Acker Awards

Tonight I received an Acker Award in the category of music, for contributions to the avant garde in defiance of convention. I had prepared some remarks, but happily, everyone spoke very briefly. So I said a few words and got to hug Phoebe Legere (rapture!) Since I didn't give my little spiel, I'm sharing it here, below. Thank you Clayton Patterson and Alan Kaufman for conceiving the Ackers and making it a reality. The vision and event is a work of art in and of itself.

This means so much because of who it comes from (Clayton, Alan et al.) and who it's about: all of us. I'm not the only one in this room who thinks about how New York has changed between now and when we started making the work being recognized here tonight. The other day I posted about the closing of the Magic Shop recording studio, lamenting how artists made the cache Downtown that is now exploited by developers and used against us. Someone from out of town wrote, "Times change and we must change with them." Yeah, that's what I would have said to someone in Warsaw in 1939 watching the Panzer Division roll up the boulevard. "Be flexible!" I know people now who write off my music career as some kind of unrealized dream because I do other things for money, because I multitask to survive. Those people really, really don't understand what's important about art. But we all do, and I'm so happy to be here with you. When it comes to what matters, I wouldn't trade my Acker for a sack full of Grammys. Thanks!

When the moment came, Phoebe asked me to say a few words about the music biz. I said, "There's art and there's commerce. We are people who love art, and I wouldn't trade my Acker for a sack full of fucking Grammys." The room roared, and I knew I was with my people.