MIssion Creek Festival Goodness, Pt. I
LAURIE ANDERSON: 4/1/2014 @ Englert Theatre (Iowa City, IA)
I first became aware of Laurie Anderson at a young age, thanks to one of my uncles who captured an episode of the cable music video show “Night Flight” on a VHS tape. I believe the theme for the episode was new wave bands (Devo, Talking Heads, B-52’s), but they also made room for broadcasting all eight and a half minutes of Anderson’s “O Superman”. I mostly played that VHS tape over and over to watch the Devo and B-52’s videos, but I did end up seeing “O Superman” enough to work out a short a capella impression of the song for my own personal amusement.
Anderson was in town giving a presentation called “Some of My Projects”, allowing us a glimpse at some of her works in progress. She’s not the most polished speaker, but this is true of a lot of creative people whose brains just don’t work the same way as others. Even so, she’d still hold your attention because you knew the stories were going somewhere and would pay off in the end (usually with “Wow, I’ve never thought of ____ in that way.”). She also revealed herself as having the “artist” mentality in thinking about her finished projects in the terms of “What could I have done better?”, rather than just being able to sit back and enjoy her cool artistic creations.
Those in attendance were fortunate to hear tales of her worldwide adventures as well as a few of her written stories, see some visual sketches and snippets of a video project. Her pieces would often start out humorously and then unexpectedly take a sobering turn to more serious subject matter. I found her presentation inspiring and, judging by the warm reception from the audience, I believe many others did as well.