An expert on life and language

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Holton on September 20, 2009
Laurie Anderson (with husband)

Laurie Anderson (with husband)

One of my favorite artists is Laurie Anderson. Many readers here recognize her as an avant-garde, spoken-word, video and performance artist who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, moved to New York in the 1970s and made a splash on the mainstream music scene in the early 1980s with an album called Big Science, which was selected work from her live stage performances and had a breakout single called O Superman. For younger readers who may not know much about her, O Superman is a pretty good introduction. That link is really the closest thing I can find on YouTube that captures the original stage performance. The video and audio are a bit out of sync.

If you’re already familiar with Laurie Anderson, you might care more about what she’s been up to lately. So for fans from way back who want to catch up, here’s a more recent clip of her performing a great piece called Only An Expert just a couple years ago. It’s got some fairly topical stuff in it about WMD blunders, the resulting wars, global warming, etc. Lots of other great work she’s done over the years is available on YouTube just by searching on her name. There are all kinds of mashups and re-mixes of her work that others have ripped off and used for their own videos. Most of them aren’t worth watching.

Anyway, I think she is an artistic genius.  Just look at her eyes. If I had to pick just one expert on Earth for everything I ever might need and as part of the deal all the other experts I didn’t pick would be rendered mute forever, I would go ahead and pull the trigger. I’d say: “Laurie Anderson is my expert.” She’s 62 years old now and is married to some guy named Lou Reed. How did he rate?

Have a great Sunday.


5 Responses

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  1. Michael Blumfield said, on September 20, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Suggested videos for those unfamiliar with Laurie Anderson from the Home of the Brave live album–these are fun and accessible:

    That’s Adrian Belew of Frank Zappa and King Crimson fame on guitar and vocals and Joy Askew, who’s worked with Joe Jackson and Peter Gabriel, on keyboards and vocals

    And here are links to some more recent Laurie Anderson performances with that new husband of hers:

  2. RebelliousRenee said, on September 20, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I’d never heard of Laurie Anderson until reading this blog, Sean. I’ve just spent over an hour lost in utube. She’s amazing!

    I really LOVED “Only An Expert”….

    thanks for the introduction to this brilliant artist…

  3. Michael Blumfield said, on September 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    This link got cut off on my previous post:

    It’s another one with Lou and Laurie. Don’t think it’s by any means the best work either of them have done, but it does show how much they care for one another. Seems like Laurie, a Phi Beta Kappa grad of Barnard, has started paying more attention to her heart than her head in this music. A little sleepy for my taste, but an interesting progression for her as an artist.

  4. Pat & Becky said, on September 20, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    At 62’ish…Lou and Laurie are on the beautiful side of the “new old people”, for sure.
    Not that Lou hasn’t been a complete Hellion @ times (OK…most of the time!)…but there’s a softness and a synergistic effect going on here that kinda makes ya forget a lot of that and just go with the flow they have between themselves today.

    Thanks mucho for sharing!

    P & B

  5. Mary Frances said, on September 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    One of my fave ’80s memories is showing my dad a Laurie Anderson album (yes, album!) jacket, side by side with a Culture Club (Boy George) jacket, and saying, yes, Daddy, THIS is a woman, and THAT is a man! Good times!

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