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Amanda Palmer covers Neutral Milk Hotel
April 26, 2009 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Amanda Palmer, of Dresden Dolls fame, returns to her high school in Lexington, MA to assist with an original, student-written play. Running May 7-9th at Lexington High School, the play, entitled "With The Needle That Sings in Her Heart", is inspired by (and features live music from) Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, and is about "Anne Frank as imagined by an artist, and about how Anne uses her imagination and fantasy-mind to escape the horrors she experiences in a death camp."

Video showing rehersal footage and an interview with Palmer. Seeing an article posted by Pitchfork on April 1, NPR posts about the greatest April Fool's Day joke ever, before realizing that it's actually for real. Neil Gaiman is sad that he's going to miss it.
posted by The Pusher Robot (41 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, very keen! And here I thought Neutral Milk Hotel was something people got into in their exploratory college (radio) years. I'm crossing my fingers for a quality recording to get shared online, somewhere.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:41 PM on April 26, 2009


Hopefully there will be. From Palmer's blog: "for those of you who live far, far, far away, we’re working on finding a crew to film the show so we can post it up when it’s over."
posted by The Pusher Robot at 7:46 PM on April 26, 2009


Geez, I might actually be able to see that.
posted by jessamyn at 7:51 PM on April 26, 2009


That would be MetaFilter's Own™ Amanda Palmer.
posted by hangashore at 7:51 PM on April 26, 2009


I don't see how this could be considered bad news by anyone.

Withhold your snarks, snarkers.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:52 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


No shit, Lexington HS? I've been there for, like, a dozen debate tournaments. I got a trophy on that stage!

Perhaps this is only interesting to me though
posted by danb at 8:07 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gee, maybe I should make the effort to go: one of my college roommates now lives there and has a kid who's a senior at LHS.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:12 PM on April 26, 2009


Also Scott McCloud went to that high school too, didn't he?
posted by jessamyn at 8:31 PM on April 26, 2009


My thoughts upon first hearing a description of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea: "Man, this album has set a high bar for itself. I can't imagine how they could pull something like this off without it dissolving into a soup of bathos."

My thoughts upon first reading the description of this play: "Man, this play has set a high bar for itself. I can't imagine how they could pull something like this off without—wait, this seems familiar."

Good luck, guys. May the spirit of Jeff Mangum be with you.
posted by decagon at 8:37 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Neil GAIMAN showed up? Or was that a little joke, just some guy who happens to look like him? I can't tell from the photo.
posted by HopperFan at 8:40 PM on April 26, 2009


> This is because Amanda Palmer (seen below, in a photograph taken last week probably while she was learning how to fly, by Lindsey Byrnes, girlfriend of Tegan from Tegan and Sara, whose music I really like) is part of the creative team, so I got to stop in and watch a little of the rehearsal, and really wanted to come back and see the whole thing. (Gaiman's blog)

YES HE DID

Fantastic FPP. I'm going to start sharing with everybody I know, and then we'll see who realizes how great this is and then I'll know who my real friends are.
posted by shadytrees at 8:45 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


"'Anne Frank as imagined by an artist, and about how Anne uses her imagination and fantasy-mind to escape the horrors she experiences in a death camp.' "

You know, I doubt Anne Frank did this. Used her imagination to escape the fear of living in hiding, sure. But in the camp? We know she thought both her parents were dead and that because of this she wished to die. And that she did die of typhus, a few days after her sister died of it. and from personal experience, we all know how even minor colds can sap our will and imagination, much less forced labor, chronic malnutrition, and disease.

And while it's a life affirming message that inside our own minds we can overcome any horror, I don't think in general it's true. And to anyone suffering PTSD or the like, it sets up an unrealistic, even cruel expectation: you're still feeling bad, not because of a literal change in your neuronal connections and brain chemistry in response to trauma, but just because you're not using your imagination enough,

I worry that this both rather glibly understates the suffering of Anne Frank and the other victims of the German Holocaust, and underappreciates the real horrors of mental suffering brought on by trauma.

There are real horrors that can't be escaped by imagination; imagination serves to document and memorialize the horror, but does not ameliorate it unless it also spurs us to real action. I worry that well-intended productions like this leave the impression that simply sitting in a theater for an hour or two and empathizing is all we have to do to prevent horror, all we need to do to succor those suffering among us. But while many many people hve said "never again!" -- and meant it, that didn't suffice to prevent what subsequently happened in Yugoslavia or Burundi or The Congo or Liberia.
posted by orthogonality at 8:50 PM on April 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


right. um, i think i need to go and refill my glass...
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:02 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


"fantasy-mind"?

I'd rather just watch Hamlet 2 again.
posted by bardic at 9:30 PM on April 26, 2009


That would be MetaFilter's Own™ Amanda Palmer.

i do not recall this member. they seem to have only made one comment and disappeared. does she like pancakes? what ponies does she demand? maybe one day this amanda palmer, if she is musically inclined, might even feel like posting a fun demo of a song she has been working on for two whole days to mefi music. unless and until she has posted to metafilter more fully, though, i will be unable to have any sort of idea as to who this member is.
posted by the aloha at 9:31 PM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's probably a bit much to say "MetaFilter's Own" (although I wonder what the salad dressing is like). But I think it's cool that we're worth one post by amandapalmer or stevewoz. There are members on this list who are more justifiably called "MetaFilter's Own" if that's what you're after.

As to the prank business, I have no idea why NPR's blogger decided this must be one. The post even speaks to the plausibility and says the high school must be in on it seeing as how it's listed on the events page. If you're already turned on to Amanda Palmer enough to label her (ungrammatically) "one of the only rock performers who can force journalists to invoke the name of Bertolt Brecht without simply being pretentious", how can you possibly suspect this is anything but real? Sheesh. NPR, you know that gullible isn't in the dictionary, right?

You know, I doubt Anne Frank did this.

You may want to give the album a listen. It plays as a dream-novel. There certainly isn't an orthogonal attempt to create a glib "Life is Beautiful" affirmation. Your individual response may vary. Your individual response may, in fact, vary each time you listen.
posted by dhartung at 9:51 PM on April 26, 2009


Sorry. This list.
posted by dhartung at 9:53 PM on April 26, 2009


> i do not recall this member. they seem to have only made one comment and disappeared.

Oh, didn't you know that having a Metafilter account means that everyone else who has one gets equal billing for all of your accomplishments? It's only one step away from using the same DNS server as a famous person--that's when you really hit the high notes.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:15 PM on April 26, 2009


I can't believe I'm not on the famous list. Fuck you guys.

I kid, I kid!
posted by Bageena at 10:41 PM on April 26, 2009


Neil GAIMAN showed up? Or was that a little joke, just some guy who happens to look like him?

I heard a great story from a friend of a friend who lives in Minnesota and who is in to comics: He was in a comics store with a mate of his looking over the racks when a guy comes in who is rocking this ridiculously pretentious Neil Gaiman look. Cue much sniggering until they get a dirty look from the owner of the store, who hisses to them that it IS Neil Gaiman, who happens to live in Minnesota.

This story was told in a bar adjacent to a comics convention, to much hilarity all round.
posted by Artw at 10:46 PM on April 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also Scott McCloud went to that high school too, didn't he?

I went to the same high school as Neil Stephenson, I even had the same English teacher.
posted by delmoi at 11:18 PM on April 26, 2009


What's particularly great is that this High School drama department gets all this attention. Wait, that sounds snarky.

What's particularly great is that this high school alumni comes back to her high school and do this project with the students, a project that is based at least a little bit on the assumption that art is important and matters. An idea woefully lacking in the minds of way way way too many people.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:22 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


This sounds like Hamlet 2: The Pitchfork Remix.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:17 AM on April 27, 2009


It appears that society has finally perfected the anti-success.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:22 AM on April 27, 2009


Because I don't try to keep up with pop culture, but I can't help but see bits and pieces of it in the news, I was expecting to see a bunch of high school girls strutting about in skimpy stuff, and somehow Anne Frank being mixed up in it. Now that I google around, though, I guess that would be the Pussycat Dolls I'm thinking of. Which could also be interesting.
posted by pracowity at 4:38 AM on April 27, 2009


I have a ticket to this! A friend's son is in the cast so I heard about it a couple weeks ago. Imagine going from "Whee, friend's son is in a random high school musical" to "Holy shit, they're playing Neutral Milk Hotel!"
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:54 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


That Famous List makes playing Six Degrees of Astro Zombie too easy.
posted by The Whelk at 6:03 AM on April 27, 2009


Why in the hell didn't anybody do this for my high school drama department? No, we had to have fucking Neil Simon, all day, every day, for fear that the schoolboard would have the show shut down.

/not bitter, really. Just performed Plaza Suite one too many times in the Eighties.
posted by Optamystic at 6:44 AM on April 27, 2009


I really really hope they film it and make it available online. I can't wait.
posted by schyler523 at 7:00 AM on April 27, 2009


The name "Neutral Milk Hotel" sounds so hip that I don't even have the ability to muster the faintest faux hipness -- some way where I could pretend to even have the barest glimmer of coolness in acting like I knew what the hell that was all about.

The fact that this has been around for ten years and I STILL I hadn't heard of it drives this point home even harder.

I'll have to go pick this up an take a listen. Neat post!
posted by cavalier at 9:28 AM on April 27, 2009


Geez, I might actually be able to see that.

It is your duty to see it and tell us all about it.
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on April 27, 2009


Why in the hell didn't anybody do this for my high school drama department?

Why in hell didn't anybody do something like this for THAT high school drama department when I was going to school there? Oh, now I remember - that was during the Johnson* administration, when anything hip was suppressed and punished. I didn't realize how completely everything changed after I left.


*Charles Johnson, that is.
posted by or at 10:22 AM on April 27, 2009


"Now that I google around, though, I guess that would be the Pussycat Dolls I'm thinking of."

Don'tcha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hidden Behind A Bookcase Like Me.
posted by klangklangston at 12:22 PM on April 27, 2009


This is making my "the bassist from Catherine Wheel came to my friend's art opening" / "the bassist from Catherine wheel played some kid we know's talent show" stories look just WEAK now.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:03 PM on April 27, 2009


Don'tcha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hidden Behind A Bookcase Like Me.

Hm, no. I wouldn't have much interest in a girlfriend who was that severely closeted.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:29 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


How many books does a bookcase like you hold?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:48 PM on April 27, 2009


The Pusher Robot: Amanda Palmer... returns to her high school...

Don't do it! God, don't you get it by now?!? BOB IS JUST GONNA KILL YOU!

Agent Cooper came to you in a dream and told you this already, didn't he?
posted by koeselitz at 4:59 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I looOooove yooooUu, JeEEEeesuuUs ChhhhRrriiiiiiiiiiiiiIIiIIiiiiii!!!!iiiiiiiiiiiist.
posted by pokermonk at 6:23 AM on May 8, 2009


The play will be webcast Saturday night at 7:30. Info at this MeTa thread.
posted by schyler523 at 9:12 AM on May 8, 2009


I can't imagine this being any good.

Sorry, GNFTI.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:14 AM on May 8, 2009


Just saw it this afternoon. The Brecht is strong with this one. I think I can't help but compare high school plays with the ones in Rushmore, and this one stacks up pretty well. I do have criticisms, but if you're a fan of NMH the play is definitely worth seeing.
posted by A dead Quaker at 2:31 PM on May 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


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