HELLO MY LOVES:
TL;DR: There’s a triple-hit of videos for you to enjoy…including the LITTLE DOCUMENTARY that we shot the day you voted to Thing this Thing! HEre’s the doco, which is hot off the presses, embedded and here on youtube.
This is the moment where I press the button to make this an official post, even though the official TV video was already released. It made more sense to wait until the documentary was edited and ready.
If you’re new to the patreon: this is how we roll! I took a poll while I was on the set of this TV shoot, and asked the patrons if they minded me charging for this little project, and the vote was overwhelmingly YES, DO IT. And since I had Aura there as an assistant, we decided on the spot to make a little documentary, since we now had the funds to pay them for some editing time! SUCH IS THE MAGIC OF PATRONAGE!!!
Art happens fast.
THE DOCUMENTARY of the filming is FINITO!!
It’s embedded IN THIS POST – and here on youtube….we’re gonna keep this video unlisted for a day or so, it’s all yours.
Do comment, please!
AND IF YOU MISSED IT….
….go see the final ACTUAL product of our filming of “Judy Blume” performed live from the Auckland Library, it came out BEAUTIFULLLLLLLY:
The final cut of the short segment from the show where Sam and I both read advice to our 12 year old selves…..
it’s very silly and short:
And now, the full, very long history…
If you remember, back in 2019, I got an invite to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, so I took my pal, the journalist Laurie Penny…
(photo by Reuters / James Lawler Duggan)
And while I was in DC, I also scored an invite to Samantha Bee’s “Not The White House Correspondents’ Dinner” Dinner…
And I met Samantha Bee…
If you wanna know all about this trip, there’s a pre-trip blog I wrote here:
And I also released a PODCAST (before my “official” podcast launched), where I talked to Laurie Penny and we detailed our entire trip…
it’s basically an audio diary. You can find that here, if you weren’t around when it came out.
Then, a few months back, Samantha Bee came knocking in my inbox.
“Full Frontal”, her network show on TBS in America was putting together an episode about banned books and libraries.
You know me. I have always been a vocal advocate for libraries, and reading….
(photo by Kyle Cassidy)
And Sam – who was already a fan of the song from back in the day (I think she saw me perform it an event in New York) – asked if I would play the song “Judy Blume” for the show.
DO YOU NOT KNOW ABOUT JUDY BLUME?
Lemme tell you.
Many folks of my vintage GREW UP READING HER BOOKS, and not even knowing that they were “controversial”.
I certainly didn’t, I just though they were standard library fare.
I figured it was normal for writers to write about periods (Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret), boobs and body image (Deenie), sex and virginity (Forever…), and nocturnal emissions (Then Again, Maybe I Won’t).
Wasn’t that…like, normal?
OH NO NO.
It turns out, just a few states away from my home state of Massachusetts, things were not so bright if you were a Judy Blume Book.
Judy Blume has a whole section on her site about censorship…. toolkits for schools, advice on what to do if you encounter censorship.
She’s a fucking hero.
And I didn’t know ANY of this until I wrote this song and started googling shit about this author I loved as a kid.
This is also a great article about how Judy Blume has been censored, how she approaches it, what she thinks of it:
Blume has long argued that “censorship grows out of fear….
They want to believe that if their children don’t read about it, their children won’t know about it. And if they don’t know about it, it won’t happen.”
But as she argued at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts in June,
“A lot of people worry much too much about what their children are reading… If a child picks up a book and reads something she has a question about, if she can go to her parents, great. Or else they will read right over it. It won’t mean a thing. They are very good, I think, at monitoring what makes them feel uncomfortable. If something makes them feel uncomfortable they will put it down.
Here I am, with said hero, at a PEN event to fight censorship:
(Look! I still have my weird eyeliner eyebrows. So this was….sometime before Ash was born. I let my eyebrows grow in right before giving birth. It’s like…..BCE, ACE. BC, AD. BA, AA. Before Ash. After Ash. The eyebrows make it easy. I hadn’t through of that back then, but the eyebrows are now a useful dating-tool, like the rings of a tree. There you go. HANDY).
BACK TO TJUDY.
There are SO MANY good Judy Blume books…. her site has them all categorized into age recommendations, but honestly, just pick any of them:
For fun, here are all the books/characters I sing about in the bridge of the song…and the editions I actually owned. I’m crying just looking at them…
(When Deenie was at the school dance, Buddy feeling her up in the locker room….):
(Margaret bored, counting hats in the synagogue….)
(Davey was stirring the tea that she wouldn’t drink….):
(Tony was watching his so-called friend shoplifting….):
(I won’t forget Katherine and Michael going all the way….)
(Steph in the scale in the bathroom alone that day…)
So anyway. Back to the present.
I was game to perform the song for Sam’s show, except… I was in New Zealand.
So I asked if we could hire a film crew, and film it HERE, in Auckland.
Sam Bee’s people said yes…..so we hired a whole film crew to take over Auckland library, after hours! Here we are, setting up….
And here’s my whole blog from the day of the filming:
And HERE’S THE LINK TO THE FINAL PERFORMANCE:
They’re running a fundraiser for RAINN (The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) alongside it, you can donate directly on the youtube page.
And along with the performance of the song, they asked if I would record a funny little segment writing a letter to my 12 year old self…..ARE YOU THERE, AMANDA?, and Sam did the same….
Here’s the link to that on youtube:
And….. since you all agreed to Thing it, I figured as a bonus for the patrons, I’d have Aura film and edit together a little behind the scenes documentary about the day, and that’s what’s embedded at the top of this post.
AND, once again, IT’S HERE:
Here are a few beautiful shots that Aura took of me in the sexy library lighting…
From Hugh, the director:
It’s not often you have an opportunity to focus so singularlyon a performance. Working with Amanda you get pretty used to covering A LOT of action during livestreams over hours with multiple guests and locations, which is great fun in its own right. This, however, was throwing everything we could at 8 minutes and a piano.
A grand piano in a public library, no less.
Amanda’s briefs are prettymuch a producer’s dream “do A, B needs to happen, and everythingelseI trust you.”
Okay – yes there are some curveballs here and there that any patronswho’ve watched the Roundhead livestreams will know about, but they always improvethe final result and honestlyit makes you feel like you’re part of the band anyway.
So it was for this – Amanda knew what she wanted and then left the visuals up to us, with a team led by my friend and long-time go-to DOP Olly Harris.
More than a few times during the evening shoot we wondered:
why the library couldn’t be lit like this all the time?
From Aura, my social media assistant during the day, and editor of the BTS video:
Hello to the patrons!
I feel honored that I got to be in the room, helping share her magic with you and show you the recording process through my eyes. It puts me in a special position where I’m spending quality time with my idol AND getting paid to edit it in iMovie! So thank you! I hope I’ve done it justice and you can feel how special she made me feel 🙂
LONG LIVE JUDY BLUME!
(note from me: you can follow Aura, who’s also a really fabulous writer/creator, on instagram and/or tiktok. they’re pretty amazing in their own right…you can go HERE to see a little clip of them playing a song for me on a patron webcast! https://www.instagram.com/p/CbOzOgbgsQE/
So one last time with feeling again… here are ALL the LINKS:
Judy Blume final performance cut on Full Frontal:
“Letters to Our Teenage Selves” segment:
The patron-funded Behind-The-Scenes video, shot and edited by Aura:
Producer – Hugh Sundae
Production Manager – Tom Anderson
DOP / Camera Operator – Olly Harris
Camera Operators – Jono Drew & Bevan Crothers
Camera Assist – Alex Campbell
Gaffer – Drew Wright
Best Boy – Aitken Lau
Audio – David Wernham
Piano tuner – Jeff Brown & Nancy Howie
Makeup – Shirley Simpson
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
THANK YOU FOR VOTING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN…..
I have a lotta lotta catching up to do, I’m solo with Ash, and school holidays are in two fucking days…..
Wish me fucking luck, yo….
AND THANK YOU, as always, FOR SUPPORTING ALL THIS ART AND MAKING!!!!!
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
1. if you are a patron and new to my work, don’t forget your patronage allows you access to ALL of my patreon releases to date. HERE is the link to download my latest big solo record, “There Will Be No Intermission”, and HERE is a link to download the PDF of the art/essay book that goes with it.
2. if you’re a patron reading this post via an email notification, please click through to comment on this post. at the very least, if you’ve read it, indicate that by using the heart symbol. that’s always nice for me to see, so i know who’s reading.
3. see All the Things (over 150 of them) i’ve made so far on patreon:
4. JOIN THE SHADOWBOX COMMUNITY FORUM, find your people, and discuss everything: https://forum.theshadowbox.net/
5. new to my music and TOTALLY OVERWHELMED? TAKE A WALK THROUGH AMANDALANDA….we made a basic list of my greatest hits n stuff (at least up until a few years ago, this desperately needs updating) on this lovely page: http://amandalanda.amandapalmer.net/
6. general AFP/patreon-related questions? ask away, someone will answer: firstname.lastname@example.org