Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra at Momenta Gallery in NYC by Leslie

Amanda Palmer and her new band The Grand Theft Orchestra have an album coming out in September called Theatre is Evil. She made music history by raising 1.2 million dollars on Kickstarter to fund the production, promotion and tour for the record. Chris and I bought the Kickstarter package that included a NYC gallery opening of the art work inspired by music from the record, as well as a special acoustic performance in the art gallery. It was an epic night.

I'm going to let the pictures mostly speak for themselves for the moment (I've got a post brewing about why I think Amanda Palmer is so relevant and important) but I will say just a few things.

  • Almost the first thing I noticed when we got to Momenta Gallery was Amanda. She was heading outside to take pictures and she swept by us in bare feet. For the rest of the evening she was completely present and available to everyone who wanted a minute with her, not hiding in the back room until it was time to go on stage. It was awesome.
  • The second thing I noticed was that the A/C in the gallery was broken. Sweat was literally rolling down my back but the oppressive heat was like another character in the performance. It made things sticky and uncomfortable and it added a rawness that might have otherwise been missing. That was kind of awesome too.
  • The third thing was that Amanda pours her heart and soul into her performances and I was left wondering how she can take in so much energy from her friends and fans and send it back out again. It's like she is an emotional conduit for everyone and that connection is one of the things that endears her to fans and makes her so special. Again, awesome.
  • The last thing was that her bandmates; Jherek Bischoff, Michael McQuilken and Chad Raines are incredibly talent musicians who are bright enough lights to stand next to Amanda and not get lost. It was amazing to witness their synchronicity with each other and I'm pretty sure they could make music with practically anything. Awesome, Awesome and Awesome.

Well done Grand Theft Orchestra and a huge Thank-you to Amanda for an amazing night I won't EVER forget. (Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a link to the entire set of pictures.)

Were you there at Momenta with us? Did you see this performance in another city? What were your thoughts or favorite moments? Personally, I loved the performance of Trout Heart Replica, with the beet cutting and also the performance and artwork for The Bed Song. The ritual of laying out the bed sheets was amazing and Kyle Cassidy's B&W photographs of people laying in bed were so touching, intimate and of course sad.

Finally, if you want to see it all, including MORE NAKEDNESS, check out the complete set of photos on Flickr.

Realizing Empathy: Help Me Fund this Kickstarter! by Leslie

I want this book. It's called Realizing Empathy and it is an inquiry into why we make things by Seung Chan Lim (better known as Slim.) It's beautifully designed, thoughtful and passionate. I just know it's filled with smart, inspired thinking. BUT! There is chance that it won't get made. Unless Slim can raise $10,000 in a week, I will not get my book.

I pledged $60 for a signed copy of the book. I'm in and now I need your help. If 200 of you pledge $50 to buy the unsigned version of the book then he will reach his goal. THAT'S TOTALLY DOABLE IN A WEEK, RIGHT??!! I will get my copy, which I badly want, and you will get yours and we can all read it and get smarter about why we are creative, why we make things like art and design and stories. If we are smarter about WHY we make things, then I think we can can make even BETTER things.

I'm always wondering why I make things. What is the reason? What is the point? Why make art? This book dives into all those questions and tries to find an answer. The theory is that the point of making things is to empathize. Not just to sympathize with someone else's situation or condition but to EMPATHIZE. To understand it, fully. To stand in someone's shoes and know how they feel and what they might think. If you can empathize with someone, you will be kinder, more generous and this world will be a better place.

So please, join me in pledging at least $50 to this kickstarter project. If we can get 200 people to do this, we will all be smarter, nicer and happier people. Let's do this thing for Slim. Let's fund his project THIS WEEK and get this book made. If you pledge, please leave a comment and spread the word on your own networks. We can make this happen! I want my book!

Don't just take my word for it: