Nov 2011 01

by Darrah de jour

[Above: Amanda Palmer performing Science Fiction/Double Feature (from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) on Craig Ferguson (10/31) with Moby, Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields) and Neil Gaiman.]

The unlikely, but delightful newly wed Gaiman-Palmer duo hit the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles on Halloween night kicking off what will be a five-city West Coast mini-tour, which will stop off in San Francisco (11/4), Vancouver (11/6), Portland (11/8) and Seattle (11/9).

On the heels of performing with Moby and Stephen Merritt, along with an admittedly “uncomfortable” Gaiman on keyboards, on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson earlier that day, the twosome were introduced at the Ebell by rad chick comic Margaret Cho (who likened her life-long affection for rice-paper wrapped white bunny candies to her fondness for uncircumcised penises). Taking the stage in black and white wedding-esque attire Amanda and Neil began a rowdy costume contest. Audience members, hand-selected by Cho, took to the stage and accepted varying levels of applause, which determined the ultimate winner: a gay male couple dressed as twin-rabbits. Creepy masks. The prize? Signed merch and a rather random bottle of balsamic purloined from a Craig Ferguson hospitality basket.

The British scary story writer and Dresden Dolls founder and lead-singer met while collaborating on Palmer’s macabre art/photo book Who Killed Amanda Palmer– a collection of photographs of a dead-Palmer – taken by Palmer, over a period of 14 years. Gaiman explains how this undertaking brought them together. Read, also, his latest plight: to help artists create wills for their literary estates.

A charmingly disorganized night filled with on-stage, off-mic banter, impromptu song and reading plans, and even a cue-card Q&A of previously scribbled audience questions proved utterly lavish in this overly-synchronized Lady Gaga lights/Chris Brown firework world of perfectly framed modernity. Not to mention, the love between these two is palpable. (They pecked between songs, and when Gaiman forgot his lyric sheet, Palmer hurriedly scribbled lines on a ripped piece of paper with Sharpie, handed it to him and ran back to her piano. A gesture which prompted Gaiman to proclaim aloud: “I love her.”)

NYC-native Palmer sang a cover of “Science Fiction/Double Feature” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show along with originals “Runs in the Family,” “Judy Blume,” and latest Twitter-fan-aided ode to 4-stringed, anti-Fascist Machine-killing machine, her I.O.C., “Ukulele Anthem.” The 35-year old outspoken bisexual even sang “Satellite of Love” for the nearing birthday-boy (Neil turns 50 on November 10th), and the couple did a tongue-in-cheek duet of the standard “Makin’ Whoopee.” Neil read a few poems and a Halloween story he wrote for The New York Times, as well as a silly torch song he’d penned lyrics for (“I Google You“) about heartbreak and computers replacing the ‘cigarettes and bar-fly’ mentality that pervaded society for so long. Charming Australian duo The Jane Austen Argument opened.

The tour is being recorded thanks to fan funding from a Kickstarter campaign, which surpassed its $20,000 goal by $113,000+. In fact, much of the connection Palmer has with her fans stems from her DIY, grass-roots use of technology: blogging, free music sites, Twitter. There, she communicates and even beckons help from them (like during her “ReBellyon” – a record company dispute with Roadrunner Records which was sparked when they edited a belly shot out of a music video because they felt she looked “fat”).

A standing ovation for the two geek and goth faves, was followed by a chaotic merch signing session. Trying to organize the ridiculously large throng that was packed into the relatively small foyer, Palmer stood on a table, barefoot, as she attempted to figure out how the hell she and her husband were going to sign stuff for the mass of fans before the theatre’s 11.30 PM curfew.


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Post-feminist sex and sensuality expert Darrah de jour is a freelance journalist who lives in LA with her dog Oscar Wilde. Her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, Esquire and W. In her Red, White and Femme: Strapped With A Brain – And A Vagina columns for SuicideGirls, Darrah will be taking a fresh look at females in America. Visit her blog at and find her on Facebook.

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