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Archive for March, 2010

Opening-Night Playlists

Treble ClefAndy Warhol: Good for the Jews?, my latest collaboration with director David Dower, opens tonight (March 10) at Theater J in Washington D.C., and runs here through March 21.  For each of my shows, with the help of my friends (always including Scott Rosenberg, and this time also including great suggestions from my Facebook and Twitter peeps), I put together pre- and post-show playlists of songs that relate (sometimes very tangentially) to the themes of the piece.  I don’t care as much about these playlists as I do about the shows themselves, but I still care a lot: My adolescence was made livable by WNEW-FM, which allowed its deejays to play whatever they wanted — and the way they put together eclectic sets of music that they loved (especially my favorite, Vinnie “Bayonne Butch” Scelsa) delighted and educated me.  When we first became friends in Boston in the ’80s, Scott would put together mixtapes for me: In particular, I remember listening to one — which included a great Jonathan Richman song — as I walked in the early morning along Commonwealth Ave. after my father had died.  In those lonely hours, I popped Scott’s tape into my Walkman and learned that there still was joy and beauty in the world.

Anyhow, here’s the pre-show playlist for tonight (including such themes as wandering, commerce, strangers and strangeness, doors, imagination, God, art, knapsacks, and Andy Warhol himself):

  • Dion, “The Wanderer”
  • M.I.A., “Paper Planes”
  • The Doors, “People Are Strange” (a twofer!)
  • The Clash, “Lost in the Supermarket”
  • John Cale & Lou Reed, “Smalltown” (from Songs for Drella, their album about Warhol)
  • Johnny Cash & U2, “The Wanderer”
  • David Bowie, “Andy Warhol”
  • R.E.M., cover of The Wire’s “Strange”
  • Pete Townshend, “Let My Love Open the Door”
  • The Submarines, “You, Me and the Bourgeoisie”
  • Nirvana, cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World”
  • Public Image Ltd., “Public Image”
  • Bryan Ferry, cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”
  • The Rolling Stones, cover of Smokey Robinson’s “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)”
  • They Might Be Giants, “The Statue Got Me High”
  • The Mountain Goats, “Jaipur”
  • Ida Maria, “Oh My God”
  • Amy Rigby, “Knapsack”

And here’s the post-show mix:

  • The Velvet Underground & Nico: “I’ll Be Your Mirror”
  • The Kinks, “Strangers”
  • The Slip, “Suffocation Keep”
  • Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, “Your Side Now”
  • Martha Wainwright, “Whither Shall I Wander?” (R.I.P. her genius mom, Kate McGarrigle)
  • T-Bone Burnett, “I’m Coming Home”
  • Cantor Jordan S. Franzel, “Torah Blessing” (which sounds remarkably similar to “It Ain’t Necessarily So”)
  • Jill Sobule, cover of Warren Zevon’s “Don’t Let Us Get Sick”

Feel free to offer me more suggestions — these playlists tend to keep evolving!