January 6, 2009

Explanation About the Fire and Subsequent Temporary Closure of the Museum

Dear Patrons,

As you have no doubt already noticed, the Museum Of Pop Archaeology has displayed no new online exhibits since August 20, 2008, and the Museum itself has been shut down since August 29. Such periods of dormancy are highly undesirable in the mercurial field of cultural anthropology, and we regret our inability to communicate our status to you during that time. Although the doors of the Museum were thrown back open at the onset of the new year, we recognize the many questions donors and patrons may have regarding the reason for the Museum's absence.

With all legal proceedings in this matter completed, we are now free to discuss the rather dubious event and actions which resulted in our temporary closure. The Board Of Directors has graciously allowed me to relate what happened in this forum.

It should first be explained that the usual policy of the Museum is not to take a position or get involved in political campaigns or issues of state. The ethical reasons for this policy should be obvious; as a publicly owned entity the Museum can ill afford to risk the appearance of favoring one side of a partisan government over the other. We have very infrequently leased our premises in Seattle for fundraising by some third-party candidates whose positions encompass all or no points of view, and have only done so with the assurance of campaign staffers and consultants that the candidates the Museum endorsed stood virtually no chance of winning.

The Museum did, nonetheless, consent to the rental of our premises for a campaign fundraiser in August, specifically for a candidate for the position of Senator from the state of Minnesota. As you may have heard in the media, this race came down to a virtual photo-finish between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman.

The Museum, however, endorsed the very peripheral senatorial campaign of Stevie Dash, the Reform Party candidate. Mr. Dash was a classic Minnesota Reform Party choice: a smart, articulate, slightly askew 19-year-old extreme sports athlete who favors unitards and tastefully applied plumage. Dash won our affections with his traveling the entire state of Minnesota on his snowboard (not an easy feat in the middle of summer), his folksy wisdom, his layered haircut and his campaign slogan "No Harshed Mellows For Minnesota, Dude."

Mr. Dash's staff inquired whether the Museum would be interested in hosting a fundraising gala, and perhaps without due thinking process, we agreed. The party's theme was "Lots Of Things Occur On A More Or Less Daily Basis in Minnesota," and as such we decided to pay homage to the character and identity of the North Star State. The fundraiser was held on August 29, with Mr. Dash, his endurance coach and his fiancee in attendance, with over 200 other guests.

The accident of the evening was food-related, which comes as a personal blow to us since the Museum prides itself on sanitary and safe food preparation. We decided to hire a caterer, who we have very reluctantly agreed not to name, and charged him with the task of developing dishes that conveyed the Minnesotan spirit and theme.

Furthermore, we advised the caterer that since the Museum is music-related, his dishes might do well as tributes to famous Minnesota musicians. For the most part, the concept was a solid one, featuring these items on the menu:
  • Soul Asylum Clam Dip

  • Vixen "Edge Of An Onion Tart"

  • Bob Dylan Duluth Dogs (served cold)

  • Hüsker Fondüe (barely melted slabs of cheese and sides of beef served in a very thin kick drum)

  • The Time Chili Sauce (served in Morris Day's navel)

  • The Replacements Delight (a wedding cake that had been accidentally stepped on)

In retrospect, this menu now seems perfectly sufficient, and we remorsefully wish we had halted the brainstorming session at that point.

Unfortunately, someone (currently on extended leave) suggested we include a dessert called Raspberry Brûlée, which proved our downfall. The dish, simply described, was a standard serving of crème brûlée with raspberry-infused custard, with the top crust scorched with fire from a propane blow torch, the typical final step in making crème brûlée.

An employee of the Museum mailroom who happened to be a Minneapolis native overheard our plans and informed the Board Of Directors that he would be able to procure one of the electric guitars used by musician Prince during his Purple Rain tour, shown here:

This particular guitar was modified with a small irrigation system. The neck of the guitar was fitted with a tube that stretched from the body to the end of the head that housed the tuning pegs. In the base of the guitar was a small reservoir of water. In performance, during the climactic moment of "Let's Go Crazy," Mr. Prince activated a thrusting device which shot a stream of water from the guitar's head into the front rows of the audience. The action was widely perceived as a simulation of the act of male ejaculation, a reflection of Mr. Prince's sexually charged nature of the time which has since passed.

The mailroom employee suggested the Museum obtain one of these guitars, which had been in storage, and retrofit the device to serve as a blowtorch for the final touch on the Raspberry Brûlée. The employee assured the Board that the guitar had not been used in any capacity since the Purple Rain tour in 1984-85.

However, our post-mortem private investigation into the guitar's history revealed the guitar had been used twice in the summer of 2008, once to dispense oil and vinegar dressing at a Jesse Ventura block party, and again to dispense massage oil at a preseason gathering of Minnesota Viking players on a remote houseboat.

The Museum fully trusts that our patrons know where this is going.

When the time came to use the guitar blowtorch in the final step of the Raspberry Brûlée, instead of directing a blue flame at the crust of the dessert, the guitar instead shot giant bursts of uncontrollable orange flame, setting all surrounding flammable objects on fire. As the caterer tried to maintain dominance over the guitar, the force of the backdraft proved too insurmountable, and he instead roved around the ballroom, imperiling our patrons with a madly swerving stream of flame. Several people were injured in frantic efforts to reach the exit. The fire moved to other sections of the museum and destroyed some very valuable exhibits (most notably the Hair Mousse Altar, which as you can probably imagine only multiplied the devastating radius of the fire tenfold).

Additionally, dessert was ruined.

The Museum, obviously, could not reopen until reconstruction from this horrible event was complete and the curators could either obtain alternate popular music relics or just Photoshop them. However, after months of painstaking work and seventeen carpal tunnel claims, we are happy to announce that MOPA is back in full operation.

On behalf of ourselves and the great state of Minnesota, the Museum Of Pop Archaeology sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience of our sudden closure, and we invite you to return to our institution.

We especially invite those of you who may be in need of some slightly smoke-damaged ramekins and singed toupees which, at this writing, remain unclaimed.

Best wishes,

Paul Pearson
Museum Of Pop Archaeology


rev.rif said...

Well there ya go. Glad to see the Museum is, once again, open to patrons. I hope The Rainmakers were not harmed during this incident...

King Dinosaur said...

As long the newly renovated Museum lets me post comments more easily, I will continue to be a patron and have my money laundered through your channels...

Brooks said...

Well, jeez. Why didn't you just say so.

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