On April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain was found dead in the greenhouse above his garage at 171 Lake Washington Blvd. in Seattle. But even 18 years later, he remains the most vital icon to emerge from the overhyped and oversold '90s grunge craze. Maybe Cobain really was the last real rock star.
He has inspired two decadaes of copycat haircuts. Even more copycat bands. A billion pages of published rock 'n' roll journalism. A monument in his hometown that reads, "Welcome to Aberdeen — Come As You Are." And a quasi-biopic by indie auteur Gus Van Sant.
Now, during Art Basel Miami Beach, the forever-young Nirvana leader is the inspiration for "Kurt" — "a multi-discipline exhibition and study of the late Kurt Cobain" — headlined by Thurston Moore.
Thurston Moore, As Part of "Kurt"
"Kurt": With Thurston Moore, a dance performance by Ryan Heffington, and a short film by Adarsha Benjamin. Presented by the Friends of Gusman-Red Curtain Series, Olympia Theater, and Onward Forward. 8 p.m. Thursday, December 6, at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-372-0925; gusmancenter.org. Tickets cost $25 to $50 via tickets.gusmancenter.org.
As the main member of Sonic Youth, a central figure on the SST Records scene, and a contemporary of postpunk gods such as Black Flag, Dinosaur Jr., and Meat Puppets, Thurston was bigger to Cobain than Elvis and Kiss combined. And eventually they became friendly acquaintances, even costarring in essential early-'90s rock doc 1991: The Year Punk Broke. So it's entirely fitting and eminently awesome that Moore will close out "Kurt."
Earlier in the evening, though, the exhibition will also give arty types and indie vets the opportunity to witness the world premiere of a 12-minute short film titled Kurt, created by contemporary artist, Seattle native, and James Franco collaborator Adarsha Benjamin.
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Then, before Thurston's set, bad-boy Los Angeles choreographer Ryan Heffington will stage a 15-minute reinterpretation of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, all set to an original soundtrack composed by Guy Blakeslee of L.A. indie band the Entrance.
In his final message to the world, Cobain wrote, quoting Neil Young, another of his heroes: "It's better to burn out than to fade away."
But it seems Kurt is still burning.