“I did it the way I wanted to,” says rock/punk, theatrical/musical master and misfit Amanda Palmer, gearing up for a short, but explosive, run at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
This time, Amanda isn’t talking about her crowdfunded solo career. This time, she’s speaking about the miscarriage she had on Christmas Day, alone in a hotel room.
“It was like my final exam in knowing and understanding myself better than a bunch of men could. I definitely felt sorrow and grief, but I felt more parts liberation and empowerment.”
She’s experienced a 24-hour, natural labour; she could get through this, too, on her own. This dichotomy of darkness and uplift is what we can expect from her Edinburgh show An Evening with Amanda F*cking Palmer. “But it won’t be morose!” she insists, sharing that much of it will be truly humorous.
This new show, the last of her solo live gigs before recording a new album in late 2018, will chronicle her last seven years, this “nonstop, emotional crucible of an era,” as Palmer puts it. The years 2011 to now have seen her marriage to renowned author Neil Gaiman, the loss of her best friend Anthony Martignetti to a four-year battle with cancer, two abortions, the birth of her son, and a miscarriage.
The thread of songs to be showcased in this Fringe run is a collection of the most personal things the singer has written since her last solo album, Theatre is Evil, or since ever, really.
Historically known for her lyrically cryptic music, Palmer admits that her writing style has shifted, now much more literal and direct.
“The poet that I identified myself as has left the room, at least for this record...The thing that is frightening about that...is that I don’t feel like I’m controlling my evolution.”
A sense of urgency has befallen the artist, given the “wave of bravery carrying all women right now,” she describes, and the rapidly regressing political and cultural climate in America. “There’s nothing to interpret...There is no metaphor after Trump,” Amanda insists. Although the #metoo movement has awoken an outpouring of collective truth, there is little more than dangerous silence when it comes to the topics of abortion or miscarriage.
After having an abortion at a previous Edinburgh Fringe, the artist confided in her creative community here and found that many, many others had the same experiences. “No one’s fucking talking about it,” she laments, saying that she is now “emboldened” to normalise this with her music in this show, to galvanise women (and men) to share their own truths.
“Truth is infectious...That is really our only hope right now--women telling each other the truth,” she urges, relaying that there is this “incredibly powerful” thing happening on stages everywhere where her stories and songs ignite innumerable ripples of oh-my-god-I’m-not-alone revelations in her listeners.
No-holds-barred singer/songwriter/thingmaker known for her solo act as an unpredictable powerhouse of emotion, but also known as half of the punk/cabaret duo the Dresden Dolls, has previously made a career out of performing as a living statue called “The 8ft Bride.”
Amanda is excited for her three-year old son, Ash, to learn about generosity through engaging with Edinburgh’s street performers, and she can’t wait to pass on incredible Fringe experiences to him this year (especially the puppetry).
Self-proclaimed “patron-fueled,” Amanda remarks that she has an incredible amount of freedom since embracing the ethos behind her New York Times best-selling book, The Art of Asking, which explores how the artist breaks from a mainstream commercial relationship with her fans in favour of a human one, much more vulnerable, interdependent and fiercely community-driven. “They love you, not your product,” the singer affirms.
In regards to Amanda, a fan once asked her husband, Neil, “How do you sleep at night? It must be like catching lightning in a jar.” No one knows that art is power better than Amanda Palmer, an artist that doesn’t play it safe, and, as a result, makes a bit of magic for the people that love and support her for her realness.
August 9-10, 17-18 at the acoustically-pleasing Queen’s Hall will be the last of her live solo shows until her world tour in 2019. Promising to be immensely personal, cathartic and politically electric, An Evening with Amanda F*cking Palmer is a chance for audiences to see this artist, armed with her piano and ukulele, in her natural habitat--at the Fringe, the beautiful madness she calls her “musical and theatrical homebase.”
An Evening with Amanda F*cking Palmer is at 7pm, 9-10 August and 17-18 August
Photo credit: Dani Griffin, aftermidnightphotography.com