New Television Workshop Collection

New Television Workshop Collection Program MaterialsAlive From Off Center

What You Mean We?

Copyright Date:

Copyright Holder:
WGBH Educational Foundation and Canal Street Communications

Anderson, Laurie

1 videoreel of 1 (26:34 min.) : sd., col. ; 1 in.
1 videoreel of 1 (19 min.) : sd., col. ; 1 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (Betacam SP) (26:34 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (Betacam SP) (26:34 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (26:34 min.) : sd., col. ; 3/4 in.
1 videocassette of 1 : sd., col. ; 3/4 in.
3 folders

Includes two 1" masters -- a long version and a short version. A Betacam SP preservation master of the long version has been created. Betacam SP and 3/4" screening copies also exist. Three folders contain press releases, project descriptions, contracts, budget reports, resumes, correspondence, NEA grant applications, credits listings, production notes, and scripts.

In "What You Mean We?," written and directed by Laurie Anderson, notions of "celebrityhood" and cloning are examined in a humorous and offbeat manner. The work opens with Anderson introducing her clone in an interview session. He is a male version of herself, with a mustache, bushy eyebrows, a large head, and a diminutive stature. Following this interview, where the clone seems hesitant and uncertain of his role, we see him gaining confidence in his creative work. Shaving, he tells us of his idea for a film that would pit the fictional characters of Rocky and Rambo against one another. When he suggests this idea to Laurie, who is reading the newspaper, she seems unenthusiastic, even irritated, as she pushes him to work on writing the song she will perform at a benefit that evening. Seeking her approval as to rhythm and chord choices, he concocts a song about Hansel and Gretel living in contemporary Berlin. When a phone call announces that the benefit is canceled, the clone is free to work on more ideas for a movie entitled "All Day and All Night." Two scenarios for this film are enacted -- a wacky diner comedy and a conversational road movie -- both of which prominently feature the music of Laurie Anderson. Finally, we see the clone in an interview, confessing that he has become so busy that he has decided to clone himself. A long-bodied clone with a small head and long red hair is the result.

All the music and soundtrack for the work is by Laurie Anderson and includes the songs "Smoke Rings," "Progress," "Angels on the Mainline," and "Wings of a Dove."

Anderson, Laurie
Hoberman, Perry (Artistic Director)

Reishman, Andrew
Dowling, Susan (Executive Producer)

WGBH Educational Foundation
Canal Street Communications
Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund, The
Alive From Off Center, KTCA

London, Melody
Feist, Rick (Video Editor)

Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, New Works Program

Diggs, Bennie (Bennie)
Ballou, Phillip (Phil)
Anderson, Laurie ("Laurie Anderson" and clones)
Rouetto, Anne (Waitress)
Gray, Spalding (Talk Show Host)

Avant-garde (Music)


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