Taking inspiration from the movies – think a cross between Jurassic Park and Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum – the Australian Museum’s after hours, adults-only event, Jurassic Lounge was a massive draw for Sydney’s alternative culture crowd last year. So when it made a return to the city this year, there was (almost) no question about our attending. There’s a bit of geek in all of us, I’m sure, and events like this make it socially acceptable to be a bit of a nerd. Geek is chic – that’s what I like to tell myself anyway.
Even Time Out Sydney wanted a piece of the action, sponsoring the weekly activities. To be honest though, we didn’t care who was promoting it, we were just four big kids (two Brits, one Aussie, one Kiwi) excited about our long-out-of-school-trip. But unlike your typical educational visit, after we rocked up and had our tickets scanned by an iPhone (novelty value) we were directed straight to the bar. Yes, that’s right, the organisers know their audience and, in Australia, museum + drinks = uniquely fun times.
While Jenn and I were itching to start running riot/ playing – with live bands, Jurassic karaoke, silent disco with the Pharaohs, burlesque, comedy, and a strangely deserted Twister mat calling – Taylor and Al were both taking the more cultural approach. Both of them were gripped by the permanent exhibits; they wandered around reading all the captions on the walls and peering at the array of taxidermy, as though staring at it harder would bring the beasts back to life. Luckily not the case.
When we finally managed to drag the boys’ noses away from the glass cases they were pressed up against, we zoomed through the 4 hours; gazing at dinosaur bones; recording a David Attenborough-style voiceover; giggling at the karaoke host’s failed attempts to get people to sing, especially while he was doing such a good job himself; watching light-installations as a robot/puppet band bopped about surreally on stage; cracked glowsticks and threw some stupid dance moves at silent disco; freaked each other out beside the cases of dead and preserved spiders; freaked out other museum-goers by playing with an array of bizarre-but-amazing stick insects (one woman DID actually scream aloud and run to cower in the bookshop); climbed under tortoise shells, just because when else do you get a photo opp like that; and then realised time was up…and we’d barely scratched the surface of everything that was on offer.
I’m tempted to go back again – there are two more weeks left of this year’s Tuesday-night extravaganza – but there’s so much more to see and do in the city that repeats seem a little wasteful. I just wish some of the other galleries would open up in the same way. It’s a fun night out, whether you’re a closet geek, a stifled suit or someone who refuses to be labelled. Who said Sydney had no culture? It’s an absolute lie!
Have you been to one of the Jurassic Lounge events? What did you think? Or can you recommend any other after-hours events in Australia?