On Wednesday I hit up Sixth and I for Amanda Palmer’s book tour in support of The Art of Asking, secretly hoping that she’d throw some songs in for good measure amidst all the book talk as I’ve never seen her in concert. She did and what transpired was a joyous evening of music, stories, and surprise guests.
After spilling wine on herself (a common occurrence for anyone who has braved the Sixth and I sippy cups for alcohol) she sang an a cappella song that must be old because it sounded appropriate for a Renaissance Fair. She then busted out her ukulele, instructed the crowd that she was told that profanity was allowed in the synagogue, just no nudity, so we should all feel free to sing along to “Map of Tasmania,” which we did. She would do readings from the book, interspersed with songs relevant to the themes she was discussing, played either on ukulele or piano. Thankfully, she accepted an audience request for “The Bed Song,” a clear highlight of the night.
Thomas Dolby, of “She Blinded Me with Science” fame, joined her on stage for a lengthy discussion of the book and other random things (Palmer once got Dolby’s daughter, a fan, into a 21+ show in San Francisco by telling the venue she was the assistant for the magician who was opening the show. Because of course Palmer would have a magician as an opening act). Dolby is a professor in Baltimore now, go figure, and made for a great interviewer. He joined her on piano for a song before heading back into the crowd.
Palmer did some more readings from the book (all of which were great – I can’t wait to read it) before ending with a multi-song suite culminating with “Ukulele Anthem,” which was a thrill to see live.
It was way more interesting and fun than other book events I’ve been too. At the book signing afterward I was kicking myself for not bringing my ukulele for her to sign. But other than that, it was a pretty perfect night. Check out the book.
I have a copy of Lena Dunham's book but haven't had a chance to read it yet. But I've been following all the brouhaha because it's hard to avoid. FWIW, Cathy Young's article in Reason is the most reasonable thing I've read on the controversy.