US musician Laurie Anderson and the Iraq war

This video is called Laurie Anderson‘s Homeland.

From British daily The Guardian:

‘Adults are idiots’

The spiky-haired queen of avant-garde pop has some new targets: advertising, the war on terror – and her own stage sets. Laurie Anderson tells all to John O’Mahony

Monday April 7, 2008

During a recent Boston performance of Laurie Anderson’s new show, Homeland, a rather extraordinary thing happened. Anderson had just launched into a catchy little number about the recruitment practices of the US army and their gory consequences on the battlefields of the Middle East. “Let me blow up your churches, let me blow up your mosques,” she intoned sweetly, against a surging electronic backdrop. “All your government buildings, ’cause I’m a bad guy.”

About halfway through, protests began to ring out across the auditorium, then a conspicuous and well-heeled contingent made a dash for the exits. “I was literally shocked,” says Anderson, back in the sanctuary of her cavernous New York loft overlooking the Hudson. “With everything that’s been going on, it has been impossible to avoid putting politics in this work. On the one hand, I was pleased I was provoking a response. But before I was pleased, I was very surprised. I thought, ‘This is not at all controversial.'”

Perhaps the audience revolt had more to do with Anderson’s current status, achieved over an astonishing four-decades-long career, than with the actual content of Homeland, a 100-minute musical appraisal of everything from the Iraq war to the excesses of billboard advertising, which has its UK premiere at the Barbican at the end of the month.

These days, with million-selling albums and countless tours under her belt, Anderson is often still regarded as the kooky, spiky-haired queen of 1980s pop experimentalism, guaranteed to provide a little social comment but never to spark actual outrage. It’s generally forgotten that she began her career as an avant-garde sculptor and performer in 1970s New York, where mass walkouts were a nightly staple.Among her earliest wild and wacky works are a symphony for car horns and autoparts entitled An Afternoon of Automotive Transmission, and As:If, in which she stood on stage wearing skates frozen into large blocks of ice. …

Anderson, slight and wiry, with her electroshock hairdo seemingly conveying perpetual if pleasant surprise, calls Homeland “one-third political, one-third from an odd dream world, and the rest music”. It is, she says, “inspired by the fact that there is very little information in America: I am very aware that the media has totally failed us. The journalists have become entertainers, so I thought we should take the next step and ask, ‘Why don’t entertainers become journalists?'”

Homeland’s lyrics certainly have the ring of a hard-hitting article. Take the lyrics to Only an Expert: “And if a country tortures people/ And holds citizens without cause or trial and sets up military tribunals/ This is also not a problem/ Unless there’s an expert who says it’s the beginning of a problem.” …

The reality of her upbringing doesn’t seem to have been quite so lyrical, with her mother and father the living embodiment of pushy parents. “I was forced to play the violin. I had a teacher who said, ‘If you don’t put your fingers in the right place, I am going to put nails where they shouldn’t be and you’ll prick yourself.'” At the age of 12, all of these lofty parental ambitions were almost dashed by a serious accident. “I was showing off doing a flip from a high board,” says Anderson, “and I wound up missing the pool and landing on my back. I was paralysed. The doctors said, ‘We’re not sure you are going to walk again.’ That was the first time I realised that adults are idiots.” She took two years to recover, during which time she read the entire works of Jean-Paul Sartre.

1 thought on “US musician Laurie Anderson and the Iraq war

  1. Pingback: Rock musician Lou Reed dies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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