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Outside Sources / A Night with Lou Reed

Part 1: Northport

Forty-two minutes northeast of Lou Reed’s hometown of Freeport, New York, I am in my childhood bedroom, curiously absorbing a videotape I narrowly understand at about thirteen years old. I had heard from a camp friend that Lou was like Bowie and Bowie was like Rocky Horror, and that got my attention. Now a man who looks to be my father’s age is onstage playing songs I’ve never heard alongside another man who looks like my balding uncle. It doesn’t sound like Rocky Horror, but it doesn’t sound bad. I rented "A Night with Lou Reed" from the local video store, which happened to be carrying the VHS version of a concert that was filmed in 1983 but unaccountably first made publicly available in 1991. The reasons behind the eight-year lag time between its filming and release are inscrutable. A cursory effort at researching this quickly feels insane and is abandoned. In Northport, our small house is teeming with strange, adolescent energy. Down the hall my older brother is unknowable, with his heavy metal records I want to understand but, to be candid, scare me. In Northport, we aren’t too far past the Ricky Kasso situation: “Say you love Satan.” Look it up if you don’t know about it. Kasso’s life was not saved by rock and roll.

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