You know her from Kickstarter. Her blog. Twitter.

A famous, peppy, thirty-something performer.

Kristen Bell? Well, yes, but no. Especially if you’re watching “Amanda F***ing Palmer on the Rocks,” the latest work from Ondi Timoner, the creative mind behind the feature documentaries “Dig!” (2004), “We Live in Public” (2009), and “Cool It” (2010).

Actually, Bell appears in the video, in passing, and only as a means to explain who the contentious Amanda F*****g Palmer is. Of course, her legions of loving fans know Palmer as a street performer, Ninja Gigster, Internet fanatic, husband of author Neil Gaiman, and lead singer-pianist-composer of the Dresden Dolls, the musical duo (with Brian Viglione) that became a cult phenomenon in the early 2000s for their dramatic punk cabaret performances. If you’re in the dark, her life is all over the web, where her presence became infamous back in April 2012. Raising money to finance a new album, she became the focus of some idiot naysayers after her fundraising effort became Kickstarter’s most successful music project. Which brings me back to Kristen Bell, who gets a supporting shout out from Palmer for that forum’s campaign revolving around her “Veronica Mars” feature.

Timoner does a nice clean edit of the various controversies surrounding Palmer, using nice visual flourishes in-between talking heads, performance snippets, press conferences, backstage interviews, and occasional animations. She covers, as much as you can in 17 minutes, some of Palmer’s other “situations”: When she asked if any of her fans might want to play in her Grand Theft Orchestra as a gesture of appreciation (but some morons spread nasty rumors she did it to not pay her backup band). Or the reactions she received from a poem she wrote regarding the Boston Marathon bomber.

Amanda. She with the strange, penciled-on eyebrows and unusual wardrobe. A fun-loving, very talented spirit. The bare minute at the film’s end, where she performs at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, just shows that it is time to free her from beyond the confines of the small tribute that is “Amanda F***ing Palmer on the Rocks.” Let’s all get on her a*s to give the world a quintessential concert feature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Elias Savada says:

    Review written by Elias Savada.

  2. musicians at work says:

    Labeling people with genuine concerns about exploitation “idiots,” “naysayers,” and “morons” is pretty crappy. Many were very articulate in their comments on Amanda’s blog. For example from Safa Shokrai:

    “You’re missing the point. She is obviously getting paid for her work. She got paid at her concerts, which made it possible for her to do those free gigs. And I do know a little about her, I love her music, her aesthetic, and her performances.
    But the context here is what’s important. Musicians all around the country are struggling to make ends meet with pay scales that haven’t changed since the 1960’s. Musician’s unions are powerless. And more and more often, we see the industry edging out higher paying gigs. My average gig pays $50. Look anywhere and you see the same thing. Our society is teaching us to underpay and undervalue musicians. I can’t count how many times I’ve been offered a gig with no pay and been told “It’ll be great exposure for you!”
    Just like a doctor, lawyer, chef, whatever, musicians spend thousands of hours honing their skills. Arts spending is down, music is free to download/ stream and nobody makes money off records sales anymore (e.g., the record industry’s collapse).
    To have a fellow musician (and a high-profile one at that) not recognize that, not even to offer a token amount of cash, is disappointing at best.”

    Amanda lost a lot of fans over this.

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon