When Dinosaurs Ruled the Car-Park

Jurassic Quest: Glendale Arena, Phoenix
Sept 5, 2021

Like many kids, I was a big fan of dinosaurs, back in the day. I remember in particular having a booklet that you could fill up with cards depicting various dinosaurs, on the back of which were facts about them. I’m not sure where you got the cards; might have been at petrol stations? Though it might also have been in packs of cigarettes – y’know, back when manufacturers were advertising to the pre-teen market. That inner child was thoroughly excited for Sunday’s trip to see Jurassic Quest, a drive-through experience promoted as “The Largest Exhibition of Lifesize, Moving, Museum-Quality Dinosaurs in North America!”

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Immersive Van Gogh

Lighthouse Artspace, Scottsdale
29th August, 2021

Truth be told, I’ve never been a particular fan of Van Gogh. I prefer my artists a bit more technically rigorous, such as the Pre-Raphaelites, like John Everett Millais. But there’s no denying the cultural impact of Vincent Van Gogh, and if one artist was ever going to have an “experience” devoted to him, he’s the obvious choice. Or, rather: multiple experiences, for it seems there are quite a few of these travelling events doing the circuit this year. Each claims to be the best, but I’m not going to get into that. This is the one which staked its spot first in Phoenix, so we’ll go with it.

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The Joy of ABBA

I remember seeing ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest in April 1974. I was only seven at the time, so wasn’t particularly paying attention. But if you’d told my young Scottish self that, approaching half a century later, I’d be heading off to a casino in Arizona to see an ABBA tribute band, I’d certainly not have believed you. My affection for Sweden’s finest export was a slow-brewing affair. While I was aware of them, my teenage years were more devoted to New Wave and New Romantic bands: Abba seemed… retro. Interest in them was largely limited to debates over whether you fancied the blonde or brunette. [For the record, I was on Team Agnetha] Besides, my parents liked Abba. By the rules of teenagerhood, I could not possibly do so.

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Kaiju Big Battel: Love is a Danger of a Different Kind

Back in 2000, in the final printed issue of Trash City, I wrote about a strange form of entertainment which has been spawned out of Boston. Kaiju Big Battel was the unholy spawn resulting from a late-night booty call between pro wrestling and Japanese superhero/monster shows. We fell in love with it immediately, naturally. On our bucket list is getting to see one of their shows live. It hasn’t happened yet, due to KBB largely sticking to the East Coast for shows. This is for obvious logistical reasons: transporting giant dust bunnies, silver potatoes and all the other characters is not a trivial task.

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