Tag Archives: Amanda Palmer

When I talk to people I often mention Amanda Palmer in a number of various situations. Those who know me, usually know who she is after a while. More often though people ask - who is she? And why does she mean so much to you?

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So I caught myself several times babbling weird shit which altogether sounded as if I am a member of some cult and didn’t deliver the message. I realised also that actually I don’t know the answer myself. I decided to take a dive into my brain and soul and answer it - for myself mostly.

Hello, Vera. I am Vera, I am 30 and I live in Moscow, Russia. I do photos, videos and letters to make a living.

And Amanda Palmer is 39 and she lives in the US. She does music and all kind of art for a living. She also wrote a book, did an awesome TED talk and an endless line of crazy artsy projects, has the awesomest fan crowd and her husband is Neil Gaiman. She also has a cute baby-son now.

Well, one can simply says Vera is Amanda Palmer’s fan. I took part in her Kickstarter campaign, I am her supporter at Patreon. I have a book signed by her. I was at some events she held. So I am. But when it comes to the concept of being Amanda’s fan, things become complicated in a very weird way. Fuck, no, we are a weird company. And I like it.

Amanda talks to her fans for a start. So they are not a nameless crowd, but a bunch (quite big) of individuals. And she hears them, she sees them, she makes them feel real  and human. She connects with them.

Often people just enjoy it. Often they give her hugs, tears, smiles, words, things, ukuleles whatever. Sometimes they tend to mistake this connection for friendship and start seek for attention or throw accusations and stop being fans. Sometimes people shyly and silently marvel from shadows. Sometimes they collaborate with her. Sometimes they really become friends. Well, it’s just life, many layered, thick, full of surprises and spontaneous turns.

I just watched another video with Amanda on Patreon, I showed it to my friend who interviewed me before. In this interview I told my friend about Amanda, book, TED, art, real-ness, death, stuff. My friend got extremely inspired with all that, so she read a book, watched ted and recently she interviewed Amanda herself for her online-artblog-project. Amanda calls this “connecting the dots”. I feel that I was connecting the dots all my life. Connecting myself with people, people with people, people with books, movies, art, thoughts, whatever, recognising patterns, marvelling at coincidences. Usually it goes smoothly. Though I had some ugly experiences when I was younger and more maximalist kind of a person. Dots didn’t connect and I felt guilty.

I also just watched a 1999 interview of Amanda with Lee of Cloud Club. It is so funny, Amanda is 23 there, so young, so different, but so the same.

My copy of the Art of Asking was read already by several people here in Russia who borrowed it from me. The book is in Thailand now, a friend borrowed it for vacation.

We also have a Russian edition which is good of course, but translation is poor and it makes the book quite unreadable. Also there is a typo right away on the first page of the book (in the word “love”, duh). I wanted so much to gift people I love but who don’t speak English with this book for New Years Eve. But this is not happening.

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(A couple of days ago I came back home from a three weeks internet-less journey in Cuba. Among many books I read during this retreat was “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. First two days I fought with e-mail inbox monsters. Today I read through all those new posts on Patreon which Amanda wrote during those weeks.

And I felt so overwhelmed with feelings of all different kinds. So I decided it is a good moment to just sit and write something.)

This paragraph above was written in Semtember, so you see, this message was in the pot for quite a while. Now it’s Christmas Eve, but I sit and write it, because we don’t celebrate Catholic Christmas here in Russia.

So who is Amanda Palmer to me?

I still don’t know but I have some ideas. It is weird. But beautiful I think.

So she is not my role-model, not my guru, not the ideal person, not my hero on the pedestal, not my friend, not someone whom I want to be. She is just Amanda Palmer.

Amanda Palmer to me is inspiration and endless provider of questions which are sometimes uncomfortable and answers that are sometimes scary.

Amanda Palmer to me is the one who is not afraid to hug and look into your eyes. And smile. Or cry.

Amanda Palmer to me is someone who goes fiercely right into the heart of all life, death, love, fear, art, self-search and all that shit.

Amanda Palmer to me is someone I learn from a lot.

Amanda Palmer to me is someone who makes me respect and love and admire Neil Gaiman even more (my humble opinion is that those two seriously pimped up each others art in a very unique and gaimanesque-afpesque way).

Amanda Palmer to me is a reason why I met people who have a huge place in my heart now. And a few of them I have an honor to call friends.

Amanda Palmer to me is a person who has a courage to change herself and wholeheartedly change her opinions. In Russia we have a saying: People who never change their mind on things are fools or dead.

Amanda Palmer to me is the person who connects dots and makes me weeee happy when she connects with other people whom I admire like Neil (obbbbbviously), another Neil (the one Degrasse Tyson), Chris Hadfield, Brene Brown, Maria Popova, Jason Webley and others.

Amanda Palmer to me is a person who writes the blog which is perfect for me - flow of all stuff possible, questions, discussions, ups and downs, doubts

Amanda Palmer to me is a person who lets me be… well me, my very own imperfect self. And to be ok with the idea that me is me, she is she, other person is other person.

And for about 4 or 5 years I am grateful to Amanda for being herself and sharing lights and darks of her journey. Thank you, Amanda. With all my heart.

I still feel that everything I wrote above is kinda nonsense and babbling, but I did write it anyway.

And… if you are Amanda and you read it. I want to specifically thank you for letting me meet Anthony. I miss him too.

Merry Christmas to you. Hope we will meet again some day. Love.

Also.

Here is a list of things I decided to attach to everything I write above. Read it or at least scroll through. It may be interesting for you, whoever you are.

- open letter by Amanda to a worried fan (published at Medium) 

- how I met Neil Gaiman in Stockholm

- how I read Anthony’s book

- how I wrote the tribute to Anthony Martignetti

- how my friend interviewed Amanda Palmer (in Russian and English)

- how can you also join those who love Brene Brown researches

- how you can listen to Maria Popova of brain pickings talking to Amanda about stuff from “The Art of Asking book”

- how I shot almost a whole night long book pre-release signing parade mayhem thing in Cambridge

- how I shot 11/11 book release gig event in Boston

- here is a couple of pictures of Amanda and Jason during the Bed Show afterparty at Summinski Innski

Back on blog. Jet lagged after coming back home from the US to Russia, but full of energy to press on with all the shit. Most probably I will go to swim and jog now, but before that I'd like to do some blogging.

I backed up pictures I shot during last 3 weeks. There were some videos as well. It's way easier to share uncut videos. You basically upload them and you are done. So that's what I am about to do.

Below are the videos of performances that touched my heart deeply during my time in the US.

Before parading to Porter Square books we came together at the Harvard Sq. And Jason Webley sang, and Amanda Palmer sang, and we sang and laughed.

Crazy band named Too many zooz I witnessed once on Union sq. They are just fantastic, aren't they?

Amazing Beat Travellers performing during the Lost Marble Salon in the Cloud Club.

(I worked on this blog a bit, so I upload it a bit later then it was written)

It is one month before I visit the United States for the first time ever. Next week I turn 30 (huh!), so I think it is a majestic way to start another decade of my life. Yesterday I’ve read new blog post written my Amanda Palmer. You can read it HERE. The thing that amazes me about her is how she can talk about complicated things. A lot to learn from Amanda.

She wrote about many things in that particular blog. First about blogging and writing a book. Go and read it, my retelling will be not as good as her own words. I thought like wow, how come that I enjoyed blogging so much for many years (those years when livejournal was at its best). I wrote about everything. I didn’t need a purpose. There were always words to write and thoughts to explain.

But then digital world changed in a very special way. Blogging became kinda profession. Serious shit. And livejournal kinda died. I lost my habit to write easily on the blog. 

Somehow I got a BLOG WRITER’S BLOCK. Dammit. Weird as it is. It felt like my blogs should be meaningful, to deliver message, to have a theme. As if blogging was not for everybody. Yesterday I read what Amanda wrote and thought - fuck that, blog should satisfy the only person in this world and it is… me. Yes, I promote my art through it. But blog is freedom, it should not BORE me to death to write my own blog. Or SCARE me. 

The other two things Amanda wrote about were her tour (book tour and the bed shows) and Anthony’s situation. For me it is inseparable in a weird way. Through Amanda's music I get to know Anthony and his books. 

There was this live webcast by Amanda. Anthony read a story there (at 1:04:20 in the previous link). I made this print screen, how I wish to be there with my camera. It was deep night and then dawn wee hours in Moscow. My beloved man slept peacefully in our bedroom. I stood on the balcony in the living room with headphones and iPad and listened to webcast. 

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I bought e-book of Beloved Demons on the first day of release. I wrote a review on it and blogged it HERE. I wanted more people to read Anthony’s stories. Somehow we started writing to each other from time to time. Sometimes people just happen in each others lives. It is truly amazing. One day you don’t have this person close to your heart and then you do.

Anthony sent me paper copies of his books. I think I am the only person who has got Anthony’s books in Russia. I should make a picture of them on the Red Square I suppose. 

(done it - went to the Red Square and make a picture)

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Once Anthony told me he’d like me to make portraits of him. I said yes, of course, portraits is my favourite thing to do. I love human beings, through camera I discover people and say them they are awesome. Through camera I see beauty of people, their strength, their fragility. 

Also Anthony is such an enigmatic person to make portraits of. 

I thought well, yes, I should come when I have money. But one day I will do it. For sure. Later. Blah-blah-blah. Then I learnt that Anthony’s remission is over. He was about to go through chemo again. 

I applied for the visa. Got it. Bought tickets to NY on the dates when I don’t have shootings here in Russia. 

We decided that we will meet and talk no matter what. As with portraits, we will just see. 

Next day after I bought tickets Amanda tweeted that the release date of her book is the 11th of November. A bit later she informed the twitterverse that there will be a few Bed Shows from 5-8th of November.

My tickets to the States I bought the day before were from 2th to 16th of November. 

Now I have tickets to the Bed Show and to Boston book tour event. And I plan to come to Porter Square books as well. 

But honestly I can’t call this luck or anything. Because initially I got visa and tickets, because Anthony’s conditions changed. It is “weird poetry of life” as Amanda tweeted. Endless ifs, buts and whys and wtfs.

Life is complicated. Everything is connected. Endless dots. Dots. Dots.

Fuck the writer’s block. I needed to bring all this together. I feel too many feelings at the same time. It was always my thing.

Soon I will be in the United States. 

P.S: Somewhere in-between I went to Stockholm. Thanks to wonderful Neil Gaiman, I managed to give Anthony a book as a gift (HERE is a big blog with pictures). It was Master and Margarita by Mikhail Boulgakov, which is a brilliant Russian novel. HERE Anthony talks of Pilate and Jesus trial after chemo treatment and reading M&M.

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It is the second assignment for Cal Arts course at coursera. The whole course is called Live!: A History of Art for Artists, Animators and Gamers. Each week we have materials to study and assignments to do.

The first assignment was also very interesting, I think of posting it here as well.

The second assignment is Mental Map

"In your sketchbook, assemble ten (10) images, books, films, or even music/songs that provide a history and context for your current work or interests in art, animation and/or gaming, whether as a practitioner, viewer or player/participant. Choose works that are important to the way you think, and just as importantly, works that inspire you in ways that you can’t always perhaps put into words. Reach back into your childhood (where you may perhaps find some unexpected sources of inspiration) and look around you to collect some contemporary resources"

I felt that my blog will be the most convenient way to expose my assignment as it appeared to be quite big.  Also it is comfortable for me to take care of source links and to organise the layout.

1. Pink Floyd “the Wall”

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I mean both the movie and the record.

I had a VHS with the movie. I remember watching it for the first time. It was mind twisting. Then I re-watched it for more than 20-30 times, I guess.

Each time I discovered something new, some idea, some thought. As I was growing up different pieces of this epic work touched my heart like a hot iron. First of all, like all rebellious teens I muse enjoyed “We don’t need no education”, then the love theme caught my attention, then the society and individual controversy, then the role and influence of mother.

Doing this assignment I came to conclusion that I need to watch it once again after maybe 7 years break.

 

2. J.R.R. Tolkien “The Lord of the Rings”

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Low bow to they book, to Professor and to my mother for my love to reading. My mom read pieces of “The Lord of the Rings” to me and my little sister before sleeping time. But she read in little pieces - she was tired after work and we needed to sleep too. I was too curious to wait, I wanted to know what will happen next, so I grabbed the book and tried reading in on my own. It was a huge impact. That’s how I fell in love with fantasy and and imagined worlds. And with books in general. Books are like diamonds for me. Now I have a very wide range of interests in literature, but that book will always be a fire-starter.

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