CLEVELAND (CN) — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors for the 2016 Republican National Convention delegates free of charge during the four-day event, filling the famed institution with Grand Old Partiers ogling the likes of Elvis Presley’s collection of loud suits and the guitar Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock.
The Rock Hall’s featured exhibit, “Louder than Words: Rock, Power and Politics,” examines the conflict between artists and the politicians that cherry pick their music to be the soundtrack of a campaign.
The exhibit couldn’t be more apropos in the wake of rock legends Queen expressing frustration over Donald Trump’s use of their mega-hit “We are the Champions” during his introduction of his wife on the opening night of the Republican National Convention.
Delegates awaiting the start of night three of the convention wandered the hallways, the older contingency flocking around a sparkling gold suit worn by Elvis while younger delegates admired and took pictures of a guitar played by late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
A man wearing a “Hillary for Prison” shirt watched a film presentation on the history of politicians condemning rock music as “filthy and disgusting.” The film predominantly featured footage of former Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, who was recognized and honored on the first night of the convention, as well as Tipper Gore, who famously led a moral charge against explicit lyrics in the 1990s.
Stacia Huyler, an alternative delegate from Rhode Island and enthusiastic Trump supporter, stood and laughed in front of a glass case filled with AC/DC memorabilia.
“Highway to Hell should be Hillary’s theme song next week,” she told Courthouse News.
Huyler was enjoying the first real lull in activity on a day when the convention wouldn’t be called to order until 7:30 p.m. EST.
“I love the Foo Fighters,” she said. “And Prince. Prince is awesome.”
Tennessee delegate Rebecca Ann Burke stood outside the Hall’s lobby unsure of what the event at the museum actually was.
“I’ve been to three conventions,” Burke said. “And this has been the worst as far as communication and telling us about events.”
There was more frustration as Rock Hall staff ushered media and patrons out of the museum so the premises could be cleared for security to sweep the building for a private event, just as an Oxford professor of philosophy, Julie Gregory, PhD, was arriving after a five-hour drive from New York.
She stuck around to talk about Brexit and the American fascination with Donald Trump, telling Courthouse News, “It’s charisma, when leaders have the type of charisma that Trump has, it captivates people.”
Gregory also made note of her frustration with the American media’s coverage of Brexit, the movement to break from the European Union which she voted in favor of.
“Americans think we’re racist and xenophobes, but it’s about trade,” she said, standing next to a giant purple electric guitar.
The Rock Hall was then swarmed by finely dressed members of private organizations attending private, catered events amidst the likes of guitars played by the Sex Pistols and hats worn by Woodie Guthrie, an awkward juxtaposition between the establishment and the art that challenges it.
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