Arts & Culture

Last Night

By Josh Feit May 17, 2010

This is actually about Friday night.

On Friday night, I went to SAM for former Rocket editor and Kurt Cobain biographer Charles Cross' lecture on Kurt Cobain. The lecture coincided with the Cobain exhibit that opened at SAM last week.

Maybe I'm spoiled from hanging around with smarties like Charles Mudede, but when someone purports to be giving a lecture, they oughta have something to say.

It doesn't have to be provocative or contrarain or Hegelian like Mr. Mudede's lovely thought experiments, but when someone has written a 400-page-plus biography, you expect him to offer some grad-level analysis as opposed to Cross' insight's about Cobain's visual art being "unique and weird." (Um, the aliens and violence in Cobain's sketches—which Cross seemed to think were so "interesting"—are standard high-school-boy stuff. And kitschy artifacts in boheme Olympia apartments (and Polaroids of crucifixes, ooooh) were pretty commonplace memes for early 90s indie rock types too. (I get the impression Cross must have been a pretty sheltered fellow.)

Oh, we also found out that Cobain was angsty and poor and that the opening riff to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is universal and catchy.

Cross did manage to run over time talking about how "of course Courtney must have had an influence on Kurt's music"—it was the first time we'd heard about Love all night—and wondering if Cobain's drug use was the symptom or cause of his pain.

So, we didn't get a chance to check out the exhibit.
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