Music

On Robert Ashley

On Robert Ashley

The sound of Americans talking to each other, or talking to themselves

In 1981, promotional ads for something called “Music Television” started hitting in the US with the tagline: “You’ll never look at music the same way again.” Around the same time appeared a pilot video for something called Perfect Lives: A Television Opera by American composer Robert Ashley. Ashley was light-years from the video hit parade of MTV, but he too wanted to make music television.

American Juggalo

American Juggalo

One enterprising juggalo asked if I’d like to touch his testicles for $5. I hastened my search for a campsite. Finally I picked a spot next to the parking lot in the “Lost Ninja Clan” area. (Ninja, I learned, is the diminutive form of juggalo, e.g., “What up, ninja?”) Having never camped before, I spent twenty minutes flexing tent poles and accidentally launching them like javelins. I heard a soft voice behind me ask, “Need any help?” I turned and met Adam.