Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Rock And Roll Attic

In one of my earliest blogposts I declared that Rock Is Dead. Nothing in the past few years has made me think the corpse has gotten any warmer, but I still like to pay my respects. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is a beautiful shiny white mausoleum to the art form that I have been to a couple of times.

Since not everybody makes a pilgrimage to Lake Erie to pay homage, they have opened the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Annex in Manhattan. The day after Christmas my family took a trip on the Megabus for the express purpose of seeing what the Annex had to offer. Here is a comparison of the two locations.

Picture of me grinning like a fool

LocationCleveland’s Lake Erie waterfrontSoho not far from Chinatown
AppearanceModernist shiny white building meant to resemble a turntableNon-descript warehouse building you’d miss if it weren’t for the banners.
Nearby AttractionsGreat Lakes Science Center for the kids too young too appreciate real music.The Ugg store outlet across the street had a line the entire time we were there. No waiting for the Annex.
Cost$22; $33 for a two day pass.
$24.50 per person
HoursThey roll up the sidewalks at 5:30 except for Wednesdays and summer Saturdays when they are open until 9.Until 8:30 on weekdays and 10 on weekends. Closed Mondays.

SizeA massive four story edifice with all sorts of nooks and crannies and side exhibits.A single floor in the basement that is a one-way walk-through.
Entry FilmBombastic two part movie detailing the history of rock with insightful narration.Ten minute montage of performance clips in chronological order from Delta blues artists to U2.
Main ExhibitsToo many to list. My favorite is the Music of Ohio area that pays tribute to The Pretenders and The Waitresses as well as others. The original ABBA costumes are pretty trippy as well.The exhibits are much smaller but high in quality. They have Madonna’s bullet bra costume, Bruce Springsteen’s Cadillac, and several walls out of the now-defunct CBGBs.
Special ExhibitsCurrently they have exhibits on Motown and WMMS.The final exhibit area was devoted to the Clash which was the selling draw for my son and me. They had tons of original posters, documentary footage and tons of stage costumes and equipment.
Museum GimmicksNot many that I remember, but it has been five years since I've been.They give you headphones and a sound device that only has a play button on it. The music changes depending on what display you are looking at. Sadly it has no narration.
Gift shopA huge area with tons of tee shirts, CDs, and tchotkes.A small area with some tee shirts and crap as well as a counter selling memorabilia with four digit prices.
Estimated time to tourFour hours if you are with people easily bored. All day if you are really obsessive.Ninety minutes start to finish and there’s no re-entry if you change your mind.
Worth a special trip?Yes. Even to Cleveland. In fact it's one of the few reasons to bother to go to Cleveland.No. But it is easy to tie it into a day in Chinatown and the Lower East Side like we did.

While eating at Goodburger, a transplanted Ohioan saw my souvenir bag and asked me if the Annex was worth the time and money. I had to reluctantly give it a thumbs down, especially if you have been to the main museum. Even in New York, the Times Square Hard Rock Café probably gives The Annex a run for its money in number of display items (although The Annex has an edge in historical significance) and the Hard Rock serves a really good pulled pork sandwich.


Dave2 said...

I was wholly unimpressed with the museum in Cleveland, and felt that the average Hard Rock Cafe had a better collection of memorabilia. In fact, I'd say that the Hard Rock Cleveland is a great reason to visit the city... a beautiful dual-level property in a great location with plenty of Rock-n-Roll treasures to explore... for free.

Ed & Jeanne said...

I disagree. I don't think Rock is entirely dead. I think Guitar Hero and Rock Band have breathed new interest into it and it'll only be a matter of time before that generation of kids are in bands playing retro classic rock. My son got three T shirts at Christmas: Led Zep, Aerosmith, and The Beatles.

yellojkt said...

Hard Rocks aren't free. I rarely get out of them for less than fifty bucks for two. Some burgers, a couple of beers, dessert, it all adds up. Still, your point is that they do have very good memorabilia. What a museum brings to the table is context. A good post would be a Hard Rock vs RnrHoF Museum comparison. Next time I'm in Cleveland I'll do it.

I deliberately overstate my case. Rock is no more dead than classical, jazz, or big band. "Rock is Dead" really means "Rock is Nostalgia" and Guitar Hero/Rock Band prove it.

Katarina Whimsy said...


So, see, I've been following your blog for a bunch of months now, mostly just as a casual "he writes good and occasionally interesting" sort of thing --I found you through the Comics Curmudgeon.

And then you posted these pictures, and my brain kinda went "Wait. Isn't that Frosh's dad?" And with some poking around, yes, yes you do appear to be.

So hi. It's Kat. The world is small here.


Elizabeth said...

I'd love to see ABBA costumes!

Anonymous said...

Rock's not dead. It's just napping! Stop by Atomic anytime Friday or after and I'll have a mixed CD for you of the year's best records proving my point.

As for Guitar Hero/Rock Band, this is my take on it's contribution to Rock:

Rock is no more dead than any other kind of music.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Actually I'd rather go anywhere then the Rock Hall Of Fame because they don't allow photography in the exhibits so why bother.

yellojkt said...

I was going to mention the "No Photography" rule in the post, but since it is the same at both places, I dropped it. It is annoying. Most places just have a "no flash" rule except for special exhibits.

I was sorely tempted to sneak a snap of Springsteen's Caddie, but they had security guards everywhere.