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Published: 2004/02/26
by Benjy Eisen

Live at Luna Park- Henry Rollins

I must be on the wrong planet. Why else would I review a Henry Rollins DVD for Despite the fact that punks are just hippies with attitude, I wouldn't dare insult either clan by trying to pass off one as the other. But this is not a Rollins Band DVD. It's Henry Rollins, solo improvising, jamming, segueing, stretching out, feeding off the audience. His instrument is his mouth; his songs, stories; and his jams, rants that go off on delicate tangents as freely and frenetically as a second set Tweezer. Lo, Henry Rollins is the Trey Anastasio of spoken word.

"Live at Luna Park" is a highlights collection of Rollins' eight-week residency at a Hollywood nightclub during the spring of 1999. Every Wednesday night, Rollins would get onstage and talk shop, talk shit, shit talk, jabber walk, all the way home. These performances were off-the-cuff, unrehearsed, each show different from the previous one. And their highlights are, believe it or not, amusing. Despite some of Rollins' questionable beliefs and practices (by "questionable," I mean merely that they deviate from what I, the high-biased masturbatory reviewer who insists on making these reviews first-person indulgences, deem as reflective of my own "in-crowd"), the stories themselves are entertaining. And Rollins is a master storyteller his articulation and delivery is captivating in itself. While Rollins obviously hyperbolizes and exaggerates liberally, he turns recollections of adventure into fodder for adventures in storytelling; childhood escapades with fellow punk legend Ian MacKaye, embarrassing situations, travel follies, and a friendly competition between him and hero Iggy Pop all make the cut.

Is it fitting though that the notoriously meaty Henry Rollins includes nothing but meat on his DVD? The bonus feature is as bogus as a so-called bonus track on a CD. It's just another chapter, no different in form or function than any of the chapters of the main feature. Simple and barebones, "Live at Luna Park" is Henry Rollins talking into a microphone for 76 minutes (plus 20, counting the "bonus"), and nothing else. Be that as it may, it will have you laughing more than not and by the time it's through you will have a few more anecdotes to file with your long-term memory. Hippies among you might even be pleasantly charmed with the surprise ending.

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