Henry Rollins, Zipper Theater, NYC (April 1, 2005)

It will be two weeks tomorrow since I saw Henry Rollins at the Zipper Theater in NYC. I have been meaning to write a review of the show ever since. So many diversions and misdirections since then, I am amazed I even remember being in New York at all, much less the specifics of the show, but I will give it a go anyway. If this sucks, read it anyway, because you were not going to do anything more important anyway. Trust me…

Why are people such clueless tools, such egocentric assholes that they feel entitled to interrupt a performer on stage not once, but twice with pointless babble over their cell phone DURING the damned performance. I was amazed Henry Rollins did not choke the bastard into submission. There was a pointed rebuke while he glared in our general direction, and let me just say that it is more than a little disturbing to have Henry Rollins glare at you as he screams, “Is there a fucking problem over here? I am in a zone up here. If you’re fucked up or drunk, leave. If you think the show sucks, leave, ask the manager for your money back. I’ll give you your money back. Shut the fuck up or get the fuck out.” And so it goes that the people who need to hear Henry Rollins’ spiel the most, just cannot be bothered to pay attention.

And so…I could wax on about how Rollins hit his stride with this piece about George W. Bush and the soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan or that he strayed a bit too far on another about his experience riding the Trans-Siberian Railroad, but the splitting of these microscopic critical hairs would only sound like some asshole talking on his cellphone in the middle of a public forum and would only serve to diminish the overall effect of a Henry Rollins spoken word performance.

Indeed, I think one needs to view his shows in grander terms and frankly this show on Friday April 1 show felt like being pounded and savaged and yet somehow surviving a category 5 hurricane. Rollins was relentless, pounding the sand, tearing up barrier islands, blowing houses over and ripping up anything that previously existed six inches above the Earth.

I was amazed, as hurricane survivors often are, by the violence, the sheer force of Rollins and the small surviving, battered instances of humanity and humor one finds laying in drainage ditches of his mind after the big blow. There is in fact always time for humor in the mayhem Rollins creates, despite his own comments indicating that the God of Comedy has smiled upon him but once. Certainly, he’s no stand up comedian, but he’s not a CPA from Ames, Iowa who watches paint dry for the sake of amusement either.

After Rollins’ two hour and thirty minute performance, I felt like a South Florida trailer park as we exited the Zipper, blown to hell and damaged beyond repair. You could say, that two and a half hours is a little long for a spoken word performance. I say people never get the chance to tell Mother Earth, “OK, we’ve had enough hurricane now. Couldn’t we get some blue skies, so we can clean up the mess?” Be sure to check out Hurricane Henry when he blows through a town near you. You can check for dates at his website http://www.henryrollins.com

PS: The Zipper Theater was one cool, funky venue. A renovated zipper factory with bucket and bench seats from the finest American and import automobiles. It felt like watching a show in the bombed out shed out behind a friend’s house. You know the one, with empty kegs for end tables and bench seats from a 1976 Nova. Worth checking out if there is a show there that interests you: http://www.zippertheater.com

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