“So play your favorite cover song, especially if the words are wrong ‘Cause even if your grades are bad, it doesn’t mean you’re failing”
After a mysterious week or so of trying to guess exactly what this Humanity Festival was all about— between the unexplained promotions, the flyers, and the recruitment — the one constant was the promised presence of Amanda Palmer ’98. And, combined with the excellent organizing efforts of Raechel Rosen ’15, that was more than enough to draw a huge crowd onto Foss Hill this past Saturday afternoon for the “one-day musical celebration in solidarity against bigotry, racism, and social divisions within a community.”
After performances by Don Minott, a group comprised of Jess Best ’14, Mel Hsu ’13, and Sam Friedman ’13, Siren, and Oz Rhys Langston & Izzy, Palmer finally arrived, unaccompanied except for her ukulele. After releasing Theatre is Evilthis past year, Palmer booked herself for a large slew of international shows with her new backing band, The Grand Theft Orchestra. Here, though, was more like a large scale, heavily-planned ninja gig. Like her impromptu performance in 2011 at Eclectic, her appearance at the Humanity Festival was an intimate affair, despite the large crowd. Her stage was just a few carpets on the grass, a monitor, some speakers, and a stool. Her orchestra was that beaten-up ukulele.
Some commentary, some more photographs, and a high-quality recording of the entire performance (!) after the jump.
“If you really love the people who support your work, they’ll go to the ends of the earth for you.”
Speaking of Kickstarter campaigns, remember that time our very own Amanda Palmer ’98put up a plea for a modest $100,000 to finance her new album and tour? Instead, the Dresden Dolls frontwoman ended up raising—wait for it—$1,192,793.Sure, you could say there’s a unique cult of fandom surrounding Palmer. Just recall the reaction to her impromptu “ninja gig” in Eclectic last September. Or consider that two donors fronted $10,000 for the chance to have dinner with the singer while she drew a portrait of her guest. But, Palmer says, crowdfunding is a viable model not just for the beloved and few.In a fascinatingvideo interviewwith TIME, the singer argues, convincingly, that “we’re really looking at crowdfunding as a new, future model for how musicians and artists can connect with their fans and audiences and put out music.”
“I think this can pretty much work for anyone, but you need to keep your goals pretty realistic,” says Palmer, whose goal turned out to be a hell of a lot more realistic than she realized. For her, the story of independence began when she left her record label after 2008’s Who Killed Amanda Palmer?. She describes her thought process as: “My fanbase is pretty big now. These guys [at the record label] aren’t understanding me. . . . I think it’s time to go and do this myself, and I think I know how to do it.” So she did. And she let her freak flag fly. As TIME points out,
A: An Amanda Palmer “ninja gig” ensues when a striking, heavily made-up Amanda Palmer ’98 appears on the Eclectic steps and politely invites a couple hundred riveted students into the Eclectic living room, who sit cross-legged at command and politely await the singer’s direction. The show was announced two hours earlier via Twitter.