“Backstabber” sums up the love/hate relationship that the Dolls have maintained with Boston, where success came fast and was followed by the inevitable backlash. “I did hate the idea of people pretending they believe in a music community and having those kinds of resentments,” Palmer acknowledges. But the warm feeling at the Orpheum show suggested that the Dolls have found their comfort zone, as does their upcoming schedule, where they’ll be doing art and rock simultaneously. They’ll be playing Orpheum-sized theaters this summer as Panic at the Disco’s opening act. But they’re planning a separate event in each tour city, holding court at a smaller club and hosting an underground-film showcase. Also in the works is The Onion Cellar, an American Repertory Theatre production slated for December for which Palmer is writing the songs around a text by Jonathan Marc Sherman. It will be the Dolls’ Purple Rain of sorts — a fictionalized version of their history set in a club where fans achieve catharsis by peeling onions and crying. So much for the duo taking themselves too seriously.
Both projects are still being worked out, and Palmer admits that the extras at the Orpheum show weren’t fully organized until a few hours before set time. “It wouldn’t be the Dresden Dolls if it wasn’t the ultimate clusterfuck. That’s going to be happening all of our lives. One of the beautiful things lately is that I almost don’t have to do anything; the show will happen and the tickets will sell. It used to be a great part of my life just to convince people to come see us. Not having to prove ourselves anymore is a glorious feeling.”
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