by Whet Moser
As someone who got interested in classical music about 300 years too late, it's probably futile to hope that at some point some local publication will praise Oak Park's little Chicago Digital store for having a freakishly good used and new classical section. So I thought I'd take up the geek's burden.
I've been trolling the local blogs and publications for suggestions of where to go for classical music ever since Tower joined the counter invisible, but no luck. And while Virgin's not bad, it's just not as good. So for the time being, Chicago Digital seems to be the only non-chain alternative for classical in the metropolitan area, and as far as I can tell I'm the only person I know who's ever heard of it. I probably wouldn't even know about it if I hadn't lived a block away from it for a while.
The new selection is good--though it's too small a store to be comprehensive like Tower was--but the used section is the real draw. The last time I was there they had a reasonably priced copy of Conlon Nancarrow's Studies (Nancarrow, a genius expatriate who lived in Mexico City in complete obscurity until his works for player piano won him a MacArthur Grant, is a good time) and a CD from CSO composer-in-residence Mark-Anthony Turnage, as well as a typically good selection of the basics.
And for being in the suburbs, it's pretty convenient--just off the Oak Park Blue Line stop at 905 S. Oak Park. There's a good bakery across the street, too.
In other Oak Park news: they're getting rid of the town's Original Pancake House because the building is too ugly. As a former resident, I can say with certainty they need decent food way more than good architecture, so I can only view this as a step backward.