LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson, the artist formerly
known as the Antichrist Superstar, was invited Sunday (Oct. 25) by a
local church to speak to youth prior to his controversial kickoff show in
Church youth-group director Chuck Henry said he is always open to having
stop by to address the youth of Heartland Community Church. So, he added,
why not Manson.
"They're interested in what would lead a person to have such a hatred in their
voice," said Henry, standing in the sunshine outside the back entrance of the
church. That entrance butts up against the back parking lot of the local
Granada club, where Manson will hold a "surprise" concert Sunday to kick
off his Mechanical Animals tour. The outing launches officially
Monday in Kansas City, Kan.
The rocker was asked to address local youth this Sunday evening. As
director for the non-denominational Christian parish, Henry said the
church's junior-high and high schoolers have some questions they'd like to
ask the controversial rocker, born Brian Warner.
On Sunday morning, Henry approached two of Manson's tour buses and passed his
invitation to the singer to the attendant roadies. As of Sunday afternoon,
Manson himself had not yet arrived at the scene, so there was no word on
whether the creator of 1996's Antichrist Superstar album planned to
visit the church youth group.
In addition to extending the invitation to Manson, members of the church's
plan to be on hand for the show, just to let his fans know that they are
concerned and that they oppose the event taking place in their rural
college town, he
While the 650 people lucky enough to get tickets for the show -- which sold
in 12 minutes after being announced last Wednesday -- wait in line to enter
the Granada, Henry's group plans to pass out drinks to the Manson fans. Henry
said the gesture is intended to stand as a "quiet rebuttal" to the concert and
to show that even though the church opposes the messages in songs from
Manson's latest effort, Mechanical Animals, such as
HREF="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-music/Marilyn_Manson/Irresponsible _Hate_Anthem.ram"> "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" HREF="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-music/Marilyn_Manson/I_Dont_Like_T he_Drugs_But_The_Drugs_Like_Me.ram"> "I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)"
"Irresponsible Hate Anthem"(RealAudio excerpt) and
"I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)"(RealAudio excerpt),
its members "are not bitter, not hatred-filled people."
Not everyone in Lawrence has been so friendly in their opposition to Manson,
Ryan Orr, a 19-year-old Granada employee, said he was stationed outside the
venue to watch the rocker's two tour buses, in case someone tried to
A week ago, an unknown Manson opponent scrawled graffiti with an ink marker
across the door of the nearby Vibes record shop, which had a poster for
Animals displayed in the glass door. Although she couldn't remember
precisely what the graffiti said, store manager Tanya Walsh recalled that it
read "Marilyn Manson has no love in his heart" and featured devil horns
drawn over Manson's head.
She also said police had been called to Vibes, located just a block from the
Granada on Massachusetts Street, on word that the store had "pornography" in
the window. The caller was referring to the cover for Mechanical
which features a nude, androgynous and alien-looking Manson.
Walsh said she was a bit surprised that such protests would take place in this
academic community centered around the University of Kansas. In response to
the graffiti, she posted a sign in the window that reads: "It's unfortunate
that in the midst of a university setting, certain individuals lack the
critical skills to comprehend not only the First Amendment, but that whether
or not it appeals to your personal sense of aesthetic bliss, ART CAN'T HURT
Lawrence is far from the first town to experience a bout of anti-Manson
activity in the days leading up to the 20-date North American tour. Earlier
this month, officials in Syracuse, N.Y., began examining ways to block the
shock rocker's show at the city-owned Landmark Theater. In Charlotte, N.C.,
last week, a coliseum authority held a public hearing on the upcoming Manson
show in that town's Ovens Auditorium. The authority decided against any
attempts to prevent the concert.
During Manson's 1997 tour in support of Antichrist Superstar, he met
with some kind of opposition at nearly every stop on his itinerary. He
fought many civic opponents on free-speech grounds and often won, including
publicized cases in New Jersey and Virginia.
Some people find any opposition in Lawrence hard to believe. "This is a very
liberal town," said 35-year-old Lori Gordon, now a Dallas resident visiting
Lawrence for University of Kansas' homecoming. "If any town wouldn't care
about him, Lawrence wouldn't."
In Walsh's eyes, Manson's protesters and supporters are clear proof of the
city's split personality as a cultured college town in a rural setting.
"Lawrence has polarized conservative and liberal camps," she said.
And they were both expected to be outside the Granada on Sunday night.