As the country prepares for the 2012 presidential election, Texas Performing Arts welcomes one of America's premiere artists, Laurie Anderson, performing her intimate but volatile piece, Dirtday! Anderson looks at politics, theories of evolution, families, history, and animals in this riotous and soulful collection of songs and stories. As Anderson says, "Politicians are essentially story tellers. They describe the world as it is and also as they think it should be. As a fellow story teller, it seems like a really good time to think about how words can literally create the world."
Set against a detailed and lush sonic landscape, the stories and music create a unique picture of a hallucinatory world made of dreams and reality. The third and last in her series of solo story works, which includes Happiness and The End of the Moon, Dirtday! is the culmination of Anderson's ground breaking work in this genre.
Laurie Anderson is one of America's most renowned – and daring – creative pioneers. Known primarily for her multimedia presentations, she has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist.
O Superman launched Anderson's recording career in 1980, rising to number two on the British pop charts and subsequently appearing on Big Science, the first of her seven albums on the Warner Brothers label. Other record releases include Mister Heartbreak, United States Live, Strange Angels, Bright Red, and the soundtrack to her feature film Home of the Brave. A deluxe box set of her Warner Brothers output, Talk Normal, was released in the fall of 2000 on Rhino/Warner Archives. In 2001, Anderson released her first record for Nonesuch Records, entitled Life on a String, which was followed by Live in New York, recorded at Town Hall in New York City in September 2001, and released in May 2002.
Anderson has toured the United States and internationally numerous times with shows ranging from simple spoken word performances to elaborate multimedia events. Major works include United States I-V (1983), Empty Places (1990), The Nerve Bible (1995), and Songs and Stories for Moby Dick, a multimedia stage performance based on the novel by Herman Melville. Songs and Stories for Moby Dick toured internationally throughout 1999 and 2000. In the fall of 2001, Anderson toured the United States and Europe with a band, performing music from Life on a String. She has also presented many solo works, including Happiness, which premiered in 2001 and toured internationally through Spring 2003.
Anderson has published six books. Text from Anderson's solo performances appears in the book Extreme Exposure, edited by Jo Bonney. Anderson has also written the entry for New York for the Encyclopedia Brittanica and in 2006, Edition 7L published Anderson's book of dream drawings entitled Night Life.
Laurie Anderson's visual work has been presented in major museums throughout the United States and Europe. In 2003, The Musée Art Contemporain of Lyon in France produced a touring retrospective of her work, entitled The Record of the Time: Sound in the Work of Laurie Anderson. This retrospective included installation, audio, instruments, video, and art objects and spans Anderson's career from the 1970's to her most current works. It continued to tour internationally from 2003 to 2005. As a visual artist, Anderson is represented by the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York where her exhibition, The Waters Reglitterized, opened in September 2005. In 2008, the Museum of Modern Art acquired her Self-Playing Violin which was featured in the Making Music exhibition in Fall 2008.
As a composer, Anderson has contributed music to films by Wim Wenders and Jonathan Demme; dance pieces by Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, Molissa Fenley, and a score for Robert Lepage's theater production, Far Side of the Moon. She has created pieces for National Public Radio, The BBC, and Expo '92 in Seville. In 1997 she curated the two-week Meltdown Festival at Royal Festival Hall in London. Her most recent orchestra work Songs for Amelia Earhart premiered at Carnegie Hall in February 2000 performed by the American Composers Orchestra and later toured Europe with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. The piece was performed as part of the Groningen Festival honoring Laurie Anderson in Fall 2008 with the Noord Nederlands Orkest.