Amanda Palmer made her mark on the music world as one-half of the self-described "Brechtian punk cabaret" duo the Dresden Dolls. These days, she's working solo, though her music is as theatrical as ever.
Palmer, 35, splits her time between her native Boston and New York: "My place in New York contains a bed, a pile of books, a toothbrush and three bamboo shoots," she said. "It is impossible to do anything there but sleep and exist."
Most of her creating happens in Boston - in an apartment she's lived and worked in for 11 years. Palmer showed us around the place.
"The mess and the creative process are constantly dancing with one another. I definitely find it easier to write when my space is clean, but I don't like sterility. I like my space to feel comfortable but not too clean - messy but not over-cluttered. I'm obviously failing."
"My grandparents back in the day [left], and a shot of me, my dad and Ben Folds recording my last big record together [right]. My dad and I were never very close when I was young, but we're bonding through music as I get older."
"I made and framed this - it's my favorite quote from the Situationist International. ... They promoted passionate living without dead time. I'm a fan of that idea. Living without dead time, to me, says: Do not kill your rare opportunity to breathe and live on this planet."
"Tristan [Allen] is a 17-year-old pianist that I met on the street. He asked if he could play me his music, and I took him home with me. He blew me away, and I produced a record with him in Boston. The Foo Dogs were a gift from his parents, who I'd bonded with instantly upon meeting. His parents lived in Asia when he was small, and his father had brought these back from China long ago. They're traditionally seen outside of Buddhist temples and believed to have protective powers."
'Sandman' by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer were married in early 2010, and we noticed this "Sandman" graphic novel on Palmer's desk. So we asked about it.
"Ha! I am finally reading 'Sandman,'" Palmer said. "Neil and I often talk about how grateful we are that we weren't fans of each other's work before we met. We barely knew each other's work. This meant we could meet ... as people, not as fans or icons."
If you go: Amanda Palmer is at the Bell House Thursday at 8 p.m., $20, 149 Seventh St., Gowanus, 718-643-6510