Perfect Lives – Robert Ashley (1983)


“‘These are songs about the Corn Belt, and some of the people in it … or on it.’1 That’s what the man in the Perfect Lives Lounge says as you sit down with your drink, served in ‘a fluted plastic glass, sans ice’. Maybe he says it in Spanish, but you’re not sure. After all, even if you don’t speak a language, you can catch its drift if it’s sung. The Perfect Lives Lounge – let’s just call it The Bar – is sparse, but elegantly decorated. Colour scheme: hints of neon against inky black infinitude, here and there a blush of pink and baby blue. Seven vertical neon strips form The Bar’s sign. As your eyes adjust to the light, everything looks soft-edged, like a 1980s video or television broadcast, occasionally flecked with static. Come to think of it, from a certain angle, The Bar looks like a television studio set. Exact dimensions are uncertain; windows between interior and exterior dissolve rhythmically into one another. The man – Corn Belt Guy – is standing in the middle of the room. He has a full head of fine white hair, dusted with glitter, which is neatly parted down one side. His lips shine with gloss. He wears big tan-tinted glasses. …”
frieze: American Opera
W – Perfect Lives
Productions – PERFECT LIVES 1977-83
Lovely: Titles
YouTube: Perfect Lives 1 The Park Privacy Rules, 2 The Supermarket Famous People, 3 The Bank Victimless Crime, 4 The Bar Differences

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