Amanda Palmer Releases Anti-Trump Video
Two years after the birth of her son, Amanda Palmer returns to form with her first high-production video since her Kickstarter-record-smashing album Theatre is Evil was released in 2012. Scripted and conceived by Palmer and independently crowdfunded by her 11,000 subscribers on patreon.com, Palmer’s new song is a daring piece of art which is, in her words, “dedicated to the current administration”.
Shooting on location in upstate New York at the iconic sculpture park, Opus 40, Palmer collaborated with a female director (Jordan Rathus), cinematographer (Saro Varjabedian) and choreographer (Coco Karol), in addition to an all-female string quartet and two of her fellow mother-musicians (Zoë Keating and Melissa Auf der Maur, ex-bassist of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins).
In a reversal of the traditional process, Palmer’s idea for the video inspired the recording for the song, and she tapped long-time friend/composer Jherek Bischoff (Strung Out in Heaven, Purple Rain) to join her vision and supply a bittersweet and poignant string quartet arrangement of Pink Floyd’s Mother. Zoë Keating stood in for David Gilmour’s searing guitar solo on cello.
Amanda explains: “The lyrics to ‘Mother’ haunted me during the inauguration. There’s a surge in female power right now: Trump and co. can prattle on about how they’re going to build a big, beautiful wall, but the mothers of this nation have a different agenda. We don’t want our children to grow up in a world of fear, separation, and scarcity.
“I’ve made over a dozen big-production videos with massive casts and crews, but I’ve never felt this way on a set before. Ever since having a baby I’ve been continuing to work on producing content, and I often bring my baby to recording studios and video sets where it is cheerfully tolerated. But this time it wasn’t just tolerated, it was celebrated.
“Everybody on the set – from the film crew to the dancers – stood by the spirit of the script. All of the children cast are children of friends of mine. Chris Wells, who plays “The President”, is an openly gay actor and peace activist and it meant a lot to me to be able to cast him in this role.”
Wells is involved in the video’s shocking final moments, of which Palmer says: “That finale-scene could not have happened if it weren’t for our deep respect for one another; I couldn’t have done it with just any actor and it took a massive amount of trust. Melissa Auf der Maur and Zoë Keating have both been my guiding lights as fellow mothers and musicians. This video is as much an homage to them as it is a statement about the current administration.”
Amanda is set to release Mother as the physical b-side to the 7” vinyl pressing of In Harm’s Way, the original song which Palmer penned and produced in response to the world’s growing refugee crisis, and which premiered last month on NPR’s ‘All Songs. NPR shared the powerful and stark video for In Harm’s Way, shot on location in Tarragona, Spain. The video, which echoes the now infamously painful photograph of 3-year old refugee Aylan Kurdi, features volunteer performers from across Europe and was directed by Spanish performance artist/provocateur Abel Azcona. The 7” vinyl single will be sold exclusively through amandapalmer.net on November 15.
10% of the profits of the physical single will go to the charity Because We Carry, a charity close to Amanda’s heart after spending time on Lesvos in 2017, where she witnessed the impact their work had on refugees arriving on the island daily.
Please watch the video for In Harm’s Way here:
Amanda is performing a one-off show at London’s Union Chapel on November 16 with a grand piano, a local string quartet, and special guest arranger/conductor Jherek Bischoff. Tickets are sold out, but the show will be webcast live online from amandapalmer.net. There will be a limited amount of copies of the 7” single for sale at this show.
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Amanda Palmer is a singer, songwriter, playwright, pianist, filmmaker, and blogger who simultaneously embraces and explodes traditional frameworks of music, theatre, and art. She first came to prominence as one half of the Boston-based punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, earning global recognition for their wide-ranging theatricality and inventive songcraft. Her solo career has taken her to new heights, including such groundbreaking works as the fan-funded THEATRE IS EVIL, which made a top 10 debut on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 upon its 2012 release and remains the top-funded original music project on Kickstarter. In 2013 she presented “The Art of Asking” at the annual TED conference, which has since been viewed over 10 million times worldwide. The following year saw Palmer expand her philosophy into the New York Times best seller The Art of Asking: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Let People Help, which is now in its 5th English-language printing.
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