Saturday, October 16, 2004

I am not impressed

Over the years I have heard and read much about Madame Tussaud's, the famous wax museum depicting "lifelike" incarnations of famous people in wax. When I was eight or nine, my parents bought me a set of World Book Encyclopediae and an accompanying "Childcraft" set. In the Childcraft set was a story on Madame Tussaud. I was fascinated by the story and the picture of the wax self-portrait of Ms. Tussaud in her black bonnet and narrow oval spectacles that rode down her nose far enough that she looked over them at you. She was a somewhat strange-looking little woman, almost bird-like, but her mastery of wax was so amazing that people actually fainted when her work was first exhibited. (Of course, it was the mid-1800s, but still...)

Tussaud's was the rage in London for 150 years before crossing the pond and landing itself in the center of Times Square on 42nd Street. It's been there about two years, and in that time, we've never been compelled to go in. But tonight, Jess had a meeting at the museum and asked me to go with him. It sounded like fun, and so we hurried home from work and hopped the railroad into the city to go. I love going anywhere with Jess!

I was a little excited: I was finally going to see the historic museum I had read so much about! In the reception room where we were greeted, there were four presidents present. Of the four, only Reagan had a reasonable resemblance to his namesake. The others looked like they could be cousins of their intended subject, but they certainly didn't look enough like them to fool anyone, nor did they look lifelike enough that you would mistake them for real. I had thought I might get a picture of myself appearing to be choking W, but the figure looked so unlike him that such a shot wouldn't have fooled anyone. You know the feeling you get when you think you might have spotted a celebrity but then when they come within better visual range, you realize it's not who you thought? Well, that could sum up the Madame Tussaud experience.

At any rate, we left the reception room to tour of the rest of the museum. There were many, many subjects, but again, most of the renderings were disappointing. Some of them looked so unlike their subjects that it was just laughable. Harrison Ford, Madonna, and Meryl Streep should sue. And if you were to capture the essence of Donald Trump, the one thing you should really have right is his hair...they didn't. On the other hand, Ted Turner, George Steinbrenner, and Morgan Freeman were fairly realistic.

But ironically, the best and most stunning depiction of all was RuPaul; in stilletto heels and a split gown, you could practically hear her drawl, "I have one thing to say...sashay...shante!" And the most priceless of all was her positioning in the room: perched high atop a two-tier clamshell-basin fountain, she was the center of attention in that room, as well she should be. Girl had it goin' on!

But as for the rest...feh. I couldn't be bothered. It's certainly not worth the $30 price of admission. You could see the whole thing in less than 45 minutes, and most of the works are a poor excuse for good sculpture. Save your bucks. New York City has far more interesting things to see than Tussaud's. Better to see the city from the top of the Empire State Building, take a tour of the Met,, enjoy a fabulous slice of New York pizza from Karavas' Place in the Village, and ride the Staten Island Ferry for free. All of this would occupy a lot more than 45 minutes, cost practically the same, and leave you much more satisfied!


At 12:22 AM, October 16, 2004, Blogger Jess said...

I love going anywhere with you, too, honey. I love everything we do together.

As for Tussaud's, it was fine, just because you were there...and you looked very lifelike! :)


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