I made a quick visit to Seattle's Experience Music Project not long ago. The current main exhibit is titled: NIRVANA: Taking Punk To The Masses, and coincides with the 20th birthday of the band's Nevermind record. The exhibit not only has tons of Nirvana memorabilia, but is really a goldmine of great music sources from that same period of time. The facility is right next to Seattle's Space Needle (it's that dented looking brass thing to the right of it), and is full of cool exhibits having to do with music and film. Here's a giant guitar sculpture that lifts 35 feet into the air like a stringed cyclone. In the lobby they were showing parts of the movie Avatar, but the filming was of the actors pretending to fly, pre-special effects. Interesting the prep involved and the faux wetsuits they wore that tracked their body movement so it would be easier to morph them with their rendered additions (wings, dragons, etc.) at a later time. Something about it reminded me of a short I saw once that was the filming of the dubbing of Poltergeist. It was a hilarious process actually. You'd think that dubbing a film is at least some kind of large production? That is what I thought and I was certainly proven wrong. Imagine a group of people sitting in a room all on folding chairs facing a screen. On the screen is a tickertape of words going by, and the lines spoken by each actor are in a different color and run across the screen in a different vertical position. The voice actors focus on their lines and stand up and shout them at the screen. There is a condenser microphone mounted in front of the screen in a central location. People were standing up, saying their lines, and sitting back down. They weren't watching the movie - it wasn't even playing! They all had scripts on their laps and were facing forward as if they were forced to. When the movie got a little nutty, those people were standing up, shouting their lines at this screen full of text, and quickly sitting back down again. It was surreal and deflating all at once- not exactly glamorous! It may be the same kind of activity going on at the stock market right now, and you know I'm not gonna go there!
Back to the EMP... One of the neatest things in the Nirvana exhibit was a neighborhood band map, which connected many bands from the Northwest to each other. You'll have to look at the full size photo to see the names, but not far from the glare spot is THRONES, featuring my latest Peer Pressure guest, Joe Preston, go here to check out the archive of his guest DJ spot. Also in there is Book of Black Earth, who spoke to Fun Machine listeners during this program. The additional features of the exhibit really made it great to spend some time; there were a couple of listening stations; one local, and one genre specific, and there was a series of computers with recorded interviews on them about a variety of subjects, all having to do with the punk world; recording, different regional scenes, flyers, poster art, zines, etc. Here is a shot of a Greg Shaw interview where he spoke about the LA scene. The other exhibits happening at the facility are: Battlestar Galactica - they've got 3 full prop sized ships in there from the series, Jimi Hendrix - Evolution of Sound - featuring his guitars, clothing and memorabilia from this legend, a guitar gallery, and then the Sound & Vision exhibit, which is also outfitted with a number of computers that have many interviews with a mix of different artists, pioneers, producers and promoters in the music and tv/film field. Here's a display from a wall contained in that exhibit; the quote is from one of the interviews with Ian MacKaye. Opening October 2nd, an exhibit called Don't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film... someone's going to have to give me remote coverage of that. Overall, the exhibitions are put together with knowledge and care. They seem to have taken forever to assemble, and it was great to see all the video and audio archived interviews in one place. The Nirvana exhibit is up until April...good for a stop in if you're in Seattle!