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From journal Seattle Tourist
Riverview, New Brunswick
June 12, 2007
Your visit will probably begin in Sound and Vision in which the EMP has recorded the stories of a number of artists and producers…you can hear the voices of Noel Redding, Jackie deShannon, Ice-T, and many more as they tell their stories. Included is a screen showing performance footage. It wasn’t our favourite gallery; as time goes on and, hopefully, more stories are added, it might be.
The Guitar Gallery was something again. A collection of 50 guitars including rare Nationals, Dobros, Fenders, Gibsons, and Rickenbackers tells the story of the development of the guitar. For anyone who cares, it’s really an interesting exhibit, for the guitar as science and as art. A screen features vignettes of the guitar greats; you’ll see Les Paul, Eddie Cochrane, Albert King, Bonnie Raitte, and many more.
In The Northwest Passage, you’ll trace the Seattle music scene from ‘40s jazz to the R & B of the ‘50s and onward. Homegrown Dolton Records produced the Frantics, the Fleetwoods, and the Ventures. As "Battles of the Bands" became popular, the local Kingsmen fought it out with Paul Revere and the Raiders to become the best purveyors of "Louie, Louie". The Kingsmen’s "Louie Louie" was a modest scandal at the time with its muddy lyrics and background comments. There is even a copy of the FBI files on their song available…a little hard to believe by today’s standards. The music in the passage evolves to include groups involved in the psychedelic ‘60s, punk, rap and eventually, grunge. There is striking memorabilia from Heart and Queensryche. It would have been difficult to avoid the Seattle music scene while we were growing up…it was diverse and rich.
Upstairs, you’ll find the Jimi Hendrix Gallery; it’s an amazing collection of the late guitarist’s possessions, letters, and costumes. It is somewhat oddly juxtaposed with The Disney Gallery next door... But EMP is more than just a museum. There is also a Sound Lab where you can try your talent with an electric guitar and for a little money, cut a CD. On the Sound Stage, you can experience the life of a rock star and cut a DVD. Throw in the JBL Theatre running big shows, a restaurant and a bar and you have a place in which you can spend a lot of time.
EMP presents an incredible amount of musical information; it doesn’t pretend to cover the entire field, but what it does cover, it covers well. Go to EMP.
From journal Jewel of the Northwest
January 9, 2007
From journal Seattle in a Week
January 5, 2007
From journal Washington State's Treasures
by Rie Rite
Brooklyn, New York
November 20, 2006
From journal Visiting a Museum of Music in the Heart of Seattle
Seattle, Washington, Afghanistan
December 13, 2004
If you are in Seattle, you have to at least drive or walk by the building. It is unique architecturally and, well, you be the judge of its aesthetic appeal... I personally did not find the EMP worth the $20 it cost to get in, but my friend loved it and immediately signed up for a membership! I love music, but this was not the outlet that interested me.
They have temporary exhibits that are very interesting, such a photography exhibit of music artists. I saw one that was of the Beatles. It was very interesting to see previously unreleased photos, but $20 is a steep price to pay to see some photos.
Other exhibits are very interactive, where you get to actually play instruments in the music lab and create a little video or take lessons and write songs. Another exhibit was an amusement-style ride that seemed something similar to Epcot Center, where you are in a seat which moves and sways to a video that gives you the feeling you are actually in the movie. There is now a sci-fi museum attached to the EMP, which I have yet to see.
If you would just like to see the inside of the building for its architecture, you can do so by going to the Turn Table restaurant or the Liquid lounge bar for no admission price and order a drink. The Sky Church (auditorium) has great concerts and shows. Check their website for the line-up.
From journal Seattle, my home
October 21, 2004
The EMP was heavily funded by Microsost co-founder and entrepreneur, Paul Allen. He was supposedly quite a fan of local rock icon Jimi Hendrix (who is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in suburban Renton), so the original intent was to establish a museum to display his vast collection of Hendrix memorabilia. This plan somehow fell through, but its scope expanded to become a place to honor not only rock and roll music but its older (blues, soul, jazz, gospel, and country) and younger relatives (punk and hip hop) siblings. Hendrix does get his own gallery inside, and perhaps the architect is honoring the Purple Haze guitarist with the use of purple on the exterior.
Unlike the great Guggenheim Bilbao, which is one monochromatic mass, the EMP consists of several crumpled balls of various colors. Twenty-one thousand shingles, each a distinctly sized puzzle piece, were fitted to create the exterior layer in hues of purple, silver, gold, red, and baby blue. The first three colors are stainless steel; red and blue are painted aluminum. The mirrored purple panels are as mesmerizing as sequins on a Tina Turner dress. Gehry was inspired by the shapes and shades of electric guitars during his design process, though one may sarcastically compare the forms with a smashed-up Pete Townshend guitar. The project strikes me as a blow-up of a kid’s science project, with the giant red heart, and perhaps a silver liver and a golden gall bladder too. It does not win the science fair, but it does get noticed and perhaps that is what matters in this setting. The tracks of the Monorail slice under the baby blue blob, which helps to tie the EMP into the Seattle Center fabric.
The EMP is filled with musical memorabilia (including a gallery of guitars) and captivating old video clips, but it also promotes its interactive aspects like the Sound Lab where visitors can try their hand at playing instruments or mixing music. An additional attraction to the complex in June 2004 is the new Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, which will cost you a few extra dollars.
These curvy and crinkly blobs are not my favorite Gehry concoctions, but he does employ colors liberally to stretch his architectural vocabulary. If you have the time and the money, check out the inside of the Experience Music Project. If you can only visit one, I recommend walking around the EMP and going up the Space Needle.
From journal Bill in the USA - SEATTLE
June 15, 2004
From journal Labor Day week in Seattle