Music for Bookstores

Brian Eno's got nothing

Mar 31, 2004 at 4:00 am
Dunaway Books (3111 South Grand Boulevard, 314-771-7150) is a fantastic bookstore, a multilevel maze of shelves teeming with everything from old pop fiction to bibliographic esoterica. In a remarkable stroke of creativity, Eric Hall (electronic artist lately of Grandpa's Ghost) will seek to blend this architecture with various improvised soundscapes ranging from electronic ambient to acoustic sax and guitar. In April he's curating Ancora il Più Estinto, or Staying as Soft as Possible -- and we say "curate" because it really is an exhibit more than a show. It really isn't about the performers (of which there are legion); it's about the sound. Quiet, invasive, experimental sound.

In each set, six or so musicians will play as quietly as they can in various parts of the store, and that music -- those sounds -- will in turn be broadcast into various corners of the labyrinthine corridors. Each corner will become an individual multimedia art piece; you're facing a wall of books, maybe leafing through a history of the Spanish Civil War, while an experimental musician in the basement subtly nudges your brain with a Moog organ.

So is it like live Muzak? Perish the thought: Hall's sensibilities are focused on the effect sounds -- such as music -- have on the brain, how the tiniest ting or a striking beat can reacquaint you with everyday surroundings. An intricate music setup in a bookstore backed by a killer talent pool is just this kind of clash. The Muzak people want to change your brain, too, trancing you out into a blissful consumerist orgy. Or at least that's what we've heard. The artists involved with Quiet Music (as it will be known in art-history books) have no such sinister intention.

Musicians such as Tony Renner, Brent Underwood, Tobi Parks, Jack Petracek and Darin Gray, among many others, will create the sound-art installation pieces every Thursday in April from 8 to 10 p.m. -- five performances total, with a different lineup each night. It's free, unless you buy books. -- Mark Dischinger

Don't Think Pink
Stay Golden, Donkey Boy

When you hear the name Salvador Dali, maybe you think of Pink Floyd or your college posters. Or both. Well, it's about time you grew up -- you should be thinking movies, surrealist movies. Dali and Luis Buuel created the short silent film Un Chien Andalou in 1929 and a 60-minute follow-up, L'Age D'or in 1930 (in French with English subtitles) to make a mockery of basically all social institutions. Prepare your eyes for images more disturbing and startling than watching (and listening to) the Australian Pink Floyd, such as unsuccessful lovemaking, dead donkeys and warped Catholic iconography. The Webster Film Series puts surrealism in motion at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 2 through 4) in the Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue, 314-968-7487; $4 to $6). -- Alison Sieloff

Nippon This

WED 3/31

St. Louis is known for dining and nightlife at rock-bottom prices, but Stag is only delicious during certain phases of the moon, a bag of Old Vienna potato chips is not dinner, and south-side dirt rock can be like Stag on the wrong night. If it's color, cosmopolitan chic and a clean mouthfeel you need on the cheap, two Wednesday-night bargains rank as Thee Official Shit. Start at Rue 13 (1313 Washington Avenue, 314-588-9797), where double portions of sushi can be had at single-portion prices, then skip to Lo (500 North 15th Street, 314-621-8930), where a carafe of sake will set you back a buck. Now back to Rue 13. You get the idea. -- John Goddard

Thanks, Utah

SAT 4/3

While you're at the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, 314-241-2337) celebrating the repeal of the 18th Amendment (that's the one that banned alcohol, kids) with mug after mug of delicious beer, be sure to raise a glass in honor of Utah. Yes, Utah. On December 5, 1933, at 5:32 p.m., Utah ratified the 21st Amendment (repealing Amendment 18), providing the two-thirds majority necessary to end Prohibition (effective on this date in 1933). So if it wasn't for conservative Utah getting on the party wagon (or falling off the wagon, if you prefer), we couldn't celebrate anything with adult beverages, and we certainly wouldn't be celebrating the end of the end of drinking. Utah, a thirsty nation thanks you at the Bottleworks from 2 to 7 p.m. -- Paul Friswold