Busted, just like King Kong!
The iconic Empire State Building I have never scaled, but when in New York a couple of days ago, I revisited its incredible deco lobby, which had blown me away a few years ago. Battling upstream through hordes of high school kids exiting noisily to the street as I arrived, I discreetly set up in an alcove by one of the exits to sample the acoustics.
I have discovered that it is a fine balance between public and private space when it comes to playing flute for my project. At times, in fact, it can be rather nervous-making, depending on the circumstances, if there are others around, or if, say, I find myself on an abandoned site in the middle of the night. Or, in this case, if there are security guards at every exit.
Like King Kong, I’m not looking for trouble, and just want to do my thing!
Buoyed up by my experience minutes earlier from having successfully recorded in a secluded section of the New York Central Library, I thought I’d give the same piece a read, you know, as part of my study of ‘comparative acoustics’.Without asking for permission – what I like to call ‘guerilla flute’ – I set up to record. I wondered whether I should take the repeats of this Minuetto by Pietro Locatelli, figuring I would be interrupted part way through as had occurred at Chicago’s Lyric Opera Building last summer.
I decided to live dangerously and took the repeats – the acoustics, even at a restrained playing volume, were just exquisite.
But then, just as I finished my second repeat and was about to head into the middle section of the piece, an imposing figure stepped into the space where I was playing and caught my attention. Thinking about it now, he was a tall as freaking King Kong! He wasn’t at all abrupt with me, but he certainly didn’t mince words, and I put up no struggle, unlike the famous gorilla associated with the building!
Gorilla Flute: Busted!
And speaking of gorillas, this seems a natural place to slip in this great interview with the lead singer of Sleepy Time Gorilla Musem who I saw at Lee’s Palace last year, as described in Sumer Is I-Cumin In and who’s band ‘s name is derived from the Sleepy Time Gorilla Press, which was based out of New York City in 1903.