Friday, November 18, 2005

2002 Sound Unseen: People Like Us

I spent too much time working on those last posts and so, of course, burned out on blogging when I was done. Thus, its been about two weeks since last I wrote. I'm not going to post the playlists for the two weeks I missed, as I can just as easily send you to the playlists page at the Some Assembly Required website. Or actually, that should be: it would be even easier to just send you there. yeah.

Anyway, onwards: More history. The next big show I was a part of was again with Sound Unseen. In 2002, I was asked if I'd like to put together another show, and suggested People Like Us. Fortunately for everyone, folks were eager to make that happen, so Vicki Bennett was flown in from London and made a presentation at the Walker Art Center. Her performance reminded me of The Tape-beatles, in that she was manipulating a live video collage, in time to her sound collage composition. It was funny and surreal, as is most of Vicki's work. In fact, one of the standouts from the interview I did with her on Some Assembly Required was where she said she frankly wasn't as concerned with being associated with Plunderphonics and the appropriation-based "sound collage movement," as she was intrigued by the idea of being compared to the surrealists. A thought I had often had myself, but wouldn't have been courageous enough to say. But why not? It makes total sense.

(The photo is of Vicki Bennett, from the People Like Us website - I can't find any of my own!)

It was a very well attended show at the Walker, and Ms. Bennett was quite at ease with the crowd. We'd wanted her to be a part of the previous year's extravaganza, along with one or two other performers who also couldn't make it, but for one reason or another, it hadn't worked out. Good luck for us in 2002, though! Actually - it almost didn't happen, if I recall correctly (In fact, only after visiting her site, to see if she had a photo from our event - no - and seeing her post about being here, did I remember the trouble we had getting her into the country)...

The previous year's Sound Unseen went on as planned, though it fell within weeks of 9/11. Remarkably, a vast majority of our artists were able to take their scheduled flights, and arrive in time to perform. A full year later, however - and the assumption is that this had something to do with security having been tightened, post 9/11 - the Walker had to have their lawyers intervene on behalf of Sound Unseen, due to passport complications with Ms. Bennett. So, yes, we were quite fortunate she was available to perform for us, and then, again, lucky to have been able to jump through all the hoops of red tape necessary to actually get her into the country.

Anyway, the day after her performance, I took Vicki to the Mall of America where we reveled in the crass consumerism of others, and sneered politely when not walking in shocked silence at just the terrible mall-ness of it all. I moved back to minneapolis around the same time this mega sized mall was built and can say with confidence that I could count on two hands the number of times I've gone. And nearly all of those trips were to see a movie. really!

Anyway, it was nice to get to hang out a bit, after having seen her show. I don't think I've ever seen anyone sell as many CDs as she did at her performance at the Walker - there was literally a line to buy! hmmm, speaking of consumerism... no, of course its a very different thing, isn't it? Supporting an artist you admire can't be compared to senseless buying, as one does when "shopping," and I was happy to see so many fans get to meet the person behind People Like Us, and take home one of her CDs.

The tragedy is I have no photos of this meeting! Unlike the super short question and answer session the previous year, Vicki was given luxurious amounts of time both to make her presentation AND engage with a very appreciative and critical audience. I was so excited just to be there that I didn't even think to take a picture. I know Nate Johnson took a picture or two, when the three of us met for coffee in stadium village one evening, but I can't find copies anywhere, if there are any to be found. oh well. Instead, here's the picture which accompanied a little blurb about her in the City Pages that week. I can't believe I can't do better than this. Oh well, this is why I love blogging - I can come back later and edit this post with a new photo, once I've found those snapshots that Nate took.

Until next time...
thanks for reading!
Jon Nelson

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