baby sometimes hiro ballroom just ain’t enough

Remember when you were a teenager and you were on that boring field trip and you thought, ‘man, this sucks, but it would fucken’ rock to party here!’

Welcome to Museum Culture as nightlife commodity. High on the coattails of the Brooklyn Museum’s (awesome and free) First Saturdays jam and the Guggenheim’s far less diverse/far more expensive First Fridays, the Museum of Natural History is gettting in on the action with their own $20 party, One Step Beyond.

The Museum’s Planetarium is kind of the granddaddy of Museum cum Nightclub culture, even as its stoner-heaven laser lightshows have changed soundtracks from Led Zep to Moby over the years. But now it’s full on party time: this month features Superpitcher and 90s techno wunderkind Josh Wink, whose 808-programmed acid house defined a decade (for candy-flipping raver kids and aficionados of the movie Go).

Both the Guggenheim and AMNH events are promoted by Flavorpill, the Todd P of the McSweeney’s set.

Will you meet that special someone under the blue whale and then get bored of the sex in a month? We live and hope.

First Saturdays via Kris! on flickr. 

you got review’d: die roboter kommen!

Suggested Donation’s less-employed half spent the month of August in Berlin, where every German earnestly implored, “oh but you must visit the Jewish Museum.” Somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to spend an afternoon looking at family pictures of ghosts of holocausts past.

Instead, my precious Cultural Hours were spent at the Museum of Communication (Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation), a public museum bearing artifacts and interactive displays of the modern history of communications technology. The Museum is run by Deutsch Post, that is, the Post Office–and it’s housed in an anachronistically Wilhelmine building just a few blocks west of Checkpoint Charlie. Visitors entering the Museum’s palatial lobby are greeted by three whirring Jetsons-esque robots. They beep and click and wheel around, following a large exercise ball–and delighted children–around the marble floor. These robots are permanent fixtures in the space, but the real goods were upstairs–in a temporary exhibition called ‘Die Roboter Kommen!’ (The Robots are Coming!)

The exhibition gives way to a series of eerily lit rooms with a fascinating–I dare say awesome–collection of larger than life robots, supplemented with robot videos, graphic art, and other cultural kitsch. There are robots both real and imagined–medical surgery bots and giants robotic spiders (seemingly military) lead to the Metropolis deity and the cylon from Bjork’s All is Full of Love video. I can’t speak much to the label copy (although the font could have been a little bigger), but most impressive (other than the artifacts themselves) was the dynamic transformation of the space by a cool blue black-light which swathed the entire exhibit in a futuristic glow. [slideshow]

robot crotch shots: VHS or BETA?

screaming: the new shushing

Those hip shushers we’re so fond of writing about (and drinking with) are at it again, this time in the southwest’s cradle of hipsterdom, UT Austin. Seems fine art librarian Laura Schwartz organized a student introduction to the library involving pizza, karaoke, and an organized screaming session.

What’s more, it’s up on youtube (scan ahead to 1:50 or so for the cathartic moment). Library screaming of the douchebag fratboy sort can be viewed here, if you must.


Hat tip to the ARLIS mailing list for the link.

lapsed exhibition review: a review

We never claimed that we were timely. Via the excellent Old is the New New, we caught Stefan Schmitt’s thoughtful review of the “Game On” exhibition on the history of video games, which closed last February at the Science Museum of London. In our own defense, we weren’t a blog back then.

The exhibition, sponsored by Nintendo (natch), apparently deserves a bit of credit for at least attempting to address the social implications of video gaming via several installations called “debate walls”, allowing for a slightly more critical look at gaming than Gibby’s Game Room.

Next on Nintendo’s museum marketing radar: pursuing the naming rights to two mummies the British Museum, soon to be known as Mario and Luigi.


full disclosure: some of this isht is pretty cool

edutainment round up: convergence, emergence, divergence, detergent.

button_edutainment.jpgAre museums little more than edutainers? Here are some interesting internet link things about museums and entercation.

Stephen Asma doesn’t live near an inner city bus stop, but he does write about edutainment and museums, in his cuddly-titled book,Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums.” Asma relates the story of a T. Rex named Sue, a glam-rock covers of Johnny Cash dinosaur exhibit at Chicago’s Field Museum.

Asma also examines the phenomenon of “edutainment” including the ways in which museums use spectacle and fantasy in order to illuminate and educate, how much of current museum offerings are driven by a quest for large visitation numbers and the question of the relationship between big business, politics and what we learn at any moment in history.

Less than fifteen percent of the Field Museum’s funding comes from admissions. In order to raise the $8 million to acquire T. rex Sue, the Field partnered with Disney World and McDonald’s. “To my mind,” Asma writes, “Sue represents the best and the worst of edutainment.”

We take pause to wonder how this is in any way the best of edutainment, but I guess we’ll just have to buy his book!!!~!!

Elsewhere in the edutainmentsphere:

 So grab the sphere of life and aim it /and you’ll be guided by Edutainment.


above: the edutainmentsphere in cube form