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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 13, 2004

Laurie Anderson Performs World Premiere In Hancher Sept. 29

Legendary performance artist Laurie Anderson, who wrote and narrated the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics and is the first-ever artist-in-residence for NASA, will perform the world premiere of "The End of the Moon" at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium.

Anderson is best known for her eclectic, innovative, multi-media spectacles and her richly produced recordings -- including the unlikely 1981 pop-chart hit "O Superman" and her collaborations with Peter Gabriel and Lou Reed. But "The End of the Moon" is a low-tech, intimate performance that combines stories, songs and electronically processed violin.

Conceived as a companion piece to her recent solo work, "Happiness," "The End of the Moon" is part travelogue, part personal theories, history and dreams, reflecting on the relationships between war, aesthetics, spirituality and consumerism. The production will explore the contemporary meanings of freedom and time, as well as the tangled ways in which we decide what is "beautiful" now.

"I find that the best way to look at our culture these days is not through a multi media show, but with the simpler and sharper tools of words," Anderson says.

"After using a lot of technology for years, I'm trying to work with as little equipment as possible. Also I've been experimenting with putting myself in unfamiliar and awkward situations, so this piece will include a kind of report of these experiences."

The title "The End of the Moon" suggests a NASA connection, and the production does come at the end of her trailblazing stint with the agency, but Anderson also explains a more personal meaning. She said it is "a phrase that has some of the melancholy I feel at the moment. Not just melancholy really. More like loss. Like something I lost and I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Actually, I think what I lost was a country. The last three years have been pretty tough, pretty alienating for a lot of people. And in this piece I'm trying to look at some of those things."

The performance naturally does reflect her experiences with space, technology and exploration, through her two-year connection with NASA, which was itself an extension of her self-described identity as a techno-geek. "I am going to talk a bit about my experiences at NASA in this work," she says. "It was really a big honor to be the first NASA artist-in-residence. Obviously my first question was 'Can I go up?' I would give anything to go up there. Really anything! The answer was no.

"But I loved meeting the scientists and designers, and of course I got to see a lot of amazing things... Probably a lot of what I do over the next few years will be influenced by what I saw on all my travels around the NASA sites, and who I met, and what I thought about."

Following the Hancher premiere, Anderson will tour "The End of the Moon" through the United States and Canada, including major venues in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Boston, Seattle, Miami, Milwaukee and Los Angeles.

W. Richard and Joyce Summerwill are the sponsors of the Laurie Anderson performance, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets are $38/35/32; UI student $34.20/15; senior citizen $34.20/31.50/28.80; youth $26.60/24.50/22.40.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website: http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: hancher-box-office@uiowa.edu.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu.

PHOTOS are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher/media.html.