I Just Keeeeeep Me Hanging On

I don’t want to go toooooo far out on a limb here, but if I read this email right, this fall, Lou Reed will be leading a seminar at Columbia on Lou Reed’s influences. The name? “Lou and You.”

Lou Reed is an American artist who has always grown with the times (as he has helped shape them). In his formative years, he read Poe, studied with Delmore Schwartz, and worked with Andy Warhol. We will discuss the importance of these influences on Lou, and how other artists have been shaped in part by the knowledge of what came before them (Dante by Virgil, Shakespeare by Montaigne, Bob Dylan by Dylan Thomas, Hemingway by Mark Twain). Students will trace and contemplate their own influences, and will be asked to create a piece of art based on one or more of them. (There will be other short papers and/or creative assignments.) We will also explore what has inspired Lou musically, and how his lyrics and music have affected each other (and changed over the years). Students will be encouraged to work with a medium other than the one they are specializing in at Columbia, perhaps in collaboration with a classmate. In addition to looking closely at Lou Reed’s work (and the work of some of his influences, collaborators, and contemporaries) we will also view the American Masters documentary Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart. This course will be open to students in all Divisions of the School of the Arts.

Please join me in hoping that Lou Reed neither wrote this description nor named the class. The text makes it sound as though Reed won’t be involved, but the subject of the email ended with “with Lou Reed,” so it sounds like he’ll be physically present.