How Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman became my first live show in Seattle.
Before I moved to Seattle I stayed with my parents for a couple of weeks in October to say my goodbyes to extended family in Pennsylvania. One of those nights I was home alone doing work while toggling through various Dresden Dolls videos. I’m a sucker for piano, and hearing Amanda Palmer on keys eventually had me listening to a couple of my favorite Ben Folds songs. While I’ve been a longtime fan of Ben Folds, I was only just getting into Amanda Palmer. Out of curiosity I Googled to see if the two had ever collaborated. That search led me to the 8in8 project they had just completed with Neil Gaiman and Damian Kulash. To my delight, I learned that Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman were currently on tour, and playing the Moore Theater in Seattle on November 9th. While I knew I’d love Amanda Palmer live, I never dreamed I’d have a chance to see Neil Gaiman to boot! (Who is, coincidentally, hubby to Amanda Palmer. Scandalous!) I immediately posted the 8in8 project to Twitter and declared I’d be at the Moore Theater on November 9th to see the the couple perform. But, I did not buy tickets that night.
Fast forward to my first weekend in Seattle when I was introduced to my friend Joseph, who is also new to Seattle. He and I were discussing writers, music, life in general, etc. when I found myself bringing up the 8in8 project and the fact that Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer were performing soon and I wanted to go. Joseph was interested in tagging along to the show, but a quick online search revealed tickets were sold out. (And they had climbed from $22 to $60+ a ticket anyway.) I shrugged and mumbled something about maybe trying Craigslist later. The night wound down and we drove Joseph home.
The following week, I met up with my friend Tracy, who I know from DC and who had moved to Seattle for a great job he landed with Zaaz. I would be lucky to work at Zaaz, they are a wonderful interactive agency with a rich cultural team environment. So, when Tracy invited me to the Zaaz open house, I eagerly accepted. Of course I’d be there! There was just one thing. The Zaaz open house was Wednesday, Nov 9th, the same evening as the Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman show. Which, as you may recall, I did not have tickets to and the show was sold out. But still, somehow, I was having a hard time letting the idea go.
Sure enough, two days before the show I caught a tweet by Amanda Palmer that The Moore had just released a handful of tickets at the original $22 cost. I sent the link over to Joseph in case he was still interested in going, but mentioned that I wasn’t able to attend due to a conflicting event.
The day of the Zaaz party, Nov. 9th, I woke up not feeling so great. I was super exhausted and rather cranky from some events that had transpired the day before. I tried to nap off some of my crap mood to no avail. I was getting ready to go when I caught another tweet from Amanda Palmer indicating there were STILL tickets to the show that night. The Zaaz party started at 5pm, so I said to myself that if it ended early enough I’d try to make the show. It was decided. Keep in mind, I did not have a ticket, I had not checked to see what time the show started, and I had no idea where the heck the Moore Theater was. I barely knew where the Zaaz party was! But, I had declared it on Twitter, hadn’t I? I had told the universe I would be there. So maybe, just maybe, there was still a way.
The Zaaz agency party was fantastic. As soon as I entered to a live DJ, drinks flowing, and a deliciously catered spread I perked right up. The space had recently been gutted to expose two stories of brick and they had also extended their bar. (Yes, there’s a full bar in the office, which was complete with bartender and beers on tap that night.) Tracy introduced me to his wonderful coworkers and gave me a tour of the Zaaz floors of the Times Square building. The views of the city and space needle were nothing short of amazing and I was able to do some great networking that night.
A little after eight we decided we were done mingling and Tracy had to walk his new pup Kennedy so we gathered our coats to leave. We exited into the crisp fall air and Tracy was looking to put me in a cab when I asked where the Moore Theater was. “It’s right around the corner. I’ll walk you there.” I can’t explain how happy I felt when the venue awning came into view with the names Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer lit up. The show had started at 7:30, it was going on 8:30, and the box office looked closed.
Standing in the doorway of the Moore Theater, I could hear Amanda Palmer’s voice resonating off the walls in the near distance while the doorman explained to me that although the show wasn’t sold out, he could not let me in. I begged, I pleaded, I tried weepy (tipsy) doe eyes, I repeated myself over and over again and got nowhere with this guy. He wasn’t budging. Torture. Why even bother telling me the show isn’t sold out if you aren’t going to let me in?? So close. I was right there. So Tracy and I walked to the corner of the block and I told him I was going to hang outside of The Moore for just like ten minutes and then I promised him I would get a cab. He was asking if I was sure I wanted to be left there, when a couple crossing the street overheard our conversation. The girl asked if we were trying to get in and I said yes. She said, “Here, we are NOT going back in.” and promptly handed over two tickets. TWO TICKETS. I smiled really big, thanked her, laughed, hugged Tracy goodbye, and flew back to the evil doorman and proudly displayed my ticket for scanning. I was in! The poor usher had just started his break and was trying to eat a hot dog! I thanked him profusely for showing me to my seat in the dark. And these seats were good, they were better than good in fact, they were great. I was about 12-15 rows back from the stage, center. I started taking pictures and videotaping and immediately texted Joseph that I had just gotten in for free and had an extra ticket. It turned out that he was only a couple of blocks away, and within 15 minutes he was at The Moore and the same punky little doorman was letting him in to meet me.
I thought maybe if I was lucky I’d catch about an hour of Amanda and Neil. But they continued to perform songs and readings for nearly two hours. I still can’t believe my dumb luck. I can’t believe that Joseph made it out to join me. There were so many great things about the show - how obviously in love Neil and Amanda are, the fact that we got to sing happy birthday to Neil, the guest appearances by Jason Webley and Jonathan Coulton, Neil performing the “I Google You” song which he wrote, Amanda breaking a string during her mighty Ukelele Anthem - every moment was so great. Joseph has some lovely details about the show over on his blog as well. Amanda and Neil were beyond delightful in their humor, their talent, and even in how sweetly vulnerable they seemed on stage. (Apparently Neil Gaiman is still working on getting over stage fright! Imagine that.) It was just a magical evening, and even more magical in the way it so serendipitously came together.
So do me a favor. If there’s something you really, really want because you know it will make you happy, declare it and ask the universe for it. Ask right now. (Maybe tweet it too.)