Thursday, November 02, 2006

Payday on the Sunset Strip

Yesterday was the first of the month, which means payday in these parts. And as is my custom, I went up to the Tower Classical on Sunset to part with a percentage of my paycheck. As we all know, Tower is going out of business, and like most, I feel ambivalent. On the one hand, Tower was the first monolithic chain store to come along and drive independents out of the business. On the other hand, in these days of Walmart as the nation's largest music retailer, one gets nostalgic for the days of big bad record store chains--at least they specialized in music! And Tower, to its credit, has always maintained a strong commitment to classical music. Although I am definitely not nostalgic for the waning power of the canon--as some commentators have been--I did like that a large corporation was willing to maintain a small space for music that is not commercially viable. The Tower Classical I used to frequent was a great store--not as gigantic a selection as Amoeba, but perfectly decent, with a knowledgeable staff. Oh well.

At any rate, this Tower has now made it down to 30% off, which means that the FLUX Quartet recording of Morton Feldman's String Quartet No. 2 was only forty bucks. Haven't listened to it yet, but I'm excited. Not that I will listen to the whole thing, as it is about six hours long--the package comes with one version cut up into five different CDs, and then a version on one DVD so that you could theoretically listen to the whole thing in one sitting. I actually was around when FLUX was recording this--they did it at Wesleyan my senior year. I didn't attend any of the taping, although I can't remember why. It was definitely a big event at the time.

Walking back home, I happened by the Viper Room, the legendary club on the Strip that used to be owned by Johnny Depp. There was a small pile of flowers and candles outside, and a small sign that informed me that October 31 was the anniversary of River Phoenix's death from a drug overdose, on the curb outside of the Viper Room.

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