The Brewery Arts Center has a new exhibition on loan from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “Part of the Machine” brings working pinball machines (that you’re able to play) and one-of-a-kind rock icon artifacts. The exhibit is open at the Artisan Gallery on the Brewery Arts Center campus. The exhibit opens to the public Saturday and is open 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. There are extended hours for special events, and monthly memberships are available. Special events, private parties or team building activity time can be scheduled for the exhibit. Contact the Brewery Arts Center for more info. Check out the Brewery Art Center’s promotion for the exhibit on YouTube: bit.ly/3cx3UiU. Fans can view pioneering pinball machines of their favorite musicians such as Captain Fantastic (1976), based on the album by Elton John and his character in Tommy; and Beat Time (1967), one of the oldest rock and roll tables which capitalizes on Beatlemania, featuring several mop-topped musicians and a drumhead emblazoned with “The Bootles.” Other rare and sought-after playable machines in the exhibit pay tribute to the Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Elvis, Metallica, and KISS.
From Peter Criss of KISS’ drum set to Pete Townshend's guitar, fans will find other artifacts on display as they learn more about the popular pinball and rock subculture. The first pinball machine was produced in 1931 and, almost immediately, the game was labeled a menace to society, a time-waster and corrupter of youth. Considered gambling, pinball was banned from the early 1940s to the mid-1970s in most American big cities. Naturally, it became a symbol of youth and rebellion, right along with rock & roll. The marriage of rock and pinball was formalized in 1969 when the Who released Tommy. The rock opera highlighted the mad skills of pinball wizard Tommy Walker. Since then, numerous superstars have been artistically immortalized on pinball games —wedding the power and energy of rock & roll to the silver ball.