Crossing Cultures

This week at school we’ve taken a brief detour from our alphabets and immersed ourselves in the world of North Indic scripts. (Apparently I have a flair for Bengali — who knew?!) Rather than bore you all with exposition about how all this makes you rethink what you know about your own writing system, let me share this relevant bit of humor instead (since multi-cultural environments are all about people teasing each other about stereotypes):

Kiki and Herb Died for Us

Did anybody else get their 2-CD set of the Kiki and Herb Carnegie Hall Show yet? I just ripped open the package and threw it on, and it’s amazing! I’m quivering in delight. I’ve been anxiously awaiting it — especially since I kept running into its producer, who kept giving me updates, and one day even taunted me with the knowledge that he was carrying the only master copy in his bag at that moment. Jerk.

But he was right, it turned out really well, and it was a great decision to turn the microphones on the crowd a lot. I’ve never heard a live recording that quite captures the thunder of an adoring, devoted crowd quite like this. If you were there, you might feel chills all over again. If you weren’t there, you’ll wish you were. If you don’t get it, you probably never will.

But here’s a taste:

Total Eclipse of the Heart — Kiki and Herb, Live at Carnegie Hall, September 19, 2004

Long Live Kiki and Herb

Kiki & Herb Will Die For You

If the conservatives really wanted to eliminate the subversive homosexual menace, the best way to do it would be to blow up Carnegie Hall tonight, where a great throng of us (and a great many sympathizers, no doubt) will be gathered to honor our beloved, bedeviled Kiki and Herb.

Originally, I’d decided not to splurge on tickets for the show, since I had seen them so often from mere inches away and couldn’t imagine enjoying the spectacle quite as much from across a concert hall. When I first heard about this show, though, I didn’t quite realize it was supposed to be not just the biggest, but the last show (except maybe there’ll be a Kiki & Herb Resurrection Special someday). When Andy informed me of this, and mentioned he had two extra tickets, I knew I couldn’t miss such an event, even if I had to experience it from the cheaper seats.

It’s been nice to see the Times giving some press to Kiki/Justin and Herb/Kenny this week. I was startled to see the interview mention the infamous “Last Thursday Ever” show, which remains one of the most visceral theatrical experiences of my life. (It was also the first time I saw the Scissor Sisters, and even though they were fun I still find all the fuss a little inexplicable.) I’m amazed how many people seem to remember being at one of the two tiny, drunken shows at the Knitting Factory that night. I remember all the usual suspects being there — including Glenn, who couldn’t have gotten a better introduction to the terrifying magic of Kiki and Herb — but I regularly meet people who also caught that show and were more than usually affected by its darkness and cynicism, and its surprising call to count your blessings in a troubled world. And the drunken fan kicks, of course, were hard to forget if you were too close to the stage.

As a special treat for those of you who love Kiki and Herb but are sick to death of listening to your copy of Do You Hear What We Hear?, may I offer this brilliant recording of Kiki performing at the Losers Lounge 1996 Nilsson tribute (taken from Simply Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad About the Loser’s Lounge):

Coconut — The Losers Lounge featuring Justin Bond as Miss Kiki DuRane