William Hooker (pictured) plays drums like the universe throws dice: What seems random and formless is actually a pattern that approaches infinity — and in the aftermath, you marvel at the breadth and beauty of this meticulous creation. Hooker's flickering beats and pulsating vitality are the stuff of a lead instrument, a raw expression of the immediate now. His is not the "drum solo," a terrifying excursion into self-gratification; his art is the biggest bang, the birth of something large enough for all of us to live in, breathe in and dream in. Tonight at 7 p.m., William Hooker alone performs his score for Oscar Micheaux's silent film Symbol of the Unconquered at the Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; www.webster.edu/filmseries or 314-968-7487). A direct response to D.W. Griffith's epic Birth of a Nation, Micheaux's Symbol of the Unconquered counteracts Griffith's KKK hagiography by portraying black Americans in a heroic light — and having all the rapists and murderers played by whites. In 1920, when Micheaux made Symbol, this was a defiant and radical move, much like the idea of a percussion-only live soundtrack. But all of creation is defiant and radical, so either you're in or you're dead. Tickets for this one-night-only statement of life are $5 to $6.
Sat., Feb. 23, 2008