Laibach Goes to Pyongyang
Steph and I have day jobs so sometimes the blog is a little catch as catch can. If I were better organized I would have done a post on gay rights in North and South Korea on Friday, 12 June, Loving Day, the anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s 1967 decision striking down the anti-miscegenation laws then existing in 13 states and run the post on sanctions on Monday. But I’m not that well-organized. This one, however, cannot wait.
Friday the Slovenian band Laibach announced that it would play Pyongyang in August as part of independence celebrations. According to our non-resident authority on rock music, Slovenia, and Laibach, Dr. Daniel Marcus, Laibach has been known to make fictitious announcements of this sort, but as one of his Slovenian sources on Facebook put it, “it seems realer this time.”
This is mind-blowing. It is hard to convey Laibach’s ironic, arch art to an American audience. The closest thing I can think of would be Frank Zappa or maybe Negativland playing Pyongyang at the invitation of Kim Jong-un. The music isn’t at all alike, but I think that in terms of self-aware subversiveness Zappa and Negativland are about as close as I can get. Laibach is so ambiguous that a lot gets lost in translation even among Westerners; I can’t imagine how the North Koreans will react to the spectacle. Assuming it actually occurs.
UPDATE: Turns out that Peterson Research Analyst Vijay Khosa is a Laibach fan. (Who'd thunk it?). Says he saw them last month and that they put on a good show, mixing older and newer material, and generally exceeding expectations. Rock on.