(Above) Looking at Cleveland from the R&R Museum entrance.
For whatever reason, I had been restless for a long trip adventure. My soul had been itching to escape. Just like Don Draper, I knew I had to leave Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Originally I had planned to go to a 50’s exhibit in Columbus, however during my drive the Drew Carey theme song played in my head. “Cle-veland rocks! Cle-veland rocks!” It was a sign to keep going North.
Four hours from Cincinnati and I saw the recognizable glass pyramid building, surrounded by marina boats. The air was fresh and salty smelling, so different from our humid Kentucky air. The first part of the museum gave a history of how “Rock and Roll” was formed, with a wall of musicians who got the ball rolling, paving the way for newer artists. For example, it went into depth about how Jefferson Airplane was influential for a lot of different bands.
(above) Inside the pyramid roof.
The second and third parts show music influences and TV appearances, such as Sinead O’Connor on her famous SNL appearance, where she ripped up a picture of the pope. While everyone is there to see different musicians, I had to smile at a younger man into Elvis. It was so great to see so many people with the same passions and music fans from all generations and ethnicity. The main part of the museum I took away was the unique artifacts collected from different musicians. Here are some of my favorite items:
1) Roy Orbison’s Leather Guitar
-I had no idea he played this at all.
2) Biggie Small’s Red Jumper
-It was easy to picture him in the jumper.
3) ZZ Top’s Guitars
-I’ve never been a ZZ Top fan, but I was awed by their metal guitars which were shaped into “art deco” animals like a bull.
4) David Bowie Costumes
-particularly his red jumpsuit with the lightning bolt.
5) Brian Jones’s Dulcimer
I think I’ve watched him play this live on the song “Lady Jane” so many times–seeing it up close was bizarre.
(Above) Jones’ Dulcimer next to Jimi Hendrix’s purple coat
6) Jimmi Hendrix’s Art Work
-As if Jimmi needed any more talent besides being good at everything. He was also a great artist, and they displayed his doodles and paintings.
7) Jack White’s Button Shirt
-Another moment I geeked. I never noticed the Gothic look suit on Icky Thump was made out of buttons.
8) Hate Letter for the Rolling Stones
-A boy lashes the Stones for acting like “girls” had me laughing out loud.
9)Joan Jett’s Leather Jacket
-The last bit of my tour I freaked out on the inside. I wanted to touch it very badly.
10) Kurt Cobain’s Death Certificate
-We all know how he died, but it was interesting to see the official documentation confirming it.
Other items I adored were Michael Jackson’s gold glove, Cher’s skimpy outfit, and an artistic shirt from a member of Siouxsie and the Banshees. While you enjoy many of the items, you also find yourself cursing the museum for not having specific artists included, and feel a little disheartened.
For example, I was very excited to see Patti Smith because I am a huge fan and I think a lot of people don’t know a lot about her. However, there wasn’t a lot in the display other than a basic letter to her parents. I would have loved to see correspondence to other people or even her personal lyrics. Before you leave, there is a way you can vote for an artist to be inducted. On a wall you can scan your wrist band, which grants you one vote for someone. It shows the top votes–right now many people want Stevie Nicks to be indited (I think it should be Fleetwood Mac, not just Stevie). I entered a vote for my favorite musician Jeff Buckley, and was shocked and appalled when it told me I was the first vote for that artist.
Feeling accomplished, I dismissed the expensive gift store merchandise, and decided to walk toward the Port of Lake Erie, looking out at the waves and Canada in the Northeast distance–which was surprisingly not as green as I thought it would be (it just looked like a big long brown rectangle). The salty fresh water smell was completely intoxicating, and I reminisced about my past vacation in New Jersey.
The architecture of Columbus wasn’t as profound as Cincinnati buildings in my opinion, they were a little more box-like and plain. Plus, I don’t think there is enough included in the R&R museum to go a second time, but it was a great experience which was worth the drive, so I think everyone should go once. At least to enjoy the massive waves that make up Port Erie.