Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Gone but not forgotten. Yet.

October 08, 2006

For classical music fans in LA the newly announced demise of Tower Records is big news because that means the only free standing solely classical music store in the city is now closing for good. Of course there are some other options for people who want more than the Andrea Bocelli recording of Il Trovatore – though these outlets too have seen better days. Amoeba Records on Sunset and Ivar continues to have a fair selection with many used items and I suppose the Virgin Megastore on Sunset and Crescent Heights still make slightly more effort than your average Border’s or Barnes & Noble. Virgin used to have a separate classical room but dumped that with most of the classical inventory over a year ago leaving a sloppy arrangement of remnants for those few people still wandering through this progressively vacant retail space. The store at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler do carry many items that are relevant to current productions but aren’t really providing a larger service. And then of course there is the Internet.

I shopped at Tower Classical a lot and I will certainly miss it. I stopped by yesterday with the rest of the vultures to begin picking over the bones and I did pick up a number of items to fill out my collection. I guess my age begins to show when I say that I still enjoy the visceral experience of buying recorded music in the flesh. But perhaps I shouldn’t enjoy it so much.

While I respect the importance of recognizing and preserving the past, I don’t think one should live in it either. Let’s face it – It was just a record store. Sunset Blvd looks nothing like it did 50 years ago and will look completely different 50 years from now. Is that in and of itself a bad thing? I guess what I’m saying is that the only thing worse than losing a store you liked a lot is to be rigid and inflexible and unable to accept the good and the bad that comes with inevitable change.

So, so long Tower. We’ll miss you, but maybe not forever.

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