Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Delusion, by Laurie Anderson at BAM Harvey Theater

Photo credit Lou Reed

Laurie Anderson's newest show, Delusion, debuts in New York City tonight at the BAM Harvey Theater in Brooklyn, and it is running until Oct. 3rd. I wouldn’t miss it.

And since you shouldn’t either, I’m happy to announce that QNY has 2 free tickets to give away to a lucky commenter to this post (details and available dates after the jump).

I've been happy to catch her performances many times over the years, from indoor multi-media computer-tech enhanced events (Calvin Theater, Northampton, MA) to minimalist outdoor collaborations with Tuvan Throat Singers (Prospect Park Bandshell). Why am I a fan? For more than 40 years, Ms. Anderson has channeled her relentless creativity into musical innovation and mixed media performances that prick up our ears, exercise our minds, and both soothe and startle our eyes. She has invented new instruments, collaborated with everyone ever described as avant-garde, influenced everyone else, and is quite likely the first name you’d think of if asked to describe a “Performance Artist”.
Laurie Anderson also completely captivates with her distinctive brand of quietly spoken, matter-of-fact stories, often self accompanied by her MIDI-enhanced violin. With the gentleness of a protective grandmother, she slowly spins poetic yarns that point out the painful and the poignant, the obvious and the absurd of life’s quotidian queerness (in the traditional sense), often with a twenty-first century twilight zone twist that usually packs a sucker-punch wallop or induces head-scratching wonder.

The when & where details:
Delusion by Laurie Anderson at BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St)
Sep 21—25, Sep 28—30, Oct 1 & 2 at 7:30pm
Sep 26 & Oct 3 at 3pm
Tickets start at $20

One of three "Sharkey's Shirts" designed by Tony and presented to me on my 23rd b-day.
(As you can see, it no longer fits; how'd that happen?)

A Laurie Story.

It was 1984, and us third-shift supermarket night-crew shelf stockers were forced to listen to "all Top 40, all the time" before the store closed at 11 PM and after it opened at 8 AM, so we blasted our music as loud as the store PA could handle in the wee hours between. Laurie Anderson was a college radio favorite, even far from the NYC culture vortex, and Mr. Heartbreak had just been released.
Sharkey's Day- what can I say? Hearing that song for the first time was like hearing music for the first time. Every second was packed with intrigue, from the opening owl-like hoot that builds to a stampede of unusual sounds to the closing dog-like wimpers, as Laurie's voice fades away ("on top of old smokey/all covered with snow/that's where I'm gonna/that's where I'm gonna/go").
I just loved it, and found myself reciting the lines (all the time). So I was ecstatic, though not surprised, when Tony designed and had made three t-shirts, each with a different set of lines from the song combined with three photos he had taken of me, and presented them to me on my birthday. I still have two of them, but can't wear either since I no longer have that 23 year old stomach.

Here's the song and video. Two things:
Listening to this on computer speakers does no justice to the sound.
This version is edited and shorter than the album/CD version. Do yourself a favor and get the real one.

I honestly never saw the video till last night when I went searching for it (could not afford cable in the hey-day of MTV). I'm sure it was cutting-edge at the time, but I suggest you just close your eyes, listen closely, and use your imagination for images.

Or, now that I have searched, here is the live version from the 1984 touring production of Home of the Brave, musically different, still aurally intriguing, but visually less dated:

Oh yeah. You who want free tickets! Perhaps you love her as much as me, or perhaps you've never seen her before and this could be your first time. Please leave a comment, and remember to leave your email address in the comment so you can be contacted. Winner will be chosen at random on Monday, September 26, and can choose from the following available dates:

Tues September 28    7:30pm
Wed September 29    7:30pm
Thur September 30    7:30pm


  1. we got our tickets for tuesday's show so don't need to enter the draw but what a great prize!

  2. Laurie Anderson is so sweet, I love this 80's aesthetic and that white suit :)

  3. I was supposed to see her on September 11, 2001 in Chicago. I was too spooked to go. It was the sort of retrospective tour and I'm sure she did O Superman, and have always wondered if there was a collective shudder at the line about the planes.

  4. Love, love, love Laurie. And Lou!

  5. Wait what?? YES PLEASE.

    Daniel Stephen Johnson, all one word, at Gmail.

  6. I last saw Laurie Anderson at The Orpheum Boston in the spring of 1984. I guess it's not too soon...

  7. Laurie, to me was & Will always be a True Original Artists. Ever since I heard O' Superman. I've been a Fan & "Promo Man"

    I've Never even Had the Chance to see her in Concert Ever.
    It Must be time...