Music throwback: Strawman – Lou Reed

March 2, 2018 would have been Lou Reed’s 76th birthday

I was playing a compilation album from Sire Records’ Just Say Yes series and rediscovered Strawman by Lou Reed. The disc has a live version of a song that first appeared on his well-received 1989 album New York.

I was pained to note that the lyrics are as topical today as when they were first penned:

Does anyone need yet another politician
caught with his pants down and money sticking in his hole

Here’s a a rare Q&A from 1989, Lou Reed: A New York State of Mind.

Does anyone need another racist preacher
spittin’ in the wind can only do you harm

I don’t have easy access to my vinyl so I’m not positive I own the album. But there is another song from New York I must have on another compilation.

“‘Last Great American Whale’ is a ballad about a mythical creature who came to the rescue of an Indian chief, who was jailed for killing a racist youth. The whale saves the chief and stops the racism… But the great animal was then killed by a NRA member, who had been aiming for the chief. This is taken as a symbol of Americans lack of concern for the environment.”

From the Wikipedia: “Lewis Allan Reed… was an American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. He was the lead guitarist, singer and principal songwriter for the rock band the Velvet Underground, with a solo career that spanned five decades. The Velvet Underground achieved little commercial success during their existence, but are now recognized as one of the most influential bands in rock, underground, and alternative music.”

The Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and Lou Reed was, as a solo artist, in 2015.

Unfortunately, he didn’t live to see the latter honor. On “October 27, 2013, he died from liver disease at his home in East Hampton, New York, at the age of 71.” March 2, 2018 would have been his 76th birthday.

He was survived by his third wife, multimedia and performance artist Laurie Anderson, with whom “he had collaborated on a number of recordings.” They were married on April 12, 2008, though they had been romantically involved since the late 1990s.

Listen to:


Last Great American Whale

The New York album, in turn

Movie Review: Heart of A Dog

Heart of a Dog is a documentary by artist/musician Laurie Anderson about her very deep relationship with her canine.

heart of a dog.laurie andersonIt’s Tuesday, November 17, the last day that the Spectrum 8 Theatre will be under the current ownership. Come Friday, November 20, the cinema will reopen under the control of the chain, Landmark Theaters.

The current owners insist the new company will keep it just the same. Keith and Sugi Pickard gave me that message the previous Saturday at the APL Foundation Library Gala, and Keith, who’s helping with the concession stand queue repeats the message this night to the Wife and me. I’ve been going there, or to its predecessor, the 3rd Street Cinema in Rensselaer, since 1980.

There are a number of films I’d like to see. But the one playing that seemed avant-garde, least mainstream, most Spectrum-like, was Heart of a Dog, a documentary by artist/musician Laurie Anderson about her very deep relationship with her canine, but also about her late mother, post 9/11 surveillance, and memory. Her late husband Lou Reed makes a brief appearance. It’s impressionistic and meditative and contemplative and musical, and occasionally very funny. Go read some nice reviews, 97% positive on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sugi Pickard watched that single screening. So did Cathy Frank, the legendary namesake of Cathy’s Waffles in ’80s Albany, who posted her disastrous-looking but still apparently tasty waffles on her Facebook page. It was a Smallbany event of sorts, the end of an era, like the apparent demise of Metroland after 38 years, or the closing of Bob and Ron’s Fish Fry in Albany after 67 years.

Oh, and it was my mom’s birthday, and Laurie was remembering what thing her mom said to her that most sticks to her mind. And it got me thinking some more about MY mom’s words to me. And it was…soothing to contemplate.

October Rambling: artist Indigo Anderson; Arthur and Nigel get married

Olivia Pope’s dad reminds us of black parents’ favorite expressions. But I DON’T think they are limited to black parents.

Amen, 39.

The Perfect Epitaph for Establishment Journalism: “In other words, if the government tells me I shouldn’t publish something, who I am as a journalist to disobey? Put that on the tombstone of western establishment journalism.”

I just don’t have the energy to blast the jerks responsible for the 16-day US federal government partial shutdown. Fortunately, Dan is both willing and able to do so.

Reader Wil: After our time as p.o.w.’s in Japanese concentration camps, we were liberated by the British. Two months after the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki we could escape a new danger.

Arthur and Nigel got married today. Or yesterday – that New Zealand time zone stuff always confounds me. Arthur’s observations before the big day. (I still think it’s because of the broken stemware.) Congratulations!

Amy’s Sharp Little Pencil wrote The Migraine Speaks (much to my dismay) and In the Palm of God’s Hand.

Mark Evanier’s Tales of My Childhood #3, which made me cry.

Leslie on setting boundaries as a teacher.

Steve ponders The Things We Say When Drunk.

Young Indigo Anderson is passionate about manga, anime, cosplay and making comics. “That is why when her tenth grade AP World History teacher asked for a paper about the relationship between North and South Korea, she requested to do it as a comic.

“Give plenty of credit to her teacher for allowing her the opportunity! The result titled North and South is a wonderfully succinct, heartfelt, eight-page insight to a piece of history that continues to impact the entire world even today.”

I was in Bill and Orchid Anderson’s wedding in 1997, and Indigo may have been the youngest attendee at Carol’s and my wedding in 1999.

Esteemed Comic Artist Stephen R Bissette Educates and Amuses University Audience. One of the joys of blogging is giving props to your friends.

Speaking of friends, MIGHTY Q&A: Fred Hembeck from 13th Dimension.

Superman 75th Anniversary.

How were animated cartoons made in the thirties? This is an episode of a travelogue-type series narrated by the great broadcaster, Lowell Thomas. He takes us to the Walter Lantz cartoon studio.

Dustbury pointed me to Grace Braeger Has Been Driving The Same Car For Fifty-Six Years. We Asked Her Why.

How DID they make that Honda CR-V commercial? I think its really cool.

Why you may never see the definitive Shel Silverstein biography

10 Mind-Boggling Thought Experiments

Olivia Pope’s dad reminds us of black parents’ favorite expressions. But I DON’T think they are limited to black parents.

Ken Levine on writing for Barney Miller, which may be the most underrated TV show ever.

Speaking of cop shows, 27 Actors Who Got Their Starts on Miami Vice.

The Ghost of Stephen Foster by the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and the cartoon is marvelous.

The History of Music Media: Infographic.

A song from Carole King’s Tapestry, an album I’ve only purchased thrice. Plus a saudade for Patsy Cline, and other music stars who died too soon.

From BoingBoing: Singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet, and artist Lou Reed has died.

From Nippertown: Vancouver musician Michelle Kwan plays Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine” on an ancient Chinese stringed instrument known as a guzheng. Also, Stephen Clair’s “Love Makes Us Weird”.

History of lyrics that aren’t lyrics.

Chuck Miller: When “The War of the Worlds” played in Albany

Crease and Desist and The Down Rule.

Are Oreos as Addictive as Cocaine?
Jaquandor picked such great links last week, especially about writing, that you might as well visit them all.


Dustbury: “Roger on the dodgy subject of avoiding conflict.”
SamuraiFrog: “Roger recently did a post about his favorite albums of the 50s, in which he name-checked me, and I figured that I’d try and come up with a list for myself.” (I LOVE this post.)


Colonel Roger Green (National Disaster Medical Systems for the 5501st U. S. Army Hospital), son of the late Rev. Reubin Green and Daisy Green has been awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service with the U.S. Army spanning more than 30 years.

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