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Rants And Rave: Bugs and Beer!

TheNAT Mixes Brew And Creepy Crawler Snacks

Above: The Oatmeal Worm Cookies at last night's Bugs and Beer at TheNAT. Too much oatmeal and not enough worms for me.

Since I covered the opening of the Dr. Entomo's Palace of Exotic Wonders at TheNAT I feel a certain affinity for anything creepy and crawly going on over there, so naturally I attended the Bugs and Beer event last night.

When I was little I used to consider the Museum of Natural History in New York my second home. I remember spending afternoons "researching" (as much as a 5-year-old can research) everything from dinosaurs to giant squids. I tried to pass that love on to my son but when he grew up, I found myself not visiting museums quite as much. So I have to say that my new gig as an arts reporter at KPBS has afforded me the opportunity to fall back in love with museums.

Credit: Beth Accomando

Leah Nelson chows down on some crickets.

The current bug exhibit at The NAT was especially close to my heart since I do love things creepy and crawly. The museum not only put together a clever and fun exhibit but the peripheral events they have been creating are great fun too. I was lucky enough to be part of the post film discussion for TheNAT's screening of "Them!" and last night got to partake in their Bugs and Brew -- local craft brewers serving up beer right along side Sautéed Chili Wax Worms, Crispy Curried Crickets, and Oatmeal Worm Cookies. I have to confess that I had little interest in the beer but rather made a beeline for the bugs (which were all gone within about 30 minutes while the beer and conventional snacks lasted all night).

The bugs were actually quite delicious, especially the Crispy Curried Crickets. Leah Nelson shared a table with me and was quite happy to consume a mini-Chinese takeout food container of them. TheNAT gave ut chopsticks, which added a touch of elegance to the bug eating. Jennifer Brennan, though, was a little more critical of her food. She felt the worms weren't crispy enough and were a little too juicy and moist in their sauce.

Credit: Beth Accomando

Jennifer Brennan sampling some bugs at TheNat.

TheNAT's entomologist Michael Wall was on hand to answer questions and let people hold the hissing cockroaches. ne woman asked to "borrow" one for a moment to show a friend. Wall obliged, noting that if she lost the hissing insect it would be easy to replace.

There were also some chocolate covered bugs, a game of bug pong, and some snack boxes of bacon and cheese flavored crickets. The event was sold out and the museum was packed. I think the success of the event surprised the museum, which is now talking about Worms and Wine or Mastodons and Margaritas or Mammoths and Martinis.

You can catch the last film in the museum's bug series on May 30. It is the documentary "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo," about Japan's obsession with bugs.

Gotta go, need to munch on my salt and vinegar crickets. Mmmm!

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