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Laurie Anderson

Friday, April 4, at E.J. Thomas Hall, Akron.

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Performance artist and multimedia maven Laurie Anderson has little time for small talk or small ideas. Yet the 60-year-old icon is far from pretentious, condescending, or willfully oblique. In fact, she appears to inhabit a world of perpetually deep thoughts, lofty concepts, and strange snippets of logic and revelation — few of which can be adequately explored within the context of a brief bio. But they become more clear, more accessible, and much more profound when articulated onstage. Anderson, an avatar of the avant-garde for more than 30 years, crafts performances that have typically united singing, poetry, spoken word, strange and elaborate visuals, electronic and organic instrumentation, and electric violin — all of which meditate on themes ranging from physiognomy to Moby-Dick to NASA and frequently deal with the complex relationship between humans and technology. Anderson's recent Homeland (a follow-up of sorts to her breakthrough 1984 masterpiece, United States) examines post-9/11 America — our fears, our growing isolation, and how technology is working both for and against us.

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