Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Laurie Anderson!

One of of our (inter)national treasures and artistic luminaries, Laurie Anderson, turns 65 today!

Laurie Anderson is one of the 20th--and 21st--centuries most outstanding talents. Avant garde musician, performance artist, monologuist extraordinaire, raconteur, illustrator, filmmaker, painter, video and film artist, and composer, Anderson has been at the forefront of art performance, creating technologies (along with several instruments like the tape bow violin, the talking stick, and voice filters which she uses extensively in her work) and stunning special effects to help realize her fantastic vision on stage and off. I have had the privilege of seeing Anderson in concert six times over the years (I make a supreme effort to see her whenever she is performing nearby) but the show that has taken on legendary status in my memory is her mind-boggling, epic performance piece, "United States I - IV," performed over the course of two evenings. I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to see parts three and four and will never forget it.

It is hard to find, but if any of my readers come across a copy of her concert film, "Home Of The Brave" from1986, grab it! It features a cameo by legendary beat poet and author William S. Burroughs.

Here is the video for her groundbreaking, chilling, absolutely haunting song, "O Superman."

"O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
Hi. I'm not home right now. But if you want to leave a message,
just start talking at the sound of the tone.
Hello? This is your Mother. Are you there? Are you coming home?
Hello? Is anybody home? Well, you don't know me,
but I know you.
And I've got a message to give to you.
Here come the planes.
So you better get ready. Ready to go. You can come
as you are, but pay as you go. Pay as you go.

And I said: OK. Who is this really? And the voice said:
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They're American planes. Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom
of night shall stay these couriers from the swift
completion of their appointed rounds.

'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justice is gone, there's always force.
And when force is gone, there's always Mom.
Hi Mom!

So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.
In your arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms.
In your electronic arms."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LAURIE! You have enriched the planet and our lives. Thank you!

"If somebody asked me to design a religion
I would make it all about snow.
No good or evil and no suffering.
Just perfect crystals spinning
In ecstasy ecstasy ecstasy ecstasy."
--Laurie Anderson


No comments: