April 1, 2008
Crinkly music fans rejoice
Tonight at BAM begin a month-long residency by Paul Simon. This seems a little surprising, since BAM usually goes for less mainstream performers (Fiona Shaw in Happy Days buried up to her shoulders in a mound of dirt, for example) and I tend to think of Paul Simon as an eggheady musical tourist that my parents enjoy listening to. A month-long BAM residency by someone like David Byrne, that I could see.
But Paul Simon? Paul Simon means swarms of aging Upper West Siders in batik kaftans and fake-exotic jewelry, getting down to "You Can Call Me Al".
Those people will be there, sure, but there will probably be a cool element there too--Pitchfork just reviewed a collection of live Simon and Garfunkel performances that was released by Starbucks. And they gave it a 7.9!
Also Jon Pareles at the NY Times (not exactly the most forward-thinking music critic, but still) wrote a long piece about Paul Simon with a sort of convincing argument that, for all his success and popularity among people like my parents, he's still an outsider in the music world.
I'm not sure that one of the world's most recognizable folksy singer-songwriters is still an outsider just because he keeps writing about being alienated and sullen, and Pareles does admit that his style is "smart, bourgeois, fussy wimp." But I'll admit I listened to that Concert in Central Park cassette a million times in high school, and for at least one of the BAM shows, Paul Simon will be joined by David Byrne, as well as actual African people. Remaining tickets start at $100! (Oh well.)
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