Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Top 5 Moments of Mixed Taste on Ice 2012

by: Joshua Novak

MCA Denver's noted tag team lecture series, Mixed Taste, is never shy of arresting moments, so choosing the top 5 is as difficult as being forced to pick your favorite Michael Jackson song – trust me, I've done it.

Every Friday, museum guests were witness to an intellectual tête-à-tête on a variety of topics from puppies & Nietzsche to Space Weather & Koolickles (that's right, I said Koolickles). And although the programs were put together with immense care, sometimes things didn't go as planned. That alone was worth the ticket price.

image: Richard Peterson
image: Richard Peterson
On January 20th, we got a close to perfect example of what a great mixed taste is like. Nicky Beer spoke eloquently about Polish Poets and the post-war climates that influenced their writings. She gave us a touching example of these men and women whose life works championed survival through loss and depression. Then Kidrobot founder, Paul Budnitz (who is like a cult superstar), took the stage with his colorful, Japanese-inspired vinyl toys. With several children in the audience, Paul repeatedly talked about toys with butt holes and cigarettes. But as he stated, these toys are for adults and not kids. Is that the sound of people shifting in their seats? Excellent.

image: Richard Peterson
When it comes to the topic of Coordinated Universal Time, one might not necessarily expect Denver rock legend and collector of unusual things, Andrew Novick, to lay it on the line. But as it turns out, he is an electrical engineer who works with atomic clocks to appropriate accurate time for the masses. Guess he does everything. The quirky prankster was instantly appealing to the audience as he bounced around his speech to explain pendulum clocks and quartz crystals and universal time. When asked about the Mayan calender and the end of the world that is supposed to happen in December, Novick smiled and said,"The Mayan calender? I'm not allowed to talk about that."

image: William Sawyer
On March 2nd, VP of the National Western Stockshow and full-time cowboy Marvin Witt, gave us an oral history on the origins of the Rodeo. He also was adamant that everything good and bad that has ever been done for Rodeo started in Colorado. He spent most of his twenty minutes outside the set spot light in the dark as he took the mic and walked around the stage talking sometimes directly to someone in the front row. His enthusiasm for the institution of Rodeo often let him short of breath He maintained that personable approach even when an audience member grilled him on animal treatment and feeding. Yeehaw Marvin!

Food. Luckily, Mixed Taste had two speakers in the roster this season who literally gave guests a taste of their expertise. Owner of Lola, Jamey Fader spoke about the history and art of the taco whilst we all munched on his sublime Achiote Chicken Taco which had a fresh, crunchy slaw, jalapeno aoli and cotija cheese. And ending the MT season was Adrian Miller, who is an expert on the history of soul food in the Mississippi Delta. He brought along what is all the rage in the south: Kool-Aid Pickles (or Koolickles). We sampled slices of tangy, slightly red dill pickles that had a easy and sweet finish. Pretty interesting. And although tastes are mixed--it was clear everyone appreciated a little snack with their lectures. Maybe Margaritas will be a topic next season...

image: Richard Peterson
As part of the lecture, a half-time prize brake gave guests an opportunity to win a "winter-survival-gear" prize, which they could keep, or exchange for a few free drinks in the museum cafe (which they almost always did.) The prize was presented to the raffle winner by MCA employees, Alex Stephens and Harry Kleeman, who would parade down the aisle to the tune of Vanilla Ice's, 'Ice, Ice, Baby' dressed in full drag. The outfits, prizes and location from which they would enter always changed. Program director, Sarah Baie often said,"I have no idea whats about to happen." One got the feeling that certain guests were in the audience every week for that reason alone. That, and a chance to hug Alexis Evergreen and claim a prize.

Thanks for the memories, Mixed Taste. See you again this summer.


K. Gill said...

Thanks for some descriptions of the Mixed Taste events. I wish I could find something online for all of them. I love the whole idea so much, but I'm in Indianapolis, so it will be a while before I might be able to see a lecture in person. I wish that there was a book about all of them, going all the way back to 2004.

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