Sandra-Lee Phipps, REM HQ It was this week some 30 years ago that Athens, GA…
- Posted on May 5th 2011 10:30AM by David Chiu
Cindy Ord, Getty Images
"I love my life very much," he told the audience. "But I don't think it would make a very good read." He added: "I'm not a kiss-and-tell kind of guy; I'm a fairly private person."
Stipe spoke about his life, including R.E.M., to interviewer Hugo Lindgren, the editor of The New York Times Magazine. At the event, the singer talked about the 'Collapse Into Now Film Project' -- short films made to accompany each of the songs on R.E.M.'s most recent album, 'Collapse Into Now.' Several of the films were presented at the TimesTalks discussion in New York City.
About the 'Collapse Into Now Film Project,' Stipe explained that he didn't want to tour. "So I wanted to use the available technology ... to pull people onto not a single song," he said, "but a body of work." He added: "This feels distinctly 2011, and that's what I like about it."
Stipe is featured prominently in two of the films that were shown Wednesday evening. One of them was for the song "Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter," in which the singer is dressed in Isabel Mastache outfits. He explained that the film embodied what it's like to be a teenager in a mall who feels a sense of immortality. Stipe also starred in the film for "Mine Smell Like Honey," in which he is rolled upwards over stairs with the help of a group of people; as he put it, "Why not fall up the stairs instead?"
Among the other pieces presented at the event were "Oh My Heart"; "Everyday is Yours to Win," featuring different people found on YouTube; and "Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I" -- directed by Albert Maysles and Bradley Kaplan -- that used film footage of the actor taken by the Maysles Brothers back in 1965.
The film for the track 'Discoverer' was a collaboration between Stipe and his sister Lynda and employed the AutoCAD program to create the shapes and lines. "We just bastardized the hell out of it," Stipe recalled about that film. "When she showed it to me, my head exploded." He also spoke of the song 'Discoverer' in personal terms as his valentine to New York and recalled feeling like a country bumpkin in his early visits to the Big Apple.
In the Q&A with the audience that followed, one person asked the singer about a moving song that he would like to sing, to which Stipe replied 'Candy Says' by the Velvet Underground. Another audience member mentioned about the band's show in Chile in November 2008 when the news broke about Barack Obama winning the US presidency. "I actually cried on stage," Stipe said. "What a great triumphant step."
During the Q&A, a person asked Stipe about an accomplishment that he is most proud of. The singer mentioned his corner art project, which can be viewed on his web site 'Confessions of Michael Stipe.' "I'm so excited about them," he said. "I wake up with solutions to problems. I'm trying to be in the present at the moment."