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Vol. 12, No. 48, June 12, 2000

 Experience Music Project

Patti Payne, BBRC Members
Patti Payne chats with a couple of BBRCers after her Friday talk.

Smitten by a bout of laryngitis in early May, Patti Payne kept good on her promise to visit the BBRC and tell the story of Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project [EMP]. Patti holds down the job of Community Outreach Director for EMP, which officially opens on Friday June 23, 2000.

“EMP is getting great publicity the world over,” said Patti. “There are indications that people will attend from all around the globe.” Patti explained that the EMP, a museum of 140,000 square feet, is a “miracle of a building, costing $100 million dollars. It’s all about creativity and nothing else. Paul Allen has taken his passion for music and technology and combined the two into this great endeavor … the Experience Music Project.”

To accommodate the crowds expected for the opening, there will be a 3-day celebration in and around the Seattle Center, where the EMP is situated. Visitors will have to reserve spaces for the opening tours. Tours will take up to 2,500 people for what is expected to be a 3-1/2 hour stay. Visitors will see a selection of artifacts from the over 100,000 items already collected. These will be rotated throughout the year.

The museum will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., seven days a week. Visitors will enter the “Great Hall,” with its 85-foot ceiling. This is the “Sky Church” referred to by Jimmy Hendrix. Quoting from the EMP brochure, “Sky Church is a consummate ‘gathering place’ where people of all ages and backgrounds will come together to experience music. Visually dramatic, Sky Church features a massive video frieze enhanced by state-of-the-art acoustics spanning one large wall while glowing time capsules filled with objects donated from bands featured at EMP are sunken into the translucent flooring.”

The main exhibit area is called “Crossroads.” A “Sound Lab” is a futuristic studio where participants interact with music by playing guitars, drums or keyboards. A multi-media experience is wrapped into “Artist’s Journey,” combining special effects, theatrical lighting, film, audio, video, computer graphics and state-of-the-art motion platform technology.

The Project also includes a Digital Lab and a Performance Stage. Other features are the Experience Arts Camp, a 3-year-old day camp that gives young people ages 7-15 the opportunity to work alongside masters of contemporary music, art, film and creative technology. To reach out to people around the country, EMP sponsors the “Electric Bus,” the museum’s educational outreach vehicle. The bus will begin a tour of the nation right after the grand opening, with an estimated one million people taking advantage of its offerings. Combining sample exhibits from the museum, a fully functional recording studio, live performance stage for concerts and lectures and portable music-making technology for people of all ages and backgrounds, Electric Bus takes the museum on the road and extends EMP’s mission beyond the walls of the institution.

 More information is available at the EMP website.

 Thanks to Patti for her glimpse into the Seattle area’s newest attraction. And, thanks to Steve Goldfarb for his introduction.


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