Happy In Bag

Monday, October 24, 2005

Close Enough For Jazz?

While enjoying live jazz at The Blue Room a couple months ago, I noticed that a display on the south wall had partially collapsed. An album sleeve had fallen from its spot inside a glass case. Additional items were askew, or lay in the bottom of the exhibit.

Last Saturday night, I noticed that the same presentation remained in disarray. I took this photo, which shows that the vintage album should be secured over the blank white space. Plastic frames, screws and bits of wood lay at the case’s bottom, where the tilted album rests, obscuring the bottom portion of the display.

I suppose it’s possible that the museum’s staff repeatedly renovates this exhibit and that the room’s sonic vibrations or disruptive patrons continue to damage it. The more likely cause, I think, is neglect. The staff either doesn’t know or care about the problem.

Don’t forget that the Blue Room is an extension of the American Jazz Museum. A large part of the venue’s unique charm is that the museum’s collection is integrated into the club. Displays wrap around the room. Interesting artifacts are even incorporated into its cocktail tables.

Granted, the museum and jazz venue don’t revolve around this single offering, which focuses on the contributions of Kansas City pianist Mary Lou Williams. But it looks bad, and the fact that it continues to be unattended for at least eight weeks is not a good sign. This minor yet annoying negligence is disrespectful to Mary Lou Williams, patrons of the museum, and to the taxpayers who I understand support this institution.


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