Laurie Anderson’s Glorious, Chaotic New York

“I’m a journalist,” she said. “It’s tough to write something in moments like this, when people are already on the verge of going crazy trying to patch their lives back together, mostly through the stories. My fear is that I won’t be able to describe it. I’m teaching myself a lot right now in trying to talk about what stories are, how you make them up, what the difference is between fiction and reality. I build those fictions all the time and call them my life.”

“I’m not that hopeful about what’s going on here,” she added. “I was talking to one of my Buddhist teachers this morning and I said: ‘Let’s say we do wipe ourselves off the face of the earth. How does karma work then, if there are no humans?’”

Ms. Anderson is also grieving: for her mother; her friends David Bowie and Carrie Fisher; the critic and writer John Berger; Mr. Reed. Also for her dog, a rat terrier named Lolabelle, who once appeared with her and Mr. Reed on Charlie Rose’s talk show. On the show, Ms. Anderson held the dog in her lap while Mr. Reed touched Ms. Anderson affectionately — they were not married yet — and told Mr. Rose: “She writes, she paints, she does photography, she sculpts. She’s a tech head. There’s nothing she can’t do.” In 2015, two years after Mr. Reed had died from liver disease, Ms. Anderson made a documentary film about Lolabelle’s death, “Heart of a Dog,” in which Mr. Reed is absent until the very end. On April 29, she will include one of his guitar drones in a performance at the Highline Ballroom. He was, she said, still very much a living presence in her life.

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