Ah, Seattle, I missed you. I'm sorry we've been zooming by lately on our way to Portland. I mean, Portland is an extremely cool city, and I miss it too, but it had been too long since we'd made a Seattle visit.
Sweetie and my first stop once we had checked into our hotel on Saturday was the Experience Music Project in Seattle Center. EMP is one of the best museums ever, if you can even call it a museum. It's really a wonderful tribute to rock music.
Our main reason for returning to EMP was a special exhibit about Nirvana called "Taking Punk to the Masses." It's not big, but it's packed with information. It tells the story of the band from the Aberdeen days up until the end, and it's full of artifacts, listening stations, and video displays. You can listen to Nirvana's first demo tape! And the exhibit is not just about Nirvana in isolation, but about how the Seattle scene really came out of the earlier punk scene.
You're invited to leave your own contribution to the oral history of the period. We didn't. What I would have said was about having MTV on and seeing the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the first time and being blow away. Someone was making real rock music again, and MTV was playing it! The other memory would have been coming home to Sweetie in tears, sobbing. I thought something was seriously wrong, a personal tragedy or something! But it was the news of Kurt Cobain's death. If you didn't feel the loss, then you probably don't love rock music.
EMP also has a permanent (I think) exhibit on Jimi Hendrix that very cool, and a wonderful room that shows the evolution of the electric guitar and electric bass guitar. And there's more! You can go upstairs and play different instruments in various booths. We did that last time so we didn't go away, but hopefully there is still a theramin that you can play with.
The place was slightly invaded by some non-music: an exhibit about the making of the film Avatar. We breezed through that, watching some kids doing a green-screen video recording of themselves as avatar animations. That was pretty cool. Apparently there is also a Battlestar Galactica exhibit somewhere in there.
The Nirvana exhibit runs until April 22, 2013. I wouldn't mind going through it again, nudge nudge road trip.