September 23, 2006
I'm probably only adding confusion
Ann Althouse wrote a very fun post about Alice Cooper which not only recalls her fondness of his music, but which discusses his ongoing nonconformism -- especially of the political variety. I very much enjoyed it, as I used to love Alice Cooper but haven't thought much about him lately. (I originally learned of him via Frank Zappa, who I loved from the early MOI days.)
Cooper was in full throttle when I was a high school senior, and I still have some of his albums somewhere.
"I'm embarrassed that I was embarrassed to go see Alice Cooper back then," says Althouse. Actually, I think it's incredibly cool that she admits to liking him at all -- once embarrassed or not. Looking back to the 1970s, I can't imagine the number of things I should be embarrassed to have been embarrassed about! (As a former Marxist who was basically embarrassed to be alive and ashamed of my existence, my embarrassed-to-have-been-embarrassed quotient would, I suspect, be off the bell curve... Why, I'm even embarrassed to think about it!)
In early April of 1973, a mind-melding of sorts took place in New York City. Over the course of about two weeks, shock-rocker Alice Cooper and Dali, fabled surrealist, ate together, drank together, and basked in the glow of each other`s exceptional freakishness. And Lo, it was beautiful. In the light of the recent publication of Meredith Etherington-Smith`s biography, The Persistance of Memory, (Random House)- and the fact that Alice`s and Dali`s coming together is mentioned however scantly - the time seemed right to query Alice about just what, exactly, happened.Reading the account is a fantastic exercise in nostalgia.
During the course of their artistic endeavors, the pair had great difficulty in communicating. But to Dali, confusion was the whole point:
"I was sitting there wearing all black and my eyes are all smeared and I`m drinking a tall can of Budweiser and he`s all in white and looks like some kind of saint. He`s explaining on and on and on and they ask me, "What do you think of this?" And I said, "I haven`t understood one word he`s said since I met him." And he jumped up and said: "Perfect! Confusion is the greatest form of Communication."
It all seems quite logical to me.
That's because I take pride in logical confusion.
(I'm sorry if that's confusing logic. My confusion embarrasses me regularly.)
MORE: In a somewhat sympathetic review of last year's Dali exhibit, Time Magazine raised the Alice Cooper collaboration in the context of kitschy media whoring:
In the same spirit he is being re-examined by academics and curators as a pioneer of the artist as public performer, role model par excellence for Andy Warhol and Koons. It might not seem like a good thing to re-emerge as the original media whore, but there's no denying Dali's role in making showmanship an art-world career tactic.Frankly, I don't think Cooper was "rock nonsense" and I liked the Cooper hologram, the "First Cylindric Crono-Hologram" ever made.
UPDATE (01/27/07): Check this ebay listing out!
an autographed photo of Salvador Dali and Alice Cooper together from 1973. Alice has signed the photo with, "Confusion is the greatest form of communication - Dali. Alice Cooper" (his favorite Dali quote). Also, this photograph is the actual and original production print used by "16" magazine for their special "Alice Cooper & Freak Rock" issue. Attached to the BACK of the photo (this does not affect the photo or image at all) is an editor's / printer's notes that this photo will go into the magazine on page 14 and will measure 3 inches. This print came directly out of the "16" magazine storage files. Also, this print was made in 1973 from the ORIGINAL film. The autograph was done in 2007.
posted by Eric on 09.23.06 at 06:21 PM
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