Nearby, Adam Wannamaker, who came down from Brooklyn, created one of the bigger spectacles during an evening full of them. He was dressed in a costume made entirely of 300 balloons — a representation of the monolith that appeared to set the events of Kubrick’s movie in motion.
“Once you start looking for anything existential and you start wondering about your own existence, you realize that it’s all pointless,” Mr. Wannamaker said. At one point, a security guard appeared from behind the costume to awkwardly double check whether there was indeed a human inside. A few seconds later, a woman approached Mr. Wannamaker and yelped, “Oh, I get it! The monolith!”
The costumes were as varied as they were numerous. And if you didn’t have one, the party was there to help, with a station that made tinfoil hats — a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of how space fans have traditionally been viewed. There were Star Trek shirts, lab coats, moon pajamas. Some people wore professional wrestling championship belts. (The wrestler Ric Flair’s theme song was from the Kubrick film.)
“It’s a celebration of science fiction and being able to be around like-minded people,” Mr. Wannamaker said.
It was perhaps not a coincidence that many of the people actually taking in the exhibits weren’t in costume, like David Hand, who said he’s been coming to the museum for 40 years. He said that even if people were coming just for the party, there was still a tangential effect of having them just in the building.
“You’re going to see this,” Mr. Hand, a 47-year-old pharmacist, said, pointing to an exhibit of artifacts from the Apollo missions. “You’ve got an engine from Saturn V. We went to the moon. People see that and all these other artifacts. It’s inspirational.”
But perhaps this wasn’t the night to educate. A late-night talk on Kubrick’s work in the Lockheed Martin Imax Theater between Glen Weldon, an author and an NPR contributor, and Chris Klimek, an editor at Air and Space Magazine, went sparsely attended.
Everyone else was partying.
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