Tag Archives: Amanda Palmer

Creating the Theme for Twin Peaks

Oh, this is just beautiful.  Are you a Twin Peaks fan?  It’s weird how certain topics come up in conversation over and over again.  I’d watched Twin Peaks a bit when it first aired, but I was a bit young (my parents really weren’t all that thrilled about their 13 year old watching it).  I hadn’t really thought about it too much since.  A couple of weeks ago, Netflix recommended it for me, so I put it in my list of stuff to watch.  Last week, I had a conversation with a co-worker about them doing something new for the 25th Anniversary.  Today, Amanda Palmer included this in her blog post.

//www.youtube.com/embed/

Just gorgeous!  I love learning more about the creative process for other people in other medias.  In some ways everyone’s process is so different, but there’s something recognizable that I feel an affinity for in it all too.

Plus, three mentions of a show that aired in 1990-1991 in as many weeks?  Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something…or maybe it is just the 25th Anniversary coming up. What do you think?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy…An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer did a thing a while back.  A joint kickstarter to do an album of mini-tour they did together.  There was music, stories, questions & answers, and amazingness.  How do I know about the amazingness?  Was I there? No, I didn’t get to go to any of the shows on their mini-tour.  However, I did pre-order the album…and a t-shirt…and a…there were packages, and they are awesome!  I can’t wait to get the physical package in the mail.

An Evening With Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer

I received my download of the album a while ago, and I love it!  I am not surprised.  I plugged in this album as often as possible on my last two business trips.  I may have even danced around a hotel room…or two.  I just couldn’t help it.  Let me tell you, on a plane, listening to Neil Gaiman read a story is pretty freaking awesome.  Actually, listening to him read a story in person, at my desk while working, on my couch…it doesn’t matter where, the awesomeness never decreases.  There were some odd looks on the plane, as I couldn’t help but giggle during parts of the story.  Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar is just fantastic.

There are so many songs that I just adore.  The Ukulele Anthem has been stuck in my head for days.  The Ukulele Anthem is a big step up from the last song(s) I couldn’t keep from playing on repeat in my mind!  (“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea”….and “I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay” are a couple that persisted for far too long!)  This song is all about being yourself, being creative, and the overall joy of music…especially when played on a ukulele.

I got inspired.  I bought a ukulele…no, I haven’t had time to learn to play it yet, but give me a minute.  Actually, in The Ukulele Anthem, Amanda sings that it only takes about an hour to teach someone how to play the ukulele.  So give me about an hour with the thing, and hopefully, I will stun (in a good way!) my family with a Christmas carol at our family celebration.  Friends have already requested a video of me playing the instrument…video, really?  Who wants to watch a video of me playing a ukulele?  I did discover that my Grandma Joye used to play the ukulele.  I guess it runs in the family. Seriously, this video thing keeps coming up in conversation.  What do you think?

Now, I’m not going to try to list my favorite stuff off these albums, because we’d be here all week.  The list would include the entire discography.  Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not the type to have one favorite…no, that’s too easy!  I have favorites for dancing, for signing, for laughing, for crying, for thinking….see how it goes?  Never ask me to pick a favorite, because I choose them all!  An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer packs so many of the things I love into one set.  Music, not just music, but piano music that I can sing to containing lyrics that speak to me and sung by an artist I admire.  On top of that, the music is paired with stories by an author that I can’t seem to stop reading. (Not that I’ve actually tried!)  The only thing better would be if I’d actually been able to be in the audience during one of these shows!

You can actually buy An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer too.  Her website has it in a couple of different formats, and there may be others as well.

They did a series of mini-documentaries about this mini-tour.  This is one of them.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 


Ladies and Gentlemen….Amanda Palmer

English: Amanda Palmer Live 2008

English: Amanda Palmer Live 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amanda Palmer has quickly become a person I greatly admire, and one day, I really hope I’ll get to attend one of her shows maybe even get a hug.  The awesome part is, with the kind of person she is, all of that is a possibility, and how cool is that?  Who is Amanda Palmer?  She is a musician, and a seriously kickass one at that.  You should really check out her latest album Theatre is Evil.    It will make you weep and smile and dance.  The more I listen to her music, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, watch her Ted Talk the more I want to hear about her opinions and the way she thinks.

Now some of the people who know me may laugh, because they’ve heard me wax poetic about a few celebrities that I would love to sit down and have a drink with lately.  (Most of them, it is solely for their personalities, and not because they are amazingly attractive men…mostly for their personalities and not only because they are amazingly attractive men…their personalities are great too?  No really, it is because I think they would just be fun interesting people, the pretty part doesn’t hurt though.)  The whole idea that I could sit down and have a drink, a cup of coffee, or a conversation with these people, all started with Amanda.

She has this connection with her fans that I hadn’t seen before in individuals who enjoy (or are burdened) with that level of fame.  Now, given, I was introduced to her just about the same time that her Kickstarter  campaign was coming to a close (The info is still there.  I love the video!), and I am still kicking myself for not contributing to that while I had the chance.  (However, thanks to her, I know what crowdfunding is, and I’ve gotten the chance to back several other projects.) You may have heard of it.  She raised nearly $1.2 Million to fund her album.  You know,Theatre is Evil , the one I was talking about.  The campaign got a lot of attention, and not all of it was positive.  However, what the naysayers failed to realize is that this idea of asking her supporters for…well, for support is not something new for her.  Go to her site, and check it out.  Want music?  Pay what you can…yeah, that’s right.  If you can afford to pay the regular price of an album, do it.  If you can’t, pay whatever you can.  If you can’t afford anything, just enjoy the music.

Amanda Palmer's Ninja Beach Gathering

Amanda Palmer’s Ninja Beach Gathering (Photo credit: Burns!)

They couch surf when they travel.  If you’ve got some free space and are willing, there is a decent chance that you’ll have a band sleeping at your place.  She does “ninja gigs” all over the world, small, free, last minute shows, spread by word of mouth and social media.  They could be anywhere, in a park, on a street corner, empty theater at SXSW…wherever.  Sometimes her husband comes along too.  Wait, did I forget to mention him?  She’s married to Neil Gaiman.  (Yeah, now you figure out how I found her, huh?)  Her connection to her fans isn’t some ephemeral thing.  This is an enduring connection that she has to the people who love and support her, and it never fails to amaze and touch me.  Through her blog, the comments she receives, her tweets…all of it.

5563952_zps605a5261Amanda and Neil are also releasing An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer that looks absolutely amazing.  You can pre-order that too (and I have) here.  I cannot wait!  There’s Amanda singing, Neil reading, Neil & Amanda singing and then there’s stuff! (See picture: Left)  Oh my, I’m giddy with anticipation.  Anyway, back to the point(ish) things.

After the Kickstarter Amanda was asked to give a TED Talk.  You might have heard of TED, yeah?  No?  Definitely something you should check out.  She gave her talk on “The Art of Asking”.  As of September 3, 2013 it had 1,534,822 views on YouTube…and counting.

Asking is hard…I mean really hard.  Right?  Reading the comments, this isn’t just me.   I know I am a headstrong, stubborn independent woman who would rather fail abjectly than ask for help sometimes.  (It is all a pride thing, I know.  I’m working on it.)  It really isn’t easy, but the video helps.  Every single time I watch it, it helps more.  Don’t ask how many times I’ve gone back to this video, because I honestly can’t answer that question.  It isn’t just about asking though, for me, it is about communicating too.  People don’t suck as much as we all believe sometimes…most of the time.  They can be wonderfully generous people if you give them a chance, but you have to let them.  You have to open up and let them in, and holy cow is that a terrifying prospect.

At first, I asked myself, how does she do it?  How does Amanda Palmer open herself up to all these thousands and thousands of people, because that’s where the support came from, you know.  All these people she’s touched over the years in one way or another, when she needed them they showed up…in droves, with everything they could give…because she asked…because she gave.  I’m still wondering how she does it, because it is freaking scary!

She’s writing a book now, and I think that is fantastic.  I cannot wait to see what she gives us!  Pre-order?  Sure.  No question.  Not just so I can support, but because I want to know what she’s going to say!  She’s asking for those of us who read her blog for help/input/feedback/support…whatever.  The questions she’s asking on her blog “what’s the difference between asking and begging”  and “what do you wish you’d asked for”  are good questions.  They’re hard questions.  She’s reading the comments and using them in the book.  Amanda Palmer asked…as hard as the questions are, I’m commenting with answers…what can I say, she asked.

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica


Crowdfunding is Cool

Cover

Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I talked about a crowdfunded short film that I kicked in some money to support.  This was not the only project that I’ve contributed to, but it is the first one to be completed that I’ve been able to anticipate the release.  (Read: I didn’t forget about it after I gave them money.)  They sent out a few updates, but didn’t overwhelm my inbox.  There a lot of additional upcoming projects that are doing a great job of sending out updates as well.  This is just the first one that I’ll get to actually see.

Maybe it is a little strange coming from someone who has never had a campaign of their own, but I think crowdfunding is awesome.  Seriously, I love it.  I’ll troll Kickstarter and Indiegogo when I have a chance just to see what kind of cool stuff is out there, and there is always something cool out there.  It gives me the chance to tell someone that I believe in their idea too.

The light went on for me with Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter campaign.  I discovered it just before it closed, and started doing some research.  I really wanted to support someone who obviously had such passion about what they’re doing, but I was a bit skeptical at the same time.  How did this whole crowdfunding thing work? There were questions, and I needed answers.  Unfortunately, my wheels turned too slow for me to get in on the awesomeness, and it is something I really regret (they do say that you regret the things you don’t do.  They’re right.)  Since then, I’ve contributed to lots of projects.  If I’m honest, I can’t remember how many.  Sometimes, I’ll kick in something for a project and forget about it.  Then I get an email or a reward in the mail and I’m reminded about how amazing I think the project is all over again.  Probably not the smartest thing (Okay, I know it is definitely not the smartest thing, but nobody’s perfect.)

There are some amazing artists out there doing really incredible things, and I can help get them there.  Following your dreams is scary…especially when it requires an investment to even get your dream off the ground.  I like to think of it as funding someone’s dream.  The fact is, I’m not made of money, and I can’t contribute much.  I’ve never backed anybody for more than $100.  However, I figure if you have a bunch of people like me who can kick in like $25 each…it will get you a long way.

“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”

– Inception

Yesterday, one of my projects announced that you can pre-order the short film on iTunes.  It will be officially available on  on November 5, and it looks so awesome that there was no way I could keep it to myself.  I can’t remember for the life of me what my reward is supposed to be…again (this would be the second fourth time I’ve had to look it up.)  The short film is titled Little Favour and stars Benedict Cumberbatch & Nick Moran and was funded through Indiegogo  Yeah, I was fairly certain that it wouldn’t suck when I read the synopsis, but then I heard about the cast and was prepared to throw my money at them.

Here are some of the other projects that I’ve contributed to…there may be a couple of more, but I can’t remember if I got to them in time or not.  I guess I’ll find out when my reward arrives.

Adam Suzuki and The Method – Born Out of Mischief Album

Stephen Elliott – Happy Baby Movie based on the book of the same name by Stephen Elliott

Devil’s Panties/Jennie Breeden – Devil Girl & Angel Girl Plush Dolls based on the Devil’s Panties web comic

Jill Thompson – Scary Godmother Doll based on the Scary Godmother Comic Book series

Save the Coney Island Mermaid from Extinction – Parade

The album by Adam Suzuki and The Method.  This was a project that didn’t send out any updates, so, of course, I forgot about it.  Once they got the funds they got to work and made a kickass album.  Then I got an autographed copy of the CD in the mail.  Truly awesome music, I played it for at least two weeks straight.

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2007

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next was the Mermaid Parade, my name was on a banner in a parade on Coney Island…that’s a long way from home and I’ve never even been anywhere near there. (except possibly an airport) However, they got hit hard by Sandy and I couldn’t stand to see such a cool tradition end because of the capriciousness of Mother Nature.  I’m from Oklahoma, and we know a bit about about storm devastation.  We also know all about community and pulling together to put things right again.  There were PDF’s of freak flags for me to fly and something that’s coming in the mail too, but I can’t remember what I picked.  It will be a surprise upon arrival. (Some days, opening the mailbox is like Christmas!) This came just after I finished writing this post.  Are you ready?  Temporary tattoos and buttons from parades from previous years!  Awesome!

Happy Baby is in post production now, and Stephen Elliott is great about sending updates.  It doesn’t hurt that I also subscribe to the Rumpus daily emails, and Letters in the Mail and…I’m just going to stop there.  I really love the community that The Rumpus has built, and as a passionate reader, exploring new authors is always a bit of a thrill.  A copy of the script is mine!

The dolls are new, but I look forward to my daily dose of the Devil’s Panties every morning.  Jennie Breeden’s comic never disappoints, and I spent many hours laughing my way through the archives to catch up after I’d gotten hooked.  To the point that I would have to make myself a deal.  I would get to read one for every project I finished, that way I would actually get stuff accomplished.  Why wouldn’t I jump on the chance to be part of bringing Devil Girl and Angel Girl into 3D?

Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother doll campaign was something I discovered through a tweet by Neil Gaiman.  She’d worked on Sandman with him, and while I haven’t read about the Godmother who helps kids not be so afraid of things, I think that is an awesome idea.  I love the artwork, and I can’t wait until my own set of postcards arrives.  I only wish I had enough money to contribute more because this doll is adorable!

Every time  I start browsing through the projects, I wish I had more money.  I would love to be able to fund so many more projects and kick in so much more money than I do now.  That’s what I think I would do if I won the lottery. I’d fund artists, just because I knew they could do amazing things if that one obstacle (which can be a big one) was removed.  Until then, I’ll just keep pitching in where I can and spreading that budget out every month.  (I do try to have a little self control….stop laughing…I said try!) Just looking through the projects, I am renewed and inspired by the talent and spirit of people all over again.  

What do you think about crowdfunding?  Have you ever contributed to a campaign?

‘Til next time,

Jessica


He’s Gone and Done It Again – The Ocean at the End of the Lane

TheOceanattheEndoftheLane_Hardcover_1359996597Neil Gaiman has gone and done it again.  I thought I was finished being impressed with him after I finished Fragile Things.  Apparently, I was wrong…like really, really wrong. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about growing up, wanting to keep some of that childlike wonder, sacrifice, human nature, friendship and family.  It is about … life.  To begin, there’s a pond that’s really an ocean, a farmhouse where the moon is always full on one side, a very “normal” type of family, and the Hemstocks.

The storytelling, oh my gosh, the storytelling in this book.  You just get drawn in and you don’t want to leave.  (Well actually in some of spectacularly creeptastic parts you REALLY want to leave, but you can’t because you absolutely have to know what’s going to happen because the protagonist is seven….SEVEN, and what seven year old actually does what you expect?)  However you don’t leave, because well, you’re reading Neil Gaiman.  If he has a book that doesn’t leave you, at some point, distinctly unsettled and/or deep in thought about something…well….I haven’t found it yet. (Don’t worry.  I’ll keep reading, just in case.)

Me, I like a good fantasy book, so I’m used to suspending reality, for a while, to live in the world the authors create for me.  Usually, I don’t think about the whys or wherefores so much.  I’ve started paying attention though.  Who better than Mr. Neil Gaiman to pay attention to WHY I’m willing to believe that his world is THE world for a while?  The stories I like the best these days are the ones that take the world we live in and twist it just a bit.  Think American Gods here, a whole different world layered over our own, sometimes one that “normal” people never see.  Kim Harrison, with the alternate world that changed because of tomatoes.  Laurell K. Hamilton’s St. Louis where vampires have been given the same rights as humans by the Supreme Court.  They make you think about possibilities long after the book is closed, and real life has intruded again.  The magic of “what if”.

The protagonist in The Ocean at the End of the Lane  is a seven year old boy. (I may have mentioned that earlier…once or twice.)  Children are amazing little people, aren’t they?  Watching them learn about the world is an experience, wonderful, hilarious, and just plain weird in turns…and sometimes all at once.  Everything is … data.  (Have you ever used a…socially unacceptable for a two-year-old word…in front of a two-year-old?  They zoom in on that thing like a heat seeking missile, and they think this is the best word they have ever heard.  It is repeated incessantly…in front of the most inappropriate people…like the pastor, their grandparents, or your boss?  Let me tell you about The List sometime.  My niece and nephew wanted to have a shirt printed for me that said “That’s on The List”) Each bit of information they absorb informs them of what the world is, and I think what makes this book and this particular twist on the world so believable.  This childhood ability to adapt a viewpoint of the world, based on new experience. Some things are still fluid, at seven.  Our protagonist isn’t a little kid anymore, but he doesn’t struggle as much as an adult against a set idea of what is “supposed to be” either.  He sees some pretty wild and crazy stuff, but his friend is there.  She isn’t scared, so it’s okay.  There are some things our protagonist is certain are absolute truths, (I mean, I know a few seven year olds who are convinced they know EVERYTHING, don’t you?),but even these get shaken a bit.  Eventually, he’s just taking things as they come, rolling with the punches… it is all just data.  Your friend shows you an orange sky? Weird, but it is right there in front of you so, okay. Adults struggle more to accept sweeping alterations to their perception of the way things really are.

Autographed Ocean

The fantastic events that happen in The Ocean at the End of the Lane are not unbelievable because the character believes.  The fantastic is in turns disturbing, creepy, unsettling, and sometimes beautiful.  The truly scary parts, for me, came from the purely human.  It gave me goosebumps.  It still gives me goosebumps.  It takes some of those vital absolutes our protagonist has and … shakes them up, makes them less certain.  One of his absolutes turned to vapor.  Just.  Like.  That.

During my recent opportunity to attending a reading and book signing, where I got my very own copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane signed, I discovered that Neil Gaiman wrote this novel by accident.  That’s right ladies and gentlemen, this started out to be a short story for his wife, Amanda Palmer.  Then it became a novelette.  As it became longer, he said that he resigned himself to it being a novella.  Finally, he says he had to send an email saying that he had accidentally written a novel.  Maybe this is what they mean by “happy accidents.”

For all this is an “accidental” novel, there isn’t a wasted word in this beauty.  It is filled to the brim with everything that you love about reading Neil Gaiman.  I found no passages, paragraphs, scenes or even sentences that dragged. Everything has weight here.  Everything has meaning.

First Lines:

It was only a duck pond, out at the back of the farm.  It wasn’t very big.

Lettie Hempstock said it was an ocean, but I knew that was silly.  She said they’d come here across the ocean from the old county.

Her mother said that Lettie didn’t remember properly, and it was a long time ago, and anyway, the old country had sunk.

Old Mrs. Hempstock, Lettie’s grandmother, said they were both wrong, and that the place that had sunk wasn’t the really old country.  She said she could remember the really old country.

She said the really old country had blown up.

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica