Notes On Attention Paid

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03 Laurie Anderson, United States Live

fascinating review of the performer and album

And so began Laurie Anderson’s own state of the union. The record of this eight-hour, two-night show—1984’s four-and-a-half-hour box set, United States Live—is a gesamtkunstwerk, a bold federation of hobbyist tinkering and scientific wizardry, sound sculpture and rock music, gender and social studies, philosophy and linguistics. With performance chops equal to the Gipper’s, Anderson untangled Reagan’s knot of tech and hope and power and wove together an alternative form of patriotism, one that centers disorientation and finds authenticity in imagination. Along the way, she created an American masterpiece.1