As a small child whipping my crayons around the perfect spiral assistance of the Spirograph, I never never anticipated that I could maximize that activity by adding the sweet elixir of booze, or that I'd be doing both with the aid of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science -- yet here I was on an ordinary Thursday night, doing just that: creating my own spiral galaxy with chalk while sipping the Leonardo Da Vodka, a specialty drink designed by staff at the museum for just this occasion. But so it goes with The Science Lounge -- a way for adults to drunkenly engage their inner child.
Sipping their first cocktails, guests filtered into the museum's atrium to look at the first interactive portion of the evening, Create Your Own Still Life. Here, guests could take museum artifacts and arrange them for their own still-life photos -- as one guy put it, "The important part is that you can pick up and touch things without getting in trouble." In a similarly crafty vein vein, people were also able to paste their or their friends' faces to gorilla pictures that they could then color and post to strings hanging from the balcony for the guerrilla/gorilla art piece. Markers, glue and scissors were laid out, summer-camp arts and crafts achieved with a chilled drink in hand, the latter of which possibly led to one woman remarking that her gorilla seemed to be doing a little "self-touching."
People didn't have to resort to the same, though, as they could move on to the second level and touch an iPad that let you swirl your hands through an array of colors and patterns that were projected up onto the artful ceilings; a prime example of how technology has really advanced from the old crayons-on-mom's-white-wall technique.
Beyond the activities, the main attraction was Bridget Coughlin, the vice president of the museum, who gave a short lecture on the human body's reaction to tattoo ink, as well as a tiny portion of the history of tattoos throughout the progression of civilization. Humans have been marking their bodies in the name of art, she said, pretty much since we could hold a paintbrush as a species, and they have archaeological evidence of tattoos stretching back to Ancient Egypt and Greece. According to Coughlin, only women were granted the right to punch ink into their skins, and after them, it was a royal practice before downgrading to a way to mark prisoners and criminals.
The general consensus was that the most interesting part was how the body's immune system tried to first consume the ink and then actually quarantined the ink, causing your tattoo to be permanent.
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The Denver Museum of Nature and Science had always been home to a wealth of wonders, fun facts and learning -- and in my adult life, I love to drink. Mixing the two in the fabulous Science Lounge was the answer to my heart's desire.