O Superwoman

Laurie Anderson in ABQ

Back in 1981, way before the vocoder had been beaten into the ground by multitudes of talentless R&B crooners, then-obscure performance artist Laurie Anderson's ultra-minimalist non-pop-song "O Superman" rode a crazy wave to the penultimate spot on the UK Singles Chart. (The story goes that the vinyl wasn't marked for 33 or 45 rpm, so DJs just had to make their best guess, and the song got plenty of airplay at the wrong speed.)

“Mach 20,” a classic piece from her epic United States Live —oddly out of place on a TV variety show.

This early validation of her pop accessibility presaged an unusual career marked both by mainstream success and high art legitimacy. David Bowie and Spiritualized have covered Anderson originals, and she has collaborated with musicians as disparate as Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Jean Michel Jarre and Lou Reed (who, incidentally, she married in 2008).

AMP Concerts, 516 ARTS and the UNM ARTS Lab have joined forces to bring her to Albuquerque for a series of events, including two shows of discussion and projections tonight, June 9, at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, and "Burning Leaves: A Retrospective of Song and Stories" at the KiMo Theatre, Wednesday June 10 at 7:30 p.m. At this writing the 7 p.m. planetarium show is sold out but there are still tickets for the remaining performances. Hustle!