Aug 21, 2010

Reason #157 Why Laurie Anderson Rocks: Personal Service Announcement Videos

"I made PSA videos in place of a music video. I had finished an album and the record company goes "okay, time to do a music video" and, you know, it's so humiliating, you have to look really good and prance around and lip-synch... it looks so bad and they're so corny. I mean, now there's been some nice music videos but very few of them. It's kinda great to make a tiny visual poem that's based on music. In my opinion, the inventor of this art form is Wim Wenders, because he made the first movies for pieces of music - it's just that song, that short piece of music - and he made a visual thing to it... and then, of course, it became a promo thing for record companies.
Anyway, they asked me to do this music video... and I realized that actually if you're really positive about something, and secure, they'll kinda go along with it. I said "instead of exactly relating to the music, I'm going to make what I call Personal Service Announcements, things that are related to the songs. That's cool, you know."
In the end they had nothing to do with the songs: they were about how much money women make, different things about the national debt... They really hadn't anything to do with them. And none of the music was in it from the record.
However, I was very definite about it, I told them "that will buy great, don't you think?!" People at the record companies don't know what to think... They are super insecure. I think that's why so many people have breakdowns in Hollywood because it's such a woodoo industry... It's different from other things because you don't know why a record or a movie is successful, how much does it have to do with what it is. It's just a craps, you don't really know."

(Laurie Anderson at the Kelly Writers House, 24th of March, 2004,
as loosely captioned from the video of the reading *)

(* the video, in spite of its poor quality, is even more hilarious than this transcript)