austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

And tell Tchaikovsky the news

The afternoon of the first full day in Cleveland was dedicated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and discovering to my annoyance that they wanted all cameras checked. I gave mine to my mother to hide in her purse instead (I didn't have my bookbag on me); this would turn into a nuisance when, inevitably, I fell far behind everyone and my mother felt that I absolutely Had To Have my camera for her imagined later expedition to the NASA center outside Cleveland. My mother had the very funny idea that we would have so much time between the Vatican Treasures, the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, and the evening dinner cruise that we could add in a side trip to NASA. But she insisted on my father waiting around with my camera for me; we were, actually, within walking distance of our hotel.

What I most wanted to know going into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was, as Dave Barry asked so well so long ago, why didn't they build it somewhere more traditionally associated with the entertainment industry, like New York City, Los Angeles, or Tehran? And there's no answer in the entrances, although there is a video outside the basement floor restrooms which goes into some of the construction of the Hall Of Fame. From it, though, the only really solid explanations given are (a) the rock group Cleveland played a marathon concert that got into the Guinness Book of World Records while site selection was going on and (b) Cleveland paid a lot of money for it.

The answer is actually given deep inside, several floors up, and not explicitly, but it is there in the Room of Alan Freed. And the answer is simple enough you'd think they could have let anyone know about it: Alan Freed was broadcasting for Cleveland radio when he introduced the term ``rock and roll'' to the teenaged world, and it was in the Cleveland Arena that the first rock and roll concert was held, the March 1952 Moondog Coronation Ball. That's such a simple enough explanation you'd think there'd be less mystery about it.

Trivia: In 1799 Matthew Boulton and James Watt's Cornish agent Thomas Wilson calculated that local mine owners owned the steam engine makers £162,052/3s/7d in royalties. These royalties were calculated as a fraction of the coal saved by using Boulton and Watt engines compared to what other designs would have used. The amount was never paid in full. Source: The Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made The Future, Jenny Uglow.

Currently Reading: The Wall Around The World, Theodore R Cogswell.


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