Answer: "LAURIE ANDERSON, the performance artist, has already made 25 pots of coffee at a McDonald's in Chinatown this morning. She's changed out of the standard Mickey D's uniform. Now, a black Prada backpack slung over her shoulder, she's flashing a pretty, dimpled smile as she springs up the steps outside a renovated 19th-century warehouse in TriBeCa where she has a studio loft.
"It is difficult to explain why Ms. Anderson is at McDonald's, training as a cashier, deep-frying hash browns and flipping burgers. She's still trying to figure it out herself.
"'It's exhilarating when you put yourself in a spot where you are really out of place,' she says. 'I don't want to be a cultural tourist. I'm not so much an artist. I'm a cultural spy.'
"Her studio, or spy den, is on a bleak stretch of Canal Street, next to the Hudson River.... Ms. Anderson has written an entry about the city for the Encyclopaedia Britannica.... [When] Encyclopaedia Britannica's executive editor, Theodore Pappas, [who] got the idea from Henry James's book 'The American Scene' [contacted Ms. Anderson about doing the Britannica article, she asked:] '"Are you kidding me?" I get calls like that. "Are you really who you say you are?"'....
"54-year-old Ms. Anderson... grew up in the affluent suburbs west of Chicago. Her mother's family owned a prosperous paint-manufacturing business. Her father began as her mother's riding instructor. They eloped.
"Trained as a classical violinist with the Chicago Youth Symphony, Ms. Anderson has fiddled most of her life, often on an electronically rigged violin. In one early performance, she sawed away on a violin while wearing ice skates frozen in blocks of ice. The show ended when the ice melted.
"She has defied labels...." (NYT, 25Jul01, "An Order of Cultural Spying, Supersize", by Lynda Richardson)
My father worked as an employee of a paint-manufacturing company, starting out as a real-life blue-collar worker cleaning [lead] paint mixing machines ("mills"). My parents eloped, too, but, as Foghorn-Leghorn once observed: "Two half nuthins make a whole nuthin." I too am 54 years old.
I really worked as a computer programmer technician for Encyclopedia Americana (the editor ignored my editorial ideas because I was a technician, not "editorial"). In elementary school, I took piano and violin lessons for years from neighborhood music-teacher housewives, but the only music I knew existed was "The Thompson Method", the Marine Corps anthem, Lawrence Welk, etc. -- until my Freshman year college dorm-mate and his classical music record collection. In the late 1950s, I used a tape-recorder to electronically cut my obligatory daily music "practice" hour in half by taping the first half and pretending to analyze how I did in the first half during the second half. I've spent much of my life trying to avoid being mistaken for "who I am".
"Anderson is currently working on several projects - a film score, an installation that will be presented by the Musée Art Contemporain Lyon in 2002 and a pavilion in Switzerland that will open in the summer of 2002" (from Ms. Anderson's website). I am currently, as during almost all of the past 28 years, working full-time as a computer programmer. Ms. Anderson has fans; I at least have in recent years begun to acquire immunity against being a fan (Ms. Anderson says in one of her songs: "Language is a virus from outer space.").
Ms. Anderson wrote in another song:
"Let X=X. You know, it could be you."(Return to question....)
|Start making sense!
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Take a NYS DMV eye test!
Go to McDonald's!
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Copyright © 2001 Brad McCormick, Ed.D.
01 May 2006 (2006-05-01 ISO 8601)