“We will stay crippled in the darkness if we cannot feel compassion for the heart that is the darkest.”
Today's guest is many things. A fiercely independent singer, songwriter and musician. A bestselling author and blogger. A playwright and director. A riveting speaker and a viral TED Talk-er. A crowdfunding mom. An ardent feminist. And a fearless activist.
Living and breathing at the cutting edge of expression in all forms, Amanda Palmer is an iconic, bold and sui generis performer constantly innovating what it means to be an artist in the modern age.
Getting her start as a busking eight-foot bride statue in Harvard Square, she would go on to form one-half of the inventive, punk cabaret act The Dresden Dolls before launching one of the most successful crowd-funded solo careers in music history.
Leaning into her devoted audience to support her seemingly endless fount of creativity, Amanda helped resuscitate the ancient art of artistic patronage, giving us all permission to ask. And more importantly perhaps, the encouragement to receive.
Further to this idea, The Art of Asking, Amanda's sensational 2013 TED Talk, would go on to be viewed over 20 million times and led to her New York Times bestselling memoir, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help*.
Leveraging her legion of 15,000 Patreon supporters, Amanda’s career is wholly devoted to her adoring fans eager to support her creations. Her latest offering, There Will Be No Intermission, is a beautiful, haunting and powerful solo album and world tour that grapples with the very personal and social emotional landscape of abortion, miscarriage and death.
This past May I had the good fortune to witness Amanda's epic 4 1/2 hour show at the Ace Theatre here in LA. I was extremely moved by it. And even more privileged to host this conversation with her the following day.
This is a conversation about what it means to be radically compassionate — open-hearted to even those we deem undeserving — and why humanity depends on empathy for its survival.
It's about the strength that can be gathered when we're courageous enough to be truly vulnerable.
It's about the perniciousness of perfectionism — the true enemy of creative expression.
Why asking help is so hard, but crucial — also welcome.
And some uncomfortable truths about my hero Henry David Thoreau. Hint: it involves donuts.
In the spirit of vulnerability, I'll freely admit I was a bit nervous and intimidated — I mean who wouldn't be?
Nonetheless, it was an honor to spend an hour with one of the great creative voices of our time. I'm delighted to share the experience with you today.
Peace + Plants,
Photos courtesy of Ali Rogers.
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