Radical Chic Revived by Old Farts at the L.A. Weekly
Just as soon as I slide into the routine of L.A.—reading the L.A. Weekly on the toilet—I am again appalled by their moldy, hipoisie politics. Judith Lewis is unashamed and probably unaware of her radical chic poses. Their caption for the picture above is “Arulpragasam is her last name. Say it out loud, it sounds like sex.”
Just as soon as I slide into the routine of L.A.—reading the L.A. Weekly on the toilet—I am again appalled by their moldy, hipoisie politics. Judith Lewis is probably unaware of her radical chic poses. Their caption for the picture above is “Arulpragasam is her last name. Say it out loud, it sounds like sex.” Here’s the blurb:
M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem
at El Rey Theater, May 15
“Before M.I.A. took the stage, DJ Diplo juxtaposed a thwacking bass pulse against televised images of Tony Blair and George Bush. The visuals had been cut up so that the world leaders seemed to be sycophantically complimenting each other in a sort of reverse Tourette’s — instead of sputtering profanities, Blair nodded and smiled obsessively; Bush blinked and said “freedom” like he had a tic. As the the sounds of “Pull Up the People” began to creep over the speakers, a cheer went up; the image of Bush and Blair slid back, revealing the letters ‘M.I.A.’ on Bush’s podium.
“Then M.I.A.’s backup singer Cherry came out, in baseball cap and braids, followed by Maya Arulpragasam herself, in a shiny black sequined tracksuit and tank top, wild hair all over the place. She danced like a rapper, one arm and a couple of fingers in the air, stoically miming a gun to her head, talking little except to balance the sound. She was cool and relaxed; the crowd, its mean age closer to 15 than 30, seemed intensely focused. Kids sang along admirably with her split-register yodel when it was possible — “Hello? This is M.I.A. Will you plee-eez come-get-me!” — but most of the time they simply jumped up and down with eyes trained on the young woman from Sri Lanka via London, daughter of a terrorist, who used a Groovebox to set her jump-rope rhymes to the sound of gunfire and made it sound like a party in the safe zone.
“The set was barely 40 minutes, with little to distinguish it from the record save the live woman. But it was enough, and she knew it. Toward the end of her encore, M.I.A. shrugged: “I have only one more; I don’t have that much material, because I’m lazy.” She said it like being lazy is an achievement, a privilege. Arulpragasam is 28, but her rhythms reverberate with the protests of children who get served up as suicide bombers, who work 12-hour days picking cocoa, who wander the streets Bush and Blair turned into rubble. It’s a miracle — as if one of those strained voices has broken through with a long list of demands and enchanted the masses into hearing her out. “America,” orders M.I.A. “Quiet down! I need to make a sound!” We’re listening.
Lewis, it appears, has an inside scoop on the gargantuan ocean wave machine that evil twins Bush and Blair employed in December to kill 38,000 people on the Sri Lankan island and displace 800,000.
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- 05.20.05 / 2pm