Monday, January 9, 2017

Gatlinburg: My first wax museum

Ever since my first trip to Gatlinburg earlier this year, the group of friends I went with have been itching to go back. After the fires devastated the area in November, we were uncertain how the touristy spot would be different, but knew we still wanted to go and put our dollars into the economy [Tangent: Mostly spending it on pizza and donuts from Donut Friar!]. Somehow the cabin we booked back in September was unscathed, which is completely crazy given within a mile there were several businesses and homes that were in ashes. [Tangent: There's a very dystopian feel to driving down a half-charred mountain and seeing one business completely burned to the bathroom tiles and then the cabin adjacent to it 100% intact. It's evident the high winds and wayward sparks were to blame for the haphazard and devastating spread of destruction. On the positive end, downtown was booming so the economy is bouncing back, which makes my heart happy.]

Because it was a holiday weekend and frigid outside, we tried to be strategic in finding a cheesy tourist activity that everyone could go for (Hitting a consensus with 9 people is tough). After much consternation, we settled on Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge, which was absolutely as amazing and terrible as we expected. [Tangent: We all thought $20 was a lot to spend for an attraction, but after researching the geotags on Instagram at lunch, we discovered that you could get really close to the wax figures and take this group LOVES a photo op. SOLD! My friend Crystal had just gotten a brand new camera for Christmas, it seemed the perfect place to use it.] 
There have been other times when I have been near wax museums but passed up the opportunity because they sounded lame [Tangent: Or maybe even because whenever I think of them I think of that unforgettable scene in the classic movie Class Act. (I bet you thought I was gonna say House of Wax. Nope.) It took everything in my being not to imagine that in full 90s hip hop realness, that I was evading bullies by trying to blend in with the vignettes. Don't act like you didn't watch this Kid n' Play classic every time it came on cable when you were a kid. You are not above it.] But I couldn't recommend going to this place enough...especially in groups. I am so mad I have avoided them in the past, because they are ridiculous in the best way possible. 

Some of their vignettes were really confusing and dated. [Tangent: Like they had a whole setup for Seabiscuit and The Mummy (which I only loved because in 4th grade I had a raging crush on Brendan Fraser in School Ties and kind of Encino Man so a picture with him was a childhood dream realized.)..and they had a Daniel Craig figure...only it wasn't for his most iconic role, unless you think his iconic part was in Cowboys and Aliens. Womp. Womp.]  

 Some of the statues were creepy realistic and others were just  awful...and looked like wonky drag interpretations of what they were supposed to be, but that made it fun and hilarious. [Tangent: that woman above is Salma Hayek, apparently! They should really change it to Sarah Paulson, but oh well. That is why I am not a wax figure designer.] Example: This Donald Trump is obviously Darryl Hammond as Donald Trump but was labeled (without a shred of irony) as Trump himself, which I kind of thought was the ultimate burn.
 They also had a prop wall next to nearly every statue, a luchador mask and cape in the Nacho Libre vignette [Tangent: see, I told you they were on the pulse of pop culture.] and a championship belt by the Hulk Hogan. That was potentially the best part because you really got into the posing...probably too much...much to the chagrin of the families who were behind us in the museum. My favorites was where you could wear a wedding dress and marry George Clooney. So ridiculous. And the bed with Hugh Hefner in it (complete with velvet robes). Unfortunately due to the posing of the statue and the lighting, it just looks like the dudes were hanging out trying to look sexy around a corpse at a wake.

I took about a zillion pictures, so many that my phone actually crapped out on me while I was inside, but now I think I have profile pictures for various things for the next 10 years. Within the exhibits,  I realized a lot of my childhood dreams, by getting to pose with many of my heroes

If you are in Gatlinburg and have gotten your fair share of rebel flag and/or bear emblazoned merch- I highly recommend the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge. It was much more fun than I could have imagined.

Has anyone else been to a wax museum? 
Does anyone else remember Class Act

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