Simon, Def Play for ACLU - Rolling Stone
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Simon, Def Play for ACLU

Reed, Smith also aboard for “Freedom Concert”

Paul Simon, Mos Def, Lou Reed and Patti Smith will perform at a benefit concert for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on October 4th at Avery Fisher Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center. The event, titled the ACLU Freedom Concert, is geared toward highlighting what the organization calls “this moment . . . when our most basic civil liberties are threatened.”

In addition to the musical performances, comedians like Robin Williams and Sarah Jones have signed on to perform creative interpretations of landmark Supreme Court decisions involving the ACLU. Actors and performers Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sean Penn and Tony Kushner will also take part in special spoken-word performances. Other musicians on the bill include Nancy Griffith, Lila Downs and composer and event producer Philip Glass. More acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

The show will also include a multimedia tribute to colorful comic Lenny Bruce produced by longtime Saturday Night Live director Hal Wilner. The tribute will spotlight Bruce’s own stand on issues of censorship and freedom of speech.

“Our upcoming presidential elections will hammer away at the safest of issues: jobs, the economy and the war on terror,” says Glass. “Our government believes that the threat of terror trumps everything — even our civil rights. History has shown us that a little censorship, wiretapping, unlawful detention and deporting, all lead to the radical dissolution of our freedoms.”

Tickets — priced at $100 and $250 (with special patron tickets for $500 and $1000) — will go on sale beginning August 28th through the Lincoln Center box office and online at


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