Glass Eye, hmmm, wonder if this company has any relation to the seminal early 90s band, Glass Eye, members of which were cast in the movie about my college years in Austex, Slacker. It's been a few years since I've seen Slacker, but I recall a scene involving someone selling, or attempting to sell, Madonna's pap smear. (Drummer and keyboardist for Glass Eye, I believe). Anyway, this museum of curios has just been added to my itinerary for my semi-annual trip home, currently scheduled for “Spring sometime”.
Seriously, if you are curious as to how I lived in the late 80s-early 90s, rent this movie. 70 percent of the locations in Slacker I frequented, I knew about half of the actors (mostly at the acquaintance level, quite a few of them worked at the restaurant, Magnolia Cafe, which indirectly paid my tuition to UT. Ahh the memories....), and R Linklater must have been following me and my friends to write the damn screenplay. Too bad I never showed up for my screen test.
Chicago Tribune | In 8th-floor office, odd is the norm:
AUSTIN, Texas --I just missed William Shatner's kidney stone. It was, unfortunately, at the picture framer's, being pressed under glass inside a tasteful box.
I did, however, get to see the stent that was inserted into Captain Kirk's urethra to help him pass the stone. And Britney Spears' Positive Pregnancy Test. And the frying pan with an image of Jesus burned into the bottom. And to my everlasting good fortune, the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich was in residence and not on tour, so I experienced that epiphany as well.
Although the image on the stale triangular snack looked more like Marlene Dietrich to me. Believe it or not, these and other national treasures are not on display in any museum, nor are they protected inside a fortified bank vault. They are all housed inside a small office on the eighth floor of a generic office building in downtown Austin. Passersby on the streets below have no idea what they are missing.
This rare collection is the property of an online casino, GoldenPalace.com, which has spent nearly $2 million assembling dozens of priceless curios as part of an ongoing publicity campaign. If the Smithsonian started acquiring things on eBay--and hired a crazed curator from Ripley's to do the bidding--the resulting collection might resemble the pop-culture items now stacked on a bookshelf and scattered on the floor of Glass Eye Entertainment, an Austin software company. Glass Eye designed an early version of the software used by the Antigua-based online casino and today still acts as the buying agent for the various artifacts.
...Here inside the Glass Eye office you can find a size 69HH silicone breast implant that previously enhanced Tawny Peaks, a former Playboy model. The casino bid $16,766 on eBay for the implant, which is safely housed inside a plastic diaper-wipes box.
There is also a pretzel shaped like the Madonna and Child. That one went for $10,600. And the “Shower Jesus”--a chunk of divinely water-stained plaster from a Pittsburgh man's bathroom--cost $1,999.99.
The Spears collection is particularly deep. In addition to the pregnancy test--acquired for an unspecified sum from a seller who got it from a maid who got it from a wastebasket in a bathroom in a Los Angeles hotel where Spears and husband Kevin Federline supposedly stayed--the casino also owns a half-full water bottle said to have been used by Spears (winning bid: $495). And there's also the baby pacifier reportedly used by Spears, bought for $69 from a seller who said she got it at a yard sale at Spears' childhood home in Kentwood, La.
Speaking of babies, the casino also owns an ultrasound image of Angelina Jolie's fetus. Or at least it says “Angelina Jolie” on the small strip of thermal paper.
If the chain of custody of some of the items is a little questionable, Jon Wolf, one of the custodians of the collection, is not troubled.
“Probably the Britney Spears Positive Pregnancy Test would not pass NYPD evidentiary standards,” Wolf acknowledged. “But the story with the maid certainly sounds believable.”
What if the Jolie ultrasound is a fake?
“That's one of the risks you have to take,” replied Wolf, who keeps the Pope John Paul II Chicken Breast (purchase price: $232.50) in his freezer at home.
“It's well-wrapped, so there's no mistaking it for something we might cook for dinner,” he added.
At least there is no question about the provenance of the Shatner kidney stone. The “Star Trek” star personally handed the painful crystal to a GoldenPalace.com representative in January in exchange for a check for $25,000. The deal was a private placement rather than an auction, with the proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity.
Nor is there any doubt about the world-famous Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, or the VMGCS as it is known to admirers. Glass Eye President Monty Kerr traveled to Hollywood, Fla., to inspect the half-sandwich with a bite taken out of the corner before offering the winning eBay bid of $28,000.
The woman who made the sandwich 10 years ago--and started eating it before noticing the apparition on the bread--still calls Kerr regularly to make sure he's taking good care of it.
Generally regarded as the Mona Lisa of the collection, the sandwich never fails to elicit gasps of amazement when Kerr shows up at a party or a bar and gently extracts the precious specimen from a protective metal briefcase. Some pilgrims have wept and prayed before it.
Yet for all its intrinsic value, the sandwich is kept stored in an ordinary office safe that is not highly fireproofed.
“I don't think any fireproof rating is going to protect a grilled cheese sandwich,” Kerr said.
Soon the broader public will get a chance to see the VMGCS, the Spears collection and many other rare pieces. GoldenPalace.com is outfitting a trailer as a traveling museum, which will make the rounds of state fairs this summer.