Sep 30, 2010

This Is Delusion.

TAS Interview

During the last couple days, I updated the 'Delusion' review list (see a few posts below) several times. Now here is The Alternative Side's interview with Laurie Anderson on the occasion of the NYC premiere of the performance: on "technology, capitalism, the idle life, dead donkeys and her ailing, but feisty rat terrier Lolabelle who really does play the piano" and a lot more.

Sep 29, 2010

Laurie's Territory

A recent documentary on Laurie Anderson in Portuguese (luckily, the interview is subtitled) - click to the picture to watch the video (it will open in a new window):

Sep 27, 2010

Music to Dance to...

Read Laurie Anderson's words on collaborating with renowned choreographer and dancer Trisha Brown in New York Times' slide show.

Sep 26, 2010

In the Loft

Lou (Reed) and Hal (Willner) talked to Laurie Anderson in 'Lou Reed's New York Shuffle with Hal Willner' on Sirius Radio's Channel 29 ('The Loft') on the 26th of September 2010. Laurie was also a guest DJ, she chose 'Bodies in Motion', 'Only an Expert', 'O Superman' and 'Falling' ("a shortie") to play.

OMG, Lou Reed does love his wife, it was so heartwarming to hear his affectionate words about Laurie. Here is the conversation in one part; songs edited out:

Sep 23, 2010

"Curious Tales and Observations" - the 'Delusion' Review List

Reviews of 'Delusion' at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, NYC (might add more later as they appear):

  • Look Who's Talking - semi-impressed Elisabeth Vincentelli pronouncing 'Delusion' as the mark of "the evolution of Anderson from high-tech musician to high-tech spoken-word artist". Here is another shorter reaction from Elisabeth Vincentelli, calling the performance "a tedious theatrical event" but complimenting on Laurie Anderson being "amazingly ageless".

  • Laurie Anderson's Delusion Continues @ BAM - ardent words by Andrew Frisicano, emphasizing Laurie Anderson's "sonorous voice, and her ability as a monologuist to travel to different places (the moon, Iceland, dreams)". Along with photos by Rahav Segev - like this one:

"In this dream, I'm in a hospital bed"

  • Laurie Anderson's Beautiful Delusion - Judy Berman pondering over the performance that is "more than anything, a meditation on mortality", declaring the show "personal" and "accessible". More photos by Rahav Segev under the article

  • Theater Review: 'Delusion' - Judd Hollander on "sensations [that] allow everyone in the audience to connect with the production on their own personal level"

  • Laurie Anderson Dreams on - VillageVoice author Jacob Gallagher-Ross raving about "the kaleidoscopic projections, the virtuoso musicianship, and Anderson’s koan-like writing"

  • Patrizia Mazzuoccolo (A biatch in the Northern Skywelcomed her "break from the testo-fuelled heavy metal gigs" she usually attends

Sep 22, 2010

Saluting Laurie Anderson

Click here to see more preview stills from Laurie Anderson's 'Delusion' at BAM by Paul Wagtouicz.

"I love pushing buttons."

"Everything I do is a kind-of long last piece in the last forty years."

"As an artist I try to make things that I like and hope that other people will get it. And if they don't, I don't really care, if they do, I'm really happy."
(Laurie Anderson, 2010)

... Just some of Mnemosyne's favourite quotes from an interview of yesterday.

AndrewAndrew SoundSound on East Village Radio talked to Laurie Anderson via phone on the day of the New York City premiere of 'Delusion'.

You can listen to the whole show in one in the archive of the show's audio archive (under the date of September 21, 2010) or just the interview here, edited into two parts:

Sep 21, 2010

Inside John Peel's Record Box

"He gave it a chance for... a lot of people to hear it. And I would never get the chance in the United States. Never."

"It was a kind of national anthem, it was also a kind of weird warped lullaby."

"And to be one of the records in this small box, it makes me so happy, it almost makes me sad."

(Laurie Anderson on 'O Superman' being featured in legendary UK radio DJ John Peel's show in 1981
- as heard on 'John Peel's Record Box', a BBC documentary (2005))

UPDATE: listen to what radio DJ David Jensen, Feargal Sharkey, Laurie Anderson, Sir Elton John and others have to say about 'O Superman's emergence in the UK with the help of John Peel

Sep 20, 2010

Youtube Binge!

"For the last forty years I've been making work [that was] sometimes sort of performances, sometimes sort of intimate, sometimes big sort of things, with lots of projection... made a lot of instruments, musical instruments as well - a wide range of stuff. But based on stories. So, when looking at these works, I looked for something that had a good story."

(YouTube Play jury Laurie Anderson)

Sep 19, 2010

How to Turn Random Goodness into a Blog


now that the posts irreversibly outnumbered the ever possible readers of Files on a String (this is the 100th post on the blog, yay!), the moment of unabashed cult of personality has arrived (at last): here goes Mnemosyne's favourite portrait of Laurie Anderson, taken by Chester Simpson in San Francisco, 1984.

          Thanks for your attention so far.


(P. S.: In case you are new to Files on a String or never clicked to any photo: a bigger version does open in a new window.)

P. P. S.: For more gorgeousness, click to New Fine Art Prints' Laurie Anderson gallery.

Laurie Anderson vs. Big Brother

A not-so-fun fact from Laurie Anderson's college years in Alice Cavanagh's blog.

College of Musical Knowledge, 1984

Listen to an interview from 1984 with an oh-so-young-and-soft-voiced Laurie Anderson, preserved in Alfred Sneider's archive, as part of his radio series called 'College of Musical Knowledge' on WRUV-FM Radio Burlington, Vermont.

Here is the interview in one long part in its original place:

... or chopped, enhanced and edited into more 'edible' parts here, on Files on a String:

  • WRUV interview (1984) - part two (audio length: 4 mins 12 secs, file size: 5.79 MB)
     - being a storyteller / conversational talking as real improvisation / mistakes and their use, e. g. in 'Langue d'amour'

  • WRUV interview (1984) - part six (audio length: 4 mins 36 secs, file size: 6.33 MB)
     - the digital equivalent of the tape-bow violin (United States Tour!) / the colour white

Sep 17, 2010

Concert Photos: Nashville, 2005

'The End of the Moon', November 2005 in the Massey Concert Hall in Nashville, TN, as part of the 'Great Performances at Vanderbilt' series. Photo by John J. Brassil. Click here for more photos of the concert.

Stories and Dreams on WNYC

Laurie Anderson talked to John Schafer on WNYC (New York Public Radio)'s Soundcheck show on September 16th, 2010. In a week 'Delusion' will premiere in New York City, as the highlight of BAM's Next Wave Festival.


- 'Delusion' - how "a series of plays for two people about things you just can't reconcile turned into a three-dimensional movie with stories", "a weird hybrid about things that I don't think I've really understood yet",

- Fenway Bergamot, who is not the voice of authority anymore ("I decided to accept blowhards"). He also performed a renewed / shortened version of 'Mambo and Bling' in the studio - this version might be known as "the Mambo and Bling without mambo and bling",

- 'Only an Expert' - a "pointed commentary on American society",

- the concert for dogs in Sydney, where "thousands of dogs showed up: they brought their people",

- plus a live performance of one of the most unsettling parts of 'Delusion': the movement which, for the sake of simplicity, I will call 'Mother's Death'.

Here is the show in its entirety, as part of the WNYC Soundcheck archive:

Or you can listen to an edited version of the interview here, on Files on a String, along with two live performances:

  • 'Mambo and Bling' on WNYC Soundcheck, 16th of September, 2010 (audio length: 5 mins 16 secs, file size: 7.24 MB)

  • 'Mother's Death' (excerpt from 'Delusion') on WNYC Soundcheck, 16th of September, 2010 (audio length: 3 mins 25 secs, file size: 4.69 MB)

Sep 14, 2010

A Review Candy

... a short but brilliant one: Greil Marcus featuring his review of 'Homeland' at the first place in his monthly column Real Life Rock Top Ten in the September 2010 issue of The Believer Magazine. The review focuses especially on an "unexpected pop song" ('Only an Expert') and the "soft-spoken jeremiad" called 'Another Day in America'.

(The only thing Mnemosyne begs to differ with Greil Marcus' article is that, in her humble opinion, 'The Ugly One...' Laurie Anderson's voice is one big raised eyebrow: just think of the pinpoint portrait of 'The Salesman' or her adventures in Israel and at various airport security checkpoints around Europe during the Gulf War in 'The Cultural Ambassador' - just to mention only the pieces that featured the Voice of Authority. However, all in all, she thinks it's pretty pointless to highlight any particular track of the album.)

Sep 13, 2010

Her Majesty

Laurie Anderson as Queen Mermaid, Coney Island, 2010.

Original: Flickr

Sep 12, 2010

Lunch Talk with Laurie Anderson in Uppsala

"The lunch talk with Laurie was really fun, I'm glad I went! She was talking about Fenway Bergamot, the advantages of having an alter-ego, about her little clone, the first time she used the voice of authority (the Nova Convention, William Burroughs' festival - when people were expecting Keith Richards to the stage but he didn't come so she (Laurie) had to announce other performers whom the audience didn't want to hear)... and she had this advice for beginner artists that one doesn't have to stick to a single artistic field (music/painting/etc), it's useful to say "multimedia" instead, and not having strict shape of planning at the start of one's career, so you can go into any direction from there... Western beauty = symmetry, Eastern beauty = opposites and contrasts... personality design problems... taboos... being grateful at 62 and still doing what she does... and that she counted that she had 20 years of sleeping in her lifetime so far... the use of dreams... sudden infant death syndrome (when little babies dream about being back in the mother's womb where they hadn't had to respire and they stop to breathe and they die)... the 10,000-year-long timeline plan at NASA, regarding the greening of Mars... her being an artist-in-residence at NASA... watching the Martian landing... Japanese gardens where she wanted to implement tapes of the Martian landing among the sights of the garden... and yes, about the moment when John Kerry lost the election against Bush (when they were asked a simple question: "do you love your wife?" - and Kerry didn't say what people wanted to hear)...
And there was this bunch of people around me who understood every word that Laurie was saying and had a great time listening to her - that's a unique experience for me"

(Mnemosyne's letter to a friend after going to Laurie Anderson's Lunch Talk
in Uppsala, Sweden, April 2010)

By clicking to the pictures below, you can watch the Lunch Talk with Laurie Anderson in Uppsala, April 2010, recorded by a webcam (hence the low quality), cut into two parts.

Part one (video length: 45 mins):

Part two (video length: 12 mins 47 secs):

Sep 10, 2010

Just hit slash slash dotcom... - Part Three

This is the last third of the list of URL-s from Laurie Anderson's Nerve Bible Tour in 1995, originally typed in by Alan Lasky, updated by Mnemosyne in 2010.

25. Some Things Are Just Pictures Never Change, Part Two
Working and fine in 2010, this website has been intact since, hm, 1997?

26. Wish You Were Here
  • -- An html guide ( )
  • Honolulu Community College Movies
This is what Honolulu Community College's startpage used to look like back in 1999.

27. "Comics for the hardcore geek"
  • -- Stafford Huyler's NetBoy )
Supposedly one of the very first webcomics, NetBoy has been online since 1994. NetBoy is a stick figure and, according to Wikipedia, an "Internet innocent with his greatest joy in life being fast .GIFs".

28. The World Where Magic Returned to
  • -- ShadowRun on the World Wide Web
Embarrassing or not, Mnemosyne needed to look up ShadowRun in Wikipedia. The original website of this role-playing game is no longer available even in Teh Internet Archive. Here is the current official ShadowRun website (as of 2010).

29. Fine Art Forum at MSU
  • Fine Art Forum Home Page
The current website of Fine Art Forum at Mississippi State University can be found here in 2010.

30. Mother of Interactive Web Browsers
  • An index of Mosaic sites
One of the very first graphical web browsers, Mosaic used to rule the Internet world between 1993 and 1997. This ancestor of numerous notable characteristics of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox was developed by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois.

31. Earth Observation from Above
Defense Meteorological Satellite Program "designs, builds, launches, and maintains satellites monitoring the meteorological, oceanographic, and solar-terrestrial physics environments". Under the "Items of Interest" menu, you can see, for example, imagery of a lunar eclipse from satellite altitude, or a 'night map' of power outages caused by Hurricane Katrina, and many more.

32. World-Class Online Experience of...?
Err, Chuck Norris campaigning for US citizens' participation in the next elections, so as they elect legislators who support gun license? Did the creators of the advertisement forget that it's the guns that need a license to get held by Chuck Norris and not the opposite?

33. Where Discoveries Begin
National Science Foundation is "a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering". (source: Wikipedia)

34. An Alternative Way of Searching
  • -- ArchiePlexForm ( )
  • -- Newsgroups available onthe WWW
Unfortunately none of the URL-s above work anymore. According to this website, "Archie is a tool used to search FTP sites for particular software or filenames that will also search for keywords within filenames. Archie indexes millions of files from FTP sites worldwide".

35. Networked Resources on Art and Architecture
ArtSource is an exquisite selection of all kinds of resources on art and architecture: exhibitions, image collections, museums, libraries, and many, many more.

36. The First Home
  • --VOYAGER Home Page ( )
Last, but not least, the website which used to be the incubator of Laurie Anderson's first home page and last interactive online experiment, the Green Room (slightly working within Teh Internet Archive, unfortunately). They also featured the Puppet Motel CD-ROM on their website (the page has been luckily preserved for posterity).

Just hit slash slash dotcom... - Part Two

Here is the second third of the URL list that was featured on the Nerve Bible Tour's T-shirt in 1995, preserved for posterity by Alan Lasky, updated by Mnemosyne in 2010.

13. Emerging Gigabits
  • -- Telecommunications page ( )
This is the archived start page of the Advanced Telecommunications Program (ATP).

14. Very Human...
  • -- The Internet with a Human Face
I had no luck with this URL, all I could find was a telling description of the website on "billing itself both as the Internet with Attitude and the Internet with a Human Face, this site is primarily promo pages for the print magazine. There is a brief synopsis of each of their issues, along with one article from each. Lots of info about ordering various things is available, however. The schitzophrenia of their Internet mission is reflected by their refusal to replicate their content online. Some people are still desparately clinging to copyright, or something, I guess."

15. Scientific Visualization Going Online
  • XMorphia
Hail to Teh Internet Archive: the website on the Morphogenesis from a Reaction-Diffusion System is available again, along with the links to images and videos that demonstrate the process of morphogenesis.

16. The World's Most Exciting Electronic Exposition
The "World's most exciting electronic exposition" is still can be visited for free on the link provided by Alan Lasky. In fact it is an extensive information source on topics like the Vatican Library, hitherto highly secret internal documents from the Soviet Communist era, the conquest of America, the Dead See scrolls, paleontology and the palace of Diocletian at Split (Croatia).

17. Stories As You Like Them
  • -- How to write "tree fiction"
 The Wayback Machine takes us back into 1994: an essay on "tree literature" by Gareth Rees. Not sure what "tree fiction" means? Perhaps this one will ring a bell: Wikipedia's entry on Gamebooks.

18. "The Truth IS out There!"
  • -- The Right Side of the Web ( )
I managed to dig out the original website with the help of the Wayback Machine: Conservative Site of the Year 1996.

19. Oliver A. McBryan's Navigational Aid
  • -- The World Wide Web Worm ( )
Best Navigational Aid of the Year 1994, "serving 3,000,000 URL's to 2,000,000 folks/month".

20. CTR at CU
  • WWW Home Page at the CTR
Website for the Center for Telecommunications Research at Columbia University, as Teh Internet Archive preserved it from 1997.

21. Some Things Never Change
 Wow, the same URL is in use since 1995!

22. When Live Multimedia Was the Future of the Internet
  • -- MBONE Information Web ( )
"Short for Multicast Backbone on the Internet, MBone is an extension to the Internet to support IP multicasting -- two-way transmission of data between multiple sites." Mbone was an experiment starting in the early 1990s "to upgrade the Internet to handle live multimedia messages".

23. "A Rapidly Growing Company with Many Challenging Full-Time Positions Opening Every Week". Serious!
  • -- MPEG Technical Info
According to the archived original website from 1997, Enterprise Integration Technologies (EIT) "develops and markets software products and services that enable e-commerce on the Internet". Their information page on MPEG is unfortunately no longer available, not even in teh Internet Archive.

24. Electric Press, RIP
  • -- Overview of Electric Press, Inc. ( )
 According to the Free Online Library, Electric Press, Inc. used to be "the premier provider of World Wide Web services" as of 1995. No further clues-- Alan Lasky's URL links to a Dutch company selling cleaning systems.

(one more post to go)

Lolabelle goes solo

Left paw, right paw, treat? Sit. Right paw. Woof! Alright. Woof! Right paw. Treat? No. Let's try it one octave lower... Two octaves. Treat, pretty please?

Sit. Left paw. Can't feel the vibe. Now... yeah, that's better. Woof! Treat? No? Ok, now change the chord. Dominant note. Let's descend to D minor. Woof!

Sep 9, 2010

Just hit slash slash dotcom... - Part One

Hit return, hold down the option key, shift three times, slash, slash, dot com, blue blue sky. H-A-W-A-I-I dot com.
One world, one operating system.
And there you are, in the middle of the blue Pacific.
Four. Three. Two. One. Zero.
(As heard on the 'Songs and Stories from the Nerve Bible' video by Laurie Anderson)

I decided not to let Alan Lasky's priceless contribution to the Laurie Anderson / World Wide Web history vanish into oblivion. He is the guy who was committed (or crazy) enough to type in all the URL-s that he'd found on his Nerve Bible Tour memorabilia t-shirt, and updated the list around, hm, 2000-ish.

("So think of the potential."
Laurie Anderson, Nerve Bible Tour, Budapest, 1995)

When the original URL still works, it is a hyperlink. When I had to substitute a current URL, it appears in parenthesis after the name, and is a hyperlink. If nothing is linked,no current URL could be found.
(Alan Lasky on his website) 

Now it's time for another revisit of the URL-s, this time with a little help from Teh Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. What I contributed to the list is some actualized / dug-out-from-the-internet-archive URL-s (if necessary), plus some basic information on the websites' subjects (if I thought it would fit). I removed all direct links that are no longer working.

Since the list is epic, I'm going to divide it into three parts.

1. Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum's 'original' webpage cannot be found in the Internet Archive. The Wayback Machine though features a database / file list of the root of the website ( from 1997 but without any index.html, which means the domain might not have been working anymore in 1997. Alan's contribution (the new Louvre URL) is working fine.

2. Brooder of Banner Ads
  • -- Global Network Navigator Home Page -- The Whole Internet Catalog
According to Wikipedia, "Global Network Navigator was the first commercial web publication and the first web site to offer clickable advertisements, now commonly referred to as "banner ads"." In 1996,'s archived index site did feature a Whole Internet Catalog (wow!) in its top menu, and it linked to the AOL website.

3. Putting the MOCK in Democracy
American political satire group The Capitol Steps was formed in the Reagan era and they are still working and active with more than 25 members. They update their website weekly with new material (see Alan's URL).

4. Mobile Manipulators and Integrated Bimanual Humanoids
Here is what the Wayback Machine preserved of the original website. Not much change in design since 1997.

5. All Kinds of Cool Sh*t
Another piece of history: links to all kinds of Cool Sh*t on a personal website - from a period when one single website covered the whole, for example, beer scene on the Net.

6. All Aspects of Cinema and New Media
  • -- CinemaSpace titlepage ( )
The domain is named after German antiwar writer Erich Maria Remarque, 'xcohen' is Alexander J. Cohen, the original URL links to his home page from 1996.

7. Collision in Outer Space
  • Comet P-Shoemaker-Levy 9 Impact Home Page
The original website (as preserved by the Wayback Machine) documented the collision of a comet and the planet Jupiter in 1994 with lots of photos.

8. Virtual Observatory
The Internet's Virtual Telescope ("Virtual Observatory on the Net generating images of any part of the sky at wavelengths in all regimes from Radio to Gamma-Ray") is fine and working as of 2010, actually it has recently endured a temporary breakdown due to heavy usage.

9. "We thought people would like it."
  • -- Images from the WideField and Planetary Camera 2 ( )
The WideField and Planetary Camera 2 was Hubble Telescope's main camera between 1993 and 2002, responsible for such famous Disney-like pictures like Embryonic Stars Emerge from Interstellar "Eggs" or The Ring Nebula (M57).

10. For Your Internet Music Needs
  • -- Internet Underground Music Archive ( )
Sadly, all that remained to posterity is this archived page by the Wayback Machine of "the Net's first, free hi-fi music archive" from Xmas 1996.

11. Experimenting with Video Processing Filters
The original website can be seen here (via Teh Internet Archive). Ironically, the page that the actual URL links to used to be hosting a copy of the US Tax Code for a while. The next two links in the list still have some additional info on the subject.

12. Web Robots 101
  • -- World Wide Web Robots
Yay, Wayback Machine rules again! A vintage website for all things web robots, web wanderers, crawlers, spiders - whatever you call them.

(to be continued)

Sep 5, 2010

Both Sides Now: Delusion (P)reviews

Preparing for this year's BAM Next Wave Festival's highlight, Laurie Anderson's 'Delusion'? Annoyed to not be able to attend the shows to come but still interested? Here are some relevant opinions for you (one positive and one negative, for the sake of - just to get it, you know, right):

  • Ms. Heartbreak: an in-depth review of the Berkeley performance by Sam Hurwitt.

Concert Photos: United States Live in NYC, May 1984

For more vintage photos by Anthea Sims (Simms?) from the Beacon Theater (NYC), May 1984 along with a Greek article on Laurie Anderson, click here. (Or here is a little help from Google Translator.)

Sep 4, 2010

Concert Photos: Old Knit Benefit, March 2007

For more photos by Deirdre McGaw from the Old Knit Benefit at Town Hall, NYC, March 2007, click here.

Those Were the Days

Here's the transcript of Silicon Valley Radio's interview from the heyday of the internet when a webradio station's netcast was a unique experience accessible for more or less a handful of geeks only, and Laurie Anderson was literally one of "the Internet's most important personalities and newsmakers". The interview touches on subjects like Laurie's hobbies from childhood and recent days alike (kinda moving backwards on the evolution scale, ha), the children's book she wrote while in college, what kind of impact she and her boyfriend Lou Reed were having on each other's art; how boredom, a Japanese puppeteer in Munich and Laurie's trademark hairdo relate, and so on.

Fun facts proving how we all change through the years: at the time of the interview (cca. 1997) Laurie Anderson was still fond of the internet*, and averse to Broadway musicals.

I even managed to dig out the (quite poor quality) audio of the interview from Teh Internet Archive - do I need to explain further the awesomeness of the Wayback Machine?

* An addition that might throw a new light upon Laurie's initial enthusiasm: at that time, the majority of the Internet was being composed of cultural centers' and universities' websites - as this list shows it, too... (Yes, once there existed a concert-goer (a fan maybe) who took the effort to type in all the URL-s that were featured on the Nerve Bible show's official tour T-shirt. Wow. Alan Lasky, if you might lurk somewhere nearby: you rule.)

Sep 3, 2010

Transparent feline people with beaks on a slow night!?

Seattle it blinks. S-e-a-t-t-l-e it spells out letter by letter in hot pink followed by a brown glow, a fade and three more blinks. What kind of towns have signs like this I thought. This can't really be Seattle can it? Then again I've met a few people from out there; nerds who are always fooling around with their computers. I wouldn't be surprised if this is just another one of their elaborate holiday pranks.

Suddenly the train jerked back into motion and the conductor swung up from the platform and waddled down the aisle. Trailing after him were four people I can only describe as transparent. Must have gotten on in "Seattle" or wherever we are.

"Hey! You! Conductor!" I called out as he brushed past, "What town is this?"

He turned his head quickly. The motion jerked the eye holes in his black cat mask around to the back of his head making him look for a moment like a man with a shapeless black bag on his head, like a condemned man.

"Have a seat," I said, sort of on impulse. He realigned his eye holes and stared down at me, his coal black eyes flickering. After a pause he sat down, sweeping his tail across his lap in a graceful feline motion.

"I'm not really supposed to sit down on the job," he said, "Keep movin' is the idea. But, hey, I'll tell you. It's a pretty slow night." There was silence for a while as the train rumbled along. "So, what's your line of work?" he said, eyeing the packages that were now moving around on the seat.

"Salesman," I said. "Chicken salesman."

One of the boxes started to shake and the head of a snake shot out of the top of one of them. I clapped the head back in but the conductor or cat or whatever he was didn't seem to notice.

"What outfit you with?" he asked fiddling with the safety pin on his tail.

"Small outfit. You probably haven't heard of it. Part of the ALBC." His ears perked up at that so I decided to fill him in.

"Let me put it this way. We've been recognized by the ALBC for preserving vanishing livestock breeds. Now when I say vanishing I don't mean endangered species. What I mean here by vanishing here is poof... as in gone... as in now you see 'em now you don't. That's the kind of thing we do. Ever seen a chicken vanish?"

Suddenly all the people with beaks twisted their heads out into the aisle, clacking their beaks and shrieking. I watched them twitching and screaming. Must have touched some kind of nerve.

When I looked back, the conductor was gone. But the cat suit was still sitting there. Same position. Tail across its lap. Empty. It flicked its whiskers, opened its cloth mouth and screamed, "OXYDIZE THE GARGOYLES."

This is the segment written by Laurie Anderson for NPR's Halloween pass-it-on story from 1996. 'Commentator Spooky Story' is available in NPR's archive, and whole script can be still read in the Teh Internet Archive, yay!

Listen to her part only, edited out from the whole show:

Sep 2, 2010

Neither snow nor rain nor gloom

... but this exquisite 'scribble' by graphic designer Jonathan Topf (click to the picture to get it in its appropriate, huge size):

Random Goodness from Umeå

"I try to train myself to pull away from the screen and make sure that I stay in the real world."
(Laurie Anderson on her relation to the internet) 

Here's a short interview segment from Sveriges Radio (Swedish Radio), made around the time of Laurie's Umeå performance in May 2009: on festivals and their social aspects, experimenting and the ocean of sounds we live in. To shape the original into Mnemosyne-compatible, I cut out the non-English parts:

('Burning Leaves' in Umeå. Photo by Sara Lindquist
More photos from the concert:

Sep 1, 2010

Big Science - to remind us of our insignificant size

Coo coo coo it's cold outside.
Coo coo coo it's cold outside.
Ooo coo coo. Don't forget your mittens.

And so, because it was spring,
and because I had avoided it for so long,
I set off, lowering myself into a hole
and then out onto the wide plain.
A sky full of autumn.
And everything shaking, long blue shadows.

I carry a photograph of a city.
A car comes driving out of a film,
headlights blinking and goes right past.
Hello. Excuse me. Can you tell me where I am?

Hey Pal! How do I get to town from here?
And he said: Well just take a right where they're going to build that new shopping mall,
go straight past where they're going to put in the freeway,
take a left at what's going to be the new sports center,
and keep going until you hit the place where they're thinking of building that drive-in bank.
You can't miss it.
And I said: This must be the place.

Ooo coo coo. Golden cities. Golden towns.
Golden cities. Golden towns.
And long cars in long lines and great big signs
and they all say:
Hallelujah. Yodellayheehoo.
Every man for himself.

Ooo coo coo. Golden cities. Golden towns.
Thanks for the ride.

Big Science. Hallelujah.
Big Science. Yodellayheehoo.

It was such a huge hole, right in the middle of the city.
And so the architects were summoned.
"How about a hill of beans?", says one.
"No, how about something very tall?
Very large number and terrific height that will stagger the senses.
Maybe impersonating people."
"What about a slab of cheese?", says the other.
"Something pure, organic. Something everyone will like".
"Well, a slab of cheese, or a donut.
Something with thoughts of happier times.
Don’t make it look abandoned.
Or like it’s been irradiated.
Another large and noble empty plaza to remind us of our insignificant size."

"How about a fancy banister?
One that goes all the way to Mars?
Or one made of teardrops and spilled ink?"

You know, I think we should put some mountains here.
Otherwise, what are all the characters going to fall off of?
And what about stairs?

Yodellayheehoo. Ooo coo coo.

Here's a man who lives a life of danger.
Everywhere he goes, he stays - a stranger.
Howdy stranger. Mind if I smoke?
And he said: Every man, every man for himself.
Every man, every man for himself.
All in favor say aye.

"Now Winnie, we've got unfinished business, you all know what it is I bet"
So who the hell or what, I said to myself.
Let's look at whose fault this actually was.
Let's throw in the towel, shall we.
Let's look at whose fault it was and assign it right now.
All we're talking about gold and winners -
Let's talk about who the losers are.

Big Science. Hallelujah.
Big Science. Yodellayheehoo.

Hey Professor! Could you turn out the lights?
Let's roll the film.

I smelled a certain something.
I smiled.
Play it one frame at a time, I said.
Let's go back and play it one frame at a time.

Big Science. Hallelujah.
Every man, every man for himself.
Big Science. Hallelujah.

('Big Science' lyrics by Laurie Anderson (1980?))

(fragments of 'The End of the Moon', lyrics by Laurie Anderson (2004))

The pictures are screengrabs from a delicate short film called 'Life on a String', composed onto the music of the Laurie Anderson album with the same title, directed by Steven Lippman.