Laurie Anderson: Storyteller

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She’s known as an experimental performance artist, as the queen of the avant-garde, and an inventive composer, musician and filmmaker. But at the heart of it all, Laurie Anderson is a storyteller.

On Saturday, August 17, she will share some of her tales, anecdotes and observations with the audience at Guild Hall in East Hampton during “An Evening with Laurie Anderson.”

“This is going to be a story show basically,” she said during a telephone interview earlier this month. “I alternate between big, visually-based shows and stories. This one will be a collection of stories linked in a shaggy-dog-story evening … almost like a radio play.”

What exactly does she mean by a “shaggy-dog-story evening?”

“It’s more like observations about how we see. For example, if I say even a simple noun like ‘dog,’ 500 different dogs come into the audience’s minds,” she exlained. “People bring a huge amount of their own imagery. This will be very collaborative … veering from stories about dogs to politics, about evolution … about perception and dreams—more like observations about how we see. “That’s what I’m trying to do, pulling a bunch of threads together and then sit there and absorb.”

The prolific Springs resident and “dedicated multi-tasker,” who is married to musician Lou Reed, has had a busy year. She’s recently spoken at several East End venues and is currently collaborating with contemporary artist Ai Weiwei on a multi-media show, performed via Skype in Mandarin and English. She’s also working on a film, “Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story,” and writing down her thoughts on the continual creep of multimedia into our everyday lives.

One topic that’s been on her mind a lot recently is the pervasiveness of technology, she said.

“I have a little book club and we were discussing ‘Super Sad True Love Story’ by Gary Shteyngart and he came to our crazy book club. He was wearing Google glasses and his eyes were crossed in a really disturbing way,” she recalled. “He said, ‘I’m talking to you and getting my email, and a restaurant is texting me: Gary you love Thai food and there’s a restaurant a block away with a special for $7.99.’”

“That vortex in the cortex is insane,” she laughed.

Though no stranger to technology and its many uses, Ms. Anderson said she tries to keep her head clear by enjoying the nature and beauty of the East End.

“I’m in love with the trees and sky. They drew me here,” she said. “I love nature and need it. I was going crazy in the city. It’s a miracle that this is not Las Vegas—that people care about keeping the trees and beaches. I find it inspiring.”

Those who go see Ms. Anderson on Saturday should expect “a crazy combination of all those things” that occupy her mind and time, she said. “If you like stories, come by.”

“An Evening with Laurie Anderson” will be held at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Saturday, August 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $40 to $100. For reservations, visit the box office, call 324-4050 or (866) 811-4111, or visit guildhall.org or theatermania.com.

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