The Boombox Experiments

The child in you wants to go caroling. Everything around it, all that battle-weary flesh and additive-laced blood, requires something more ironic to get it into the street. At Unsilent Night, that’s what the boomboxes are for. Also, you don’t have to sing a lick, just march around silently, bringing equal parts holiday cheer and creepiness along with ambient bell-ringing wonderment to the usual assorted crowd along the mile-long Mission District route. The music coming out of your box is by Phil Kline; he organized the first Unsilent Night 17 years ago, sending New Yorkers out into the streets with cassettes and CDs of his Brian Eno–inspired composition. Something clicked, and now the event takes place in 25 countries around the world — and for seven years straight in S.F., with more than 400 showing up last year. Kline calls it a “participatory sound sculpture.” Time Out calls it "an electro-happening.” The Onion calls it “an ambient wash of heaven-sent shimmer, recognizable as seasonal mostly for its modulating bells and time-stretched hymnal melodies." You bring the boombox; Kline’s elves bring the cassettes and CDs.
Sat., Dec. 19, 7 p.m., 2009

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