Chad Mazzola

Czech President Vaclav Havel and U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright Visit the Knitting Factory

NEW YORK - The Knitting Factory in New York City is always ready for anything when John Zorn plays. But Zorn’s Chamber Masada found some most unusual guests in the audience for the second set on Thursday night, May 15. Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson played host to Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel and his new wife and U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and their entourage.

Havel, in town for talks that may bring the Eastern Block into NATO, contacted Lou Reed prior to his visit to arrange a bit of sightseeing and clubhopping during his New York sojourn. Reed, who has been seen numerous times recently at the Knitting Factory as both performer and spectator, contacted Knitting Factory founder Michael Dorf to arrange a special reception for Havel. Dorf let John Zorn know what would be happening in advance, and plans were made. The Knitting Factory was crawling with secret service before long, and the best was yet to come…

Little did anyone know that Havel and his wife, escorted by Reed and Laurie Anderson, would also invite Secretary of State Madeline Albright, holder of the third highest office in the country. Ms. Albright and Havel immediately engaged in animated conversation, whereupon Zorn, from the stage, peered up to the balcony and said, “You up there, shut the fuck up, listen to the music!” whereupon conversation did in fact cease.

Needless to say an international incident did not occur. Everyone reported having a terrific time and enjoyed the music greatly. Even Zorn knew it had been an historic occasion, and gave Dorf a wink on his way out the door.