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Ringo Boitano: Experiencing Jimi Hendrix at the EMP

the Experience Music Project with a reflection of the Space Needle, Seattle
The reflection of the Space Needle on the Experience Music Project. Credit: Deb Roskamp

Experiencing Jimi Hendrix
at the EMP
By Ringo Boitano

orget Starbucks, Nordstrom’s and Microsoft. For this native Seattleite, the Emerald City’s most famous export is James Marshall Hendrix. Born in 1941, Jimi’s life in Seattle was unremarkable. A second cousin of mine discovered from an attendance record that Jimi had actually been his student at Garfield High School - three years after the fact. Jimi later dropped out of school and joined the army, never looking back. A self-taught musician, the left-handed Hendrix played a restrung right-handed guitar upside down, creating a completely original sound. Discovered in New York by former Animals’ bassist, Chas Chandler, Jimi was relocated to London where his career blossomed. Once asked if he was from Seattle, Jimi replied, ‘A thousand years ago.’ None the less, he was one of us. I was a wide-eyed adolescent at the time of his death in Sept of 1970, and snuck into his memorial at the Seattle Center. Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell were in attendance.

It seemed fitting when Paul Allen made plans to create a museum for Jimi, right at the Center, almost 30 years later. Coined the Experience Music Project, Frank O. Gehry was commissioned to create a venue to showcase the world's largest collection of Hendrix memorabilia. But as most of us know, Jimi’s career was brief and his body of work - regardless how influential - was modest. So Allen opened things up, creating a museum dedicated to all things rock and roll. Today’s collection includes more than 80,000 artifacts, from guitars used by Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain to stage costumes, hand-written lyric sheets and interactive presentations. I found the exhibit devoted to the early Northwest sound particularly riveting, where local legends like the Wailers and Sonics would ravage the crowd at the Spanish Castle. The then unknown Jimmy would occasionally sit in and later immortalized the iconic club in his song, “Spanish Castle Magic.”

EMPlive.org

Feedback for Ringo

I love Ringo's piece on historic hotels. I once stayed at the Laurentian in Montreal - is it still around, is it historic? And then there was the Heups in Bismark.

It is interesting that two of your entries are in CANADA.

Brent, Seattle, WA

It's no mystery that you are great at what you do.

Sandee, Seattle, WA

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The Mystery on the Oasis pics are very funny!

Ramon, Kansas City, MO

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Ha ha ha ha ha...love your "schtick" Ringo!!

Dolly, Las Vegas, NV

Hello the travelling Boitano's hope you enjoy. Best wishes.

Elsa Magdalena Berno-Boitano, Laussane, Switzerland

My Irish roots understand terrible beauty. So do my human roots. The concept has such a ring of truth to it, doesn't it? Great article, Ringo. I hope to get to Ireland eventually, and thanks for blazing the trail!

Sandeee Bleu, Seattle, WA

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No wonder I've been hearing all these wonderful stories about Ireland. I used to think that it was just for Irish Americans seeking their ancestral roots but your article seems to call out to the non-Irish like me. Fascinating and intriguing.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

Thanks for this great post wow... it's very wonderful.

Key Logger, New York

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Lets not forget that the Marriot Harbor Beach is within walking distance to the world famous Elbo Room - Fort Lauderdale's oldest bar.

Jeff, Fort Lauderdale, FL

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Jeff–

Thanks for taking the time for the message and reminder. Indeed, I had a quick drink at the Elbo Room. My trip to Ft. Lauderdale would not have been complete without a visit to this historic institution.I have been reading about it for years, and was not disappointed. It felt like a real local's hangout.

- Ringo

Ringo,

I thoroughly enjoyed your article about Dick and Liz. I remember seeing that article back in the heyday of Life Magazine.

To remember the "behind-the-scenes" stories like that makes you genuine fan of the 60's. The famous couple's turbulent relationship was just a precursor of today's headline-grabbing media stars like Britney Spears and her colleagues. Life was simpler then. The paparazzis still had some sense of decency. You "coulda" been a good paparazzi. I say "coulda" because you kept this to yourself all these many years.

Looking forward to other media trivia you can remember.

Peter Paul, South Pasadena, CA

Hey, Ringo –

Enjoyed your article on Antarctica --- cool photos, too. One thing, you mentioned that Ushuaia in Argentina is considered the most southern city in the world. I read that Chile lays claim to that distinction, with Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world.

Mick, Greenbay, WI

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Mick –

Now that football season is over --- I’ve often wondered what you Packer fans did in the off season ---- it’s great that you took the time to visit TravelingBoy. Great question, unlike my older brother, I adore all lamb products, and Patagonian Lamb --- cooked in a restricted area at the restaurant in an opened wood-fueled fire pit --- is amazing. The chef actually uses an ax to carve it. Frankly, I found it superior to Norwegian fjord lamb, Irish Burren lamb and even those much esteemed creatures down in New Zealand. The crab in Ushuaia is the other thing to eat. Wait a sec, you asked about Punta Arenas vs. Ushuaia as the furthermost city in the world. Well, they both have little disclaimers re populations --- you know, what’s a city, which one is a town, ect – so better let Chile and Argentina brass it out. They seem to be able to argue about any subject.

- Ringo



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Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum in Vevey, Switzerland

Charlie Chaplin and the Chaplin Museum
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin. A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model Kiera Chaplin.

Go There

Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Burren (Dispatch #14)

a dolmen at The Burren

The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape known as The Burren.

Go There


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