Odds & Ends: Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, Lily Allen

Details have been announced for Lou Reed’s public memorial … Rutgers University is offering a seminar examining the theological influences in Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics … Lily Allen defends her new music video over criticisms of racism … The Virgins break up.

Fans will get a chance to pay their respects to Lou Reed at a public memorial service in New York City Thursday.

The Nov. 14 event is scheduled 1-4 p.m. at the Lincoln Center’s Paul Milstein Pool and Terrace. An announcement on Reed’s Facebook page gives you the run down of what to expect at the memorial: “A gathering open to the public – no speeches, no live performances, just Lou’s voice, guitar music & songs – playing the recordings selected by his family and friends.”

The former Velvet Underground frontman died Oct. 27 at 71 at his home in Springs, N.Y., because of an ailment related to a recent liver transplant.

Now you can earn class credit for analyzing Bruce Springsteen’s music.

Azzan Yadin-Israel, an associate professor of Jewish studies and classics, is teaching the one-semester course on Springsteen as one of Rutgers’ Byrne Seminars. The one-credit seminars are limited to 20 first-year students.

Springsteen’s course will cover lyrics throughout his catalog, from his 1973 debut, Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey, to his most recent LP, 2012’s Wrecking Ball.

Photo: AP Photo / Felipe Dana
Rock In Rio, Rock City, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

“In some songs, Springsteen engages biblical motifs explicitly, as the titles indicate,” Yadin-Israel said in an interview posted on Rutgers.edu. “For example, “Adam Raised a Cain,” “Jesus was an Only Son,” “In the Belly of the Whale” (referring to Jonah). But concepts with biblical resonance appear throughout his works (the Promised Land, redemption, faith), and it’s just a matter of taking the theological overtones seriously.”  

The video for Lily Allen’s “Hard Out Here,” her first original song since 2009, has earned the British singer praise for her feminist take on sexism in the music industry along with criticism of racism.  

Although the NSFW video, which debuted Tuesday, calls out an industry and culture that expect female stars to twerk for the camera, “Hard Out Here” features exactly that – only it’s a group of black female scantily-clad girls doing most of the dirty dancing around a fully-clothed Allen.

Allen has responded to the accusations of racism with a post titled “Privilege, Superiority and Misconceptions.”

She writes, “If anyone thinks for a second that I requested specific ethnicities for the video, they’re wrong. If anyone thinks that after asking the girls to audition, I was going to send any of them away because of the colour of their skin, they’re wrong.

“The message is clear. Whilst I don’t want to offend anyone. I do strive to provoke thought and conversation. The video is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture. It has nothing to do with race, at all.

“If I could dance like the ladies can, it would have been my arse on your screens; I actually rehearsed for two weeks trying to perfect my twerk, but failed miserably. If I was a little braver, I would have been wearing a bikini too, but I do not and I have chronic cellulite, which nobody wants to see. What I’m trying to say is that me being covered up has nothing to do with me wanting to disassociate myself from the girls, it has more to do with my own insecurities and I just wanted to feel as comfortable as possible on the shoot day.”

Allen ended the post by saying she wasn’t going to apologize because that would imply she’s “guilty of something.” She added that she would be surprised and “deeply saddened” if she thought anyone involved with the video felt “taken advantage of or comprised in any way.” She then invited fans to “ask the ladies yourselves” along with links to the Twitter pages for the dancers.

The New York city rockers known as The Virgins have gone their separate ways.  

After putting out its debut EP in 2007, the band released two studio albums – 2008’s The Virgins and 2013’s Strike Gently. Earlier this year The Virgins supported The Killers in addition to doing their own headline dates.

An announcement from frontman Donald Cummings says, “There’s nothing I’d hoped to do with The Virgins that we haven’t done. It’s been an incredible experience and I want to thank everyone who was a part of it, but now it’s time to move on. I’ll see you in my dreams.”

Cummings, whose upcoming plans include working on a solo record, told Rolling Stone that there wasn’t any internal strife in the band.

The band’s European tour, which was set to kick off Jan. 20 in Brussels, Belgium, has been canceled. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.