The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in Red Hook, New York, hosted “An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer” on the 6th of April, an event packed with poetry, prose, and musical performance numbers from Gaiman and Palmer alike, frequently in combination. Here are some photos and a few choice quotes from the Q and A session, which Gaiman and Palmer drew from a pool of fan questionnaire sheets left discreetly in the lobby before the performance.
Amanda Palmer (reading):
Goddard- French genius or pretentious twat?
I have a genuine fondness for French New Wave directors. I find the behavior in the films utterly inexplicable. Why does she do that? “Because she’s French”…Why did she just commit suicide? “She’s French?”. If the films are set in an alternative universe in which people behave like the French, I’m good with it.
Neil Gaiman (reading):
What is the greatest thing you have accomplished in your life?
Pass! There isn’t one thing. Getting married to you…What about you?
I’m not sure actually. Well, I have three things. My three kids, getting married to you, which was foolhardy, brazen, but paid off, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, my new novel. I’ve done something shorter and better than pretty much anything I’ve ever done there.
A selection of quotes from Amanda Palmer’s lyrics while performing, several of which come from new songs:
I’m not going to live my life on one side of an ampersand.
You know I ain’t no Juliet.
I would kill to make you feel.
Things turn evil if you forget what they’re for.
The thing about things is that they can start meaning things nobody actually said.
I can carry everything that I need in one collapsing suitcase; I can carry everyone I love in one phone application built to optimize the facetime of my ties I’m bent on making.
A selection of quotes from Neil’s readings and songs, some of which appear online only or in newspapers:
Heaven is not waiting…nor is God as you imagine (“In Relig Oran”).
People always want things (“October Tale”).
Racy titles, lurid covers, disappointingly staid stories (of 1950’s paperbacks, “July Tale”).
I google you. Late at night when everything is through.
I worried I was keeping them alive (of books, “The Man who Forgot Ray Bradbury”).
I think it’s God’s fault. He can’t be expected to remember everything (about forgetting, “The Man who Forgot Ray Bradbury”).
The evening was a marathon event, the first combined performance for the creative couple in this format since the Edinburgh Festival 2012, but an approach that they may be taking up more fully in the future since having an organized performance event gives fans a chance to hear readings and Q and A, not to mention a rock concert to boot, in the relative comfort of a space made to hold several hundred, instead of expecting them to stand in line for hours at less event-specific locations. Curating the party like this, and providing so much content for fans to enjoy, was certainly a success and a multi-media format that other authors, artists, and performers should consider for fan engagement.
Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.