I love Amanda Palmer.
She is, most of the time, a maelstrom of artistry: a musician, a songwriter, a performer, a dreamer, now a writer, a media target, and a controversial topic for many. She is a beacon of light and patron saint to self-proclaimed weirdoes, artists, punks, goths, in-betweeners, loners and overall a vast spectrum of people, people of many different genders/identities/ethnicities/ages. She is a strange, hairy, beautiful, loud, open-armed mother-sister-lover-friend of all who seek her, and her fans love her for her genuine words, her infinitely raw and passionate performances, her honesty, her dedication, her connection to each and every one of them.
Not everyone loves Amanda Palmer. I get that. She gets that. It’s cool. But a lot of people – and I mean a lot of people – really love her.
Two days ago, Amanda’s Twitter feed exploded as she announced she was seeking a venue for a ninja gig in Chicago. Amanda is famous for ‘ninja gigs’ – last minute, often free or very cheap performances where she plays music but mostly interacts with her fans in a less formal setting, often in public or in strange locations, sometimes with a picnic, frequently with shared food, booze, and company. People flew off the shelves suggesting places, and when she was narrowing it down, I even helped connect her with the folks for one of the possibilities myself. She decided to stage the gig at the Old Town School of Folk Music (near enough to my house that I walked there) and have an after party at a super-secret loft space in another building. It would be a magical event. I rallied my folks (and by folks I mean a handful of gals from Plan 9 Burlesque, including one of my best friends and fellow AFP aficionado Stella Cheeks) and reserved a (free) ticket and two hours before the doors were set to open I made sure I was standing in line to get the best seats we could. (I was third in line. Spoiler: our seats were perfect.)
We stood outside of Old Town and waited…