Conceptual artist Laurie Anderson didn't name her new production Homeland on a whim. Tonight's multimedia presentation uses the word as a jumping-off point for an exploration of current cultural preoccupations — including the title term itself.
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"'Homeland' now has so many quotation marks around it that nobody really knows what it means anymore," she notes. In some ways, she feels that "it's such a tender phrase" — but at the same time, "it also means this high-security state we live in now."
These days, Anderson is engaged in all things political. Just last month, she joined forces with a gaggle of well-known performers and activists, including Lou Reed, her longtime paramour, to stage a concert in Brooklyn marking the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War. Nevertheless, Homeland, which isn't slated to reach the marketplace in recorded form until 2009, generally avoids specifics. "Who really wants to hear somebody else's political opinion?" she asks. "It's like, 'I have my own, thank you.'" Instead, she uses spoken passages, songs and electronics to explore party-crossing issues like the privatization of jails, which she links to the steady rise in prison population.
"We have more prisoners than anywhere else in the word," she says. "And it's not because we're such bad people, and it's not because we're so afraid of criminals — but because it's a business."
Clearly, there's no place like Homeland, which gets under way at 8 p.m. at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder; tickets are $34. Learn more at 303-786-7030 or www.bouldertheater.com — and read an extended Q&A with Laurie Anderson at blogs.westword.com/latestword.
Sat., April 12, 2008