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Preview: Amanda Palmer

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the performer’s return to New Orleans at the Civic Theatre



I first saw Amanda Palmer perform at Lollapalooza 2006. She was there as half of the Dresden Dolls, her cabaret punk act with Brian Viglione, and even then she was an oversharer — in her performance, an insides-out bare-all behind a piano and painted face; but also in The Dresden Dolls Companion, a soothsaying illumination of the lyrics, sheet music, compositional notes and creative process (via a candid interview on DVD) behind the duo's eponymous 2003 debut. Much of what's been said about Palmer since has little to do with her music (and that, in turn, has little to do with the fact that she hasn't released any since 2012's Theatre is Evil). People would rather talk about that album's ceiling-shattering $1.2 million Kickstarter campaign and what it means for the future of crowdfunding, and whether it's ethical for a musician to openly solicit financial assistance from a fan base she built basically out of scratch (it's called presales), and why Steve Albini gives a damn about what someone else and their fans choose to do or not do. So let's not do Palmer's art a disservice and get distracted by her New Orleans flash-mob nuptials with Neil Gaiman, or her current socially mediated pregnancy, or the dedication limits of her million Twitter followers, or her eight-times-over virtual audience for a TED talk (and ensuing bestseller) titled The Art of Asking, whose radical, sensational philosophy boils down to a simple message she's been screaming for 15 years from behind a piano and painted face: If you need help, ask for it. If you can help, and you care, do something. How hard was that? Tickets $25 in advance, $40 at the door.

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