The original sneakers

May 20, 2006

red sneakers.jpg

The Composers in Red Sneakers was and is composers consortium founded in Boston in 1980 by Robert Aldridge and Thomas Oboe Lee followed by Christopher Stowens. I was invited in, as was Amy Reich and Gary Philo. That was the original group, and it has gone on and morphed into an entirely new group where it would seem none of the current members seem to know the original gang. Alas, so it goes. It was a great experience being in the group. The gimmick was that if you wore red sneakers, you could get in for free.

Richard Dyer gave us a great spread in the Sunday Calendar section of the Boston Globe with a picture of Stowens and Bourland and their red sneakers. In our next concert we had to turn people away. It was amazing. A group of young modern composers who had an audience that couldn’t wait to hear the next concert. Composer groups sprung up for years. New music became relevant in Boston, not alienating, but cool. (Check out Tom Lee’s museum for our concerts.)

Above is a photo of the original pair of red sneakers, originally owned and used by Christopher Stowens, now living in Hollywood with Roger Bourland. They are decaying; the rubber is turgid and browning. The cloth has been smushed and has separated from the rubber siding. Can’t you smell them? Old sneakers, unworn for 20 years?

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