Tag Archive | music

EMP Museum Seattle (review = image heavy!)

The EMP Museum in Seattle is like someone asked “what is Nicole a nerd about?” and made a museum (minus the board games, get on it EMP!). The EMP Museum used to be the “Experience Music Project” but has grown to be generally a pop culture – film, movies, music etc – museum in a gorgeous Gehry building.

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I was lucky enough to be in town while the Star Wars costume exhibition was showing, and made a beeline to see that first. It is a mix of costume and design information from the newer prequels, and also the original trilogy. Even though I’m not as much of a fan of episodes 1-3, the costuming is incredible and it was amazing to see it close up.

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But I did get the most, nostalgically, out of the older info, designs and costuming. I especially loved the sketches and inspiration cited for many of the costumes, and the droid design. Beautiful stuff.

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Next stop were a couple of smaller exhibitions as part of the (what I believe to be) permanent displays. I didn’t know they were part of the museum (I planned my visit poorly, obviously) and I was so excited to wander through. The first was “Can’t Look Away: the Lure of Horror Film“. There’s a little bias on some of the content due to the directors that consulted & curated clips of their favourite films (Roger Corman, John Landis, and Eli Roth), but it does a great job at looking at the genre overall, highlighting the history of the iconic movies in the genre, looks at monsters and fear and has loads of cool artefacts on display. I legitimately flipped out at the Sean of the Dead shirt. It had a lot of great information, and was a good primer for those not familiar with horror movies. And the design of the space, plus the audio playing around there, was perfect.

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Heading out of horror into Sci-Fi, the Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction exhibition has a bit less of a narrative, but still showcases the vastness of the genre  in film and TV very well, old school and new. Terminator 2 is one of my fave all time movies, so I geeked out a lot at that little glass case, but really enjoyed all of the stuff on display. So much is from a private collection, I’d love to be in a place to have that stuff in my own collection!

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Onto something slightly more laid back, the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibition was thematically a gorgeous space (down to the stone walls, magic tree structures and fake pine needles on the floor) and had a lot of my favourites in there. I really enjoyed the interactives they had on various screens in this exhibition too – taking quizzes to see what kind of fantasy archetype you are, creating a map of a fantasy kingdom etc. It was a real treat to see the Princess Bride costumes and weapons!

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I wandered the “main” part of the building after that, popping into the Indie Game Revolution exhibition and also checking out the very cool Sound Lab interactive (I learnt to play a little hook on the piano!). Marveled at the massive guitar installation, too.

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My last stop was the Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses exhibition. I came a little late to being a fan of Nirvana, but in the mid 90s I was a huge fan of grunge in general, especially Pearl Jam. And that also influenced a lot of the music I ended up getting into, especially other punk and riot grrl. This blurb about the exhibiton says it as well as anything else: “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses explores the public and personal story of a single band, but it also invites visitors to discover the underground music scene in which Nirvana developed.” I very much enjoyed the look at the band’s development in context of the local scene, and especially the ‘oral history’ of music around that time, which was accessible at screens throughout the exhibition to sit down and explore. There were also lots of music stations throughout the exhibition to listen to Nirvana’s music from certain periods, along with their peers.

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I felt a lot of emotion and connection to the exhibitions I saw at the EMP Museum. Usually when I’m visiting a museum in a city, it’s pretty history-centric, about a place/culture/environment. This was about stuff I loved, and it was great to have that experience when visiting a museum.

The EMP Museum is open daily, you can buy tickets online & also (like I did) get them as part of the Seattle City Pass. The price is a little high, but for the extensive content on display, I believe it’s worth it – especially when you are passionate about pop culture!

Things I Love Thursday

As a lovely coincidence, today is my 13th vegan anniversary! Being vegan is one of the things I love most, and I never look back or question it. By now it’d be kinda weird to be any other way, it feels. For me, for the planet, for the animals, for the delicious food. And yes, for the super powers.

Hat tip to Scott Pilgrim VS the World

I mentioned it earlier in the week, but my love for Sleater-Kinney is all-encompassing right now and especially for this animated Bob’s Burgers video for A New Wave.


Trivia and related things are something I really love, and also museums – recently I got to combine going to a museum and a scavenger hunt, and it was super fun! We did the “Murder at the ROM” scavenger hunt organized by Urban Capers (not associated with the museum). It was great. I knew my way around pretty well which helped, but we ended up tying for 2nd place! Sigh. Here’s a couple of pics I Instagrammed on the day.


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Are there clues here? #urbancapers

A post shared by Nicole (@iheartmuseums) on



I love becoming more active and being a contributor to the board game community! I’m hoping to keep it up and get to BGGcon to meet some of the folks I am chatting with online a lot too. For now, I’ve been writing a bit for the Daily Worker Placement, and also chiming in for the Spooning Meeples round tables and it’s been good fun.


I don’t love that Parks & Recreation is over, but I did like the way it all wrapped up. A nice send-off. The cast was on Late Night with Seth Meyers which was pretty fun, and they had a little singalong (below) along with some general chats about the finale (here and here).

Music Monday? Sure!

Next week I’m going to see Sleater-Kinney! They’re one of my all-time favourite bands, and I couldn’t believe my luck that, on top of a new album, there was going to be a tour, and Toronto was included in it (after the first wave of announcements). And PS, there are still tickets! So I’m going to have a little SK lovefest getting prepared for the show next week. Which is on a Monday and I’m sure that as an old lady it’s gonna be tough to make it all night, oof.

The most recent clip, which is a wonderful mashup with the great Bob’s Burgers!

This was one of the first songs that really grabbed my attention, as it was the current album when I started listening to them. So upbeat.

Call the Doctor is (with Dig me Out and the Hot Rock) are the rowdier, riot grrl less polished but still amazing gems. I tend to cherry pick from these albums depending on my mood.

All Hands on the Bad One and One Beat are the two albums I would have to include in a desert island survival pack (I even owned them on CD y’all!). They are amazing as standalone wholes, but I’ve often listened to them both on repeat. Above is one of my faves from AHOTBO (You’re No Rock ‘n’ Roll Fun), but here’s one from One Beat. I saw them for the first time the year One Beat came out in the hot sweaty venue known as the Zoo in Brisbane – I ran into them on the street and had my photo taken with them, even! Who knows where all that is now, probably on a backed up CD somewhere back home.

When the Woods came out, I flipped a little. The production was rich, and the guitars and effects were soul-grabbing. I was really moved by it. I still close my eyes at the start of this song every time and get drawn in by the riff.

When they toured the Woods, I broke my vow to never attend another Big Day Out and hopped a plane to Sydney to see them perform there (which was awesome because I also got to see Iggy & the Stooges and the Beasts of Bourbon!). And as I was already there, I saw them do a club show in Sydney too! It was so great. Here’s a few pics, which I do have:




But then the band went their separate ways. I saw Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss perform with Wild Flag, which was pretty great, and led me to discover how terrific their music was (but then they went their separate ways too). But nothing is ever quite the same as seeing one of your favourite bands, or having a new album drop from them!

SO! No Cities to Love and a tour. So excited. Sub Pop has the album to stream on YouTube, but I am particularly fond of this one. Makes a girl wanna tap her foot, y’know?

Things I Love Thursday! Get your love on.

I know it wasn’t that long ago I TILTed, but it feels like forever. Despite the damp weather out there in Toronto, I shan’t be dissuaded from finding things to be positive about! Like how, despite the rain, it’s been pretty lovely to stroll around as it tries its hardest to Spring here.

My last couple of weeks at my current job are upon me, as my contract ends at the person on mat leave comes back – I’ll be sad to go! But it’s been a terrific place to work. I have a couple of interviews lined up next week (yay!) for places that I am similarly enthused about, so that’s something to love.

While I chug through the last of my organizing and to-do lists here at the office, I’ve been relying on Google Play Music to serve up tunes for me as I work. Despite a couple of holes in very indie Australian music (understandable) and an almost complete lack of Bikini Kill (unaccepable), it’s been fairly good! I’m hoping it will get me listening to more music, I’ve been terrible at it over the last few years. In fact, I rarely listen to a whole album at a time any more. I’m currently spinning Fugazi’s The Argument in the background, and holy smokes I bloody love this album.

Did you know that my favourite TV show is Twin Peaks? You do now! (You may have thought it was Firefly. Close, but no Serenity.) I love that damn show as much as Agent Cooper loves black coffee and cherry pie. I have had not one, but two, viewing parties at which I have ensured there has been either cherry pie or donuts on hand, and a big whopping french press of damn hot coffee. So I’m pretty excited about the upcoming Blu-Ray release of the show (yes, I love both seasons, shut up!) and all the goodies therein. The only issue I can see is the lack of Blu-Ray player once we’re no longer living with someone who owns a PS3.. hmmm…

Last of all, I love people being awesome, especially when it comes to calling bullshit in the world. At a school with a completely shitty and misogynist dress code, a young woman made some terrific signs to hang up that very clearly pointed it out. The best! Keep it awesome, whoever you are!

What are you into today, internet?

The Return of the Digital Dozen!

  • Tomorrow is Star Wars day. Enjoy these wonderful geometric and abstract Star Wars portraits!
  • And while we’re at it, who wants to send me this hoodie? Han and Chewie in one! Yesss.
  • Finding inspiration in negative space makes for good art. See?
  • Seals love belly rubs – you’ve always guessed it, right? RIGHT? Well, now you can see it in action. (From 0:35 on)
  • A pen that 3D prints as you write with it in thin air? No way. This is the future. Check it out!
  • Remember that kid playing Space Invaders on the side of a building? Now someone’s done it with Tetris!
  • I’m pretty sure these would cripple me, but I do love the look of them!
  • This is a genius re-imagining of the houses from the Game of Thrones series as modern brands. All of them are wonderful, but this is the most golden of all:
  • How would you like to kick back to a smooth jazz cover of the Game of Thrones theme? Yep.
  • Someone went through a lot of painstaking photoshopping to create these images of classic album covers superimposed over real life locations. That is some very specific stuff. One of my personal favourites is..
  • Giant machinery playing jenga – no, you didn’t think you needed to see it. But it is thoroughly enjoyable.
  • I’m looking for work right now, and I’m beginning to think I need to something creative to sell my Administrative Superstar package just like this amazing Lego Resume! It stands out from the crowd, no lie.

The digital dozen – your next dose of intermittent curious things for the ingenious time-waster.

Welcome to today’s wonderful procrasti-links fest! Yay!

  • These aerial photos are so wild. The planet looks so cool, and slightly dizzy-making, from above.
  • Okay, this is legitimately the best procrastination of today’s links. Patatap, a nifty tool that lets you use your computer’s keyboard to make cool noises and stuff! YESSS! Click to go through, as the embed won’t work here. It’s totally worth it, people.
  • Philadelphia has just launched this terrific anti-street harassment campaign, every city needs this! What a broad range of stuff they cover. This is just one example:
  • This is so dreamy/hypnotic – time lapse of fireflies swarming (with some post-production tinkering, but it looks so amazing!)
  • Can we please all go and take a ride on this Adventure Time train? Yes?

  • Street chalk art/paintings like this are so amazing – the manipulation that goes into creating it so it looks a certain way from a certain spot blows my mind. LOOK AT THIS. Oh man.
  • Magic for Dogs Part 2! I love their faces. (Did you see part 1?) They clarified this time that the dogs are given treats before & after, which I’d kind of assumed, because what person would let someone be an asshole to their dog?!
  • Various strategies for leaving a party. I wish I could just POOF outta there at times.
  • There were some fun internet April Foolings this year, especially the Google Maps pokemon challenge [vid]. I got a great chuckle out of this NPR gag, pranking folks who comment on articles without bothering to read the whole thing. Click through for the hilarious screen-grab of comments.
  • I know you’re in need of seeing Game of Thrones character faces inserted into Disney scenes, so let me help you out with that. My personal favourite..
  • Just look at these flipping amazing little gardens built on broken pots. Gosh.
  • This last one is for my friend Katy, who very rightly is always stating “There is no such thing as a British accent.” Because, clearly there isn’t – watch this video to hear why! Such variety in a tiny isle/group of islands.

End of the week digital dozen pick me up!

Looking for something to alt-tab to between Word documents and emails today? Look no further..

If you’ve ever wondered what some pretty famous bands look like as LEGO minifigs, you needn’t leave it to your imagination any more – see the rest here. These are pretty spot on! I think the Thom Yorke below is especially good.

Indignant bunny is mad you’ve stopped petting! Jake sometimes gives me a look when I stop petting him in the mornings 🙂

Transformers are neat and all, but they’re way more awesome when they’re pop culture vehicles made into Transformers! Check it. My fave is..

Fill your brain with strange word knowledge – John Green goes over the strange origins of 40 English Words on this Mental Floss episode. (Canteloupe is interesting, but I’d be interested to know where the term Rockmelon comes from, which is what we call ’em in Australia!).

How freaking adorable are these tea cosies? Snailpots! Amazing.

Get ready for how adorable tree kangaroos are! Especially when they’re wrasslin’ teddy bears or fighting over spaghetti. These cuties were rescued, and are being prepared for wild release in a couple of years.

This is a smashing design for a bike wall-mount. I wonder if it works for all sorts of seat shapes to hang on there..

A photographer took a photo of birds on a wire, and a composer used it to make a musical piece. Creativity to the max.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/6428069″>Birds on the Wires</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/agnelli”>Jarbas Agnelli</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

This isn’t a cucumber. But it’s a pretty good decoy. Click through to check out incredible painted foods that look like other foods.

Pretty sure this kid & his dog win cosplay forever.

Hero-glyphics – these are so imaginative and well-realised! I love it. You can buy prints!

And now I’ll leave you with a GIF of an adorable combat-rolling piggie.

Jim Bryson, and “our” album. (Warning: sappy ahead.)

Jim Bryson, Lee’s Palace. 21 September 2013.

Back in early 2011 when I was hanging out with Adam & getting to know him, we talked about music, as budding friends often do. I knew he was from Winnipeg, so naturally the Weakerthans came up in conversation. They’re one of my favourite bands, and had collaborated with Ontario artist Jim Bryson on his album The Falcon Lake Incident. When one of your favourite bands collaborates with another musician it’s like the real life equivalent of a streaming radio service going “you listened to [x artist], so you may enjoy [y artist]!” so I’d planned on going to see Jim play with the Weakerthans band at Lee’s Palace on their promo tour.

I mentioned the show to Adam to see if he was interested, as he liked the Weakerthans. (I was oblivious at this point to the fact I effectively asked him out on a date.) The show was terrific, and the album was something we really latched onto, listening a lot together as we hung out in the beginning of our relationship. Even to this day as I hear the opening notes of the album I get a rush of emotion. Super sappy, eh?

When I saw Jim would be playing a support slot to Jenn Grant at Lee’s Palace this month, it was pretty much a given that we’d go to the show and celebrate a proxy anniversary. I even won tickets to the show by sharing my heartwarming little story with the promotions company! We stopped by the merch table to buy a CD before the gig started and introduced ourselves to JIm, and thanked him for being the reason for us getting together, effectively. He asked if there was anything we wanted to hear specifically, and before he played it during the show gave us a little shoutout. N’awww.

It was a really terrific show. Low-key and intimate, with a little audience singalong for Metal Girls (our request), some non-Falcon Lake stuff that was lovely, including a song about Ontario and a bizarrely amazing sounding cover of Kanye West’s Holy Grail. (Bryson had seen the lyrics and never heard the song, and just penned some music to fit some of the lyrics and it’s wild.) There was a lot of wry stage banter and little stories about the tour so far and his family which was just such a nice and familiar way to have him be between songs. A thoroughly enjoyable show, and a super romantic and wonderful way to spend an evening celebrating the fact that as a couple we don’t just have “our song”, but we have a whole beautiful album.

I encourage you all to check it out, starting with Constellation (with the most – and i’m not being sarcastic here) mournful and gorgeous trumpet riff ever:

A memory triggered – MTV Unplugged sessions

The other night I had to do some mind-numbing visa application stuff to renew my visitor’s permit (to be in effect while I’m still waiting for permanent residency). After a chain of  watching Soundgarden videos earlier in the night (after chatting with Adam about them post-Rock Banding Spoonman), I decided to fall back to my old grunge favourite Pearl Jam and threw that into the YouTube search bar. One of the first results was “Pearl Jam – MTV Unplugged (Full)” & my eyes went POP. It poked a long-dormant part of my brain.

Growing up, my town had one radio station, an AM band one that played classics and top 40 (blah blah, the usual). It wasn’t until I was a little older that we got access to the FM national station Triple J (part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Having only had that AM band station and my parents music tastes to go off growing up, Triple J was an outstanding explosion of new music for a 15 year old (or thereabouts) girl like me.

One of the best things about starting to discover new music was getting into a bunch of grunge (well after the fact, but it was better late than never!). Pearl Jam became my fast favourite. Taping live concerts from Triple J, acquiring every piece of their music I could, and best of all taping this MTV special to watch over and over. Listening to it the other night as I typed away, I knew all the beats – exactly how that live performance played out, well over 15 years after first encountering it. The brain is a weird thing, right?

This sent me on a mini YouTube spiral to find some of the other MTV Unplugged performances that I was crazy into back then, too – Stone Temple Pilots, REM, Live, Alice in Chains and – of course – Nirvana. Here they are for your viewing pleasure! Come away with me, readers, on a journey back through time to the sounds of my evenings in mid-to-late high school as I hermited in my room listening. (And thanks to radio & discovering grunge – plus friends with great taste – I’ve come into my adult life with a much better rounded taste in music progressing on from this time in the mid-90s.)





It’s tough to find the whole Nirvana one in a big chunk, but this playlist hits a lot!