Preview the Innova recording of Junkestra.

At the old children’s playground in Golden Gate Park, there was an enormous rainbow play structure that was a warren of metal slides and tunnels.  My kids would disappear inside for long stretches — there was no way for an adult to follow — and I was left on the outside with all the other vaguely worried parents.  Fortunately, it was an amazingly resonant piece of architecture and I soon discovered that there were lots of ways to play this giant instrument that could keep me entertained for at least as long as my children.  I had fantasies about bringing a troupe of professional musicians — or maybe just the stoned drummers from nearby Hippy Hill—and staging a concert: Concerto for Rainbow Play Structure.

Sadly, the whole thing was removed last year to make way for a regulation playground that won’t swallow children, worry parents or, god forbid, attract any hippy drummers.  At about that time, I went to SF Recycling and Disposal’s web site to see if you have to rinse your yogurt tub before putting it in the blue cart (you don’t).  The site had a link to the Artist in Residence Program and I immediately had visions of recovering the rainbow play structure from the dump and bringing it to life at Davies Symphony Hall — maybe even the Cow Palace!

Well I never found the play structure but I have dug up a remarkably sonorous collection of pipes, pans, mixing bowls, bottles, serving trays, deck railings, dresser drawers, oil drums, bike wheels, saws, garbage cans, bathroom fixtures, bird-cages, and shopping carts.  This is Junkestra, and it’s a much richer palette of timbre and pitch than anything I could have foreseen or designed.

Photos for this artist.

Residency: February 2007 - May 2007
Art Exhibition: Friday, May 25  &  Saturday, May 26

Visit Nathaniel Stookey's website