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Alive From Off Center; What You Mean We?

Part of New Television Workshop.


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Alive From Off Center
What You Mean We?
Program Number


Series Description

"Alive From Off Center" was established in 1985 as a production of KTCA (St. Paul - Minneapolis) . The show featured independent works by artists in a variety of media. Its showcase format was similar to the Workshop's "New Television" series. At some point the series changed its name to "ALIVE TV." Many works created by or for the Workshop were also shown on "Alive From Off Center." Additionally, some Workshop produced pieces were coproduced and/or commissioned by KTCA specifically for the series. Susan Dowling served as Executive Producer for these programs. Series release date: 1985

Program Description

In “What You Mean We?,” written and directed by Laurie Anderson, notions of "celebrityhood" and cloning are examined in a humorous and offbeat manner. The work opens with Anderson introducing her clone in an interview session. He is a male version of herself, with a mustache, bushy eyebrows, a large head, and a diminutive stature. Following this interview, where the clone seems hesitant and uncertain of his role, we see him gaining confidence in his creative work. Shaving, he tells us of his idea for a film that would pit the fictional characters of Rocky and Rambo against one another. When he suggests this idea to Laurie, who is reading the newspaper, she seems unenthusiastic, even irritated, as she pushes him to work on writing the song she will perform at a benefit that evening. Seeking her approval as to rhythm and chord choices, he concocts a song about Hansel and Gretel living in contemporary Berlin. When a phone call announces that the benefit is canceled, the clone is free to work on more ideas for a movie entitled “All Day and All Night.” Two scenarios for this film are enacted -- a wacky diner comedy and a conversational road movie -- both of which prominently feature the music of Laurie Anderson. Finally, we see the clone in an interview, confessing that he has become so busy that he has decided to clone himself. A long-bodied clone with a small head and long red hair is the result.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Avant-garde (Music)
Reishman, Andrew (Producer)
Anderson, Laurie, 1947- (Writer and Director)
Susan Dowling (Executive Producer)
Rouetto, Anne ()
Gray, Spalding ()
Ballou, Phillip ()
Diggs, Bennie ()
Chicago: “Alive From Off Center; What You Mean We?,” GBH Archives, accessed April 17, 2024,
MLA: “Alive From Off Center; What You Mean We?.” GBH Archives. Web. April 17, 2024. <>.
APA: Alive From Off Center; What You Mean We?. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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