Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

MUSIC 'Wave your freak flag high': Talking with Amanda Palmer
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Liz Baudler
2016-12-06

This article shared 569 times since Tue Dec 6, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Amanda Palmer—musician who's late of the Dresden Dolls, Internet inspiration and firebrand and, now, mother—never dreamed of touring in the chaotic aftermath of a Donald Trump victory.

Palmer's Nov. 13 Thalia Hall show was a bittersweet cocktail of anger and sorrow. She paid tribute to the recently deceased Leonard Cohen—whose songs she covered with her father, Jack, earlier in the year—by having her audience deliver trinkets for Cohen to the stage. Her husband, fantasy author Neil Gaiman, read Cohen's "Democracy" aloud, narrated by Palmer's sepulchral piano. With singer Whitney Moses, Palmer covered Regina Spektor's guttural, defiant "Uh-Merica."

Yet moments of Palmer's trademark candor and occasional sweetness surfaced through the rage. In "A Mother's Confession," written about adapting to life with her infant son, Ash, Palmer copped to accidentally shoplifting Chap Stick while at Safeway with the newborn. And her song "Machete," a tribute to her dead best friend, Anthony, had both Palmer and the audience overcome with emotion at its climax.

Palmer is unique for her desire to connect with and marshal her fans to action—many support the musician on the crowdfunding platform Patreon—and her relationship with them was on display throughout the night. "You got this!" someone yelled during "Machete," and Palmer took her head out of her hands and played on.

Windy City Times was fortunate to talk with Palmer before the show ( Ash slumbering in the background ) about her reaction to the election, self-care, and her identity as a female artist.

Windy City Times: How does it make you feel that people look to you for guidance?

Amanda Palmer: Less lonely. I mean, I know that I don't have any big complicated answers. But I know as a performer and a human being who has navigated a lot of miles and years how important it is to not feel alone.

This election was so isolating. Like, you walk down the street and you wonder, "Oh, my God: Are my neighbors not who I thought they were? Is my country not what I thought it was? Am I not actually supported by this big, beautiful thing?" And that's so fucking frightening for so many people to just feel like all of a sudden, you are cosmically alone, or in a far smaller minority than you thought you were.

Even if I can't change a policy or proffer up even a modest solution for climate change or immigration, I know I can get people in a room and remind us all that we're not fucking alone—which, was always kind of my job to begin with, and I'm just so glad this happened while I was on tour instead of Six months ago. Six months ago, I was off. I was in a bedroom with a baby doing diapers and towels. So I'm glad—silver lining—that this happened while I was out on the road and I could clutch everyone's arms. On the third flip side, I now have a baby, and it's terrifying looking at him knowing that he's going to be in an America possibly ruled by a fascist demagogue. That makes me feel like I've failed him.

WCT: How are you taking care of yourself?

AP: Not really very well. I am trying to forge a very wise balance between work life, mother life, life with Neil—all the lives. Being a touring musician is hard to begin with, and I've lived on the road for like 15 years, so that balance is already an impossible tightrope. And then someone throws a baby in your arms. And you're like, holy shit, I'm still on this tightrope, and now everything at stake is a little heavier.

I'm trying to really reckon with my own self-judgment about what I "should" be doing. Because, clearly, there's a higher wisdom about how I can be spending my time and energy. And having a baby just fast-tracks that wisdom, because you do realize there's so many ways to burn out, and if you don't take care of yourself, you're fucked. As a workaholic, I've always had a hard time finding that balance. So in a way, the kid's been a gift, because he has forced me to put my work down and just go take a walk in the woods, because I take that walk in the woods with him. And in this beautiful sort of symbiosis, taking care of him sort of feels like taking care of myself. Because I needed that fucking walk in the wood but would never give it to me.

WCT: Do you think your queer identity gets forgotten, and do you care?

AP: I don't care very much, and I think that might be the key. I have never really deployed my bi-ness, queerness, whatever-you-want-to-call-it-ness, as a upfront flag. There may have been times where I could have deployed it to my advantage and I chose not to.

With the Dresden Dolls, people were very tempted to put us in the goth box, and I actively fought against being stuck in any box. I didn't want to wind up being known as the goth band or the queer chick, or anything. I just so, so passionately wanted to be taken at face value. And you know, sometimes I question the wisdom on that. There's times that I think that it was possibly a little bit fearful. Because I just didn't want to have to explain myself or have difficult conversations with people.

It's fucking hard to be a female musician. People want to categorize you before they want to discuss anything else. Looking back at my whole career, most journalists would get to the music question last, if at all. And that always bothered me, that because I was a woman, and because I was emotionally available, people wanted to talk to me about everything but songwriting and performing, and the piano, and the material. And I don't do the journalists any favors by really being excited about all of those topics. I love talking about sex, and marriage, and the internet,and crowdfunding and money and transparency. I have a very hard time being Morrissey. I can't keep you on my agenda.

But, yeah, I always figured being bisexual was par for the course if you're a fucking maximalist weirdo like me and you want to lick every wall and eat every food and fuck every person. That's always been me. I haven't changed. Open-mindedness transcends silos. If you're an open-minded artist, chances are you're going to be an open-minded sexual creature. If you can be creative about one thing, you can be creative about another.

WCT: Given that we're in this climate, how do you keep holding onto unconditional love?

AP: I think, intellectually, we might believe that it is going to be harder to love, to transcend whatever's happening. But if you do a little bit of mental jiu jitsu, it's actually going to be easier. The same way there are no atheists in foxholes, you cannot be alive and compassionate in America right now and not be wanting to reach your hands out to your neighbors.

I have been wanting to hug people in airports, because it's so important to me that hate and racism and fear not take over. And if not me, and if not you, and if not these people, then who the fuck is going to do it? And so I actually think that it's an inspiring moment. Because, all of a sudden, the stakes just blew up. And if everyone committed to love and compassion doesn't stand up and make their voice heard right now, this country's going to go in a very frightening direction.

WCT: How would you suggest that individual people contribute?

AP: This is not the time to not be politically active. And that means more than just checking boxes and signing things on the internet. I, like a lot of people, took for granted that Clinton was going to get into office and I was cavalierly planning my tour and my year, and time off with the baby in the spring, and I am going to fucking rip up my plans and make a new one. And I am going to make a plan that is going to involve a lot more political activism. Because if I don't, I will never be able to live with myself. This is the moment to just take some time out of your life and do something concrete. Especially if you feel guilty that you didn't do enough to get Clinton into office, which is a common feeling—just get off your ass and do something.

And I think it's also very important that people not be afraid to speak openly on the internet about their political feelings, with the guarantee that you're going to be disagreed with, that you're going to be yelled at, belittled, told to shut up, told that this is not the time and the place, told that the election is over. And this is the time to not shut up. This is the time to make your feelings very heard. One of the most ripe and beautiful eras of art and dissident satire and cabaret was in pre-Nazi Germany, in the Weimar era. And for a good reason. Because when the crush comes from above, the surge comes from below. If you are young and queer, this is the time to get fucking crazy. This is the time to be unabashedly unafraid in the face of people walking through the streets right now thinking that they can yell faggot at you because Donald Trump is in office. This is the time to wave your freak flag very high.


This article shared 569 times since Tue Dec 6, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER 'Wicked' returning to Chicago in 2022 2021-11-30
- The blockbuster musical Wicked will return to Broadway In Chicago's James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., on Sept. 28-Dec. 4, 2022. Now the fifth longest-running show in Broadway history—and featuring songs such as "Popular" ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2021-11-29
- "The obvious one would be A Little Night Music. I know I could do that role very well now that I've gotten to this stage in my life, and you know it's a beautiful song in there. It's perfection."—Sarah Brightman reveals ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Netflix, Kal Penn, Dennis Rodman, 'The Voice,' 'Euphoria' 2021-11-28
Video below - Terra Field—one of the Netflix employees who organized the walkout around Dave Chappelle's comedy special The Closer—has resigned from the streamer, Deadline reported. Field, along with B. Pagels-Minor, organized an ...


Gay News

Broadway titan Stephen Sondheim dies at 91 2021-11-27
- Stephen Sondheim, one of the giants of Broadway songwriting, died Nov. 26 at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, according to media reports. He was 91. Among the works in the legend's oeuvre are Company (1970), Follies ...


Gay News

EVENTS John Grumpy Co. presenting 'Black Sunday' Nov. 28 2021-11-24
- John Grumpy Co. is hosting "Black Sunday," which will take place at HVAC Pub, 3530 N. Clark St., on Sunday, Nov. 28, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.. This event will feature celebrity DJ Jamal Smallz. "Black Sunday" will ...


Gay News

MUSIC Grammy nominations announced; GLAAD comments 2021-11-24
- On Nov. 23, the nominations for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards were announced. John Batiste, the musician who also serves as the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, led among all nominees with 11 ...


Gay News

MUSIC Controversial rapper DaBaby postpones shows 2021-11-24
- DaBaby's return to touring following fallout for making anti-gay comments at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami this past summer has been postponed, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The rapper's been promoting his "Live Show ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ '9-1-1,' Billie Jean King, Lena Waithe, singer Mary Lambert, White Party 2021-11-21
- Actor Rockmond Dunbar left the Fox show 9-1-1 after four seasons over a vaccine mandate, Deadline noted. His gay character, Michael Grant, was abruptly written off in the Nov. 15 episode, leaving fans of the first-responder ...


Gay News

Rainbow Railroad plans 'When I Am Free' benefit concert to get LGBTQI+s to safety 2021-11-20
--From a press release. Videos below - Chicago, IL (November 12, 2021) - The annual Chicago 5 Lives Fundraiser hosted by Rainbow Railroad is proud to return this year with "When I Am Free", a benefit concert offering attendees a premier evening of ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Dante and Beatrice in Florence' Nov. 28-Dec. 5 2021-11-19
- Porchlight Music Theatre is partnering with Hershey Felder Presents: Live from Florence and its second season of productions. The launch of this new season from Hershey Felder is the new musical film Dante and Beatrice in ...


Gay News

Lil Nas X part of 'Jingle Ball' on Dec. 7 2021-11-17
- Queer rapper Lil Nas X will headline KISS FM's Jingle Ball Presented by Capital One this year, run in coordination with iHeart Radio. The event will take place Tuesday, Dec. 7, at Allstate Arena at 7:30 ...


Gay News

Chicago Therapy Collective to honor Trans Day of Resilience 2021-11-16
- On Saturday, Nov. 20, Chicago Therapy Collective will release an original music video cover of Wildfires (Sault, 2020) in honor of Trans Day of Resilience (TDOR) 2021 and the racial justice uprisings of 2020. According to ...


Gay News

'When I Am Free' concert supporting Rainbow Railroad on Dec. 3 2021-11-16
- "When I Am Free: A Benefit Concert for Rainbow Railroad" will take place at Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre, 3656 N. Halsted St., on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. During this event, there will be ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Theater items, Lady Gaga, 'Justice League Queer,' Tom of Finland 2021-11-14
- Eighteen months after he died of COVID, the life of playwright Terrence McNally was celebrated in a packed house Nov. 1 at the Schoenfeld Theatre, Gay City News noted. Tributes poured in from theater artists, while ...


Gay News

Britney Spears' conservatorship ends 2021-11-12
- The conservatorship that has controlled Britney Spears' finances, personal life and medical decisions since 2008, and which for many years was controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, has ended. On Nov. 12, Los Angeles County Superior ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.