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Laurie Anderson: music for dogs and Obama | Music | The Guardian

Nederlands: Laurie Anderson in De Vereeniging ...You’d think there’d be a revolution in every single little town,” Laurie Anderson says. “You can do what? You can arrest people for no reason? And put them away with no notification, and no trial? The best would be a military trial. Why did no one say a thing? Why didn’t artists say anything?”

Anderson – performer, composer, artist and all-round superstar of New York‘s downtown avant garde – has spent decades probing the bizarre customs and rituals of American life. But what has her worked up on this ice-cold New York morning is a specific piece of legislation: the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which Obama signed at the end of 2011. The act gave the president the power to order the military to detain anyone, American or otherwise, without trial, for life. “On the face of it, unconstitutional,” Anderson argues. “That made me crazy. That’s why I wrote Dirtday!”

Dirtday! is the third in a trilogy of solo performances and sees Anderson in a markedly engaged mode. (The title’s exclamation mark is itself very unAndersonian. “I hate titles,” she says.) Alone on stage with her keyboard and electric violin, she muses on the security state and America’s crazy healthcare system, and narrates a trip she took to a tent city in New Jersey, where citizens who have lost their jobs live off the grid. Mixed into that are musings on Darwin and the Catholic church, a tender reflection on the death of her dog Lolabelle, and more than a few corny jokes, delivered with her hypnotic, almost disbelieving pitch. She races through sentences, then holds the last sound in the air, as if she’s examining it: “What-if-they-find-out-there-are-lots-of-planets-just-like-ourssssssss?” Or she switches on a harmoniser, which distorts her voice into a creepy basso profundo: “Another d-a-a-a-y. Another dollar-r-r-r-r.”

via Laurie Anderson: music for dogs and Obama | Music | The Guardian.

This entry was published on February 15, 2013 at 9:56 am. It’s filed under Article, Music Video, Video and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Laurie Anderson: music for dogs and Obama | Music | The Guardian

  1. Pingback: Laurie Anderson: Performance Artist, Personal Hero « Marking Time

  2. Mark Nielsen on said:

    Laurie’s excellent *Homeland* CD came out during the same period as the trilogy that Dirtday! completes, and Homeland explores some of the same themes: economic or foreign policy bait-and-switch, free speech, abuse of power, etc. Always funny, she is — as if showing “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. In fact, she’s been at this since the United Kingdom made “O Superman” a surprise hit in 1981. I recently put a blog post together with a few Laurie Links– interviews mostly. You’ll find it at

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