Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- the tattoo....

yes. i did it. and as it was the topic of such heated debate...i thought i'd share some stuff.

somewhat frequently... over the course of tour, amanda and i would discuss the human desire for familiarity. and the need for symbols of that familiarity. the need for a relate-able visual stimuli. even if it's just the sign for one's favorite cafe on some corner in some city of the world. symbols are comforting.

and it's not that we are godless generation. though the popularity of mainstream religion amongst the young might be in slight decline- we still cling to the symbols, the rites, the familiarity of a new spirituality. the marriage might be an act of socio-religio-political commitment. but it's the wedding party (and maybe the rings) that seals the deal. for the community. the actual rite. the symbol of that union.

my tattoos....per john irving...i'm a collector. each of the tattoos i've acquired over the years- they represent a time and a place and an event or passion that registered deeply at the time. the road map of my adventures. the celebration of the life i'm living.

yes. jack terricloth said it best, "you'd do better living more...and commemorating less...those tattoos are gonna fade." and he's absolutely right. but even better, he said "because i can. 'cause no one can stop me. 'cause it makes up for things i lost. 'cause i'm addicted to bad ideas. and all the beauty in this world."

a glass raised to you jack....but...

upon my first trip to australia and new zealand, on tour in 2008, i knew i'd stumbled on something special. a place i'd return to often.

and having been raised on boats and possessing a healthy nautical fetish...the southern cross became the perfect symbol. an astral asymmetric storytelling device for australia's aboriginal peoples, and then later appropriated for oceanic navigation by traders and explorers and wayward pirates.

appropriation...

here's where it get's trickier. especially in regards to how we adopt and adapt our symbols for personal use.

in the wrong hands...symbols become dangerous. prior to hitler and the third reich...the swastika was and still is a powerful representation of luck and auspiciousness to all manner of indus valley peoples and religions. central to hinduism and buddhism and jainism. you see it all over india everywhere. and it's beautiful...

i'm fuzzy on this one...but at one point...the "peace sign" made by the two uplifted fingers of the right hand was originally a gesture used by american troops in wwii (or wwi?) to mean "victory". the counterculture of the american fifties and sixties re-appropriated it to mean "peace". not so bad this time. but what about when the circular peace sign of the sixties was then re-interpreted as a fashion staple of the 1980's? and it was everywhere. suddenly void of it's intended meaning. re-imagined as a symbol for wealth and excess for a culture redefining itself with outward decadence.

and on a similar note. one could easily make the argument that malcolm mclaren et al. over-stepped the line when adopting the mohawk as the iconic punk haircut de rigueur. i think in college i told my mother that i was re-appropriating the mohawk to take a stand. to re-affirm my stance and brotherhood with the mohican nations of old...in a "lest we forget" kinda manner. i thought coming from rural maine with a strong native american population...this sounded good. but she felt otherwise. and rightfully so...that said...i still sport the mohawk now and then...we have to make the the definitions on our own...

...but those definitions and decisions must be well-informed as well.

so the southern cross...i wanted to get it tattooed on that very first journey to oz/nz in 2008....

turns out the symbol itself is more controversial than i ever imagined. for the last two months i approached aussies everywhere, of all different walks and creeds and skin tones, with my questions. and the answers were varied. some were pro. some were con. others indifferent. but most opinionated.

yes, the southern cross appears distinctly on australia's flag. there's also a strong political movement to redesign australia's flag. the aborigines themselves have their own flag, sans cross.

but in recent years the flag itself and the southern cross in particular have taken on nationalist and racist connotations. similar to kids in alabama getting dixie tattooed on their shoulders...please read this article about the cronulla riots of 2005.

surfers and bogans told me the idea was great. the concerned literatti at shows and on twitter begged me not to, and pointed me towards this little ditty by waiting for guinness:



but in the end...my heart was set and the decision was made. m at iv in sydney was concerned, but agreed to do it. and it's beautiful. and it's everything i wanted. and honestly... 70% of aussies interviewed in the last 7 days don't even recognize it.

i'm not a racist or nationalist. just a short kid in love with your hemisphere. taking pride elsewhere...:

the axes are straight...and bonds makes me an official citizen, right? photo by jim batt, 03.07.11

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- The Melbourne Forum Edda

us. melbourne. 2.26.11 photo by marianne @ mankissingbird.com
wow. just. wow.

the melbourne forum gig was epic. totally epic. easily one of the best shows i've done in my career. or that's how it seems from where i'm standing. i can't believe we pulled off so much. though maybe i can. 'cause we did.



in my brain i had imagined writing this blog a ways back for the opera house. that one didn't exactly go as planned. now maybe the time is right....:



for those interested... you wanna know what goes into a production like this? here is the short answer to almost everything that went into setting this one off like a frog in a sock- in MY world. (tnx afp for the language!). it might start real dry, but hang in there- it should get better...i hope this comes off as informative and not arrogant....

routing- (september/october/november 2010)
this entire tour was the germ of an idea that tumbled around amanda's brain until it polished itself to the gleaming pearl it is today. once the dream was born- it's up to the agents to make it happen. fall 2010 was spent routing the oz/nz tour, including the melbourne gig on feb 26th.

its a process- it involves massive communication to rooms and promoters all over the world to see what venues are available when in which cities. you can't just say you wanna play melbourne on the 26th at the forum. maybe the room isn't available. maybe there is a giant festival in town that saturday and nobody will come. maybe all venues have been leveled by an earthquake....it's a long arduous process of deductive reasoning and i have absolutely zero interest in it. then there's contracts to write up and exacting haggling over money and show costs, dotted lines to sign on. i'm glad the agents of the world do this for us. thank you f and j and m at high road! a tour is  born.



advances/pre-production (november/december/january 2011)
once the cities and venues and dates are locked- i'm handed the show itinerary and i set to work from there. i put together giant worksheets with all our travel dates, how we are traveling, when we are traveling, where we are sleeping, where and when we will do major promo like tv shoots, where our shows are, when we should plan for ninja gigs and awesome adventures or private bbqs. the works. by january this one page worksheet will become a 75 page workbook that operates as the "tourbook"- a massive tome of knowledge that contains every ounce of show and travel and lodging info- right down to individual meet and greets per day and which new zealand journalist afp must talk to on the phone on january 27th at 2:pm. one page per day of tour. the forum show is merely one sheet in the book. but it's there. amanda will never read this book ever. it's sent to her every day...but...it's kinda a joke. and i don't mind. all the answers are there in one place to facilitate the easy transfer of info amongst our team. SK reads it. she is the best.



meanwhile i'm booking our flights and cars and trains to all these places. melbourne included. i'm lining up our support artists for every show.  i'm finding hotels and working with team chaos on fan lodging options, thanks you h! i'm starting to field emails from our publicist on potential promo dates, thank you mrh! I'm working with our internet team to make sure all the initial info on the afp website is correct (date, city,venue, ticket price, ages), thank you s! i'm in the initial stages of planning merch drops or bundle options, thank you b! i try to determine what we will need on the road to maintain our sanity, thanks sk! it's all planning. and nothing but planning. and lots more planning. planning is good. it makes melbourne happen.



by the beginning of january- its time to start the "advance" process. i reach out to every individual venue production manager with an initial greeting, our tour rider with all our show details, tech specs and stage plots. i have a list of questions i need answered about every venue for the tourbook. how many dressing rooms are there? where are the load-in doors? can we throw confetti? fake blood? when is curfew? etc etc. it's a long list....it's invaluable. the infrastructure of the room determines how a lot of work gets done for every member of the team. h can't approve 5 people to deliver fan food if there is one small dressing room. s has to redo the website if the ticket-price info we got was initially wrong. we have to adjust the light show if the venue system is weak. if there is no wireless internet...afp and i will likely spend the entire morning in a cafe around the corner- we can put out all these fires...but i have to see them smoking from the distance first. 



on a tour this size. my advances usually go out 3 weeks before the actual show. for each show. but as the melbourne gig was tied in with the other frontier shows- the melbourne advance was first sent on jan 5th. and we started rolling the ball. like sysiphus. the boulder always rolls back down. there is always some minor setback or kink that needs undoing. and pre-production never stops. i will be working on details in relation to the melbourne show from jan 5th, right up until february 25th- the day before it all goes off. and this is all occurring while we are on the road. while the tour is actually happening. on top of all the other million and one amazing things that go into any afp project. the show is just a fraction of it all. what about the video team we've hired for the shoot? are the go go dancers available? is our merch in order? what's the promo schedule this day, does it interfere with soundcheck? and this is why we are ALWAYS going on and on about the damned wireless internet and work-parties and my garbage phone that can't do email well.... we live on our macbooks. the sandwiches are fucking wicked....



show day
and it all comes down to the day of.

np, our promoter rep on frontier's side, picked kbb and jb and i up in collingwood at 2:45 pm and we were off. thanks for everything, np! (it's been a wild ride.)



3:00- band equipment load-in at the forum. m and the ts w/ st. c. bring gear to stage and start setting set up.



3:05-3:10- introductory meeting with j, the venue manager.

3:10-3:40- tech meeting with venue foh/mons/lights guys. i rediscuss the entire stage set-up, show schedule, running order, our tech needs etc. etc. i get a tour of the 3rd story statues where amanda will wear the harness to start the show.



3:40- 4:05- i assign and post signs and redistribute our rider amongst the seven dressing rooms in the basement with the help of the backstage coordinator. thanks dude! sorry i forgot your name.



4:05- set up my printer and computer and production gear in my "office" off stage left.



4:05- 4:25- brief meeting with gj abouts the 4 camera video shoot, audio recording, and webcast. all was in perfect order. good work gj!



4:25- quick meeting with all support artists and managers to review everything that is happening tonight and how tight the schedule is. ck with the tinstar is a total rockstar. she gets it. her head is on straight. so glad i got to work with her on this tour. thanks for everything ck!  see you stateside soon i hope!



4:20- 4:40- take a machete to my inbox, process 15 emails poorly. type and print a preliminary setlist and show schedule for amanda and mikelangelo to review and amend.



5:00- amanda arrives on site. i have room tepid waters waiting. i've already had the room temperature adjusted. and the stage flowers are placed where she'll put her backpack down so she sees them. meanwhile the band is soundchecking and making noise. amanda joins in for two hours of rehearsal.



5:04- assign VIP tables for our special friends.



5:05-5:28- i take inventory and update my accounting spreadsheets to reflect our merch sales at the evelyn hotel the night before. i set some comps aside for give-aways and charity auctions. i return the unsold merch to our vendors at the forum.



5:30- run back to merch counter with printed mailing list sheets! grab a copy of the book and cd for stage.



5:35- meeting with jason. we decide tonight is an excellent time for evelyn and evelyn to make a brief appearance and hopefully play a song. the twins don't love the idea...it was very last minute and took them by surprise...but in the end...i had a twix handy...we convinced them to do it.



5:40- 5:45- i go online for a 5 minute gmail chat with my boy. jgs is superman. he's the best ever. it's hard to be apart. it's harder when we don't even have time to talk as the road gets so busy. he is a super trooper.



5:45- 5:50- five minute shower/whore-bath in the bathroom attached to my office. sit around office naked for a few minutes. doing nothing. breathing. trying to relax.



5:50-6:00- make 7 phone calls and make sure everything is all set for the everything that is gonna happen between 6:30 and 8:00. things are about to go mental.



6:00- meet e and l, our awesome fan-fooders. get them downstairs to set up our delicious dinner...thanks so much guys! it was amazing.



6:05- assemble and print our 97 person guestlist. 10 are from frontier, 22 are from mikelangelo, 8 are from jaa and kbb, 19 are from m our incredible publicist,  the rest of the names are ours.



6:10- run to lobby to meet the various ngo's who are tabling in our forum. grab merch they need signed for auctions. way to go politicos! lobby that shnike!



6:15- review statue/harness situation with amanda and venue and camera crew. this is the moment we realize the harness will not fit over amanda's costume. she'll open the show mostly nude. at 6:17 we decide to do the "amanda get's dressed on stage" gag. this is how we roll.....spontaneous creative awesome sauce.



6:20- security meeting and media policy review with venue security staff. i explain our complete and utter hands-off approach to crowd control. thank you venue security! and thank you our audience for being so well behaved. venue staff are always amazed how easy our shows are. this says a lot about you guys! for the future, please understand- venue security staff are doing. their. jobs. they take orders from the law, the venue, then the band, in that order. they are looking out for our best interest, and yours. your. personal. safety. i understand how easy it is to get frustrated with burly security guys when you can't get your way. but for real. they are doing their job and they are good at it. do not take them for granted. ever. please.



6:30- give amanda and the band 20 minute warning. we have to get off stage soon. they still have 6 songs left to rehearse.



6:35-6:45- epic map of tasmania rehearsal and guest blocking. a giant plan is established. i keep our little surprise a secret- hoping it's so good that amanda won't freak out when i sabotage her entire map of taz plan hours later. band still needs to rehearse the remaining songs. we decide to push doors a few minutes.



6:50- kick everyone off stage. make sure jaa and kbb and jason webley have time to soundcheck- albeit so very briefly...



6:52- have 20 approved setlists and 30 approved set schedules printed and photocopied and delivered to every artist, every dressing room, every venue house and tech person, the video team etc....i printed 6 too many set schedules....



7:00ish- or maybe a few minutes later. we open doors. the crowd trickles inside.

7:00- our first scheduled meet and greet is unable to attend (kinda a relief!). he was one of the brunswick hotel gig auction winners, and as amanda was so sick...she was unable to fulfil his winning bid request that night. we had to make it up to him.  i am very glad we got to connect with dc in adelaide a week later. good to meet you! and thank you so much for the bottle of scotch! it is really fucking good...



7:02- i get amanda to sign all the merch for the various charities and ngo's.



7:04-7:06- the two of us have a brief meeting about all the various things about to happen.



7:10-7:25- we steal jaa's dressing room to film a video interview with mh. she is delightful. so glad we met her!



7:25-7:30- all too brief meet and greet with d, our guy at our merch company. he has been amazing. not a single merch problem the entire tour....and our style of touring can create incredible problems. he weathered the storm for two whole months with massive grace. thanks d! no more ninja gigs coming up...i promise. (actually...we do two more) wish we could have spent more time with you. we owe you big time.



7:30-7:40- ask amanda to eat some dinner. meet and greet with e and l. who are still incredibly forgiving that our schedule is so slammed.



7:40-8:00- inconvenience everyone so that j from brisbane can film a video in the stairwell with mikelangelo and amanda. sorry guys. it was all my fault. we really liked the stairwell...thanks for the video j! can't wait to see the brisbane footage.



8:00-8:15- kim boekbinder hits the stage and plays beautiful songs. jason, amanda, and i start getting the twins prepared for their song...i have already laid out their outfit and make-up. they need to do their laundry more often!



8:20-8:35- the jane austen argument hit the stage and play beautiful songs. so glad i got to meet t and j, and you too ad'e, they are all special people and i will miss them.
 we continue to prep the twins.



8:40- evelyn evelyn hit the stage and play a beautiful song. way to go, twins!



8:45-9:15- mikelangelo and the tin star with st. clare hit the stage and play beautiful songs....though maybe "shred balkan surf guitar dance hits" is more appropriate.
amanda and i take more instapix photos, get dressed, make-up, sip some wine etc.



9:20- changeover. i rush on stage to set up amanda's keyboard notes, waters, wine, stage merch etc. i drop her costume in a pile on the floor stage left.



9:25- jason webley hits the stage to play a beautiful song. meanwhile amanda is getting into her harness and climbing up into the statues with her ukelele.

this show is on!



makin' whoopee- i run backstage to check twitter on amanda's phone. i jump on my laptop to test the webcast quality. the audio and video seem fine. gj is doing a great job. i twitter the universe to get people to tune in to the webcast. i run to get mikelangelo and the tin star ready for their entrance. amanda finishes the song and we go into the "amanda gets dressed" bit....oh man. two months and i still can't tie her corset. i'm guessing none of you heard her whisper "get a girl to do it!" while we were waving that aussie flag around....but it wasn't my fault. she had put it on upside down! also, she forgot about her underwear...i had to run down to the dressing room and grab it while this was all still happening.



missed me (w/ M/TS)-  i screwed up here. i was supposed to hold the mic lead so amanda could walk out into the audience. but i forgot because...i run backstage to check twitter on amanda's phone. i jump on my laptop to test the webcast quality. the audio and video seem fine. gj is doing a great job. i twitter the universe to get people to tune in to the webcast. i run to get mikelangelo and the tin star ready for their entrance. sorry, amanda, i screwed it up...and i totally missed the bit where you fell into the pit. tour manager fail. for realz.



astronaut (w/ M/TS)- i don't even remember what i was doing. twittering about webcast again?...but i must have been busy cuz i missed this song too...i am always side of stage for amanda's whole performance in case she needs anything. if i wasn't there...something must have happened...putting out small fires.



dr. oz (w/ M/TS)- i run downstairs to get the jaa ready for their number with amanda. i also find out that my special surprise for map of tasmania has arrived. i deal with that very briefly.



bad wine and lemon cake (w/JAA)-  i run downstairs to get jason ready for his number with amanda.



icarus (w/ jason webley)- relax....breathe...

in my mind- run downstairs to get kim ready for her number with amanda...



such great heights (w/ KBB)- continue writing down the actual setlist in my notebook for apra. fortunately amanda is sticking tight to the setlist tonight...she frequently doesn't....towards the end i sneak onto stage to tape amanda's keyboard notes her kurtzweill. i had forgotten to do this during soundcheck....



australia- hang out stage left. cry quietly on the inside...this is easily one of my faves from amanda's newish stuff. the sentiment is so fucking touching...and our time in oz is almost up. i never miss this one during the set.



glass slipper- by audience request. holy moly! twitter about webcast again.



(at this point amanda skips an item on her keyboard notes...i can tell immediately that she needs the band back...i run downstairs...)



drover's boy (w/ M/TS)- grab my first beer of the evening....remain stage left. write in my notebook. put out small fires.



guitar hero (w/ M/TS)-  breathe....relax...scribble in notebook.

 

coin-operated boy (w/ M/TS)- run backstage. grab go go girls for red cross reach out. put on my "costume" for map of tasmania...

 

formidable marinade (w/ M/TS)- collect the donation money that the go go dancers have collected for christchurch. way to go ladies! we raised $3240 or something like that.



runs in the family (w/ M/TS)- run  down stairs to get my prank ready for the encore.



oasis (w/ M/TS)- dance ecstatically off stage left with all our friends and family. run downstairs to grab one water and one beer for when amanda gets off stage.



encore: map of tasmania (w/ everyone)- i owe a giant debt of gratitude to Kim- she was napping in my hotel room in fremantle weeks ago when it hit me. strippers...i've always wanted to get strippers. and kim had the direct line. she connected me with ac and jd. they are the real deal. they design their costumes and have toured with peaches, the big day out, and other gigs around the world (watch out nyc, they are gonna destroy you this summer). we emailed. we put together a plan. it was a good one. i had originally asked them to get Australian Federated Police costumes...i shouldn't have even tried, and just trusted...they did me so much better. the bogan bit was a sweet touch. yeah....we sabotaged amanda's grand tazzy plan, but it was worth it. the video by jim batt says it all:



leeds united (w/ everyone)- get mostly dressed. continue dancing with everyone on stage.



2nd encore: the drinking song- run around frantically grabbing everyone again for more dancing on stage. skull the beer on the last note- a tradition that began on evelyn evelyn tour. i've stopped doing this actually... but amanda signaled me to the front of stage during the final refrain...and instinct kicked in. dirty-secret: the beer was only half full. i wasn't expecting to do it so i had been sipping the bottle while dancing....usually i had a full beer hidden on stage and i would pop the cap off on stage as proof....



11:24 or was it 11:44? show ends.


post-show
and believe it or not, everything only gets wilder from here. post-show is the fastest hardest part of the night. we're up against a venue curfew (it could be as short as 60 minutes in certain venues) and there is a lot that still has to happen. this is when my blood starts to race. the adrenaline kicks in. i'll be awake for hours from the energy generated by loading out....this is maybe a problem....the memory is a total blur. it all just happens in a frenzy and it bleeds together.

usually i would spend the next 30 to 60 minutes or so with the promoters...reviewing costs and settling the show and having a laugh....but we all agreed to skip this and do it at a later date. best. idea. ever. which left me free to: 


-distribute setlists to crowd.

-congratulate and thank all our friends and family and business folk for their hard work on the tour. hand-shakes and hugs all around.

-clear amanda's gear off stage.


-conduct two more meet and greets with business folk.


-take backstage photos for the merch packages b still needs.


-organize amanda's signing line.


-grab the poster making supplies.


-hunt down fancy friends in the audience to escort them backstage.


-hunt down more beer for our friends.


-discuss crowd control issues with the venue manager/ask if we had any problems.

-settle accounts with one of the support artist managers.


-settle accounts with our video team.

-try and chase down the earlier missed meet and greeter (i failed)

-take photos for amanda at the signing line.


-grab mailing lists from the merch table.


-pack up the costume bag.


-pack up my office.

-idiot check dressing rooms for lost items.


-locate mikelangelo's missing maraccas.


-coordinate everyone to after-party plan.

-get everyone out the door.

-sit down. exhale. swig some whiskey in the quiet of my now empty office.

-grab my bags and go.


...90 minutes after the show ended...

...other than the venue folk, i'll be the last guy out the door. but in minutes i'll be back with our people in the rain on the balcony of the supper club singing the collected works of michael jackson to the dulcet sounds of jw's accordion. i may or may not drink heavily....it depends. on whether we wake up and do it all again tomorrow....

and that's how we make the magic happen....hope you all enjoyed it as much as i did!
xoxo
-e

Monday, February 28, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Auckland/Melbourne/Sydney

2.23.11, King's Arms, Auckland

makin' whoopee
sex changes
missed me
mrs. o
in my mind
gaga/palmer/madonna
australia
vegemite
double rainbow
ampersand
coin-op
mr. piano man* (kinda...billy joel cover)
elephant elephant*
bacteria bacteria*
new zealand (extended ballad version)
map of tasmania*
unknown beach
girl anachronism
you only want me....*
runs in the family
e: oasis
drinking song*

* w/ Jason Webley
_______

i'm gonna hold onto the melbourne list until tomorrow's epic melbourne blog.

i don't really wanna go into the whole christchurch ordeal. i can't. it's hard for me. i've seen my share of natural disasters- on and off the road. but as i grow up i get more and more cautious. life is too short as it is. our near miss with fate ground me down to the bone. sometimes i feel i'm now too old to be chasing tornados...

the auckland show was great. it really was. i'm glad jason made it safely.

and just like that- we were back in melbourne. more on that tomorrow.

and just like that- we were back in sydney with djs and s and gsn for pretty peepers. it was rad. the level of art and craft amongst the performers put american cabaret/burlesque to shame. amanda dj-ed a great set of songs through the night. i got to bring out my rusty danish on s's mom...still got it!

i'll leave you with some photos for fun. but it's all about the upcoming melbourne blog so stay with me. the internetz in adelaide are driving me crazy...pics won't go up in order...shoddy blog!
i like this one from webstock, afp called me the karate kid, wellington 2.18.11- photo by?
my life in photos, sydney airport, 2.28.11- photo by afp
 
hilarious. thanks ian! at pretty peepers in erskineville 2.27.11- photo by karina

Monday, February 21, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Wellington & Napier

2.18.11, Webstock, Town Hall, Wellington NZ (private event)

makin' whoopie
ampersand
i google you
gaga, palmer, madonna: a polemic
new zealand
map of tasmania
on an unknown beach
mrs. o
pirate jenny
coin-op boy
do you swear to...yer black ass
thriller*
bacteria bacteria*
myspace*
the drinking song*

* w/ Jason Webley

____________

2.19.11, Bodega, Wellington NZ

makin' whoopie
sex changes
ampersand
missed me
happy birthday
australia
vegemite
you only want me 'cause you want my sister*
map of tasmania*
new zealand*
in my mind
i don't care much
runs in the family
on an unknown beach
-book reading-
do you swear to...yer black ass
e: astronaut
drinking song

_____________

oh. wow. this is gonna be rough...so much noise in the ether.

to start. i've always really liked wellington. always. it's a small city. it's my kinda city. i'm a country-mouse.

but i never get to spend enough time here. it's always fly in, play, fly out. i feel i could stay for weeks. i absolutely need to come back when i'm not working. new zealand has been high on the list of worlds to explore ever since i was young. i'm so lucky and fortunate i get to swing through for work every once in a great while, and the dream is semi-realized. but also...it's a cock-tease. i'm always left wanting more...

this time around it was all about webstock. yeah. we did a ninja gig and the mayor came. we did a rock show at Bodega, and it might have been one of the best of the tour... but webstock was something else.

something new.

for two.five days we stepped out of our "rock world" and into a familiar, though foreign territory: web conferences.

amanda has done a handful of these before. she tells me zoe keating and imogen heap do them all the time. but it was new to me. two days of workshops and speeches and fancy meals. social networking while socially networking.

the other speakers were rather fancy folk. high-ups at google, apple, facebook, tumblr, yahoo/bbc, writers, college professors, pirate kings, font/design mavericks...an impressive list of uber-knowledgeable trend-setters with their fingers on the pulse. and to stand from a world apart and get an insiders' perception of their world- which we use everyday to operate in OUR world...was almost alien. in a good way.

there's no question tech is the new "music-industry". innovators and foreseers on the net are the new "rockstars". ask lefsetz. or don't ask lefsetz. there's no need. but the web is where the excitement is. the web is where the future is happening. the web is where the rockstars are being produced. steve jobs matters more than steven tyler. and he used to matter a lot...the web is where musicians are going to have careers...in music. and that is weird. but amazing. maybe amanda and jason were the musicians. but we were surrounded by the modern rockstars left and right.


and to get some insight into it all...totally awesome.

and for a few days it was also humanizing. the constant reminder that there is more out there in the world than the parameters of my tourbook (an excel workbook with 64 worksheets, lame-o), our flight schedule, the 14 cities we have shows in...an education. a knowing. an experience far removed from our norm. i still have a really big question i wanna ask tc about the bbc....the bbc i forget exists for weeks at a time when i'm on the road and neglect to get the news...ever and always.

on top of it all...the event itself was organized in the most awesome of manners from the top down. even though amanda and jason performed a full show, it wasn't like any "show" environment i had seen before. there were welcoming parties, dinners of honor, legions of minions to do my bidding, fancy hotels, easy schedules, pro audio teams, scheduled slots for socializing, great food, on and on and on. word on the street is webstock is one of the best web events in the world- everyone likes doing this one. and it shows. mike and tash work their asses off to provide such a fantastic THING IN THE WORLD. i'm really grateful for all their awesome-sauce, and their incredible star treatment. special shout out to mike forbes as well...your kickass knows no boundaries. and to keith and michelle and the other tash and deb (from maine!) and ben (?) and all the rest of you- i'm so sorry i'm so bad with names. but. really. you all did a great job making us feel at home and it was appreciated. you all do good work. ask me back next year? i'll think of something to do...i'll volunteer!

and just like that it was over. or rather we were back in rock-world doing rock shows on a rock schedule doing rock-y things like rock people do. breaking the rules....

...it's great to see jason webley. i've missed him. i haven't seen him since we finished evelyn evelyn tour last year. this world is a strange and lonely and fortuitous one. we all spin in and out of each others' orbits in chaotic patterns of time. i wonder what it's like to feel solid. to feel and think and see the same thing every day...part of me would get it. part of me would scream. really. really. loud. in verdana capital bold. (thank you jsm)

and now we are in napier for two days without jason.

napier...who woulddathunkit?

story of our lives. another uncalculated adventure. the best kind...

we didn't realize we'd be rolling into town during the last hours of Arts Deco Week until we had already made our plans to come here. and boy howdy! we were sure glad we did...

the entire town was rebuilt in early art deco style from top to bottom after a major earthquake in 1931. hastings, the shelbyville to napier's springfield, was rebuilt in the spanish missionary style...you can guess which city won the glory. the rivalry is ages old.

napier is the "art deco city of the world". miami... eat my shorts.

the dork in me has been freakin' out since arrival (i have an art history degree...kinda. and wait 'til the part about the fossils...).

we just happened to have enough retro clothing on us to throw together deco-ish outfits. pure coincidence i swear. i borrowed a newsie's cap from a ninja-gigger. we took photos with fancy cars and amanda played her uke in the middle of the road. the best ones of afp and i are here and here. but here's one more for the road...literally.

Newsies cast reject in Napier, NZ. photo by afp

it rained. we ate turkish food. we had an amazing evening with kya and aidan and boudicca and nyssa.
we slept late and woke up and did laundry and ate berries from their garden and i gave myself a haircut (finally..the most 48 human hours of tour...).

washing yer shirts for the first time in 6 weeks is awesome. also, doing laundry sucks. photo by afp.

we spent the afternoon walking atop te mata peak with the fam. strolling through redwood forests. scouting vineyard amphitheatres for future gig locales... nothing will bring you back to earth like playing with toddlers.

oh. and the fossils. i would post my own photo but i'm having mac/blackberry troubles. te mata is easily a kilometer above sea level. but once upon a time all of new zealand was under water... there are thousands of fossils underfoot...all of them seashells. (science-nerd freak out!). and they are all on top of this mountain with hangliders and 100 meter drops to your death amongst sheep feces...

this multi-thousands year old scallop shell fossil makes me feel sad. but the inner nerd is...photo by afp.


it's late and i'm rattling on....this blog was really rough. all these amazing things happened over the last few days. but i couldn't find the words to get it all out there....i really just wanted my mom to know what i was up to...hey mom! we're flying to christchurch tomorrow. we land at 3:35 pm. i'm gonna see julie from pdx who just got off the ice in antarctica. and i'm thinking of you....xoxoxo

i'm king of the world...or maybe just Gondor.... photo by kya.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Brisbane

the old museum, brisbane, 2.12.11

missed me*
astronaut*
dr. oz*
in my mind
the bed song
bad habit
vegemite ( the black death)
the drover's boy*
coin-operated boy*
formidable marinade*
bad wine and lemon-cake**
runs in the family*
oasis*
e:map of tasmania*
leeds united*

* w/ Mikelangelo and the Tin Star with Saint Clare
** w/ Tom Dickins of the Jane Austen Argument

________

i don't think i ever put the byron bay setlist up. sorry! if folks want it, i'll dig it up and repost...

brisbane....brisbane...

my two previous trips to brisbane were misguided. i was only ever here for a day or two. always staying downtown in the fancy-pants hotels on the river. i had no idea fortitude valley and new farm existed. a whole different side to the city i never knew. i'm thankful to have had an experience that changed my perceptions of it all.

but.

brisbane was a little rough on the soul. we've hit the half-way point. and for a moment...i hit the tour wall.

tour wall. it's not uncommon. but it hits like bricks. you snap back to reality and realize the truth of your surroundings. you're living out of a suitcase. hopping hotel to hotel. missing birthdays, funerals, weddings, births back home. this is not an ordinary way to live. it's a bit exceptional. long ago, we as a species made the move from nomadic hunter/gatherers to settled agrarians. rock and roll sends you straigh back to hunting/gathering. many roadies love it. but i know plenty of musicians who don't. and even though this tour is amazing fun- it can still feel like tour....

while we didn't necessarily have any crazy adventures lined up, we had lots of friends to see and meetings to hold. this was nice. we had these amazing studios in the IMA for lodging (thanks k!). they were completely void of visual stimuli except for the amazing picture windows that looked out over the city. (lack of stimuli is chou important- no distractions/very calming). we had decent internet connections. afp and i sat at our desks in our adjoining rooms with the door propped open to facilitate easy work-parties. we worked a lot. and this was also good.

but.

all these things, some minor, some major, occured in my personal life and kinda overwhelmed tour world...

-i found out my dear friend l.k. from santa fe, she gave me 3/7ths of my tattoos, was in this ridiculous car crash in alabama and thrown 70 feet from the road. that's really far. she's in the icu. but recovering really well. i hope she's okay...that was not good news.

-i have a really great childhood friend form maine who happens to live in brisbane. we only ever see each other once in a while...once in japan a couple years ago...once in maine last summer...and this time never. we never managed to connect at all. i don't even know what happened there. i was looking forward to seeing her. i screwed up. i let my personal life slide and didn't even reach out until 2:am the morning we drove to brisbane in the first place for the show...too litte too late e.

-spending valentines with afp and smw and mh was really fun. we had a great dinner. we had some great drinks. spending it so far away from g was not fun. i miss him. he had chocolates and wine and flowers sent to the studio somehow. g for the win. he is amazing.

-and...this is really material...but....i bought my favorite pair of doc marten's ever on snoop tour back in march of '07. i have worn them EVERY DAY for the last 3.5 years. they are brown. 8-eyelets. they are so worn in the sole they are screwing up my back and let in the elements through the bottom. but i love them. dearly. shitkicking boots. i felt like the million dollar man in those goddam boots...i pulled them out from suitcase in brisbane, after 5 days in a plastic bag in the heat and moisture of the byron bay, and they must have been wet when they went into the bag...i have never seen an inanimate object so covered in mold and mildew and fungus in my life. they were disgusting. i'm weak. i have this fear of mold. i throw out 3 day old food....i was never gonna put those boots on my feet again. seriously. they looked and smelled like the swamp monster. inside and out. completely alive with organic material...i left them behind. and i will miss them.

"everything in its right place..." thom yorke said it best. an early but subtle roadie trick i learned (and good for anyone travelling really) was to always keep everything in the same pockets of your backpack and your luggage. you train your brain to know exactly where your resources are at any given moment. and you can pack in a flash 'cause you know where everything belongs. and you never change it up ever. unless you get a new bag...it's a reliable trick. and it provides a certain ordered comfort to counterbalance the chaos of the road. these goddam boots were the same damn thing...i could count on them. always.

i tried to find a new pair in fortitude valley. apparently that line was discontinued 3 years ago.

RIP old friends..2.15.11
goodbye boots....may chaos rule....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Geraldton, WA 2.6.11

l'attitude 28, geraldton, wa

creep
makin' whoopi
astronaut
such great heights*
map of tasmania*
coin-operated boy
billy jean
vegemite
australia

* w/ @kimboekbinder...in the men's toilet

____

so off the grid and into the bush we went.

in the early days of mapping this tour, afp told me we were gonna hit every little town we could. we'd bring the art to the bush and the beach and the people. places bands don't play. spaces never seen. i was nervous but intrigued- would these towns even have keyboards? let alone audiences...? but the adventure was on.

sadly most of the out of the way gigs refused to materialze. but not for lack of trying. logistically and schedule-wise it just became too much.

but then we got the email from clare mcculloch...an urgent plea to play the seaside fishing town of geraldton. and we jumped on it. population 36,000. 250 miles from perth to the north.

growing up in rural maine, towns like this were the nearest cities. and they were still 4 hours away. i thought i knew what i was in for...but not quite.

talk about wild. we rented an intermediate 4wd i dubbed pegasus. pegasus had a wombat tattoo. or maybe it was a wallaby. pegasus would never fail.

so late morning we left from fremantle and hit the brand highway for a brutal cruise through the inland. we stopped at the wal-mart of garden centers 60 miles into the wilderness. it was called waldeck's. they had great food. we ate quiche.

then it was on. 4 more hours through the bush and the bush-fires and the most nothing of nothingnesses. syphoning gas from mad max roadhouses with windmills and no running water and domesticated emus.

and as the sun began to fade we hurtled through dongara and kbk found us a run-down church to live in. forever.

next stop geraldton.

geraldton. one of the strangest most amazing shows of my young life. everyone we met opened their arms with warm hearts and took amazing care of us. the venue was ridiculous in their hospitality. we set up camp in their wine cellar. and the show went off. but i think this summer i need to intern as a keyboard tech...i couldn't fix a broken instrument out of a paper bag.

we drank on the beach until the wee hours with our new friends from minute 36 who had played the night before. i cut my feet on the coral.

the next morning the charms of town revealed themselves. we ran into @velvetsarah at saltdish. we held workparty on the children's library free wireless. we took a peek inside the town theater to scout gig locations.

and we hit the road.

but this time we headed south along the indian ocean. blue sky blue sea white sand green bush. the birds. we hit namburg national park and tried our hand at some art and some photos...

_____

...naughty photos...(i'm not gonna repost them for my mother's sake, but it's a really great photo of afp...so if you know where to look you'll find.) i'm a wee bit conflicted. but just a wee bit.

usually i'm the guy behind the scenes. my presence goes unnoticed by the general public and the friends/family as i am the guy on the computer that usually sits backstage and handles everything with the venue reps. my fan interaction is severely limited. and i'm cool with that. i know my role. i let the band be the superstars.

with afp it's all so different. we are all a part of the circus and we all get so much exposure in and to her world. it's an amazing transparency, and i think it gives the audience this valuable insight into how life in the business operates and how life on the road goes down. who she is. and what we do.

but never in my life has so much skin appeared in public (wellllllll there was that theater piece in college..i was chariman mao...pretty full frontal on that one i guess) and now on the internet. it's a very novel accessibility to my personal space... something completely different...now you all know where the tattoos are...naughty photos...

_____

...and as the sun set yet again we drove onwards past snow white sandunes that merged with the sky like clouds. kangaroos eating on the side of the road. emus crossing the street. ukeleles in hand...

late night and we had hit the airport. and twelve hours, 2 flights, one van ride later. i was standing on the beach in byron bay...

it's different here.

not so naughty photo by @amandapalmer, giant windmill in regan's ford, 2.6.11

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- melbourne/sydney/newcastle/canberra in phots

but first...a setlist.

fly-by-night, fremantle wa. 2.4.11

missed me*
astronaut*
dr. oz*
in my mind
icarus
such great heights**
vegemite
gaga palmer madonna
girl anachronism
australia
drover's boy*
coin-operated boy*
formidable marinade*
runs in the family
oasis*
e: map of tasmania*
leeds united*

* w/ Mikelangelo and the Tin Star with Saint Clare
** w/ Kim Boekbinder

----

this wild ride barrels on...felt great to relax on the beach after last night's gig with new friends...swimming with phosphorescent jellyfish...jameson and bonfires on the sand 'til the wee hours. hangover breakfast cures! alexandra, the lovely doctor i found to make a hotel call...

here's a bunch of photos i've not had time to process...rad. next up- geraldton!

@KimBoekbinder and @ms_jenski disco party on the train to surry hills, melbourne 1.22.11.

wedding party with the gang, surry hills 1.22.11.


map of tasmania at the sydney opera house, 1.26.11. photo by mandy hall.

"the lean" at @KaH_was_taken's  bbq, prestons 1.28.11. photo by @usuallydenotedc at mankissingbird.com.
ninja gig at carriageworks, sydney 1.29.11.

@battsignal gets his "action" shot, newcastle 1.30.11. photo by Jim Batt.
ninja bike ride through garema with rat patrol, canberra 2.2.11. photo by red dog.


palmer st. sydney. 'nuff said.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Newcastle/Canberra

set schedule on the old ballroom wall in the great northern, newcastle, 1.30.11
newcastle, the great northern- 1.30.11

astronaut
ampersand
in my mind
vegemite
bad wine**
flowers**
such great heights***
missed me*
formidable marinade*
dr. oz*
drover's boy*
should i stay or should i go* (the clash cover)
oasis*
map of tasmania (with everyone)
coin-op boy
australia
e: shipsong*
leeds united
creep


canberra, james o fairfax theatre, 2.1.11

makin' whoopi
astronaut
ampersand
in my mind
vegemite
bad wine**
flowers**
oasis
bed song
missed me*
formidable marinade*
drover's boy*
ship song*
coin-op boy
wkap book reading
map of tasmania
australia
e: creep
lion sleeps tonight (an old classic...with everyone. i even played a wooden frog...)

* w/ Mikelangelo and co.
** w/ the JAA
*** w/ Kim boekbinder


the sets may be similar. but the circumstances are as unalike as possible.

i was looking forward to both these gigs-  as they were in cities i'd never been to before. and i was excited. there are cities. there are venues. there are places i've toured a hundred times and will tour a hundred times more. but i turned to rock and roll as a means to see the world (i'm a geography nerd...my adolescent claim to fame was two consecutive trips to the National Geographic State Geography Bee...i never made it past the semi-finals...). so the opportunity to play towns i've never been to before always sets my heart beating. it doesn't matter that i rarely see more than 100 feet from the venue doors- i'm a slut for a stamp in the passport.

newcastle was this fantastic drunken sweaty mess of a show. big congrats to R and C for turning a dirty aging sports bar into a classy music juke joint. they opened nearly one year ago this week. and are hosting as much live music as they can get their hands on. but the clincher was the fantastic dilapidated art deco ballroom on the second floor that served as our dressing room- complete with broken mirrors and piles of pigeon shit.

canberra, on the other hand, was a staid and formal grand piano show inside a performance hall within the National Gallery of Australia (HOLY FUCK! if you guys are not a aware that you have a major commissioned piece by James Turrell in your nation's capital...you need to bone up immediately! you have no idea how lucky you/they have it here in Oz...) our dressing room was attached to the first aid room and was this cold sterile cube for breast-feeding moms.

flexibility. adaptation. thinking on your feet. it's essential. and for the most part i have it down. but...

one of the amazing characteristics of working with afp is just how hectic and organic and transmutable her style is. i learned on my first dolls tour in '07 that their setlists were merely maps, not the territory. i learned on the evelyn evelyn tour her willingness to play unorthodox venues. here on the oz tour...we still haven't locked our last two weeks in the antipodea...and that is okay.

most other tours are advanced weeks ahead of time. the flights are booked and the tourbook goes out before anyone has even left their home. most of the artists i've worked with tour in a static/rigid continuum of concrete shows and press schedules...their camp offices in all their various cities around the world rely on a specific set of information that's carved into stone and tattooed to the brain. anything missing from the tourbook is an unacceptable oversight.

not so with afp. our plans can change in a heartbeat. dinner with friends gets postponed when we meet fans in the park. 4 hours of promo gets delayed 3 hours when we find a cool space compatible to new art projects. plane tickets get cancelled and re-booked when the DIY bike kids offer to cruise us around their berg.

and through it all i've learned to be patient and flexible. ever adapting to the changes. and i don't mind. in the least. it's absolutely necessary to barrel through the rapids in order for my artist to accomplish everything she wishes. and i want her to. so i go with the flow.

but i'm not perfect. and at heart. i'm a rock kid. i do rock shows. i'm too used to getting my own way and getting free beer and getting what i want just because we walk into a venue and take over. the room becomes ours. there's always a respect. and i enjoy working with the venue people all over the world that i have had the pleasure to meet. but we still set the scene.

except in the exceptions. and there is one major exception. the world of theaters and concert halls. they don't operate within the normal rock parameters. they have...rules.

rock and roll does not have rules. rock and roll should never have rules.

but these spaces are not rock rooms. they exist in this liminal space where music and art are formal experiences. (i find that really bizarre...but i understand why we saw Philip Glass in the Hobart recital hall, and not Thekla in Bristol- it's an old tug-boat moored in the harbor...) and as such they have rules that i have to follow. we don't set the scene.

we don't just get free internet because we need it.
we don't just get to have food backstage because we are hungry.
we don't just get to let 30 extra people in on the guestlist...because there are seats. people sit in them. there is a limited number of seats.

i'm still not used to having to follow the rules. i screwed this up at the Lortel in NYC during evelyn evelyn tour. and it gave me a poor attitude. and i screwed it up again today at the National Gallery. it put me in a bad mood. and maybe for a bit- everyone suffered. or my ability to do my job was compromised. or maybe it wasn't and everything is okay and i'm just overly-sensitive.

but in any case- i am humbled. and reminded there is always room for growth.

and growing is pretty awesome.

also...Canberra is fucking rad. what an incredible place! i could go on for hours, but i think the Rat Patrol photos/vids should do all the talking, here and here.
riding curly-sue, courtesy of Rat Patrol Canberra, 2.1.11, photo by Red Dog

Friday, January 28, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Melbourne/Sydney

australia day spectacular 1.26.11

dr. oz*
missed me*
in my mind
ampersand
sex changes
on an unknown beach (by ted jeffries)
coin-operated boy
mrs. o
tom traubert's blues* (by tom waits)
---readings by neil gaiman---
vegemite (the black death)
bad wine and lemon cake^ (by jaa)
---meow meow video---
the drover's boy* (by ted egan)
the ship song* (by nick cave)

map of tasmania~
oasis

*w/ mikelangelo and the black sea gentlemen
^ w/ the jane austen argument
~ w/ m+bsg, holly austin on beatbox, kim boekbinder rapping, go go dancers

(you know...i really can't tell you if this is the setlist or not...did mrs. o happen? maybe oasis was actually leeds united, maybe it was oasis...at the end of the night my setlist was a subway map of arrows and lines and chicken scrawl...amanda very succinctly summed it up here.)

and the truth hits like bricks. i remember now why i've never successfully blagged a tour a before.

i. just. don't. have. the time.

it amazes me that afp can pull it off. sitting down to write. finding pictures. uploading pictures. searching out links. its consuming. i want to do it. i need three more days before tomorrow comes. always.

melbourne...

all this running around the world fills my head with lists. rental cars i would never buy/drive for myself. venues i like. venues i don't like. countries where mcdonald's in a pinch is healthier than others (india). cities....

always cities. i'm a dork for infrastructure. civil engineering. how we define our movements through space and how spaces define our movements through them. livability. "find yourself a city, find yourself a city to live".

i found portland oregon and never looked back. and i could find melbourne, too.
melbourne is amazing. the similarities to pdx in life-style and attitude abound. the art. the transit. the people. all of it. new york to sydney's los angeles. the best of everywhere intelligently plotted down on the grid for its people...i could live here in a heartbeat. and hope to someday.

sadly it was too brief. a sluggish whirlwind of 10 hour internet cafe marathons, ep listening parties with the j.a.a., random shows in dirty bars with t and a and j and kb and jb, drinking games with l and smw, brunswick st. and wedding parties with the bats, coffee-cured brunches. an amazing three days...that left me longing for home. i will always miss home.

it will be good to come back in february. it still won't be enough time.

sydney and photos are just gonna have to wait. back to work!

Friday, January 21, 2011

hobart in pictures

we're in melbourne. the album has dropped. the heat has risen. the merch is flying and now it's all systems go. full on. i've been camping out in an internet cafe for the last 48 hours. oz IS magical, but the internet is frequently still 1998...are you there wireless? it's me, margaret....

moving on. here are some pics of hobart. which is an amazing city. for real. the festival. the people. the food. the wine. the topography. all of it. tasmania FTW. thank you everyone!

1.14.10 Amanda and Mikelangelo rehearse at IHOS opera w/ the Black Sea Gentlemen

1.16.10 #Twitnic in St. David's Park w/ The Jane Austen Argument. 50 people came to see/hear Tom and Jen being amazing...


1.16.10 Mikelangelo and I. after-hours ping pong in Mona Foma warehouse. the game of kings!

1.19.10 Ron, Mark, Neil, and Amanda on private tour with Mark Fraser at MONA. this is one half of one of my favorites. each light-bulb in the room is part of a chain of light-bulbs that starts in a long hallway around the corner. at the very fist light-bulb in the hallway is a machine that registers your heartbeat. your heartbeat is then sent to that first light-bulb - which pulses on and off to mirror your pulse. when the next person registers their heartbeat, the originally heart beat is transmitted to the next light-bulb in line. and the the third, the fourth, the fifth, etc. as each person registers their pulse. we are standing under an entire ceiling of individual human light-bulb heartbeats.

1.19.10 after hours tour at Bonorong Wildlife Park...a classic pose. we spent two hours feeding the kangaroos and tasmanian devils and echidnas and other local animals in this incredible animal refuge center.

1.19.10 Dianna is attacked by a vicious cabal of kangaroos. also, many of them were, ahem, aroused....

1.19.10 Nick Cave w/ Grinderman. all hail Nick Cave.
should i ever die in Hobart....please let me die like this. cenotaph in st. david's park.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Amanda Fucking Palmer Down Under- Hobart, 1.16.11

mona foma-1.15.11

australia
icarus
in my mind
missed me*
dr. oz*
vegemite*
formidable*
bad wine^
coin-op
drovers*
oasis*
leeds*
map of taz*^


* = with mikelangelo & the black sea gentlemen
^ = with the jane austen argument


(...that's how we write them. typing "lonesome organist rapes page turner" takes too damn long.)

it's 1:28 am after the Mona Foma show, another 19 hour work day draining the dregs of the jetlag and i've thought maybe just maybe i'll commit to blogging a whole tour for once...we'll see. hopefully this won't devolve into merciless whining and pageantry.
..

so many places i could start. the flight over from pdx and the nerd books i read. the drunken 12:am secret show at the brisbane hotel this morning. impressions of my first trip to Tasmania. the way my right pocket feels unbearably light with the weight of Brian Ritchie's business card..."tell me now, what do i have to do? now tell me now..." but how about here:

Most folks don't know i used to live in and work in japan. i played it straight after college and did what i thought i was supposed to do- despite the allure that kept creeping on my heart from running AFP's street team for a bit back in 2003/04. Various AFP trips to japan and tear-jerk email conversations later convinced me to quit the day job to move back to the states to work in rock and roll. and i never looked back. years later i count myself so fortunate to be able to travel the world and do what i do with and for my friends- doing my part to contribute to the joy that the artists i work for bring to their fans and friends.

a fact i never cease to forget when i see 90 minute/200 person autograph signing lines after the show. all the stories and gifts and emotions and tears that pour out onto the table to be captured in black sharpie marker scribbles on t-shirts and books and breasts and live action role play suits of armor. no joke. the dude is gonna get his LARPing vest embroidered where AFP signed her name- and now he does battle in the name of rock. with a styrofoam sword.

and tonight during the signing this girl comes running up to me and we make eye contact and establish recognition so quickly. she was another teacher in japan so many years ago. we haven't spoken since then. we were several cities apart by train but in the same state. she recognized me running around on stage taping setlists to the floor during the changeover. and again, another blessing- running into friends and strangers all over the world at the least unexpected moments.

the question/statement always arises "wow, it must be glamorous".

and yeah...to a certain extant...i suppose so...but not really. not at all. tour management. 24/7. johnny-on-the-spot. finger-on-the-pulse marathons. solving the problems and putting out the fires. It's the best job i've ever had, and the one i take the most seriously. work consumes me in some blind ayn randian devotion. i pace and bite my nails and pick at my scalp and pace some more in nervous anticipation/adrenaline-pumping excitement. i forget to shower, or eat, for days. i'm losing my hair. the potential for glamour lurks elusively around the corner, but it's my job, and i don't have time for that-

-because i'm too busy pacing. and loving it. i have a US blackberry, Aussie mobile, laptop, ipod, little black book and pen, sticky notes to get everything done. despite the tools, my wrists are doodled in sharpie scrawl- errands and important phone numbers that get smudged away when i wipe the sweat from my forehead. i try to stay calm. i run all over the place. do we have markers? silver paint pens? is the merch table prepared for the signing? who am i settling with? i need some cash. N needs a phone charger. the JAA need a casio keyboard for their ninja gig. the stage manager needs setlists. i need my credentials. R needs a photopass. G needs permission to film. how much do the books cost? how far to the hotel? where is the lost jacket? (THANK YOU awesome waiter and waitress from lunch, who recognized me 5 HOURS LATER running around the venue, for telling me the jacket was still at the restaurant! GAWD hobart is small!). have you met S yet? where's our transport coordinator? who still hasn't ordered dinner? where is the corset? does the band know the running order? where is the rental keyboard going? what time is N on? is the water room temperature? put the ukelele on the drum riser- no. the keyboard riser. what's the fine for going 5 minutes over curfew? that big huh,? ouch. is the instant camera loaded? is there more beer? we found you the hair clippers. get the security escort. help fasten this corset. need more setlists at FoH....and it goes on. and on. and i love every fucking minute of it....

... i couldn't imagine doing anything else. for real. and today i get to do it here. in the sunshine. in Hobart. where everyone has been SUPER friendly and helpful and this town is really kinda cute. and the view from my hotel window looks like the southwest hills of pdx and it makes me think of home. which is so far away. and now it's 2:AM and punch drunk love is on the hotel television. and that one is my favorite. for real. and it makes me think of home some more. i'm damned lucky. miss you, G! xxo