SEATTLE Seattle really benefited from that fateful day when I
fantasize Paul Allen’s girlfriend told the Microsoft cofounder to
“get that stuff out of the house!” and the billionaire had to find
a place to house his extensive collection of rock memorabilia and
“People keep coming over,” she probably complained. “Maybe
they’ll pay to see it.”
First came the Experience Music Project, or EMP, which Frank
Gehry designed, taking his cue from those vibrantly hued electric
guitars Allen loved to collect.
What began five years ago as an ode to Jimi Hendrix Allen’s
favorite musician morphed into an all-encompassing interactive
music experience as other collectors loaned or sold Allen their own
Today, EMP includes not only extensive Hendrix and Beatles
collections, but also a display of guitars played by the music
world’s Who’s-Who and a Sound Lab that will turn any would-be
musician into a virtual rock star by recreating the rock arena
A few months ago, Allen’s outer space and science fiction booty
became the nucleus of the new Science Fiction Museum, located in
the same building.
Here, sci-fi aficionados can enjoy first editions of sci-fi
classics by everyone from Bradbury to Verne, artifacts from Harlan
Ellison’s old Remington typewriter to Darth Vader’s helmet; plus
posters, costumes and scary props from films such as “Star Wars”
There’s much less interactivity here than at the EMP, but on a
recent visit all the kids I encountered had eyes as big as saucers
as they came face to face with E.T., the Alien Queen and R2D2. They
gawked at Klingon daggers and light sabers, explored wormholes and
cool spaceships, and watched film clips of Jim Cameron and George
Lucas, who have lent numerous relics to the museum, explaining how
they turned their sci-fi fantasies into blockbuster films.
I’m not a sci-fi buff and, frankly, other than the suit Sean
Young wore in “Blade Runner,” one of my favorite movies, nothing
really made my jaw drop.
I did get a kick out of seeing the M&Ms that recently
ventured into space and back on SpaceShipOne, the first
non-government manned rocket ship, another Paul Allen-financed
venture. And I was dazzled by a computer generated trip to sci-fi’s
most famous cities including those of “The Matrix” and “The
On the other hand, even those who have never understood the
hoopla surrounding the now 63-year-old singer-songwriter will be
drawn into EMP’s new exhibit “Bob Dylan’s American History:
1956-1966,” which runs through Sept. 5.
Curator Jasen Emmons amassed an impressive array of items from
Dylan collectors around the world that includes handwritten lyrics
to “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Blowing in the Wind,” which give an
intimate glimpse into Dylan’ s creative process. Emmons also found
a German collector with over 100 different cover versions of
“Blowing in the Wind,” which visitors can listen to.
Besides high school yearbooks, his first Martin guitar and the
tambourine that inspired “Mr. Tambourine Man,” there are recent
interviews with Dylan shot by Martin Scorsese for a PBS “American
Masters” series that will air in 2005.
If your clients combine visits to EMP and SFM with a quick trip
to SAM (Seattle Art Museum) to see the magnificent works by Goya,
El Greco and Velazquez in the current show, “Spain in the Age of
Exploration: 1492-1819,” which runs until Jan. 2, they’ll surely
find a dose of culture for every age group and inclination in the
Across the street from the grande dame of Seattle hotels, the
Fairmont Olympic, the W stands in no other hotel’s shadow.
Sleek as a whippet yet cozy as a Tahoe cabin with its blazing
fireplace in the sunken lobby library, the W is one of the hippest
places to stay in Seattle these days. Its bar is where the latte
set gathers in the afternoon and the martini sippers congregate at
night, its “Whatever, Whenever” service cranks the concierge trade
up a notch and its beds are sumptuous.
Best of all, rooms are priced according to occupancy, so a rate
of about $199 for a “wonderful king” is fairly standard.
Even if the W Seattle didn’t have such dreamy beds, clients
should still go there to eat at Earth & Ocean, the testament to
executive chef Maria Hines’ love affair with the local food
resources and small organic farms of the Pacific Northwest.
As part of a triumvirate that includes award-winning pastry chef
Sue McCowen and sommelier Marc Papineau, Earth & Ocean is
sophisticated enough to serve sweetbreads and fun enough to offer a
gooey desert called www.chocolate.com.
Tell your clients not to miss the free-range Sonoma duck leg
confit or the truffle fries, golden brown French fries showered
with garlic and truffle oil. And oenophiles will delight in sipping
and conversing with Papineau who’s as humble as he is knowledgeable
about Washington and Oregon wines.