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Posts Tagged ‘amanda palmer’


 

Last week the full length debut album from musical group Evelyn Evelyn was released. The group is essentially Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley performing as conjoined twins who go by the names of Eva and Lyn, but prefer just to be called Evelyn. The musical act of course has a myriad of fans from both the Palmer and the Webley parties, but is also getting a fair share of critics.

Disabilities groups have raised alarm flags, saying that the act makes of mockery of people with actual disabilities. More criticism comes from not only are they conjoined twins, but they were also sexually abused as children and then worked in the circus as a ‘freakshow’. Basically people are upset because this comes across as stereotyping, and that trivialises abuse.

It never once crossed my mind that this would come across as offensive. When it is pointed out to me, yes it seems so obvious. But I suppose I never considered it offensive because it was never intended to be offensive. For the same reasons I never considered that ‘blackface’ skit on Hey Hey It’s Saturday to be offensive.

Where does the line get drawn? Does anyone remember the movie Stuck on You? It’s about conjoined twins, and while it does have good moral at the end of the story, it features two very able bodied actors in a conjoined twin suit much like the Evelyn Evelyn project does. Or the wheelchair number in Glee? The list could go on. What is okay, and what isn’t? The wheelchair scene in Glee was okay because of its intentions. But if the Evelyn Evelyn project’s intentions aren’t bad, then why is it still considered to be so?

The backlash was bad. Really bad. Palmer and Webley both made blog posts in response to the criticism. Jason Webley summed it up perfectly I think, “Our intention was to capture people’s imaginations, to create some fun new music, and to twist people’s brains a bit…  not to stir up a storm, or disrespect anybody.” The were literally hundreds of comments on AFP’s blog. I tried to read through them all but after about 20, I just had to stop.

While I can see where people get offended by this project and I can understand where they are coming from, I still don’t find it offensive. Yes, the twins’ story as told on the album is quite confronting. But that is part of their story. As Palmer stated on her blog, “good art often comes from stories. And often making art from stories is a way of not letting these stories rule and control our lives.”

In other words, this is the kind of thing that will open a dialogue. A story that will get people thinking, that may open people’s eyes. Again, Palmer said is best, “Producing inoffensive, corporate-penned, vanilla-bean love-story family-friendly made-for-mainstream-radio music that won’t offend a single person. and won’t make anybody laugh, won’t make anybody think, won’t make anybody wonder, won’t make anybody talk, and won’t change anybody’s life.”

So what is everyone’s thoughts on this? Enjoyable but offensive? Would you go see the live show? Or have you stopped being a fan altogether because you don’t agree with this? I’d love to hear if anyone has been offended, because I haven’t really come across many people who I know personally that have been.

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Over the past couple of years, songstress Amanda Palmer has been quite vocal about her battles with her record label, Roadrunner. There were alleged arguments about what she could and couldn’t do with her music, where she could post it online and what she could make available, and when. And Palmer was apparently barely even seeing a cent of it. Then there was also the controversy of the Leeds United video, where the label wanted to edit the video to get rid of the shots where Palmer looked ‘fat’. There was a massive backlash from fans, sending photos of their ‘bellies’ to the record label with various protests. (and we won’t even touch on the ‘Oasis’ controversy…that’s pretty self explanatory!)

Fast track to today, and many legal battles later, Palmer announced today on Twitter that she had finally broken free and was released from her contract with Roadrunner. She released a more detailed blog entry as well, explaining in simple terms why she wanted out, and it’s pretty fair to see why she did.

And, to commemorate the occasion, she released a track to download from her site, for free or for any donation. Grab it and celebrate.

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A sold out crowd packed into the Zoo to see opening act Mikelangelo. Wooing the ladies and impressing the guys, Mikelangelo was suave and entertaining, keeping everyone’s attention throughout his set. Blending a wide range of styles suited perfectly to his unique crooning voice, Mikelangelo delivered a thoroughly enjoyable set.

Shortly after, the corset-clad singer who everyone came to see arrived on stage, bursting straight in with ‘Ampersand’ from her solo album Who Killed Amanda Palmer. Palmer performed a unique version of Jason Webley’s ‘Icarus’, as well as a few older Dresden Dolls songs, from their popular hit ‘Coin Operated Boy’ to ‘Mrs O’ and ‘Sex Changes’. The infamous anti-vegemite song even made an appearance, much to the crowd’s delight.

‘Oasis’ granted a enthusiastic sing-a-long from the crowd, and Palmer performed a wonderful rendition of ‘Runs in the Family’. Mikelangelo came back on stage for a few duets, including a cover of Nick Cave’s ‘Henry Lee’. Palmer’s crowd interaction was incredibly honest and relaxed, leaving you forgetting that there were another 500 odd people in the room. She even took a moment to read out a short story that her fiancé Neil Gaiman included in the accompanying book to her solo album.

Performance wise, Palmer was in fantastic shape. Her voice is sounding better than ever and her confidence brings her charming stage presence to life. The only downfall is that compared to on record, her live show can sound a little hollow. Fantastic production and textured instrumental arrangements feature heavily on her solo album, and last time I saw her perform Lyndon Chester and Zoë Keating backed on violin and cello, respectively. This lush sound was really missing from tonight.

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Whoa! It’s a crazy month – there’s a lot happening and a lot of pretty big clashes on the same night. I’ll be at Phoenix, Amanda Palmer and the Pixies for sure…and we’ll see what happens with the rest!

March 1: Phoenix – Convention Centre

March 6: Evermore – The Hi Fi

March 6: Washington – The Hi Fi

March 10: Dinosaur Jr – Great Northern Hotel (Byron Bay)

March 10: Pavement – The Tivoli

March 10:  Amanda Palmer – The Zoo

March 12: Hungry Kids of Hungary – The Zoo

March 13: The Boat People – The Troubador

March 18+30: The Pixies – Convention Centre

March 20: Angus and Julia Stone – The Tivoli

March 20: Kid Sam – The Troubador

March 23: The Dead Weather – The Tivoli

March 23: Massive Attack – River Stage (Botanical Gardens)

March 23: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – The Hi Fi

March 25: La Roux – The Tivoli

March 26: Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! – The Troubador

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