Aug 18, 2009

Grammy Museum: Vacation Retrospective #2

"The Grammy Museum" is a misnomer. I'm not even interested in the Grammys (haven't ever watched them, don't even have cable reception on my TV--my TV is just a Netflix viewer). But the scope of this museum goes far beyond Grammy stuff. It just opened this year, and it is a winner!

Ok, so we're talking L.A., in the new L.A. Live complex (you know, where the Lakers play). Lesson 1: go with a group. There were seven of us, so it was cheaper to get a membership than to get individual tickets--that way we got the rest of the tickets free, plus other cool swag. Lesson 2: give yourself plenty of time. We spent 2 or 3 hours there, but could easily have been entertained all day. We were greeted by friendly, knowledgeable staff who made us welcome and helped us plot our course.

We began our tour on the 4th floor, and worked our way down. It has a wonderful interactive area where you put on good quality headphones and do a Pandora-type thing to explore different genres of music.

There is a large display area showing the history of music and political protest--how the two influence each other. We saw Woody Guthrie's 1936 Martin guitar, with the words written on it, "This machine kills fascists." Pete Seeger's banjo (1945) had these words: "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender." And we saw Bob Dylan's 1949 Martin guitar. John said that if he had a guitar his would say, "This machine eats dead flowers." Hmmm.

The 3rd floor is comprised of individual sound booths where you can learn about music recording and production by doing! We found this very fun. And educational. Also on this floor are the exhibits pertaining to the Grammy awards and award winners, which I enjoyed despite myself, and despite much of it being devoted to Neil Diamond (well, turns out he was quite handsome in his younger years, wore hip clothes, and was a fencer!).

The 2nd floor has a 200-seat concert hall, intimate and high tech, where they host live performances and film festivals. (Maybe the Speckled Bird will play there one day.) Currently it is being used for a Michael Jackson retrospective (we visited just a month after his death), and is showing all M.J. videos. I was really struck by what an amazing performer he was. I was mesmerized, and could have spent the entire afternoon watching Michael Jackson. I have a new appreciation for his costumes, too--many of those are on display as well.

Well, I have just touched on some of the highlights of this museum. If you get the chance, go there--take your friends and family, too. It's hard to imagine someone who wouldn't love this museum! If you're not in L.A., Lesson 3: tour it online.

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