Well Seattle is a strange city, larger than Portland and busier but it also seems to be trying just a little bit too hard to be noticed. Yes Jimi Hendrix is from Seattle but left as soon as he could without really looking back, yes Nirvana are from Seattle but their re-branding 70’s heavy metal as grunge was never really very convincing and let’s face it Pikes Place Market is just a fish market that got too big for it’s own good, there are so many people there you cannot throw the fish anymore you may damage a tourist. Of course this is true of any city that suddenly realizes it has something to market, in Portland Voodoo Donuts, the Saturday Market and the annoying “Keep Portland Weird” stickers give me the same feeling of a city trying just a little too much.
That being said Seattle is a fun city, that unlike other city’s seems to have embraced the idea of being a tourist destination. The people may think they are too cool for tourism but whoever is in charge has leaped wholeheartedly in with both feet.
I saw a sign that said science fiction museum and then we were destined to go. It was part of the Experience Music Project which it seem is trying to reimagine itself as a museum of poplar culture. Not a bad idea really. In the basement was a science fiction exhibit which relied obviously more on television and cinema but also had some nice references to books, especially promoting the idea that science fiction is an art form that promotes thinking about the future creatively. What fan would not be excited to stand next to the captains chair, or come face to fish-eye lens with a Dalek? It’s very exciting in a geeky way to be so close to these iconic props. I did want to break the glass and take a seat though and run screaming from the whisk and toilet plunger toting Dalek.
We all spent the morning marveling at the science fiction wonders in the basement, Robbie the Robot was upstairs, but the basement had the Alien creature, Superman’s long underwear and a green screen were you could act out your own creature feature. Who wouldn’t be excited to see themselves chased by the miniature Godzilla on a stick? The Alien is as imposing close up as it is on the big screen.
Of course there is the music section of the museum which obviously adulates Jimi, Kurt and strangely enough ACDC.
One of the most imposing sights is the tornado of guitars in the center of the museum. You can also listen to some of them that have been rigged to play. Also upstairs are practice rooms and teaching aids so you can live out your rock’n’roll fantasy in real time, plenty of green screen to rock out with Angus and the boys. Of course you can also buy your own CD of your version of whichever song you choose to record.
So a great weekend of Egyptians and science fiction, and to tie it all together the Helmet of Teal’c from Stargate which managed to distort and mix up Egyptian mythology with science fiction, kind of like Nirvana with heavy metal and punk, so it must be Seattle the city of blends.