Monday, December 19, 2011

Steampunk Exhibit and Wicked

Yesterday we attended the Steampunk exhibit at Muzeo, a small museum in a re-purposed old (1908 through 1987) library in Anaheim, CA.

You know a place is cool when there is a labyrinth outside it. This one has an monument honoring soldiers at the center. Low waterfalls near the benches were not operating, but it is easy to imagine how serene it must be.

Inside, there was a room that was dedicated to the influences of Steampunk, including Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Nickola Tesla, and Mary Shelly. Each had their likeness displayed in a frame with a bit about their work. Here is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the code he used in his popular Sherlock Holmes story "The Case of the Dancing Men", though mainly it is his Professor Challenger tales that were Steampunk influences.

There were few costumes in the exhibit, and some headgear.


A very large hand-painted canvas poster took up almost one wall.

Disney movies were mentioned several times. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and Time After Time were two that I can recall.
 The re-imagined weaponrs were beautiful with their filigree bits.
There was a collection of canes made by various artists. We chatted with Pete Ramirez, the creator of the Gun Lighter Cane. He said creating art like this with found objects was just an extension of his jewelry designing, which he had been doing for 15 years.

Other canes included the Doc Holliday Nut Cracker cane, the Tesla Plasma cane, Samurai Grip Handle cane, Faucet cane, Cylinder cane, and the (Citizen) Cane Time Extractor.

There was also an exhibit of Victorian art in the adjacent building, all of it on loan from a couple who must be extremely wealthy. I didn't want to aim my camera at any of the many old and delicate oil paintings, but they were beautiful, as were their frames, and several were life-size.

The same couple also collected Victorian personal effects, such as these imaginative match cases in all manner of shapes: heads, moons, animals... They were often humorous, and at the time, were considered a conversation-starter.
 The same couple also loaned their collection of 75 Victorian walking canes, like this double-skull one (they were displayed sideways.)
 The cane in this case with the bulky part on the left is made of a real human femur bone.

We also went to see Wicked, the musical, playing at the gorgeous Pantages Theater in Hollywood.

The Pantages is my favorite theater. If you ever come out to visit Hollywood, I highly recommend including this theater as part of your experience. Look at that ceiling, will you? It takes my breath away every time.
photo: Don Solosan

This is my second time seeing Wicked. I swear they must tell the actresses playing Glinda to channel Kristen Chenowith, who did play this role once. They all sound exactly like her. But then, the actor playing the Wizard of OZ this time seemed to be channeling Jimmy Stewart, and the actress playing Elphelba, the lead character who happens to be green, had the voice of Sarah Jessica Parker- which wouldn't be poor casting, either.

The set for Wicked is rather Steampunk, by the way, with lots of clock gears almost always in view as a major part of the scenery. Here's Glinda and some clockwork.

And guess what else is nearby?

Ignore the cleavage!

We also recently saw Martin Scorsese's movie "Hugo", which also was full of old clockwork.

LOVED that movie. Right now, I am betting (and hoping) it sweeps the Academy Awards. Go, Hugo!


  1. I'd love to visit the Steampunk Museum, if only to walk the labyrinth! But the rest of it looks pretty cool too.

    Ignore the cleavage? Are you mad, woman?

  2. WOW! What a neat place. I didn't know they had such a museum. And THANKS for saying something about Hugo. I was wondering if it was good. I hadn't heard from anyone who'd seen it. It sure piqued my interest. Might do a hookey day and treat myself to it next week. ;)

  3. @Debra: Yes, I am, as a matter of fact.

    @Courtney: I hope you do see Hugo. Not only was a good story, but it was also BEAUTIFUL, with wonderful colors and textures, and terrific cinematography. Leaving the theater, I really thought I had just seen something very special.

  4. What a cool idea for a museum. Those costumes are awesome! That gun design is neat too. It's so antique and futuristic looking at the same time. Which I guess is the whole point. :)

  5. So jealous of the Vincent Price star picture....must come down and get me one of those!!!



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