Last December, Gary Brown helped organize Dallas's very first (and, later that night, the second) Unsilent Night walk, a local take on the 18-year-old New York City tradition that's spread to 24 cities around the world.
To refresh your memory, the deal is that you bring a boombox, a laptop or anything else with speakers, and play a piece of holiday-inspired bell music while you walk alongside a crowd of people all doing the same. As Brown puts it in this year's announcement for the December 18 event, it's a "free, outdoor participatory sound sculpture experience." Phil Kline, who organized the first event in Manhattan, says, "In effect, we become a city-block-long stereo system." As Robert put it last year, "It's very Flaming Lips."
This year's walk leaves from the same place as last year's, on the north side of the tracks at the Akard Street DART stop. As before, there'll be two walks -- one at 7 p.m., one at 8:30. Brown's also posted a how-to guide for getting this year's audio files.
It's an imported tradition, sure, but I had a real good time tagging along for both of last year's walks -- and the second one, through the Arts District, drew a huge, and pretty diverse, crowd. Jump for a look at the video from that night, including a few words from Brown and a couple of the walkers who found the whole thing either "a little disorganized," or, frankly, "erotic."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Unsilent Night Dallas 2010 Returns To Downtown Dallas
On Saturday, December 18, 2010 the 2nd annual Unsilent Night Dallas, the Texas version of Phil Kline's "Unsilent Night" will take place in Downtown Dallas at the DART Rail: Akard Station, located on Pacific Avenue between Akard and Field streets (north side of the tracks). Event details and extensive information can be found at: www.UnsilentNightDallas.com.
Originally conceived by Mr. Kline, New York City has celebrated the Holiday season by holding this amazing event since 1992. As many as 1,500 eager partakers gather annually for a contemplative procession along that city's sidewalks armed with boomboxes playing nothing more than the beautiful, mysterious sounds of echoing bells. In 2009 Dallas joined 24 other cities around the globe who invited their citizens to come together and create this intriguing and inspiring performance art experience. In only it's first year, Unsilent Night Dallas was an immediate success with greater than expected crowds turning out to participate in each of the two, differently routed walks.
Unsilent Night is a free, outdoor participatory sound sculpture experience consisting of four separate soundtracks which participants download from the internet onto their cassettes, CD's, or as mp3 files. The participants then bring their boomboxes loaded with one of these four soundtracks to the event's starting point and together, with all soundtracks playing simultaneously, become a walking processional orchestra. The large group slowly strolls along a designated route, drifting peacefully through a cloud of holiday sound as each person experiences the event from their own perspective.
This event is free and will be held regardless of the weather. It is recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before the departure of the 7 PM route through Downtown Dallas and/or the 8:30 PM route through the Arts District. Everyone should gather at the north side of the DART Rail tracks at the Akard Station where instructions will be given before each walk begins. People are encouraged to bring one or more boomboxes or similar devices with them to broaden the scope of the experience. However, with or without one, all are invited to bring their friends and family to participate in this wonderful, innovative performance art experience.
The soundtracks can be downloaded by going to www.UnsilentNightDallas.com, where much more additional information about this event can be found.
Unsilent Night Dallas