Lou Reed-1


On His Way Somewhere Else

I got there a couple minutes after 1 P.M. (Nov. 14) so if anything was said I didn’t hear it, but nothing was supposed to be said, according to the posting on Lou Reed’s Facebook page two days earlier:

“New York: Lou Reed at Lincoln Center: A gathering open to the public—no speeches. no live performances, just Lou’s voice, guitar music & songs—playing the recordings selected by his family and friends. The Paul Milstein Pool & Terrace at Lincoln Center, Thursday November 14th. Time 1:00PM to 4:00PM.”

There were maybe a couple hundred people when I got there. It was a beautiful, sunny November day, 51-degrees (yesterday was windy and chilly in the 30s). Only problem was there was no Lincoln Center Wi-Fi working, so I went into the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts adjacent to the pool and its Henry Moore Reclining Figure sculpture and through Calder’s Le Guichet (The Box Office) sculpture just outside the library entrance.

From the second floor I could see the crowd, hear the Reed drone, and get some work done. I can’t say that Lou would have loved the memorial, but I think he’d have appreciated that I was getting some research done while listening to it.

Lou Reed - The Banana AlbumI did know Lou. Not well, but we were friendly, for sure. Probably because not only was I a fan of him, but his hero, Doc Pomus. In fact, we’re both in the A.K.A. Doc Pomus documentary, he as one of the main interviewees, me as the guy with Seymour Stein at Doc’s funeral. We also had martial arts in common, he being a Chinese practitioner, me a Filipino.

But what a great, fan-friendly, open-to-the-public memorial! So much was written about Lou in the couple weeks since he died, nothing was left unsaid. Here was a chance to hear why we were all saying it. Also, you go to these invite-only memorials and the people who talk tend to talk and talk, more about themselves than the dearly departed.

Looking out and nodding my head to Nico singing “I’ll Be Your Mirror” from the Velvets’ Banana album, I changed my mind, or at least modified it. I think Lou would have loved the memorial—if it weren’t his. He’d recognize it for what it was: A nice New York November day music happening. He’d have stopped for a moment, listened, and walked on by, on his way somewhere else, just like me.

Jim Bessman

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