltaire’s song “Raised by Bats” and further embracing my weirdness and choosing to celebrate it.

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What music related tattoos will I get in the future? I have no idea. I usually dwell on a tattoo for a long time considering design, colours, size and placement. I have many more musicians who mean a lot to me but it’s always tough to choose good representation. Song lyrics are a popular choice among fans but I find that to be unstable as favourite songs change and new albums are always being put out. So who know? I would certainly like something to represent my love for IAMX and Placebo next but I haven’t decided what.

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Documentary: Amanda F***ing Palmer On the Rocks

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As part of the program of the Beat Film Festival, I got the opportunity to see the documentary “Amanda F***ing Palmer On the Rocks” by director Ondi Timoner. As a long time Amanda fan, I rushed to purchase tickets as soon as I saw Amanda’s face in the Beat Film Festival programme brochure. The small theatre was packed full of people so one would assume that even in Moscow, Amanda Palmer fans are not in short supply.

The film starts with an introduction to Amanda’s success with her Kickstarter campaign. By raising over 1.2 million dollars through direct fan donations, the other-wise unknown Amanda appeared on the world radar. Palmer mentions the criticism she received shortly after her Kickstarter campaign became international news for receiving help directly from her fans and not from traditional means such a record label. Amanda gives the Kickstarter of the Veronica Mars movie as an example of fans supporting the content and receiving exactly what they want. “We are allowed to help each other,” asserts Amanda.

Shortly after Amanda’s Kickstarter campaign gained international acclaim, journalists placed a negative spin on Amanda’s call for volunteer musicians to play with her band The Grand Theft Orchestra. What was intended to be part of community building quickly became “Amanda Palmer doesn’t pay her band.” Amanda is shown to express her frustration of the media’s backlash and misinterpretation of her intentions.

The documentary also shows snippets of Amanda’s TED talk which she had given in February 2013. In the talk she expands on how she sees the future of the music industry and how the “art of asking” can work in the 21st century with the Kickstarter campaign as the primary evidence.

In addition to direct interviews given by Amanda, the director,  includes footage from Amanda’s performance at the Boston Pops, post-gig signings, fan meetings as well as her interactions with fans at a few house parties. Amanda proudly asserts that is at the house parties connecting to fans that she feels most successful in being an artist.

The majority of the footage in the documentary was not new and had been circulating on the internet for some time, with the exception of an intimate car interview done by Ondi. While a seasoned Amanda Palmer fan may not find this documentary all that exciting for having seen majority of the footage previously, as a introduction to who Amanda Palmer is and what she does it’s the perfect medium for the conversion of new fans. But, even if you are a long time Amanda Palmer fan or a recent convert you will nonetheless enjoy this clear portrayal of who Amanda is and what is her message to the world. Ondi Timoner had captured the essence of Amanda Fucking Palmer perfectly.

© Ondi Timoner

Follow Amanda on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amandapalmer

Follow Ondi on Twtter: https://twitter.com/onditimoner


Meeting Amanda Palmer in London 20.07.2013

If someone on my deathbed ever asked me what some of my best memories were, the London Amanda Palmer party would have to be among them. To be fair, this is a topic on which I could never be perfectly objective. I have been an Amanda Palmer fan since 2008. Since my college roommate introduced me to her music, I have yet to find another artist who I have connected with, musically, emotionally, and personally. Amanda, like many artists and musicians of a bygone age, are part of the community and remain in constant sharing relationship. In the modern age of instant worldwide communication, Amanda has used the Internet as a platform to connect with her fans and remain an integral part in the personal lives of fans. While she has touched many people with her music, she has also touched, and hugged, and kissed many fans and exchanged the kind of love and understanding that exceeds many expectations of performers in the 21st century.

Having seen Ms. Palmer perform previously on two other occasions, I was very much excited by the prospect of attending her summer tour in Europe. Having planned to visit London for quite a few years, I decided to take an opportunity for my trip to coincide with one of Amanda’s performances. While I may not be the most active online fan of Amanda’s, I have met many fellow Amanda fans through online social networking sites. It was through the amazing online community of Amanda fans that I gave me the opportunity attend a private party in Amanda’s honour which had been purchased as part of her Kickstarter campaign to raise money for her newest CD, Theatre is Evil

I have previously seen Amanda on two other occasions. The first had been on my trip to San Francisco in the summer of 2009 where I had the chance to watch her perform at the Oakland Fire Arts Festival. Also, in 2010, while I had been living in the US, Amanda had announced a reunion tour with her bandmate Brian Viglione to reform as part of The Dresden Dolls. It was November of 2010 that I had the chance to meet Amanda in person after her performance and express my gratitude for her existence. I had never felt more nervous or excited in my life!

When one of my long time Internet friends invited me to attend the private Kickstarter party, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough and jumped at the chance to once more personally interact with one of my idols. My first visit to London will forever remain etched in my memory as one of the most fun travel experiences due to the many museums, discoveries and friends who I met in that time. But the crowning glory of my summer was the opportunity to have a private chat with Amanda Palmer. On July 20th, 2013, my dream had come true!

The party goers slowly trickled in the afternoon. It was hot partly cloudy summer day just perfect for spending the day on the terrace or in the garden. The bunting was up, the food was on the grill and alcohol was slowly lubricating the guests. Everyone became friendlier and small talk continued until Ms. Palmer herself arrived in the late afternoon and the excitement spread like wildfire. She announced her commitment to talk to every person at the party and my heart felt like leaping out of my chest. Hoping to escape to gather my thoughts, I retreated to the kitchen in search of food. This is where Amanda had ambushed me.  She said hello and I fumbled with my words, at a complete loss as to where to begin my long awaited speech. I made a quick summary of our previous meeting back in 2010 and she listened attentively. I do not quite recall what I had also said, but the conversation had ended in a kiss and a hug. Several seconds later when blood had returned to my brain, the realized that I was truly at this party and Amanda Palmer had indeed spoken with me and had given me her stamp of approval. I don’t recall ever crying in happiness but the tears rolled for a good five minutes after.

Amanda went on perform some songs, including crowd favourities such as “Ukelele Anthem” and “Missed Me.” She also sang my favourite song on her newest album, “Melody Dean.” I sang along with all my heart and let the loving atmosphere fill me to the brim. I later went up to Miss Palmer, this time having rehearsed my words, and told her how much she means to me and how her music has been crucial to my growth over the years. She hugged and kissed me once more.  After taking a break, Amanda announced that while sharpying her body was an old trend, she would much rather take markers and have everyone colour and draw on each other. While I chose not to undress, I did partake in the celebration of body diversity by colouring others. Later, Sxip Shirey also joined in the musical celebration and played a few songs with Amanda. The crowning glory of the party was everyone swaying in unison to Jason Webley’s “Drinking Song.” I myself remember swaying like a drunk sailor while brandishing a bottle of red wine.

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As the party was winding down, Amanda offered to sign some last minute things and pose for photo ops. I got a chance to hug and kiss and photo-op with Amanda for the last time. So many exaggerated feelings can be recalled from that night. The feeling of warmth and unity were by far the two most powerful. Watching Amanda fans come together to celebrate music and freedom is truly extraordinary! That was a night to remember for a lifetime!

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