Laurie Anderson at BAM: Songs, A Scream, Tai Chi

 Laurie Anderson launched the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s fortieth annual Next Wave Festival Tuesday night with “Let X = X,” an unconventional concert that featured, yes, songs from throughout her four decade recording career, accompanied by the 25-year-old avant-garde jazz band Sexmob, but also  a scream, in homage to Yoko Ono, and Tai Chi, in homage to her late husband Lou Reed.

Anderson recalled how “the great artist” Yoko Ono screamed for three minutes in 2016 when asked for her reaction to the winner of the U.S. election. Anderson asked her audience to scream in her honor, but only for ten seconds, in reaction perhaps to “the war in Ukraine, the genocides around the globe, the hostages in Gaza, the melting of the Arctic,  the burning of the Amazon – or, you know just how messed up your own life is.”

She prompted such a scream throughout the Let X=X world tour, and compared the decibels:

Other comments in-between musical numbers:

“One of my favorite quotes about technology is from my meditation teacher: ‘If you think technology will solve your problems, you don’t understand technology—and you don’t understand your problems.’ “

“We are the first humans to see the possibility of the end of our own species..No one wants to hear the story about the end of the world.”

Anderson recalled the philosophy of Lou Reed, the musician and songwriter who died in 2013. “The reason we’re here, actual real reason that we’re here is to  have a really, really, really good time.”

She ended the show leading the audience in some Tai Chi moves, in honor of the newly published book “The Art of the Straight Line: My Tai Chi,” put together from Lou Reed’s writings about the subject. “It’s this crazy combination of power and grace that he really loved.”


Sexmob consists of Steven Bernstein (horns), Briggan Krauss (saxophone, guitar), Tony Scherr (bass), Kenny Wollesen (percussion), and Doug Wieselman (guitar and woodwinds)—

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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