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FEBRUARY 23

For an artist obsessed with the future, Laurie Anderson has been particularly reliant on her own past reckonings of it. Ever since the release of her first LP, 1982’s Big Science, which drew from United States I-IV, Anderson has milked her work for not-so-new ideas. At best, this practice results in mild disappointment, tainting new work with the smack of staleness. At worst, it makes it appear as if she has exhausted her stock of ideas: Both 1994’s Bright Red and 1995’s The Ugly One With the Jewels (which took its title from a story Anderson’s listeners had heard long before and which consisted of tapes of live readings from a book she had published the year before, which itself was a 20-year retrospective of her career) resorted to addressing a subject most fledgling stand-up comedians have learned to shun: the flashing “12:00” on an uninitialized VCR. If such considerations reduce the expectations of Anderson’s fans, perhaps that’s for the best. For the purportedly new “The Speed of Darkness,” the artist, accompanied by “only keyboards, violin, and digital processing,” presents “a collection of stories and songs about the future of art and technology” that threaten to attack such cutting-edge topics as “cybersex, the role of coffee, web sites, and therapies for people who have used too much technology.” If she veers off-topic (it is an “informal evening,” after all) perhaps she can be persuaded to discuss whether “Fassbinder film” really should occur more than once in any performer’s body of lyrics? At 7:30 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $20. (202) 393-0930. (Glenn Dixon)