Friday, September 10, 2010

Laurie Anderson

When I first heard "O Superman" as it was released on a single, I felt shivers up and down my spine. Here was a new voice, a new way of presenting provocative ideas through music and performance! It was exciting.

So when her debut LP, Big Science was released, I was overjoyed to get my reviewer's copy. My review, needless to say, was positive. Not only did I think the LP was fabulous, I now had a crush on Laurie Anderson! I am sure I was only one of many men -- and women -- who nurtured such a crush!

I saw her perform at every opportunity, amazed at the breath of a piece such as United States which indeed seemed to ramble all over the place, and then end with a motif that simply tied the whole sprawling performance together! A true tour de force. I followed her career for the rest of the 80s and into the 90s, but somewhere along the way after that she simply dropped off my radar.

At one time, she was a fairly regular patron at a restaurant I worked at. I remember overhearing her talk about her -- at the time -- new budding relationship with Lou Reed! I was happy to hear that they married a few years back.

But perhaps the biggest impact Laurie Anderson had on my life was when I fell in love with a Laurie Anderson look-a-like! Back in the 80s, there were quite a few of such women in the downtown scene. I remember being at a party, and seeing Laurie Anderson, with her spiky haircut, dressed in her signature white linen baggy jacket and pants standing at the bar. It was an open bar, so my offer to buy her a drink got a wry little smirk. By then I realized my mistake, but this woman was hot none-the-less and willing to hang with me, sharing our stories. We also shared phone numbers when my friend, Rachid walked over and said that we had to go to our next stop of party-crawling!

I cannot mention this woman's name as she was indeed a well-known artist. Our affair did not last long. She had a boyfriend. I was seeing several other women, but the fact that she looked like Laurie Anderson and was a bit over two decades older than I was at the time I found extremely exciting. Through her I got to meet John Cage. When I told him that I had been a fan ever since I found a copy of Variations IV in a cut-out bin at Woolworth's when I was ten years old, he responded with a hearty laugh, "Oh, your poor mother!"

The beginning of the end of our relationship was sparked by a romp on the nude beach out at Jones Beach. A case of crabs, spread to her boyfriend, did not go over very well! But in all this time, I've often thought of her and wondered if she was still active in the art scene. As I prepared to write this, I googled her and found that indeed she is! I am happy to hear it.

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