Music

Amanda Palmer And The Complex Psychology Of (What Really Looked Like) The Perfect Prank

Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer: She is either colluding with Pitchfork to pull a magnificent prank, or...she's not. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption AFP/Getty Images

Update: As explained in the comments, longtime readers of Amanda Palmer's blog had actually already heard of this project, so it apparently is real. You must admit, it's still pretty amazing timing. — Linda Holmes

by Marc Hirsh

In an announcement dated yesterday, indie bellwether Pitchfork reported that Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer will be involved in a high-school production of a play based on In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, the cult-classic Neutral Milk Hotel concept album driven in part by singer Jeff Mangum's fascination with Anne Frank.

(We'll let you digest that.)

Today, of course, is April 1, so it seems from the timing that the whole thing must be a hoax. Lexington High School even seems to have gotten in on it, with a listing on its Fine and Performing Arts Calendar of "Spring Play Performance" on the dates mentioned in the story. It has all the earmarks of a thoroughly planned April Fool's Day joke.

But it may be even better than that.

Tying ourselves into knots, after the jump...

If it's a prank, it's a perfect one, because the story has what all truly inspired April Fool's pranks need: complete and utter plausibility. There's nothing in this story that isn't believable from stem to stern.

Palmer is one of the only rock performers who can force journalists to invoke the name of Bertolt Brecht without simply being pretentious, and the Dresden Dolls have been involved in theatrical performances of A Clockwork Orange and The Onion Cellar. (The latter show was inspired by a section in G??nter Grass's The Tin Drum.)

As for the high-school aspect, Palmer's a Lexington alum and has been plenty involved in their drama department in the past, from bringing her band to their auditorium to bringing the drama club onstage during Dresden Dolls concerts. So the details of this story hold up.

But that's not what makes it a perfect prank. What makes it perfect is the timing. By scheduling this announcement for April 1, Palmer and Pitchfork have maximized the number of people who will refuse to believe it, even if it's true.

If there's no such production underway, some folks will buy it because, well, this would be the sort of thing that Palmer would do. And if the show exists, they've nailed everybody so determined to protect themselves against April Fool's jokes that they've left themselves vulnerable on another flank entirely.

Either way, they win. Happy April Fool's Day, everyone.

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