Hi, I’m Meathead. In my semi-lucid essays here on the Buddyhead website, one of the most frequent subjects of my unmitigated annoyance is the ever-present, attention-starved pseudo-artist (wow, lots of hyphens today). You know, the Marilyn Mansons, the Lady Shitheads and the Ke$has of the world who crave constant pats on the back like the rest of us crave bacon. Delicious, greasy bacon. The ultimate life goal for these people is to be noticed, and while they may put on the pretense of being “all about the art,” in reality, the actual substance of what they do runs a distant second to that itchy, burning need to be famous at all costs. Their philosophy is that if they simply act famous, people will fall for it – and, sadly, it works more often than it should.
Considering how squarely Amanda “Amanda Fucking Palmer” Palmer fits into the “attention whore” category, it’s a little surprising to me that she hasn’t been mentioned on Buddyhead up to this point. Better late than never, I reckon.
Wait a second… what’s that noise I’m hearing all of a sudden? Sounds like a gaggle of Amanda Palmer fans furiously pounding their keyboards to tell me how wrong I am, how dare I disparage such an under-appreciated genius, I obviously just don’t “get” her, and other songs from the same album. She is an artist and therefore deserves our respect. Right?
Well, without digressing into a la-de-da bullshit dissertation on the true meaning of art, the basic, most literal definition of “artist” is someone who creates or manipulates material for aesthetic purposes. It doesn’t mean the results of his or her endeavors have to be good, or interesting, or useful in any way. So, if you want to split hairs, then sure, Amanda Palmer is an artist. Just like Chad Kroeger of Nickelback and the guy who draws Dilbert are artists. I guess you’ll have to pardon me if the mere status of “artist” doesn’t move me to awestruck deference.
“But Meathead, Amanda’s different from them! She has Artistic Integrity™! She opened for NINE INCH NAILS!”
I’m aware that there is a market for eccentric female singer-songwriters who have some sort of tenuous-at-best association with Trent Reznor, and now that Tori Amos has apparently gone feral and is currently wandering around the forests of northern Canada terrorizing small and mid-sized woodland creatures , it was only a matter of time until someone else showed up to fill that giant, estrogen-soaked void she left behind. I guess they (whoever “they” are) put an ad for the position up on Craigslist, and Amanda Palmer was the first one to respond. One of the perks of the job is that it comes with a legion of clingy, emotional fans who do shit like make tacky gifts for you and bring them to meet-and-greets so you can pretend you give a crap and then have one of your roadies toss the macrame angel wings or whatever the fuck into the nearest dumpster after the show. (Just kidding, I’m sure Amanda doesn’t really do that.) According to her Wikipedia page, Amanda is (drum roll…) bisexual, into meditation and other Buddhist stuff, had an abortion as a teenager and even got date raped once! She’s also into pescetarianism, which I was disappointed to learn has nothing to do with Joe Pesci, but is basically just being a vegetarian who eats fish too. Congrats, Amanda! You’re hired!
Now, I’ll be fair, I’m not going to say that Amanda Palmer is entirely devoid of talent, à la Crystal Castles. The Dresden Dolls, although they weren’t really my thing, weren’t terrible either. But then, somewhere along the line, not content to share the spotlight with drummer/only other band member Brian Viglione, she went from Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls to Amanda Palmer THE STAR. How does one make such a transition? By acting like a star! And how does one act like a star?
One of the quickest shortcuts to showing the world how free-spirited and bohemian you are is to take your clothes off at any available opportunity (note: applies to women and Marilyn Manson only). Sure, maybe it sets gender equality back a decade or three in the process, but it sure is easier than busting your ass and doing the work required to create something of actual substance. I would add that her penchant for disrobing in public isn’t particularly helped by her apparent boycott of the Gillette corporation, but that would obviously make me sexist. I mean, how dare I criticize her hairy pits while she sexually objectifies herself? It’s worth noting that the revolting photo on the right (minus my tasteful censorship) was actually posted on Twitter by Ms. Palmer herself. It’s not like it was a private picture that someone leaked maliciously. She actually wanted people to see it. Because there is no God, her nudity isn’t limited to Twitter, either. The revolting photo below was taken at one of her live shows, which I thank the nonexistent God every day that I was not attending.
Speaking of live performances, here’s a video of Amanda and her “posse” covering the hit Rihanna song “Umbrella.” Of course, by “covering” I mean “spazzing out on stage while the original recording plays over the P.A.” But just look at that stage presence! Watch her gyrate and pantomime with her pink toy guitar! Die a little inside!
If all that getting naked and “covering” Rihanna songs still isn’t doing the trick, or if the train to superstardom simply isn’t moving fast enough, there’s always Plan B: marry up. Find someone else who is already rich and famous, single (preferably), and has a large, loyal fanbase, then glom on to him and tell him all about how you’re soulmates, destined to be together for eternity, or whatever other crap you have to say to get that ring before anyone can say “pre-nup.” Then, once you’ve got him, milk that shit for all it’s worth while it lasts! Obviously I’m referring to Amanda’s new soulmate, author Neil Gaiman, who is practically deified amongst comic nerd circles. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure their love is real and special and transcends time itself. But it also got her into the Golden Globes! How convenient!
Wow, Neil, you lucky dog! Hang on to her, she’s a keeper!
Oh, I guess I should also mention at this juncture that Amanda Palmer is as crazy as the proverbial shithouse rat, just in case you hadn’t picked up on that already. Mind you, I don’t mean “crazy” in the “wearing funny hats on occasion” sense of the word. More like “picking up some homeless guy and then pretending to be his conjoined twin” crazy. Because that is what she is doing.
Evelyn Evelyn is her current bullshit “art” project, in which she and former (and future) busker Jason Webley call sloppy seconds on Tim Burton’s perpetual rape of Edward Gorey, dress up as Siamese twin girls named Evelyn and Evelyn Neville and sing ironically cute songs about how they were sexually abused. As if that isn’t mind-bogglingly stupid (see also: crass, tasteless, inappropriate) enough, Amanda has cranked up the schizo-meter to 11 by talking at length on her blog about the fictional girls as if they are real people, even going so far as to fabricate an entire back story about how she and Jason allegedly came in contact with them. Jesus Christ.
I was going to quote the entire story, but… screw that. If you’re actually curious enough to want to read all that dreck on Amanda’s blog, be my guest, but for the rest of us, here’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version:
jason webley, my awesome friend and endlessly touring minstrel-comrade, and i found the twins on myspace, about three years ago.
we were on tour together (jason was opening up for the dresden dolls) and working away on our laptops on an off day…i think we were in new zealand.
we were both emailed the link to their page at around the same time. mine came in through the dresden dolls’ fan address.
[Blah blah blah blah blah]
they have similar personalities, but if you hang out with them long enough, you’ll notice that they’re actually quite different. they were christened “eva” and “lynn” at one point in their lives – but they strangely like being referred to by the same name, in a sort of weird solidarity, i guess. so they both go by the name “evelyn” -
[Yada yada yada]
and over the course of our little recording, we finally got to know them.
well, WE didn’t. they had real problems warming up to jason. they were freaked out (seriously) by his beard and didn’t want to talk to him very much.
they could handle me a little better because i was a girl.
But wait, there’s more! Evelyn and Evelyn have their own MySpace, Facebook and Twitter pages, and a graphic novel (which I’m sure Neil Gaiman will have absolutely nothing to do with) about the fake Evelyns’ fake lives is even in the works. They have already released an EP, called Elephant Elephant, and are currently touring (EPICally, of course) with this shit. For real. According to Amanda’s blog, this is what one can expect while attending the live show:
a short set by JASON WEBLEY
a short set by AMANDA PALMER
a short set by SXIP SHIREY
-intermission- (GO BUY MERCH!!)
an hour-long set by EVELYN EVELYN
So not only do we get a full hour of fake conjoined twins singing new wave jingles about birth defects and child abuse, but as a bonus we can enjoy the haunting accordion sea shanties of Jason Webley, Amanda Palmer probably taking her clothes off some more, and “Sxip” Shirey, whoever the fuck that is. What a deal! And don’t forget to buy a t-shirt so you can get your ass kicked later!
Hey Amanda, a couple pointers: 1. We all know the “twins” are you and Jason in costume. We’re not retarded. Seriously. You can drop the act. 2. This is something crazy people do. Not the “cute” kind of crazy, but the “you should be in a fucking mental institution getting electroshock therapy because whatever medication you’re on just isn’t working” crazy.