Friday, February 7, 2014

For Real Toads: Laurie Anderson

Over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, my friend Marian introduced us to Laurie Anderson, the only person I've heard of (in my limited experience) who was ever artist-in-residence at NASA. 
According to the timeline in Wikipedia, Laurie dated the late Lou Reed for 16 years and then was married to him from 2008 until his death in 2013. Married late and widowed all too soon.

Laurie and Lou in the year before he died

Laurie Anderson performing "Homeland" in Milan

It’s Not the Bullet that Kills You, It’s the Hole

think of all the horses
whose hair she saved
by inventing a
violin bow

and her turn-of-the-century
six-foot-long talking stick
MIDI controller*

a performance artist
and comic book artist
a children’s book artist
a spoken-word artist
and a singer

a musician
an innovator
and a Lou Reed-dater
she married him
and made his last years warm

*The Talking Stick is (an) instrument that (Laurie Anderson) designed in collaboration with a team from Interval Research and Bob Bielecki. It is a wireless instrument that can access and replicate any sound. It works on the principle of granular synthesis. This is the technique of breaking sound into tiny segments, called grains, and then playing them back in different ways. The computer rearranges the sound fragments into continuous strings or random clusters that are played back in overlapping sequences to create new textures. The grains are very short, a few hundredths of a second. Granular synthesis can sound smooth or choppy depending on the size of the grain and the rate at which they’re played. The grains are like film frames. If you slow them down enough, you begin to hear them separately.


Mama Zen said...

Cool piece about an amazing woman.

Susie Clevenger said...

I love this Kay!! Especially the ending...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, Kay, I didnt know about the talking stick - just knew her music has way cool sounds in it and is unusual - which is why I like it so much. Cool post!!!!

Sam Edge Author said...

great tribute and a cool bit of trivia

Anonymous said...

I love the info on the talking stick. thanks for that. If I could be one of those things I'd be happy, and yet she was a woman of many talents. Wonderful tribute poem.

Kerry O'Connor said...

She is a gifted genius, and no mistake.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
3 in 1... great piccie of you; nice to see you, to see you nice!!
...The opening of the WOs is one of the best I have ever seen - elegant simplicity. Politics aside, the Russians are great folk.
...the Australian Aborigines have talking sticks. Rather older technology but equally communicative. That said, this is one amazing lady. LOVE the title...
YAM xx

Grace said...

Didn't know that Kay ~ I specially like that last stanza though ~ An amazing woman ~

Marian said...

yes, an inventor... i think she holds patents on several instrument designs. i want to be like her!

Susan said...

Love the horse hair and magic stick in your poem.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

How intriguing!

Anonymous said...