A Visual Adventure through House on the Rock

This last weekend, I joined the Chicago Skeptics on a tour through Wisconsin's own Xanadu of kitsch, House on the Rock. This was followed by a lovely concert by the fabulous George Hrab.

I initially wasn't going to post about the House on the Rock here at Mad Art Lab, as the House on the Rock is pretty much the antithesis of science and logic. It's a museum without labels, where at least half of the items are fake, and the other half are presented without any explanation or reason. There are warehouses and warehouses of stuff, where broken calliopes wheeze away and display cases full of coffee cups overlook a three-story-tall statue of a whale battling an octopus. I've been through the place twice, and both times, I saw someone just snap and start screaming in bafflement. (In fact, here's an audio recording of Mr. Hrab doing just that.) Lovecraft would have been impressed.

Photos behind the jump.

House on the Rock - 2012-03-31 15-55-05

House on the Rock - 2012-03-31 14-47-44 House on the Rock - 2012-03-31 16-47-54 House on the Rock - 2012-03-31 16-03-31

My full gallery of photos can be found here.

As I said above, this epic experience was followed by a wonderful concert by George Hrab. After the show, he stuck around and played duets with Mad Art Lab's own Smashley! Here's a link to my full story over at Tin Lizard Productions, and here are some photos:

George Hrab


Smashley and George

Full gallery of my concert photos can be found here.


Melissa Kaercher is a multimedia artist, podcaster, skeptic, science nerd, and meatspace network node. She is also Queen of the Lizard People.

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  1. If there are no lables how can half of the items be 'fake'?  If there is no claim as to what an object is then it can't exactly be considered to be misrepresented can it?

  2. I'd say I think they broke George, after listening to the podcast, but knowing he then went on to play beautifully with Smashley after going to this monstrosity makes me feel ok about what sanity he has left.

  3. Lovely photos! I want to go there…
    I think it's totally appropriate for the blog–certainly has the "mad art" bit covered.

  4. Amy: I had an array of lenses with me (my standards: 28mm prime, 50mm prime, 70-210mm macro, 8mm fisheye). I presume you're asking about the 8mm fisheye. It's a Rokinon full manual lens, so it can be had fairly cheaply (around $250 if you shop around). It only goes to f3.5 and the optics aren't stellar, but it's hard to beat at that price. I love it.

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