I want to describe Amanda Palmer, half of art-punk cabaret-rock band the Dresden Dolls, in a way that makes her seem like something exotic, but truly, it's hard for me to think of Amanda Palmer as exotic: I know her too well. We've been friends for three years, a couple for nearly two, and engaged to be married for the best part of a year now. In that time I've seen her play gigs of all sizes and all kinds, alone or with bands, playing piano or keyboards and, sometimes, a joke that got so far out of hand it became a Radiohead covers album, the ukulele. I've seen her play grand churches and basement divebars (once on the same night going from chapel to divebar), watched her play a seriously genderbent Emcee in Cabaret and half of the pair of conjoined twin sisters known as Evelyn Evelyn. But I'd never seen the Dresden Dolls.