‘Rick’s Picks’ opens at Burpee Aug. 11

Vintage televisions are featured as part of the “Rick’s Picks” exhibit at Burpee Museum. (Photo by Frank Schier, editor and publisher)

• Exhibit features Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen’s ‘Lifelong Affair With Guitars & Music’

Staff Report

From Jane, the renowned 66 million-year-old juvenile T. rex, to interactive exhibits of the earliest humans, Burpee Museum of Natural History continues to inspire and excite visitors of all ages.

Now, the world-famous “little museum that could” is about to prove it can rock and roll.

Burpee Museum has announced a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit about a real “Rockford Original”: Cheap Trick’s leader, songwriter and guitarist, Rick Nielsen.

Rick’s Picks: A Lifelong Affair With Guitars & Music” tells the story of Rick’s passions for guitars, music and rock & roll, revealing many surprises and secrets along the way.

Rick’s Picks opens for preview tours for sponsors, special guests and the media Aug. 10 and to the general public Saturday, Aug. 11, at Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford.

Following is the exhibit schedule for Saturday, Aug. 11:

10 a.m. — Ribbon-cutting ceremony and special presentation to Rick Nielsen. Opening of the exhibit to the public.

1-2 p.m. — Performance by Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts on the Riverwalk Amphitheater.

11 a.m.-3 p.m. — On terrace and Riverview Room at the Burpee Museum — Rock ’n’ Roll Café from Zammuto’s, photo booth, balloon artist

2-4 p.m. — DJ spinning Cheap Trick tunes — Riverwalk Amphitheater

Admission is $15 per person for Rockford Park District residents (Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park) and $18 for non-residents.

Rick Nielsen’s musical history is on display through many posters, vintage photographs of various bands he has been in along with numerous musical celebrities he has met and played with during his career, many guitars, amps and gold platinum record sets. (Photo by Frank Schier, editor and publisher)

Nielsen and his Cheap Trick bandmates (all Rockford residents) continue extensive recording and touring to this day, and have amassed one of the longest-lived and most loyal international followings in rock history.

Through Rick’s Picks’ state-of-the-art video-enhanced multimedia experience, visitors will step into the mind and experience of one of music’s most enigmatic legends — his past, present and future; his guitars, his clothing, his amplifiers; travel documents and personal memorabilia; his sock drawer and his junk drawer. Don’t worry, it’s all been cleared by the “Dream Police.” Visit www.rickspickslive.com for details.

Rick’s Picks will be enhanced by Rick’s own favorites of many of his celebrity musician friends’ collections, as well. Keep an eye out for future announcements regarding who will join Rick in his exhibit.

Alan Brown, executive director of Burpee Museum of Natural History, said: “We’re incredibly excited to bring this exhibit to fruition — it’s our goal as a museum and organization to inspire our visitors — and there is nothing more inspirational than Rick’s passion for guitars and music. It’s a rockin’ story, and we know visitors of all ages will love it. Rick Nielsen and Cheap Trick are important threads in the fabric of Rockford’s history — and its future. We couldn’t be prouder to form this alliance.”

Nielsen, when asked what the exhibit means to him, had this to say: “Sure, it’s a lot of guitars, but it’s way more than that. It’s my life. It’s perpetual motion, magic potions, evolutions, false conclusions, harmonic fusions, full-color illusions, black-and-blue contusions, diffusions and delusions, late-night seclusions, superstition and ambition, flights over oceans, shameless promotions, occasional demotions, sonic explosions, prepositions and compositions, traditions and transitions, collisions and decisions, expectations and exhilaration, havens and invasions, schemes, dreams and extremes, documentation and amplification, loving emotions conquering pre-conceived notions. It’s my story in guitars, music, video and all the stuff I’ve saved all these years, cracked open for all the world to see. Hope you come, hope you have fun, ’cuz oh, boy, this house’ll be rockin’.”

Burpee Museum of Natural History can be reached at (815) 965-3433 or online at www.burpee.org.

From the Aug. 8-14, 2012, issue

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