Experience Music Project

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by MadMax on June 19, 2002

Let me just come straight out and say it: I hate the EMP.

The Experience Music Project is the pet project of one of the Microsoft billionaires, a florescent red and green monstrosity at the foot of the Space Needle, a shrine to Jimi Hendrix, the perfect example of the things that go wrong when people have too much money and not enough... not enough people around them to tell them when an idea is just plain dumb.

The EMP can't decide whether it's a museum or a theme park, and nastily meshes elements of both. There are exhibits, and each exhibit can trigger a commentary or a piece of explanatory text on your MEG - a little palm-top computer that you're given on the way in - and I have to say that this is actually a pretty cool piece of kit. The problem with the concept is that you end up with hundreds of people walking around the exhibits wearing headphones plugged into the MEG. The very thing that music is best at - bringing people together - has been stripped away from it.

There are also rides, and I use the term loosely. The Artist's Journey is essentially a cinema in which the seats move, telling the story of 'Funk' using tacky film-making techniques and actors that would have seemed stilted in the 1920s. There are other rides which allow you to perform on stage in front of an imaginary audience and have your picture taken as a rock 'n' roll star. They aren't bad ideas - then again, they ain't great - but the problem is that it just takes too long to get in to the rides, queues sometimes going as long as 90 minutes.

There are hundreds of reasons to hate the EMP. The way it takes itself so seriously. The way the employees all think that they're roadies. The way that it is so damn ugly, and so damn bright.

I, however, have a very personal reason to hate the EMP. Why would they build something that has nowhere to shelter under. Trying to run from the rain and hiding under the EMP is a singularly bad idea since the futuristic curvy shape forms a perfect funnel to direct rain onto those underneath. Then again, it's not as if it rains in Seattle.

EMP Museum at Seattle Center
325 Fifth Ave North
Seattle, Washington, 98109
(206) 770-2700


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