November 28, 2009

The Secret Science Club presents Visual Neuroscientist Ben Backus, Tuesday, December 8 at the Bell House

Tuesday, December 8 at 8 pm, FREE!
Open the doors of perception with visual neuroscientist Ben Backus
You won’t believe your eyes. . .

At the back of the human eye, the retina is smaller than a penny and tissue thin. Yet it contains 100 million neurons. When the eye is open, the retina constantly transmits information on edges, angles, motion, and light intensity to more than 30 areas of the cerebral cortex. How does the brain process and interpret all this visual stimuli—and are our perceptions reliable?

Cutting-edge vision scientist Ben Backus of SUNY discusses how our brains learn to “see,” whether perception is linked to emotions, and optical illusions that are both illuminating and trippy.

Before and After
--Groove to synesthetic tunes
--Try our cockeyed cocktail of the night, the Parallax View (You’ll see the world in a whole different way . . . )
--Participate in the laser-sharp Q&A
--PLUS, stick around for a live set of holiday melodies with the band LA STRADA

The Secret Science Club meets @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn, p: 718.643.6510 Subway: F to 4th Ave; R to 9th St; F or G to Smith/9th

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. Pocket protectors suggested.

November 18, 2009

And the Winners Are . . .

Thanks to everyone for bringing their creatures, bones, skins, and stories to the 4th-annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest. The competition was red in tooth and claw as judges Melissa Milgrom, Dorian Devins, and Robert Marbury viewed dozens of specimens, all vying to be the most beastly of them all. Many were worthy, but these--the fiercest--prevailed.
The Order of Carnivorous Knights Grand Prize (Best in Show) went to Ryan Matthew for Felis dancicus fighticus

Ian Maher took the Secret Science Club Prize for Best in Bones
with his goat-skull-and-crystal chandelier, "Halal."

The Rump Ape Prize for Best Hybrid Creature went to Natalie Stevens and her pal, Ralph.

Mike Zohn of Obscura Antiques (and 2007 Grand Champion) took the Rogue Taxidermy Prize, presented by the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists (MART), for his automatons--two 19th-century caged taxidermy birds that moved and sang. Check out the amazing video here.

The Most Twisted Prize, presented by MART, went to artist and 2006 Grand Champion of Taxidermy Takeshi Yamada for his stunning showmanship, sneaky sea rabbit, and collection of freakshow babies crafted from his own skin!

The Cabinet of Curiosities Prize went to Ronni Ascagni and Chrissie for their collection of weird wonders, including a cat princess and a charming double-bodied rat. Rata-two-ie

The Best Buddy audience prize went to Daisy Tainton for a group of delicate insect dioramas.

The Norman Bates Prize for Best Taxidermy went to Brooklyn-based taxidermist Melissa Dixson for her puppy on a pillow, little Chloe.
Photo credits: Felis dancicus fighticus, Goat Skull Chandelier, Automaton Birds, Takeshi Yamada, and Beast in a Box (Rats) by Tenebrous Kate; Natalie Stevens with Ralph, and Cat Princess with Friends by Jessica Elias; Insect Diorama by Daisy Tainton; and Puppy on Tuft by Eric Harvey Brown for Time Out.
Read more about the contest @ Love Train for the Tenebrous Empire!