Saturday night phil kline did a walking vigil from union square to washington square.
Those of you who know phil's work know that he is often called the boombox guy, since for several years he has been making pieces for multiple boomboxes. Every christmas he does a piece called "unsilent night" where people gather at washington square park and are given boomboxes (or tapes for their own boomboxes) and carry them through the streets playing his music. We all press play together and then the music unfolds, spread out spatially by the walkers, and in time by the vagaries of the individual cassette mechanisms.
It's the most beautiful musical public art I know: he has a real gift for making emotionally complex music that is robust enough for the hurly-burly of the street.
Some folks asked him to make a piece in response to the crisis, and I am so grateful he was able to do it.
Experiencing the music, being part of the procession, and feeling what happened for the people who witnessed it (the vast majority of whom are normally no more interested in new music than in sanskrit) was a deeply healing and wonderful thing.
We walked around union square and then down to washington square. As we were heading down fifth avenue, two motorcycle cops saw what was going on. At first, I was afraid they were going to stop us. But what happened is that one of the cops followed us all the way down fifth avenue, stopping the traffic so that we could continue unimpeded. At one point he stopped me and asked what was going on. I was still half-certain he was gonna say we couldn't march without a permit or something. But, no, he was obviously personally affected by the music, by the whole undertaking.
So much has changed since 9.11. And not all of it for the worse.