Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Nicest Way of Saying No

I have been busy with other things, but I am making my way through José Manuel Prieto's Rex and hope to post on it soon. (Short version: amazing!)

In the meantime, I give you this hilarious excerpt from a live recording of Laurie Anderson in Madison, Wisconsin (10/29/04—my transcription):

I had an idea to do an opera based on the novel Gravity’s Rainbow. So I wrote to the author, Thomas Pynchon, and I made this proposal. And I could just see Slothrop and all the characters caught up in these chords and notes and music. And I described how it all might work. And I didn’t think that I would ever hear from him because he was such a famous recluse. But actually, he did finally write back, and he said that he would be so glad and honored to have an opera made by me and based on Gravity’s Rainbow and how much he loved the idea and that he had only one condition. And that was: that the entire opera would be scored for a single instrument, and that instrument would be—the banjo.

I mean can you imagine like a whole opera, like two or three acts of solid, wall-to-wall, solo banjo and the overture, all the arias, the choruses, you know, the one instrument. And—and some people have the nicest way of saying: No. No. No. Not over my dead body.

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