[UPDATE BELOW] The coolest man in rock and roll used the uncoolest form of communication—the maddeningly annoying call-and-response "People's Mic"—at an Occupy Wall Street protest at Lincoln Center last night. Reed told the protesters, "I was born in Brooklyn, and I've never been more ashamed than to see the barricades tonight. The police are our army. I want to be friends with them. And I wanna occupy Wall Street. I support it." You can listen to the full audio below, courtesy @NewYorkist:
New Yorker music critic Alex Ross was on the scene and explains that the protest "was directed not at the opera itself but at a certain disparity between its lofty moral message and the machinery of corporate arts funding." (Bloomberg LLP is a major donor to Lincoln Center.) The NYPD had barricaded off the plaza at Lincoln Center in anticipation of the demonstration, and during the demonstration Ross Tweeted, "At one point I watched Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson help a guy crawl over the barricade. Police didn't seem to know quite how to respond."
Anderson reportedly told protesters, "This movement is for us all." Composer Philip Glass, whose opera Satyagraha just concluded a run at the Metropolitan Opera, also spoke at the General Assembly, reading a passage from the Satyagraha: "When righteousness/ Withers away/ And evil / Rules the Land /We come into being /Age after age/ And take visible shape /And move / A man among men/ For the protection/ Of good /Thrusting back evil /And setting virtue/ On her seat again." Here's video; the Glass appearance happens about 2:40 in:
As opera goers left the plaza, some joined the demonstrators at the barricades (although there were reports that police discouraged them from doing this.) MSNBC's Meg Robertson says she saw one man being arrested, but this morning the NYPD press office could not provide any information about the number of arrests. At least one protester announced he would start a hunger strike, demanding that Lincoln Center and NYC guarantee freedom of speech in public plazas, and that a space in Lower Manhattan be provided for Occupy Wall Street.
One protester participating in the hunger strike said he would continue until Lincoln Center opened the plaza to Occupy Wall Street or until he got sick; he says he won't occupy the plaza overnight but will come every morning and stay until evening, until the demands are met. Here's audio, courtesy @NewYorkist, of the hunger strike announcement:
Update 2 p.m.: Meg Robertson just sent us this video she shot at last night's demonstration: