My computer insists on autocorrecting “Unsilent Night” to Insolent Night, but, no, that would be SantaCon.Unsilent Night is a far more enjoyable holiday tradition. Every year, Phil Kline, a composer who has collaborated with the likes of Jim Jarmusch, Nan Goldin, Bang On a Can, and other downtown luminaries, leads a roving boom box orchestra from Greenwich Village to the East Village in a wonderful act of modernist caroling.
Here’s how it works: On Dec. 17 at 5:45pm, everyone is invited to gather at the Washington Square Arch, where Kline will hand out some boomboxes pre-loaded with one of four tracks of his electronic symphony. Or, to make sure you aren’t left out, download one of the tracks onto your phone. After he cues everyone to hit Play, the group strolls to Tompkins Square Park, blanketing the streets with an ambient and other-worldly sheet of sound for a good 45 minutes. If you’ve been to one of Glenn Branca’s performances, you can expect something similar, albeit much more mellow; Kline was a member of Branca’s ensemble.
As for SantaCon, that’s happening on Dec. 9 this year, bright and early. The event location won’t be revealed here until the night before; until then, you won’t know whether your neighborhood is safe from the Red Menace.