Several months ago, Amanda Palmer and co-singer/writer Jasmine Power released their quickly assembled song, “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now,” as a visceral artistic response to the sexual assaults being discussed in the news cycle. The profits from the song were donated to #TimesUp.
Then, this past July, a group of women from all walks of life gathered one Sunday in a former Episcopalian rectory in Brooklyn, NY under the direction of choreographer Noemie Lafrance to create an explosive video to accompany the song. The cast, production and set crew were comprised of over 60 women from the New York area working on both sides of the camera. Many of the cast were performers with little or no film or stage experience from Palmer’s extensive internet fanbase.
Today, the music video for “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now” is released. Palmer wanted to release it on October 5 to mark one year to the day since the New York Times exposed Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual harassment.
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR “MR. WEINSTEIN WILL SEE YOU NOW”
“For an entire day, a congregation of women worked together to create a collective battle-cry response to this moment in time,” says Palmer. “Working on this project fundamentally changed me inside. The act of running, sweating, laughing and filming with this group of powerful, determined, and shamelessly naked women was a stark reminder of what we are capable of doing when we join forces, roll up our sleeves, take off our masks, and create.”
Director Noemie Lafrance (who Palmer tapped for this project after seeing her work with fellow songwriter Leslie Feist) says: “How does one talk about rape, or even harder, illustrate it in a music video? It is too painful of a subject, and in many ways a taboo subject. What inspired me about the song is that it dared talking about rape in all of its different shades of grey. There is a line in the song that particularly moved me: ‘…let’s get this over with’ because it explores the fine lines of coercion. I felt that in the context of the Weinstein story it encapsulated the real sadness in this for all parties. I wanted the video to reflect that and be about the sadness, rather than the atrocity.”
Palmer utilized her crowdfunding resources to create both the song and the video: she is supported by over 11,000 people on the newly minted crowdfunding platform patreon.com, where she is paid an average of $3 per patron, per month, to create ambitious, collaborative and eclectic multi-media work.
“The fact that this video was essentially crowdfunded through my patreon is no coincidence,” says Palmer. “Female artists are grabbing back creative control by going straight to the people who want to hear their stories and voices. My old major label would have never, EVER signed onto this idea. I can just imagine going into their offices and saying ‘Hey, I want to make a strange, operatic duet about sexual assault and just release it to the Internet next week, for free to the public. Oh and the video – which will also make no profit and be totally unplayable on most channels because it’ll be nude and graphic – will cost about $40k that you’ll never see again.’ They would have laughed me out of the room.
That is why crowdfunding and patronage are becoming so insanely powerful right now: feminist art and expressions like this are essential, and cannot be about making a profit. We need to be able to create powerful artistic statements without having to appease a toxic and corrosive marketplace.”
Jasmine Power, who co-wrote and sang the song with Palmer (and appears, as Palmer does, as an ensemble player in the video), says: As we directed the chorus members through our song chorus, I felt this overwhelming emotion come over me as I gazed into the eyes of each and every woman singing along. There were moments while watching the monitors where I felt shudders of pain and sparks of excitement run through my entire body. The day felt powerful, dark, fearless and then light when I would respond to a grateful smile of another woman on set, as she would say ‘thank you for writing this’. I hope my children will watch this video one day and be relieved that times have changed.”
Palmer adds, “We rented the space from an Episcopalian church – which felt poetic to me, having been raised as a little choir girl in that lineage. We were worried for a minute that the minister – who was a woman – was about to shut down the production, because she was looking at our outdoor warm-up from across the street and looking concerned. Then she came over to the set, watched what we were filming, and asked if we would please come back to screen the finished video for all the women of her congregation. Women are rising up, everywhere. Change is happening at every level.”