When Lou Reed died yesterday, the world lost one of the all-time great inventors of “alternative culture.” Very few people of a certain age were not at one point transfixed and then transformed by the Velvet Underground and all that it represented. As time went on, the vein of raw, personal and daring work that Reed created became the norm. But the man never lost his cool.
He was also a typical NYC neighbor, interacting and wandering like a regular guy. Reed was a lifelong comics liker, and his most overt excursion to the world of comics was The Raven, an illustrated book based on Reed’s song cycle based on Poe’s famous poem. The illustrator in this case was Lorenzo Mattotti, so the results were amazing. Here’s a New Yorker report on Reed’s signing for the book (published by Fantagraphics) at The Strand.
Although there have been many pictures of Reed the seminal rock star circulating, the one that touched me the most is seen below, even though it’s a paparazzi shot. This image of Reed, wife Laurie Anderson (herself a formidable artist) and their dog enjoying a NYC brunch shows that you can take pop music to the greatest heights of decadence and experimentalism, and still live the rest of your life the right way. (The two are shown above at an earlier age.) RIP, Lou Reed.