The best of artistry is a “self-making” activity which also creates a new audience. Original acts that move audiences, and creative community, are two things that define her work. To be smart but still wear the dress of life loosely is Amanda Fucking Palmer’s trademark.
I first saw her as a mute statue in Cambridge. No market research tells you there’s an “established need” for this. But it’s hard to get closer to an audience than that. Like stand-up, its a training ground to read a crowd and hone presence…and there’s no vanity in that kind of performance. You know right away what works. Stuff that doesn’t work is a gnawing pain until it’s reworked and hitting it.
Rather than adopting the musical convention of rock, her punk cabaret style careens from stark and operatic, through folksy ukulele, to what I lovingly call “exhibitionist thrash.” As a guy who made his best creative mark throwing great parties in the South End, I get where she’s coming from.
So even though this video is Blair Witch Project-shaky, you can, see she’s holding herself back after putting forward some meaty positions. Pay attention to when she just covers her mouth and takes it all in. Being a pro she kept quiet toward the end of this as her panelmates put little forward to advance the conversation from her starting point. Having the ability to be a statue must occasionally be useful.
I couldn’t help but feel some irony as Amanda sat next to one of the guys who advises the Artist & IP Law Visionary Prince (who famously declared “the Internet is over”) as they talked on about how digital technology is making superstardom a thing of the past.
Versatility is a virtue, and on Tuesday Amanda Palmer was a pro. She was credible, smart, cool, and she played nice. What’s not to like about that?