The Jim Henson Exhibition (Museum of the Moving Image)

This was our first time visiting the Museum of the Moving Image!

In such a historic location, the Museum of the Moving Image is in Astoria (Queens, NY) and is found in the former building of Astoria Studios. After intensive renovations, it reopened in 2011 and is still an amazing spot for learning about the history & significance of various mediums including, but not limited to, film and television.

Currently, one of the permanent exhibitions found at the museum is The Jim Henson Exhibition, celebrating the life and legacy of Jim Henson with more than 300 pieces!

I grew up watching various Muppets programming, Sesame Street, and Star Wars, so Jim Henson’s work had a huge impact on my childhood. It was so amazing seeing some of these classic characters up close. Here’s one of my favorites (and one of my favorites to do impressions of)… Kermit the Frog!

As you can see, next to the Kermit puppet is the special headpiece that Jim Henson would wear when puppeteering him. It’s so crazy to see how well inanimate objects can come to life with the right hands!

Even something that appears to be a slinky/tube, named “Java” below, was a blast to see on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966:

But, of course, we had to see some of our favorite Muppets like Rowlf, The Swedish Chef, Statler & Waldorf, and Miss Piggy!

But what’s fantastic about the Jim Henson Exhibition is that it not only teaches you about his work, you get to be a part of it too!

My favorite kinds of museums are the interactive kinds, and thankfully this exhibit is one of them!

Step right up and try your “hand” at puppeteering a couple characters on-screen! You have to get low and build a scene from scratch, and then you’ll see a live playback! (Check out the video at the end for more)

In addition to this booth, there’s also a station to build your own puppet! This is for demonstration purposes only so you don’t get to keep it. But feel free to customize the look of your very own Muppet! Here’s our take:

What will yours look like?

But as I mentioned, one of Jim Henson’s biggest involvements was of course Sesame Street. For any Sesame fans, you’ll be very pleased with this next area! No introduction is needed:

And last, but not least, one of the final displays for the Jim Henson Exhibition was for his non-Muppets projects like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal.

There were puppets, animatronics, diagrams, videos, and so much more going on here!

(And don’t forget, Dark Crystal returns to theaters for 2 days only in February!)

It’s just a thoroughly detailed exhibition and I highly recommend it for fans of Jim Henson or the movies/TV shows mentioned earlier. His work and legacy continue to ripple into today’s franchises… Star Wars’ Yoda (Frank Oz), for example, and even Nien Nunb (Mike Quinn) in this week’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi! (Who’s ready for it??)

Which leads us into the rest of the Museum of the Moving Image.

The whole museum is filled with rich history and beautiful displays of vintage toys, collectibles, arcade games, film & TV props, and more.

So be sure to walk around and explore the techniques used in soundtracks, dubbing, sound effects, and visual effects. You might even be able to make yourself into a flipbook/GIF!

The Museum of the Moving Image is open to the public (starting at $7) Wednesday-Sunday. Free for Museum members & children under 3, and admission is free every Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Visit the site for specific hours & holiday closings.

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Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (Baltimore, MD)

Tucked away in Baltimore, MD and hidden from plain sight is Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. Opened over 11 years ago in September 2006, Geppi’s is a moderately sized pop culture museum. Special exhibitions are constantly rotating but inside you’ll always find a collection of over 60,000 amazing items including retro posters & artwork, collectibles, and rarities.

Tickets are reasonably priced and there are also memberships available.

The only way up to the museum is with an elevator spammed with pop culture decals… Random meters and dials, comic book character logos, and other references are plastered all over its walls:

And once you’re upstairs, you’re greeted by none other than the bounty hunter himself, Boba Fett!

Before you even pay for your ticket, you get an idea of the vibe awaiting you inside the museum. Vintage posters, framed art, things you’ve only seen on Google and Pinterest:

In no particular order, we began to wander the halls of this 16,000 square foot museum. And by chance we entered the massive room filled with old comic books and magazines… Amazing!

Not only did they have Superman’s first appearance, Action Comics #1 (1938), but also Batman’s first appearance, Detective Comics #27 (1939)! I’ve never seen these up close and in person before, so this was truly a one of a kind experience. Plus, this year Superman and Batman both released their 800th issues, so that’s something!

Not to mention all the other fantastic and iconic covers throughout the decades!

I thoroughly enjoyed each room, which housed its own era or theme. One room in particular was home to a very cool Daily Planet display case, surrounded by Superman artifacts and clippings. Toys, certificates, games, and art were all present here.

Check out this 1943 issue of World’s Finest #9 featuring Superman, Batman, and Robin throwing baseballs at the heads of the Axis alliance:

Other rooms pay tribute to popular television icons like sports teams, Howdy Doody, or the Three Stooges.

But one of the coolest rooms was the one that honored everybody’s favorite caped crusader… Batman!

Inside was a life-size statue of the Dark Knight, along with the iconic red 1960’s Bat Phone and Shakespeare bust with moveable head (see the video at the end for more)!

(Don’t worry if Superman is more your thing… Geppi’s has 2 lifesize statues of the Man of Steel!)

When I visited, Geppi’s was also running a special exhibit, “The Dark Knight Through The Decades”, which featured many rare collectibles and photos throughout the years. Autographed pictures, one of a kind art pieces, and more! It was a pretty hefty room, but here’s one part of it:

But with The Last Jedi releasing in one week (AHH!!), I’d be remiss not to mention all the great Star Wars items on display.

From vintage toys to vintage comics, Geppi’s has Ralph McQuarrie art, AFA graded Kenner figures, a CBCS graded Marvel Star Wars #1, and even the original folded 1977 27″x41″ movie poster!

As a huge Star Wars fan, this was a lot to take in!

So much eye candy and so little time!

I couldn’t believe how many spectacular pieces this place had acquired… But it’s important to note that while many of the exhibits are Geppi’s, many are also on loan from dedicated collectors all over the world.

It’s what allows the museum to have such pristine condition collectibles displayed, like these Transformers toys of Grimlock, Hot Rod, and Bumblebee:

Or like-mint condition boxes of Nabisco DC Super Heroes cookies and Mr. T cereal!

All in all, for the low admission price, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is just that: entertainment. If you’re a collector, pop-culture pundit, or just love watching reruns of Pawn Stars or American Pickers, you have to check out Geppi’s!

And as if all of that isn’t enough, as you exit the museum you’ll walk through a very extensive gift shop! You’ll find modern collectibles both cheap and not, as well as an impressive selection of comic books. (If you’re looking for any back issues, be sure to ask!)

Try to walk out empty-handed!

So check out Geppi’s Entertainment Museum! It’s open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am-6pm and closed on some holidays. Check out www.geppismuseum.com for contact or more info.

Louis Vuitton Exhibition: Volez Voguez Voyagez #NYCVVV

We got to check out the brand new pop-up exhibit by Louis Vuitton in New York City during its opening week. Volez Voguez Voyagez is in NYC for a limited time: October 27, 2017 to January 7, 2018. Admission is free but timed reservations are recommended. There’s also an interactive app you can download for the exhibit, plus feel free to check out the audio guide tour and guided tour options as well!

Above: The Trunk of 1906…

The line to get in wasn’t too overwhelming but it wasn’t moving swiftly either. But time goes by rather fast, and it’ll all be worth it once you step inside and learn all about Louis Vuitton’s history. Plus, some great Insta-worthy photo ops (video at the end for more)!

Volez Voguez Voyagez is a multi-floor exhibit ranging from classic trunks from the 1800’s, to fashion pieces, retro advertisements, and even collaborations. Here’s a cool collab between LV and skateboarding brand Supreme:

The beginning of the exhibit is a huge history lesson which is really interesting because LV didn’t start off right away with high-end bags.

As you can see, the Vuitton empire is massive. You learn how LV started as a box-maker and developed unique and revolutionary trunks that paved the way for modern luggage… The Trunk Of 1906 is still used as inspiration for luggage today!

In addition to the trunks, many relics and artifacts were on display – tools used to build LV products, photos of LV’s start, and (one of my favorites) even records that keep track of numbered keys after the invention of the tumbler lock in 1890:

As you’ll see, the iconic monogrammed canvas was used from a very early time. This set Louis Vuitton’s creations apart from the rest and allowed him to stand out as the brand we all know today.

From room to room, a different theme or layout is used to match the historic pieces. One of the more popular rooms was called The Rise Of Yachting (see it in the video at the end). As you step inside, it feels like you just stepped aboard the Titanic! A giant mast & sail greet you as an imitation deck displays the invention of the steamer bag by LV:

Another popular room was Aviation which featured a 3D airplane displaying early 20th century bags:

The following room, Trains, reminded me of the Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios! The windows were changing scenery as you’re transported to another time & place. Here you’ll find new modes of travel with the invention of narrower trunks that can be tucked away in the train and a very particular fashion style for transportation.

The last room before the gift shop is “Louis Vuitton Loves America”! This is the most modern of all the rooms and showcases many pieces of Louis Vuitton from today. (Think: Red Carpet Premiere)

After going through this exhibit, all I can think of is “my, how times have changed!” Isn’t it crazy how easy it is to travel today? Wardrobes are easier to carry, bags come in all shapes and sizes, and we get from place to place faster than ever.

There may be times where you’ll find this exhibition a little dry and slow, but if you’re interested in learning how Louis Vuitton became the company it is today, I highly recommend checking it out before it closes its doors on January 7, 2018! It’s free, it’s informative, and you’ll get some great photos to remember it by too.

On your way out, be sure to see if there are any souvenirs you want to pick up at the gift shop. I even saw some people purchasing customized luggage tags that get stamped in the shop. And don’t forget to pick up your free #NYCVVV pintrill:

Chow: Making The Chinese American Restaurant (Museum Of Food And Drink)

The Museum of Food and Drink is extending Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant until the Chinese Lunar New Year on February 16, 2018!

Step inside the Museum of Food and Drink as you experience the history of Chinese American cuisine with artifacts, 100 year old clippings, infographics, and even a fortune cookie machine! This limited time exhibit also features tastings at their exclusive Culinary Studio.

As the world’s first large-scale food museum, Brooklyn’s MOFAD delivers a visual walkthrough of the Chinese American Restaurant timeline (almost 200 years)!

You’re immediately greeted with a massive wall of takeout containers. But as soon as you step behind it, prepare to be immersed in a rich past. This exhibit was interesting and though it was quick, you learn a lot about the culture and cuisine, leading up to today.

As you walk around, you’ll find fantastic displays: photos, articles, even videos. One of my favorite sections was the wall of old restaurant menus. It was amazing to see how much has changed over the decades. Imagine paying only 75 cents for a plated dinner combo (soup, entree, and dessert)!

For Chow, MOFAD also houses a special fortune cookie machine that will create the cookies live with custom fortunes submitted using their in-house tablet/Twitter/hashtag (#ProjectFortune).

Powered by Infiniti, the purpose of #ProjectFortune is to spread messages of goodwill so that when visitors come to the exhibit, they’ll hopefully receive your fortune and share it with friends & loved ones!

See the fortune I submitted here!

Though the machine wasn’t working this particular day, we still got to learn about the whole process and see many of the submitted fortunes colorfully displayed at the end of the exhibit.

MOFAD also had part of Flavor: Making It and Faking It on display, their previous/debut exhibit. In this MOFAD Lab, different smelling stations were set up. Here you can experiment with a few apparatuses that would release a combination of various smells of your choice.

For example, what combination of cilantro, peach, caramel, and candy will create “strawberry”? Or how much orange oil, lime oil, cinnamon oil, and vanilla extract is needed to smell like “cola”?

Build different flavors at 3 stations or try your hand at the Smell Synth, a scent organ you can play! With over 500,000 different combinations, your senses will go haywire!

As you make your way to the exit, don’t forget to stop by the Chow Culinary Studio! Each General Admission ticket includes a small complimentary tasting (MOFAD states that they cannot guarantee dietary accommodations). And for an additional $11, you can upgrade to the Chow Down ticket which turns your tasting into a 3-course meal!

Tastings will vary from the chefs on duty to the featured dish of the month. We had the pleasure of sitting with in-house Chef John Hutt, who was not only very knowledgeable about authentic Chinese cuisine but also able to deliver a delicious meal!

He started us off with the dish of the month which was the Peking Pork with Sweet and Sour Glaze over rice. Great texture and great taste – the chef meticulously cooked the pork (see more in the video at the end).

Next, he served up some Malai Mushroom Dumplings with 7 year old vinegar. He taught us a brief lesson on Ma (numb) and La (spicy) – explaining that the mushrooms will create a tingling sensation, ultimately giving off a “spicy” effect. What a rush!

Lastly, we wrapped up with a Rice Pudding with Fortune Cookie. I normally don’t like rice pudding but it was a great finisher as we continued talking about Chinese cuisine and his involvement with the museum.

We were fortunate to have Chef John rather than one of the rotating guest chefs. His experience made our meal all the more enjoyable and it was educational too! The exhibit itself takes about 30 minutes with an additional 30 minutes for the full tasting. Be sure to check out the video recap below for more and click here for tickets.

The Museum of Food and Drink is extending Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant until the Chinese Lunar New Year on February 16, 2018!