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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

 

It's been ten years?

I remember the day that news of Kurt Cobain's death hit the airwaves. I was never the biggest Nirvana fan but, like everyone else of a certain age, I diligently owned "In Utero" and "Nevermind." Nevertheless, I stayed glued to MTV for hours watching pale faced fans hold candles and weep.

While Courtney was hard at work bringing a new definition to the term "burnout," Kurt's corpse turned ten years (c)old yesterday. As it usually does, curiosity got the better of me and I wound up at the Clinton St. Theater for their honorary screening of the documentary "Live! Tonight! Sold out!"

I didn't really know what to expect going in. Would people show up dressed in black? Would they cry and read poems? When I arrived, a row of dollar Jesus candles were lined up in the breezeway. The atmosphere was appropriately wake-like. People were dressed in Nirvana shirts. One girl wore a black veil. In the lobby, candles were everywhere and another row of Jesus sat on top of the soda machine.

Once the movie started, the mood changed. One viewer started laughing like the Joker at anything even slightly funny, causing two other viewers to storm out in a huff. While his heckling didn't start a fist fight, it did break the crowd's somber spirit. A few others started sarcastically chanting "Kurt. Kurt" and suddenly the whole thing had become a parody of itself.

The documentary focused mostly on Kurt's antics on overseas talk shows. During one performance in Britain, he sings "Smells Like Teen Spirit" like Elvis Costello while fellow band members toss around their instruments over dubbed music. In another, the band tears into "Rape Me" after telling a show's producers they'll be playing a different song. Later, the host cheekily announces "Nirvana, they're also available for Bar Mitzvahs and children's birthday parties."

Strangely enough, there was no widespread event held yesterday in Seattle. According to the Times, only 30 people showed for a vigil at the park near Cobain's old homestead. This strikes me as strange. Wasn't this guy a generational icon?

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