First Friday: Dracula
In all the annals of living horror, one name stands out as the epitome of evil. Dracula. The very mention of the name brings to mind things so evil, so fantastic, so degrading, you wonder if it isn’t all a dream … a nightmare. But no. This is no dream. This is “Dracula.”
“Dracula” (1931) opens with the ancient vampire Count Dracula calling John Harker to Transylvania to help him procure appropriate digs in England, where the menu of potential meals would be more robust. Of course, out of all the teeming millions in his new stomping grounds, Dracula focuses his attention on Harker’s fiancée, Mina, drawing the ire of family friend and stone cold vampire assassin, Abraham Van Helsing. How would you like your stake?
Bela Lugosi, the master of horror, stars as the undead fiend in this classic film based on Bram Stoker’s original novel, although it more closely resembles the theatrical version. Luckily, Lugosi cut his teeth playing the role of Dracula on Broadway in 1927 before touring the country with the show. After Universal purchased the rights to produce a motion picture, Lugosi was so hungry to play the Count that he agreed to a contract of $500 per week, an insultingly small amount even during the Depression. But it was the role of his life … and beyond. When Lugosi died in 1956, he was buried wearing the black silk cape he wore for this film.
Natural Science Note: Among the living creatures we see in Dracula’s Transylvania castle are opossums, armadillos, and an insect known as a Jerusalem cricket (Stenopalmatus fuscus). This insect was (and is) common in Southern California (where the film was shot), which may explain its cameo in the film. These carnivorous crickets are nocturnal by nature, snuggling into the soil at the first sign of daylight. Sound familiar?
Join dog expert Cat Warren (go figure) for this month’s Teen Science Café, “The Science behind the Sniff: What Does the Dog’s Nose Know?” (6pm, Daily Planet Café). Dogs have been trained to sniff out explosives, illegal drugs, missing people, human remains and much more. Working dogs’ abilities may seem magical or mysterious, but in this Teen Science Café, Warren will show the multifaceted science, rigorous training, and skilled handling that underlie the amazing abilities of dogs who work with their noses.
From 6-7pm in the SECU Daily Planet Theater there will be three talks presented by the NC Entomological Society on honey bees, insect pests, and how to take great bug photos. There will also be bug displays throughout the Museum.
Buy one get one free adult admission to “Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution” every First Friday. Found only in New Guinea and parts of Australia, birds-of-paradise are a case study in the power of evolution. Their fantastic plumes and bizarre courtship displays are a result of millions of years of sexual selection at work in an environment with plentiful food and no natural predators. This new exhibition highlights fascinating stories of groundbreaking research and adventure paired with amazing footage and photography. The exhibition runs through March 23, 2014. Prices: Free for Members; $6 for Adults; $4 for Children (3-12); $5 for Students, Seniors (65+) and Military.
The Museum stays open from 5 to 9pm on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to witness a (classic) sci-fi or horror movie, wander through eye-catching exhibits, groove to live music, or enjoy food and beverages at the Daily Planet Café. Additionally, the Museum Stores offer after-hours shopping (till 7pm) and this month an opening reception for Robert Johnson, whose show “Works on Paper” runs November 1 – December 1 in the Nature Art Gallery. All exhibited art is for sale.