In honor of what would've been Jimi Hendrix's 76th birthday, the Northwest African American Museum opens its new Bold as Love: Jimi Hendrix at Home exhibition tonight between 6pm and 9pm. Admission to the opening is free.
Hendrix, of course, is about as beloved a local son as Seattle has. (He, along with Kurt Cobain, took the cover of our music-centric December issue.) But his public life—especially the guitar torching, acid addled antics—happened after he left Seattle. For those who don't know much about Hendrix's early life, Bold as Love offers a good introduction since that's where the main focus lands—on his time in Seattle. The room is arranged chronologically. You start with some family history, move through artifacts like some of his childhood art, including one that looks like a watercolor of a pink speedboat, then head onto postcards he sent his dad from the road, then to his fame and demise. At the press preview last night, many of the early artifacts were not yet there. But the museum told me there would be items of clothing, guitars, a family record player.
Present, though, and quite stunning was a military jacket Hendrix wore around London. I'm not much of one to feel reverence toward a jacket. But I grew up listening to Hendrix and tacking his poster to a bedroom wall and, like every guitar student, submitting "Purple Haze" to all manner of dumb-fingered butcher, so the thing was beautiful to behold.
Bold as Love: Jimi Hendrix at Home
Nov 27–May 5, Northwest African American Museum, $7