It’s ready to watch: LUCY LAWLESS interviews NEIL GAIMAN & AMANDA PALMER
TL;DR, the 90-minute film of my interview with Neil and Lucy Lawless is UP on youtube, here: https://youtu.be/EsOIWOwWXbs
Relationships are hard. Hard to navigate, hard to maintain, hard to let go of, hard to start, and sometimes hard to even define.
I happen to be in a relationship with Neil Gaiman, a famous writer-man. We got married and had a kid together. Sometimes I still can’t believe that is the story of my life. And Neil and I are still, to this day, trying to figure out how to best do this thing called relationshipping. We are – like everybody – a living, growing work in progress.
We are stubborn and creative motherfuckers, this man and I. We will never do it by the book. We write the book. Or so….we like to think.
For those of you who have been following my work since 2000, you know that the improvisational exploration of the human heart is my book, my art, my work. I’ve been writing stream-of-consciousness notes on the growth, expansion, and the contraction and explosion of my own little heart since I first started my blog on dresdendolls.com.
Things haven’t changed that much. I’m older and wrinklier, I’ve been through more love- and life-wringers, I’m generally happier and less fraught and more grounded, I’m more aware of how little I know.
I’ve got more perspective. And I still love sharing the conversation of heart and art with you.
These sorts of moments are also WHY I love pastronage so much. In the old days, I would dig into my own pocket to pay for these sorts of impossible-to-monetize-without-a-paywall projects. Now I don’t have to do that; I have you. Thank you.
Greetings from Waiheke Island, where everything is rolling along in its surreal snowball as usual. I’ll tell you more about life, the unexpected turns its taken lately, and where All the Things are at in a few days when I unload the massive monthly Althing into your inboxes.
Meanwhile…I’m thrilled to be posting this Thing today. Not only does it feel like an beautifully-captured moment in time with its wide, beautiful clang of ideas, but it’s also been a while since the team put anything out with a film/visual element. (If you missed them, the last few film offerings were the stream of the new zealand/opera house show and the silly, joyful little “city hall” video from me and my sister Jason Webley).
This latest offering is a 90 minute film – with a beautiful little intro montage – of Lucy Lawless interviewing me & Neil at the AUCKLAND WRITERS FESTIVAL for a crowd of over a thousand people at the AOTEA CENTER….about a week ago.
It’s ready to WATCH, HERE:
….you are free to skip to 1:08:24, where I promise the audience I am not on acid.
THAT’S HOW GOOD IT IS. I FELT LIKE I WAS ON ACID TRYING TO DESCRIBE THE CREATIVE PROCESS AND HOW IT INTERSECTS WITH “REAL” LIFE.
It’s LONG! It’s almost an hour and a half. It may take you a few days, weeks, whatever to watch it. That’s ok. We are all busy. And don’t worry: as soon as you watch it, I’ll also have INTERVIEW #2 to offer next month: my deep-dive discussion with kiwi novelist Catherine Robertson…we filmed that, too, and the team is working on the edit as I type. It was a smaller, more intimate room, and an equally passionate conversation.
I loved both of them for different reasons.
Comment over here on this post if it’s in the next week or so….and also now that if you comment on the youtube clip itself, I’ll be over there reading in perpetuity. Wave your patron flag! YOU GUYS PAID FOR THIS SHIT!!!
I would also LOVE – if and when you do watch this – if you would hit me with some favorite moments/quotes (and include time marker!). Either leave them on the youtube comments, or hit me here in this post. I may use those to pepper social media.
Here’s a still from the video:
Now, the longer story.
Anne from the The Auckland Writers Festival first approached me when Neil and I were first waylaid in the country….March 2020, over a year ago now. I was in no shape to say yes to a commitment – the idea of being in New Zealand in May 2021 was, at the time, laughable and unthinkable. But I told her to stay in touch, of course.
You may know what happened in the interim, but I’ll keep summarizing for those of you who are only walking into this confusing and messy office:
I stayed in New Zealand. I was with Neil and my kid, Ash. We locked down. Neil left New Zealand and it was a terrible moment for many reasons. The media said a lot of horrible things about both of us. I then didn’t see Neil for about nine months. We’d expected that when things blew up and he left New Zealand that we’d soon both head to New York and be re-united to work out whatever shit needed working out.
That didn’t happen. The unfathomable happened: Covid and lockdown and masks hit New York and the states with deadly and unpredictable force and I just kept….staying and staying. Neil was on the other side of the planet trying to get back into New Zealand, a place that wasn’t easy to get into, and once he got permission had to wait until a place came free in managed isolation.
Neil made it back nine months later.
We were both very raw and fragile from the experience, as you can imagine. We felt a lot of gratitude to New Zealand, to the kiwis, and to the haven that I’d been provided, and the relative liberty that the whole family was now able to enjoy.
The writers festival came knocking again. Neil and I talked about it, and decided that the best thing would be to do something together. A talk, together, that would shed some light on the present, and the only question was WHO on earth could mediate a stunt like that.
Enter Lucy Lawless.
We tell the story in the interviews, but in short, Lucy put her hand up to be Mama Bear, and she welcomed first me and Ash, and later Neil, into her house like long-lost family. Who is Lucy Lawless?
WHO IS LUCY LAWLESS??
THIS IS LUCY LAWLESS.
She is Xena, Warrior Princess.
In another life, that is.
Here’s Lucy’s bio, from IMDB:
New Zealand icon Lucy Lawless is most known for her role as “Xena the Warrior Princess”. Lucy is married to producer Rob Tapert (Robert Gerard Tapert) and resides in New Zealand. They have two sons, Julius Robert Bay Tapert and Judah Miro Tapert, who were both born in New Zealand. Lucy also has a daughter, Daisy Lawless, from her first marriage to Garth Lawless.
Lucy was born Lucille Frances Ryan in Mount Albert, Auckland, to Julie, a teacher, and Frank Ryan, a banker and the city’s mayor. She was awarded an Order of Merit in the New Zealand Queen’s Birthday Honor List in June 2004. Lucy, whose role as Xena in “Xena: Warrior Princess” made her a cult television star, has been involved with the Starship Foundation and has held a role on its board of trustees. She was awarded the Order of Merit for services to entertainment and the community.
In 1995, Lucy landed the role of “Xena: Warrior Princess” in the show, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995), in a three-story arc, that led to her own spin-off show, Xena: Warrior Princess (1995), for six seasons.
Whilst she has been primarily known for her role on “Xena: Warrior Princess”, Lucy has also appeared in the classic TV series, Battlestar Galactica (2004), in the semi-regular role of “D’anna Biers”, among her other many and varied roles, including the hit Adam Sandler movie, Bedtime Stories (2008). Lucy was also in several made-for-TV movies including: Locusts (2005) and Vampire Bats (2005). She also lent her voice to the straight-to-video movies: Justice League: The New Frontier (2008) and Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (2008). During 2011, Lucy appeared in the “No Ordinary Family” as the mysterious “Mrs. X” and also appeared in the prequel to Spartacus (2010), Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (2011) and “Spartacus Vengeance” as “Lucretia”.
She played the recurring character of “Diane Lewis” on NBC’s Parks and Recreation (2009), and “Velma Kelly” in the Auckland Theatre Company’s adaptation of “Chicago: The Musical”, the latter from 1-24 November, 2013.
Right now, she’s mostly an working actress from New Zealand currently waylaid in Auckland and living her best life.
She’s currently starring in a TV series called “My Life is Murder”, and *spoiler*, a few weeks ago she invited me to do a cameo on the show.
This is us, after shooting. On the left is Lucy’s make-up artist from “My Life is Murder”, Stefan Knight – who’ll you’ll see in the Writers Festival video. I poached him to do make-up for the gig.
What did we talk about?
You’ll have to go watch.
But….here’s a short list:
Tall poppy syndrome.
Editing one another’s anothers work.
How we take inspiration from one another.
AND MY FAVE
The Artist’s fraught relationship with Truth.
photo by Paul Taylor
We even play our dumb old ukulele song at the top. 🙂
I love this one of Neil…he is giggling.
photos by Marcel Tromploeil
Backstage in the video mission control booth with the film team before the talk….
We had legitimate fun.
photo by Marcel Tromploeil
I wanted to share these photos of the signing, even though it was the next day, mostly because….
He watched us signing (we had our lovely babysitter Naomi with us), came up to me, and announced that he was going to sign, too.
So now many copies of “The Art of Asking” and “The Neil Gaiman Reader” and a few stray ukuleles have now been decorated with ash-drawings of monsters, aliens, submarines, and carnivorous plants.
He gave himself an official title: “Book Decorator”. That’s how he introduced himself to people in line. “Hello. My name is Ash and I am the book decorator.”
(these four photos by me)
We thank you all.
One of our photographers, Marcel, snapped this photo right after we got off stage.
I posted it on instragram and someone commented that we looked like we’d surrendered.
If that’s not the theme of the year.
They just seem a little weird.
But don’t give yourself away.
I love you all, my dear patrons. And again: thank you for giving us the funds to film and capture this moment. It’s the sort of thing I probably would have just done out of pocket, and now I don’t have to, because….PATRONAGE. Hooray
I love you all.
Produced & Edited by Sundae Pictures
Lead artwork graphic design by Cat White at Spellbound
Special thanks to Xan Hamilton for all the herd work backstage and Hugh Sundae.
Thanks to all of Team AFP – Jordan, Michael, Hayley and Alex – for helping to put this one together!
Special thanks to the Auckland Writers Festival
——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: email@example.com