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So the illustrious Mr. Neil Gaiman, author extraordinaire, mentioned me in his recent blog about the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book.

"Anyway, all the material was handed over to some designers, who it turned out hadn't designed books in a while and did a job so bad and so late that when they handed it back, Beth (Amanda's assistant) wound up taking the book and designing it and doing a terrific job, but having to start pretty much from scratch."

I was keeping this under wraps out of... fear I suppose. Everyone knew I was project manager for the book, but when it came down to my designing it, I was afraid of saying too much. That people would know that the man behind the curtain had no idea what he was doing.

I'd done some design work at my old job at The Food Bank For New York City, even co-designing an event journal that was 78 pages long. But to design a fine art book with text by NEIL FREAKIN' GAIMAN? I figured you needed way more skills than I possessed and way more experience than I had.

Fast forward almost three months and the book I designed is being printed.

I worked on this project for nine months. I organized the photos and assisted at shoots and shot and photoshopped and communicated with printers and I laid out all 128 pages of it. There isn't a single element in that book that I didn't plan, tweak or create.

I am so proud of it and so deeply in love with it. This book is incredible and gorgeous and I am so, so honored that when I said, "Amanda, I can do this, let me do this" she said, "Of course you can. Go for it."

The hundreds of hours I spent on this project, the all-nighters, the coffee dates I canceled and the number of times I wanted to pull my hair out and toss the computer out the window... it is all worth it.

Oh, and you can now buy it if you'd like, by clicking here. It has about a dozen stories from Neil, more than about 110 deaths from Amanda, and photos from [ profile] kylecassidy, Gregory Nomoora, Lauren Goldberg, Nicholas Vargelis and yours truly, among others.

My artist photo (as seen on the back dustjacket flap), by KYLE FREAKIN' CASSIDY:

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So. Went to DC and worked the Dolls show at the 9:30 Club. Bought a Bling-Bama shirt on the street (Barak, all in bling, it's amazing and says HOPE on it.)

It was a really beautiful night. I met a musician named Ari Gold who rocked the uke, keyboard, drums AND danced his ass off and was actually a really nice guy backstage too. And then I walked past Grace Potter a bunch of times while she was practicing backstage and every time thought, "Damn, that chick in the boots with the electric guitar is HOT." But we had to leave before her set was done to get the 2AM Chinatown bus back, which ended up not leaving until nearly three but which got us to NYC before 6. Daaaaaaaaaamn.

Highlights of the trip:
- War Pigs (AMAZING)
- An empty Chinatown bus on the way down... because we missed the one we had tickets for.
- Buying the BLING BAMA shirts with Katrina.
- The sense in the air of togetherness.
- Obama on my Metro ticket.
- Ending up at a restaurant in DC, randomly sitting next to the cousin of a girl I know through Amanda.
- Eating lo mein with my hands on the bus ride home.
- This photo:

Oh... and the fact that "President Barack Obama" isn't just a nice idea, but a reality.

So. Got back Wednesday EARLY morning, slept a few hours, worked for the rest of the night. Thursday we shot some material for an electronic press kit (EPK) for Amanda and then Friday we had the What's the Use of Wonderin' shoot.

Video shoots are hard. Crew members and space rentals are expensive, so you try to cram as much as you can into one day.

I've now done.... ten? Ten music videos. Wow. That's what happens when you work for an artist who decides to make a video for EVERY SONG ON THE RECORD. Anyway, every single time, I'm in awe of the quantity and quality of work that gets done in the course of a day.

Yesterday was a strange one... some of our usual crew wasn't there (since we were shooting in NYC) and there were a few new people filling in for them. It also felt exceptionally long, along I suppose it was about the same as all the others.

I did what I do, which is to say I took stills and pinned dresses and went on soda runs and made inappropriate comments to Pope and tried to stay out of the way. We also ran a Party on the Internet ( which was fun but there was really too much chaos. An experiment, we'll know for next time. I really want to do another Party on the Internet like the first one, which was on release night, at the Cloud Club. We drank a bottle of wine and Amanda talked for two hours.

I like video shoots because I feel very useful and I get to use my body in my work. So much of what I do takes place behind a computer screen, I start to feel disconnected. Must get back to doing yoga regularly.

Art. Let's talk about art in this rambly entry.

That is from a short (ten minute) shoot I did with Amanda before the EPK shoot. A friend looked at a larger set (about 20 images) and declared that a few of them were the best photos I'd ever taken. At some point, I'll release them and you'll see.

That's from the What's the Use shoot. I love it and I'm not precisely sure why.

Hillary, the director of photography. One of the things I love about Michael Pope is that he puts women in power. He's smart enough to pick the right ones, too--- Hillary is awesome, as is Bri Olsen, Pope's producer, and Casey Long, art director and reluctant music video star.

This is Casey:

Pope manning the monitor:

This entry has really meandered. So much going on, both within and without. Yesterday was the first day since New Year's that I didn't feel sick. Amazing feeling.

Paparazzi (photo by Bri Olsen):

I everything about that picture. The handsome fellow next to me is Desi and you can see AFP's profile in the shadow on the reflector. Also, BELLY.

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 09:31pm on 18/09/2008 under , , ,
Some of the fans are upset they haven't gotten their pre-ordered signed CDs yet.

The CDs were supposed to arrive in New York from the distributor last Wednesday. This was the absolute earliest the distributor would release them to us, and Amanda's manager Emily had to pull many strings even to get them a little early..

They did not arrive. Then they were supposed to arrive Thursday, so Amanda rearranged her schedule so she could stay in NYC to sign them. Emily was on the phone with the shipping company a dozen times that day, as several "expected delivery times" came and went. I waited at the place they were to arrive for six hours... and they didn't show up. We found out later that the shipping company didn't bother to ring the bell. Great.

Amanda needed to go back to Boston, The CDs arrived the next day and we sent out a plea to get a fan to drive them to Boston. I am so happy we found someone, because I had a very sinking feeling that the solution was going to be "Beth rents a UHaul.". I rarely lose my cool but being behind the wheel of "Americas Moving Adventure" always does the trick.

Once the CDs were safely in Boston, Amanda discovered they had arrived wrapped in plastic, so I convinced two of my friends to come over and unwrap them. It took them four hours and cost Amanda $100 and me countless as-yet-to-be-paid sexual favors.. I still think we got a good deal.

Amanda signed the CDs on Sunday. We packaged them up and a very nice man from DHL came to pick them up. He almost didn't take them because he hadn't been told that each box was 45 lbs and he didn't have a dolly. Luckily Brendon (the TM) and Dave (soundguy) were at the house sorting gear, so they loaded the packages on the truck. Crisis averted.

The first batch of Amanda signed CDs arrived at musictoday on Tuesday. The same morning, the Ben Folds signed CDs arrived at Amanda's house. Tuesday was the release date of the record, so its not like she had anything to do other than sign CDs and eat peanut butter chocolate Kashi bars. Oh, except for phone interviews, a radio appearance, an in-store performance and signing and a webcast. I believe she also

Amanda signed the CDs before she went to the radio station. I packaged them up and shipped them before dashing across town to meet her for the signing. A girl at the post office recognised me (!) and told me she loved the record (!!). I mentioned that there were 250 in this very large package and she eyed me up as if she were deciding if she could take me in a fight for it. Ultimately I must have looked too crazed, and the cds made their way to musictoday.

Today is Thursday. The rest of the CDs to be signed (3,000 more) were supposed to arrive at my house in NYC around 1PM. This means I got up at ass o'clock this morning to hightail it out of Boston to meet them.

They arrived at 6PM. I'm so glad I left Boston five hours early, that really made my day. It also made my day that it was a PALLET of 87 small boxes and the delivery man "doesn't do stairs". I stood on the middle step and he tossed them up to me.

My roommate David is a saint and is helping me unwrap them in exchange for sushi and cash. Amanda will sign them tomorrow and off they will go to musictoday, after I scavenge for boxes to pack them in so we're not paying to overnight 87 boxes.

All this isn't meant to be an elaborate excuse. It sucks that the fans haven't gotten their orders yet. But it is so frustrating to read people's complaints when we are really doing our very best to get the CDs to them under less than ideal conditions.

And we are learning for next time. Next time, we will get the CDs a month in advance if I have to break into the factory and hijack a UHaul to do so.

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 10:40am on 16/09/2008 under ,
On March 2nd I sat on a train and plugged my headphones into my laptop and heard the first few notes of "Runs in the Family."

Even as a Dresden Dolls fan I was surprised. The punk cabaret roots were apparent, but the album had been forged with such an eye to maturity of songwriting and sound. It felt big and special.

I knew, sitting on that train, that everything would work out. Now, six months later, that album is FINALLY on store shelves... with a photo I took on the back.

Please, take some time out of your day to buy this record. Own the first commercially available piece of Beth-art. Help keep me gainfully employed. Embrace (or at least experience) new art.

Go. Go go go.

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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 01:33am on 16/09/2008 under , , ,
Amanda once woke me at dawn. [ profile] kylecassidy was in town and we were going to go out and shoot an early morning light dead photo. On the median strip of a busy highway.

I was still drunk. The night before I'd tried to challenge Kyle drink for drink, not remember that a) he is a man, b) he has a bit more body mass than I do, and c) I'd already drunk a bottle of wine before he even got back to the house.

I puked in the garden. Chelsea, amazing human being that she is, stroked my back and waited to make the inevitable "too drunk to get it up" jokes until I was alive again. I hadn't been that drunk since college.

But there I was, trying to cross a four lane highway so Amanda could strip her clothes off and play dead while Kyle shot from above.

She was cheerful. I was drunk verging on hungover. Kyle leaned on the cement barrier and I was glad I wasn't alone in my early morning misery.

You will not see a photo of Amanda naked and dead on the median strip in the book. We never made it across the highway. After a half hour of trying to time our cross, we gave up and headed back to the Cloud Club. Kyle burrowed into his covers and I snuck back to Steven's living room floor, where Chelsea was still asleep.

Record is out. It's judgement day. I love our team, I love my boss, I love working hard and I love love love this record.

And I love you.

Love (see?),
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My life is about traveling these days. I've logged more hours going from place to place this year than I did in the previous five combined.

Places I've laid my head this year:

Norfolk (and Richmond), VA
Boston, more times than I can count
SF, LA, San Diego, Tempe, Albequerque, Denver, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Houston, Dallas, Austin. On a tour bus.
Pittsburgh (as always)
Rothbury, MI
London, UK

I hope my credit card recovers enough to spring me from the US again before the end of the year.

I am on another bus to Boston. It has become routine. Pack my life into a backpack and go. I went to London with one pair of pants and four shirts...had to sacrifice fashion to fit the computer, camera, video camera, harddrive and sundry cables.

I like the freedom of it all. Moogie asked if I was still planning on visiting this month. I objected to the word "planning" but told her that I had an idea that I would visit, and that I would know for sure when I got on the bus/plane.

I will tire of the travel, I'm sure, long before I log as many miles on the road and nights in stark hotel rooms that Amanda has.

But for now, the hours spent in transit give me time to collect my thoughts.

Album drops in two days. I have this feeling of quiet anticipation, as if this is the guillotine dropping on our former notions of what life is. When it does well--and it's too good not to do well-- things will start to move fast and loud.

I am ready.





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