Welcome Back To My Nightmare: Alice Cooper introduces Steve Hunter in Columbus.
It's a great time to be an Alice Cooper fan. Just last November, Alice wrapped up a 16-month world tour dubbed Theatre of Death, an over-the-top theatrical extravaganza propelled by his best band in years. In April, the original Alice Cooper Group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with a bombastic celebratory box set arriving in the summer. Next month will see the release of Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a conceptual sequel that reunites Alice with legendary producer Bob Ezrin and includes contributions from the ACG as well as veteran solo career collaborators. It would surely be permissible for the rock icon to take the summer off and relax.
But no. Not only has he been canvassing Europe and both North and South America since May, he is doing so under the banner of a new tour called No More Mr. Nice Guy. As the concert filler between Theatre of Death and the forthcoming Welcome 2 My Nightmare tour, it could easily have been a minimally produced affair in which Cooper & Co. make a few bucks off an assortment of greatest hits, and few would have complained. But Alice is firing on all cylinders right now, and his current show is no mere stopgap, as Wednesday's date at the LC Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio proved.
"We kept getting jostled from all the kids dancing with wild abandon."
This Monday will be the tenth anniversary of one of the most improbable and unusual adventures experienced by my parents, and I am the one to blame. By the time it was all over, our quirky story had been covered twice by the local newspaper. Mom and Dad became small-town celebrities for a brief time, recounting the incident for everyone from fellow church parishioners to Dad's doctor. They came across favorably as loving parents who gamely went along with a bit of outrageousness solely to indulge their youngest son. I was 32 at the time; they were 67.
The story began more than 20 years earlier, though none of us could have known that at the time. Who would have thought that a few nonchalantly expressed words from my father would have such a long-range impact? Who could have foreseen how the longevity and vicissitudes of an aging rock star's career would one day illuminate those forgotten words with the intensity of an enticing marquee? But that is what happened, and Dad saw to it that he was a man of his word, even if it meant fulfilling a casual promise decades later.
Lowbrow meets lowbrow: Rocky emulators sprint up the visage of Salvador Dali.
Recently I came across a live webcam of a construction site in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was surprised to find not only active workers but fairly interesting activities going on, and I zoomed in to watch a pair of laborers installing triangular glass panes into a large, metallic lattice that bulged from a concrete edifice. The structure looked somewhat odd for a conventional building but rather conservative for its intended purpose: the next home of the Salvador Dali Museum. Given the famous surrealist's iconic imagery of melting watches and drooping appendages propped up by crutches, one might have expected a design that abandoned recognizable geometric forms altogether.
The new facility, slated to open in 2011, is only a few blocks from the current museum, but it will offer fifty percent more gallery space and more than twice the overall area. More importantly, it will provide robust shelter from violent storms for its collection in a way that the present building does not; so vulnerable is the existing museum to damage that its exhibits must be removed and stored during severe weather warnings. Constructing a more secure home for these treasures sounds sensible to me, because I would hate for the world to lose the original work of such an incredibly talented and imaginative artist. I have been captivated by Dali's art all of my life, and obviously many people feel the same way. Why, then, do I have the nagging sense that serious critics would dismiss his oeuvre as pandering to the lowest common denominator?
Perhaps because it does.