The Dresden Dolls Brigade General FAQ
Q: What is the Dresden Dolls Brigade?
A: The Dresden Dolls Brigade is our name for an ever-changing collection of performance artists who are an integral part of our live shows. Theater groups, visual artists, dancers, and all other sorts of off-kilter performing artists are invited to create living theater and art at the various rock clubs and theaters the band inhabits, night after night, around the world. These acts may take place in or outside of the club and may be static or roving. Some acts may take place on stage (either in place of or in addition to the traditional “opening local band”) and on rare occasions may be incorporated into the band’s set itself. Our aim is to make the experience for our audience more fun, authentic, interactive, and surreal. We seek out and encourage the expression of non-traditional arts, hoping the crowd goes home with the feeling of being immersed in a unique atmosphere....walking away feeling like they were a part of our show – not just watching one. We hope our audience will take away with them with a sense of awe and wonder, and the knowledge of artistic possibilities. Most importantly, it’s a wonderful way to give a stage to a local performance artist who might otherwise have no venue in which to showcase his or her unconventional talents.
Q: What kind of stuff does The Brigade do?
A: Brigade members have done everything from setting tables of oddities and art for display, performing characters in the crowd, serenading our waiting-in-line guests with accordions and other devices, creating living statues in or outside the club between acts (we’ve even had DEAD living statues - sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?), setting up typewriters and handing out original limericks to the guests, stilt walking, contortionists, fire breathers, burlesque performers, human marionettes, folding and handing out origami (or Nutella, or keys, or pieces of the puzzle, or doll heads, or flowers, or polished stones, etc), playing saxophone or accordion or the saw in the bathroom, setting up tea parties, lip-sewing, glass walking, light bulb eating, juggling, nail-swallowing, corset piercing, puppet manipulating, bird-watching, interactive body painting, Butoh, dancing, onion-cutting - and the list goes on. There are no limits except for your imagination, and you are always welcome to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
with any questions at all regarding The Brigade and any kind of personal support. See the links at the end of this to find some more great info, as well.
Q: I’ve never performed before, but really want to. Can I just dress up in striped stockings or a Bowler hat and be a part of The Brigade?
A: Well, that’s not really what we’re looking for. Not at all, honestly. Amanda & Brian don’t want to be imitated or copied – that’s not what The Brigade is about. We are trying to provide a forum for new and unique ideas, not encourage Dollmania.
Q: So if I’m an amateur, what do I do?
A: All you need to do is begin. Find something you are interested in. Do some research, look at pictures, start small if you need to, but don’t keep it that way. We want the Brigade to be more than people getting dressed up for a Dresden Dolls show. What we wish for is for you to keep performing, keep practicing, keep polishing it, keep growing – keep learning. We welcome everyone with open arms, but the true and passionate idea behind The Brigade is to have the Dresden Dolls shows act as more of a venue to give those without one a place to find that certain part of themselves – that part that desperately wants to shed the constraints of the drearily commonplace to become something that they already are, but please be aware of this – if you want to take this step, if you want to escape the banal and find a world full of wonder, of beauty, of love and passion, it will take work. Wonderful work, but still....work. Practice and attention and commitment. We will soon provide some links below to show you who are performance art heroes are, start there if nowhere else.
Q: How Did It Start?
A: Amanda and Brian got their start in the performance art circuit of Boston, where Amanda had lots of friends and connections through working as a living statue. Most of the early shows were more similar to old-school salons or vaudeville/variety shows than rock shows. When the dolls started expanding into the rock world, they brought their friends along. The band hadn’t really hit upon the idea of bringing the idea outside of Boston until the Lollapalooza tour. Amanda hatched the idea to make the experience much more than “watching the band play “, and had the go-ahead from Perry Farrell to add a bus of performers. Unfortunately, the entire tour was cancelled, but the band went ahead and organized local performers to meet them at the local clubs during their own smaller tour that summer.
Q: As part of the brigade, what is expected of me?
A: You, our dear beloved friend, will be expected to have as much fun as possible and make it contagious. We want you to give as much of yourself to your performance as you can, and never do anything half-assed. We encourage you to dress distinctly, in whatever fashion you wish, but this sort of goes without saying. But honestly: there are no rules; there is no dress-code other than what your performance calls for. We would love for you to interact with the crowd in some way if possible, but that may not be that works best for your particular gig. We do encourage you to stretch comfort levels and create new ones, while taking care of the audience and the venue.
Q: So, can I be totally obnoxious to people in the audience?
A: Fuck no. We have a great deal of respect for our audience and you should too. That is, ultimately, what this is all about. Your objective may be to make people think and/or feel, but hopefully not at the expense of making them or others uncomfortable. With freedom comes responsibility and if we see anybody patronizing the audience, we’ll be pretty unhappy.
Q: Who’s in charge when I get to the club?
A: We will try our best to have one person from The Brigade act as the general liaison, and this person will be made known to all who contact email@example.com
that they wish to be a part of the Brigade for a particular show. (She simply won’t know you plan to be there, otherwise. Please make certain you ask her!) The Merchandise person and Eric, our tour manager, are usually insanely busy, but if you absolutely NEED to get more information, they will be happy to answer your questions.
Q: Will there be a place to get dressed/warm-up/do make-up? Can I change at the club?
A: Likely, but don’t expect there to be one. Come prepared. Even if it is only a thin hallway, usually we’ll have a place where you can prepare or change, but don’t expect that. Or, you can do as we did for years and get changed in the bathroom! Or even better, set up an impromptu “dressing room” right in the club that the crowd can observe.
Q: What am I expected to bring?
A: Anything that you need. From some sort of pedestal for a living statue (recommended, as many times there isn’t a place in the club to elevate yourself on) to make-up, costumes, safety pins, duct tape, plasma, accessories – simply be prepared. We’ll do our best to find
things for you if you forgot them or didn’t expect to need them, but please remember – we’re pretty busy too.
Q: Can I get a little time on the stage to run through my act?
A: Stage actors and performers are expected to come rehearsed and stage-ready...we can’t guarantee you any run-through time on stage. There may be time between sound check and doors but it’s best not to count on it.
Q: Where do I perform?
A: Depending on what you’re doing, anywhere & everywhere. Before the show, we encourage you to go outdoors and entertain the poor folks waiting in line when possible. We often have living statues performing outdoors and then move inside once the show starts. We also highly encourage the creative use of space: bathrooms, coat rooms, nooks and crannies...every club has them. Just don’t trespass or piss off the bouncers and bartenders. If the entire group for a given city wants to organize a field trip to scope out the club, we can try help you arrange it, depending on the venue. Please do NOT contact the club directly to ask them about brigading—it’s just not cool.
Q: Could I be lit up?
A: If you’re doing a stationary type of performance, we recommend that you supply your own lighting. We’ll try to help you out, but we are usually VERY busy before shows. The best way to light yourself (and lighting is key) is by bringing your own clip-light or equivalent and an extension cord (and some gaffer’s tape, to tape the cord down so nobody trips on it). Talk to the Brigade Co-ordinator and they’ll help you out. One thing that works great (for the semi-mechanically inclined) is taking apart one of those big 6 volt flashlights (with the HUGE batteries) and attaching a wire hanger to the light and using tape or soldering the wires to the contacts on the light and the battery. Use the hanger to either stand the light up below you or even hang if off of yourself somewhere if you wish to be mobile. Small battery powered lights are available at most craft stores, you can use flashlights strapped to your legs with colored cellophane on the lenses – get creative!
Q: Can I watch the Dresden Dolls perform?
A: Absolutely. Of course. Hells yeah. If you wish to grab a stranger and dance, that would be wonderful too. In almost all cases, any performing stops once the dolls take stage and the focus shifts to the band. Once they’re off the stage, you’re welcome to continue and bid farewell and thanks to our guests as they walk out the door – we love that!
Q: What can’t I do?
A: Unfortunately, any inside fire is pretty much always out. Outside can be iffy. (We really wish it weren’t, but clubs are weird about it.) Nudity, check with us. We love it, but there are health codes to conform to. In America, women’s nipples are fine if they are covered with tape or pasties, no exposed genitals at any time for either gender. Other countries may be different. Don’t kick people. Don’t stomp on their toes, unless they ask nicely. If you have questions about something that may ride a fine line, it is much better to ask us first. Please don’t jeopardize our standing with the venue. They always have the final word. Listen to them, and if they ask you not to do something, don’t argue. If you have been told something different by one of us, we’re wrong. We’re sorry.
Q: I’m shy, and don’t have any talent, but I want to be a part of it. Is there something I can do?
A: First of all, we don’t believe that you don’t have any talent. You can dress beautifully and help us set up and decorate the venue, silently pass out flowers or other presents to people .... anything simple like that is totally legit. See the Shadowbox Forum link below and go check that out.....
Q: Is it possible to get on the guest list?
A: Usually. Unless otherwise stated, it’s only when we are headlining. (meaning the main band.) It is the least we can do for you, but also, the most. You will be showered with appreciation and love, and leave at the end of the night feeling that you were a very
important part of something truly amazing. We can only reserve a limited number of unpaid tickets, so the list spots are reserved for the performers who we feel will add to the experience the most. This can be someone trying it out for the first time who has a great idea, or a seasoned professional. It just needs to fit well and really create atmosphere. Because of this it is not really first come first serve, so if you have what you think is the beginning of a great idea, get it past the beginning! The list usually maxes out somewhere between 8 and 13 spots depending on the size of the venue, so if you think you have what it takes, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
with your ideas for your performance & your first and last name.
If we run out of guest spots or we feel that you’re almost there performance-wise, but not quite yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t perform at the show! Please, still come and do your thing. The best way to get better is to keep doing it and keep working on it. Do this, and it improves your chance for making the list next time. You don’t need to be on the list to consider yourself part of The Brigade. We welcome all circus freaks and performers.
Q: If I am on the Brigade guest list, can I bring a +1 friend?
A: Unfortunately no....unless that person is an integral part of your performance (i.e. needs to help get you into costume or is absolutely necessary for what you’re doing).
Q: I am performing – when should I arrive at the venue?
A: We usually ask people to be there 1 hour before the doors open, more if you think you will need it. This gives you time to not only prepare, but to check the place out, and see how you could best utilize it for what you are doing. It will hopefully also give you some time to relax. The Brigade Coordinator will be in touch with you to let you know when exactly to show up.
Q: Will I get to meet/hang out with/do shots with/have intercourse with Amanda or Brian?
A: Well, anything’s possible, isn’t it? The truth of the matter is that Amanda and Brian are usually at the mercy of their touring schedule, which means they’ll be into hanging out one night and ready to fall down exhausted the next. Rest assured that they always want to hang out but sometimes just can’t because they need to wake up early to get to the next gig.
Q: Anything else I can do to help out before the big day rolls around?
A: Yes, please! Help us promote the show by emailing everyone you know, adding the tour dates to your signature, talking the show up wherever you hang out on the interweb, making and handing out flyers, organizing promotional parades, spray painting your house/car/locker/cubicle with tour dates, etc.
Q: I have photos of the Brigade, and I would love to share them. What should I do?
A: Please send them to email@example.com
Q: Do you really love me?
A: YES. We love you dearly.
Here are some helpful links:
The official website – explore it! www.dresdendolls.com
Brigade website – coming soon! http://www.thedirtybusinessbrigade.net/
If you haven’t figured it out by now, firstname.lastname@example.org
is the place to email all questions.