If/when you come to Seattle, you’ll probably come across the Experience Music Project, one of Seattle’s most popular tourist attractions. And when you see it you might say, “What is that? It looks like the gargantuan, seafaring long-lost love of elegant Space Needle-woman just slumped out of the Puget Sound, crawled over to his lady, let out a dying squall of eternal love, and collapsed in a dead heap at her feet.” And if I happen to overhear your little comment, I will proceed to chide you for your rudeness and vehemently protect the honor of EMP, because even though others may call him a “blob”, or even “The Hemorrhoids”, I happen to love him devotedly. Besides, the French used to hate the Eiffel Tower, and don’t they all feel trés gauche about that now?
Casting aside your heartless judgments, you will probably be enthralled by the exhibits in the bowels of EMP, and you won’t be able to stop saying the word “cool”. First off, you surely won’t miss the guitar statue, a giant vertebra formed of thousands of guitars. Some worker-dude offered to take my picture while standing in front of it, and he told me I looked “very glamorous” and was “a natural”. I didn’t bother to let him know that I’ve had my picture taken, oh, about a hundred thousand times now. Progressing through the innards of my beloved EMP, you’ll see the Jimi Hendrix exhibit, the Northwest Passage (devoted exclusively to northwestern musicians – and there are a bunch of ‘em), and Sky Church, where live concerts go down. But the real heart of the beast lies in the Soundlab, where you can mix, record, play, jam, pound upon, pulverize, beat, or batter all sorts of instruments to your heart’s content. This is where EMP offers up his most precious viscera and organs so you can greedily paw them for your own edification and entertainment. It just wrenches my heart; he’s such a self-sacrificing ogre, precious and endearing like Shrek or Chewbacca.
In EMP’s extremities you’ll find the Sci-Fi Museum, sure to bewonder every boy (or girl) who ever wanted to run around with a terminator or kiss Princess Leia. You will be able to relive all those wondrous moments of childhood when you first saw “2001: A Space Odyssey” on the big screen, traveled under the sea or to the center of the earth with Jules Verne, zipped into the sky with the Rocketeer, or fantasized about being attacked by a 50-foot woman. And just to lure you to come visit me soon – the Battlestar Galactica exhibit has launched! If you haven’t seen that show, watch it first, then come visit me.
As you emerge from the wondrous interior of EMP, I hope you have a newfound respect and appreciation for him and all that he selflessly offers you – fantastic voyages, fond memories of puberty (and you know there aren’t many of those), hours of deep musical absorption in the Soundlab, and all sorts of exhibits to draw you into both local music history and the larger history of music and science fiction. He’s taken you on a wonderful tour, despite your initial skepticism. And anyway, he knows that I personally love the way he looks and wouldn’t change a thing about him. There’s no one else for me and Space Needle – and we know he just loves the tall ladies. J