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A Conversation with Anthony DeCurtis
  • Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 5:00pm

KWH Arts Cafe

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Sponsored by Creative Ventures and RealArts@Penn

Join us for a discussion with Rolling Stone editor and Penn faculty member Anthony DeCurtis about the life and music of Lou Reed. In his new book Lou Reed: A Life, DeCurtis, who knew Reed and interviewed him extensively, tells the provocative story of Reed’s  complex and chameleonic life. With unparalleled access to dozens of Reed’s friends, family, and collaborators, DeCurtis tracks Reed’s five-decade career through the accounts of those who knew him and through Reed’s most revealing testimony, his music. We travel deep into his defiantly subterranean world, enter the studio as the Velvet Underground record their groundbreaking work, and revel in Reed’s relationships with such legendary figures as Andy Warhol, David Bowie, and Laurie Anderson. Gritty, intimate, and unflinching, Lou Reed is an illuminating tribute to one of the most incendiary artists of our time.

Anthony DeCurtis is a distinguished lecturer in the creative writing program at Penn, as well as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. He is the author of In Other Words and Rocking My Life Away and the cowriter of Clive Davis's autobiography, The Soundtrack of My Life, a New York Times bestseller. DeCurtis is a Grammy Award winner, and holds a PhD in American literature.

"Anthony DeCurtis was one of the few music critics Lou Reed read and whose company he enjoyed. After reading this sublime and subtle book, the mystery of Lou's respect for Anthony is revealed. Anthony is a great story teller, a writer's writer, turning pain  into beauty the way Lou did in his songs."—Bono

"I am personally familiar with the depth, seriousness and sensitivity of Anthony DeCurtis's writing, and, of course, knew Lou Reed and felt the impact of his coruscating work. A brilliant artist has found a biographer with the insight to, as Lou said, "pass  through fire" and be a definitive interpreter of both his music and his life.”—Sting

"When most people think of Lou Reed, they picture the black, rotting heart of rock and roll, full of dissonance, decadence and decay. But as Anthony DeCurtis makes clear in his new book, behind the image and the rumors, Lou was one thing: a writer, a man  who spent his life telling the absolute, painful truth in his songs - the truth about himself, the scenes he observed, and the world at large. His words were so powerful that the Velvet Underground had to invent a new musical language to match them. I'm not the first musician to pledge allegiance to Lou and the Velvets, and I won't be the last. Read this book, and explore the f*cking genius that was Lou Reed."—Peter Buck, co-founder and lead guitarist of R.E.M.