In Berlin, By The Wall

1. What! Thanks to Lauren Cerand for the very surprising news that singer-songwriter Lou Reed is debuting a concert performance of his greatest album, Berlin. Berlin, released in 1973, is a narrative cycle about obsessive love. It’s the story of an American man who visits Berlin and falls for a beautiful but selfish and decadent woman who forces him to beat her, sleeps with every other guy in town, loses her children for immoral behavior and finally kills herself with a razor. It’s not a cheerful story, but it hums with tension and real emotion, and Lou Reed turns in the vocal performance of a lifetime — quiet, controlled and amazingly intense — to a ghostly soundtrack that finally reaches a crescendo of chiming acoustic guitars and melodic flutes by the last few songs.

I never expected Lou to turn Berlin into a theatrical production, and I’m not sure he’ll be able to mount the level of personal conviction required to sing these painful lyrics (Lou’s vocal performance at a Velvet Underground reunion several years ago was disappointingly rote). But I’m encouraged that original guitarist Steve Hunter (a legend of 70’s proto-metal who also recorded with Alice Cooper) and talented original producer Bob Ezrin (whose production credits also include Alice Cooper’s Go To Hell, Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Jay-Z’s Fade to Black) are involved with this production. I’m also encouraged that the show is taking place at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn, where I saw Lou Reed and John Cale deliver a stunning performance of Songs For Drella many years ago. Here’s the only problem: the damn shows are sold out. I’m hoping they add some more dates.

2. Oh, and I guess I’ve got some even more exciting news. And here it is: Caryn and I just got engaged.

If you’ve ever met Caryn, you know how happy I must feel. And if you haven’t met her, I’ll be glad to tell you a little about her. We met six years ago when we were assigned to work together on an online community project for a major Silicon Alley dot-com, but honestly the only hot stuff happening on this community site was our private conversations (which nobody saw but us). Caryn still works as an online community specialist and a web developer, and you may occasionally spot us joining forces on projects. She comes from a rural town in Indiana (home of Cole Porter, Axl Rose, Dan Quayle and Kurt Vonnegut) but we’ve been all over America together, including Battle Creek, Flushing, Queens and the Shenandoah valley. We mostly enjoy going to karaoke parties, exploring new territories and getting seriously wacky with friends. She has one daughter, so with my three kids we’ll be quite a crowd.

The main thing about Caryn, though, is that after knowing her for six years, she still makes me laugh and smile more than I ever thought I would. Oh yeah, and I think she’s a knockout. I’m definitely a lucky guy.

21 Responses

  1. As truth and beauty shall
    As truth and beauty shall together thrive…

    A little Shakespeare, there, kids…

    My favorite Lou Reed album is the live Rock’n’Roll Animal, in no small part because Steve Hunter plays guitar on it. He will be an asset to the new Berlin production, no doubt.

    And what can I say about you two, Levi and Caryn, two of my favorite people in the world? I’ll strum a few bars of my musical version of Shakespeare’s 14th Sonnet in celebration! Congratulations.

  2. that’s great
    that’s great news!

    congratulations and all the best to you both! any plans for more kids (yuk, yuk)?

  3. Thanks Danjazz … I think
    Thanks Danjazz … I think we’re pretty busy with the kids we already have and besides, I’m too old for that sort of thing. Plus .. that’s why we have all of you. (or something).

  4. EngagingOne of my ‘cecilisms’

    One of my ‘cecilisms’ is –

    It’s easy to love many people but difficult to live with one.

    Finding that one is a prize and one that should never be taken for granted.

    To my way of thinking, friendship is the most important aspect of any relationship, one that fosters trust so your love can flourish. May your friendship survive the ups and downs of all else that comes along on life’s voyage.

    Congratulations to you both!

  5. You twoYou two getting
    You two

    You two getting engaged has put the “kicks” back in “Litkicks”.
    Congratulations, again!

  6. What a Wacky
    What a Wacky Guy


    One wonders at your wackiness: in the same post where you announce the concert performance of one of the most depressing modern love stories of our time, you follow with an announcement of your engagement.

    Here’s to a happier ending than Lou Reed would write!

    Seriously: congratulations. My heart leaps for you, old pal.

    (And yer right: she’s a fox!)

  7. Whoa — is this Cal Godot who
    Whoa — is this Cal Godot who I used to email, many years ago in the golden age?

    How the hell have you been?!

    I’ve been good, and, yes, always trying to stretch the envelope of wacky.

  8. WooHoo!What a nice rock!Great

    What a nice rock!

    Great going! I was wondering if you two would ever go for the gold!

    Congratulations, and may you have many pleasant years together.

  9. CongrabulationsYou guys make

    You guys make a great team. Looking forward to seeing you next time I’m in NYC. Have you set a date?

  10. Congratulations. I’m pleased
    Congratulations. I’m pleased for you both.

    All the best & good luck in tying the knot & beyond….


  11. hey!you two will make a great

    you two will make a great team.

    all the best to you. stay wild, warm, and insanely happy!

  12. Hey Mob — thanks for your
    Hey Mob — thanks for your kind thoughts. And always good to see you ’round here.

  13. Although I said so in email,
    Although I said so in email, I will just say again, thanks Bill — for your kind words and your friendship over the years. Keep on strumming!

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What We're Up To ...

Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!