Thursday, October 25, 2007

who put a nickel in henry?

Well, I guess I did. 400 or so, actually. I went to see Henry Rollins do his spoken word thing, "PROVOKED", and I do believe I got my money's worth. The man stood in one spot and spoke for three hours straight. No intermission.

I knew some about Henry, but not a whole lot. He's been in a band or two of the heavier variety. I'd heard "Liar", and know exactly 4 words of the lyrics: "'cause I'm a liar!" I'd also heard tell that he was politically outspoken, but I had no idea that he was doing a spoken word tour or that he had done more than one until it was mentioned here by Jagosaurus. She's a fan of Henry's. I'm a fan of hers. It followed that given a convenient opportunity, I would check out.

About ten minutes in, I was concerned—not about subject matter, but about style. He started out talking about the typically poorly written and unsigned hate mail he's received. One letter in particular was from someone who disapproved of his live-and-let-live stance on homosexuality. The writer asked something like, "What's next—men who marry horses?" Henry's point was funny enough: the phobe spoke as if homosexuality were a "gateway" orientation. Experiment once and there begins a progression through various animals that ends with an exchange of vows with a horse. Absurd.

What I didn't need to hear was the description of the progression. It was an all ages show, so I was surrounded by stinky college students (an observation, not a judgment—I, too, was once a stinky college student) who sniggered incredulously at HR's crude descriptions of seduction and sex with various animals. I could not suffer a whole show of dick humor. Luckily, it ended there. To his credit, if he was employing a hook to engage those in the audience who came based only on his musical resumé, he likely succeeded.

He covered a pretty broad range of topics, and was a genuinely good speaker: smart, funny, honest, bullshit free, and, while I have a hunch he was largely preaching to the choir (the thundering guttural "YEAHHHHs!" from the gent 5 ft behind me were an indication), he was respectful of other's opinions.

In short, Hillbilly, thanks. Great recommendation & well worth my nickels.

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