Hollywood props, outfits part of new MAC exhibit

FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2009

Family debates are bound to ensue after visiting “Out of This World: Extraordinary Costumes from Film and Television,” the new traveling exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. The debating point: Which costume was your favorite?

• The complete Darth Vader outfit?

• The Wicked Witch of the West’s pointy black hat?

• Capt. Kirk’s tunic and sash?

• The full Batman costume, worn by George Clooney in “Batman & Robin”?

• Obi-Wan Kenobi’s brown, hooded cloak, worn by the late, great Sir Alec Guinness?

• The leather jacket worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the original “Terminator”?

• Capt. Picard’s Starfleet uniform?

• Dan Aykroyd’s “Ghostbusters II” jumpsuit and proton pack?

• Indiana Jones’ genuine leather jacket?

That jacket will undoubtedly be a favorite of certain middle-aged dads and moms, especially since it is accompanied by one of the most sought-after artifacts in recorded history: the Holy Grail.

Well, at least the movie prop.

Kids might be more partial to Luke Skywalker’s severed hand, complete with light saber.

“What’s fun is that people get caught up in the characters of the people they remember,” said Kris Major, the museum’s curator of education.

“But the exhibit’s intent is to demonstrate how the costume can either make a character, or reflect what people think the character is.”

The exhibit comes from Seattle’s Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. In fact, many of these items came directly from the personal collection of EMP founder Paul Allen, known for being a huge sci-fi fan.

The show has been traveling around the country, having recently been in Montana and on the East Coast.

The costumes are displayed in giant, egg-shaped pods. Large video screens loom overhead, flashing continuous scenes from the movies and TV shows represented by the costumes.

“We were looking for a summer blockbuster, to follow on the heels of ‘A T. rex Named Sue’ (two summers ago), something that would appeal to families,” said Major. “We think this will be a draw.”

The exhibit consists of 43 objects, arranged in these categories: “Caped Crusaders,” “Villains and Heroes,” “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and “Creating the Character.”

The most elaborate costume: Probably the spangly Riddler suit, worn by Jim Carrey in “Batman Forever.”

The chintziest costume: Probably the Robin costume from the 1966 television series “Batman.” It consists of, essentially, a green T-shirt covered by a red vest. This was perfectly in keeping with a show that made fun of its own silliness.

The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday, but the official opening party won’t be until June 13, noon to 4 p.m.

This family event will feature an appearance by the local chapter of the 501st Legion, wearing “Star Wars” costumes; a 2 p.m. talk by Richard Vander Wende, who worked as an artist and visual designer for George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic, for Disney, and for video games; a costume contest; and children’s activities.

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