Conference of Curiosity

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You’ve clicked this far… you must be curious.

Registration is open now!

When: Saturday May 25, 2013 with optional activities on May 24 and May 26.

Where: The Glessner House Museum in the Prairie District of Chicago.

Suggested Donation*: $60 adults, $30 kids (15 and under).

Who Should Come: Curious people of all stripes.

What Will Happen: A series of presentations and demonstrations on a variety of curious topics will delight. Each attendee will receive a curiosity kit filled with curiosity objects and projects, and mysterious objects will be on display at our curiosity tables. See a man eat fire! Battle Romans! Learn to lie! And hear from the man who once had the ability to seriously ruin your day.

Who’s Presenting:

Our speaker’s list:

Jeff Wagg∞
Curator, College of Curiosity
Our host, Jeff has lead a variety of lives, and has performed such feats as emasculating tomato plants, testing people for psychic abilities, and finding something interesting to do in Texarkana. Jeff is also host of the Oddments audio program.

Hal Bidlack
Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired), former Air Force Academy professor, and lover of John Denver.
Hal was once the most dangerous man in the world.

Thom Britton
Creator, FreakShow & Tell
Thom will delight us with feats of skill and daring, and perhaps share some insights into how we might dabble in these arts ourselves.

Dennis Watkins
Magician, Magic Parlour and many others
Dennis will help us discern the difference between magic and reality—while demonstrating what the world would look like if magic was real.

Aubrey Henretty∞
Writer and Observer,
Aubrey will teach us how to influence friends and family through the time-honored art of… lying. An interactive demonstration will put these skills to real use.

Jairus Durnett
Connoisseur of Curiosity, main contributor to Oddments
Jairus promises to bring a key moment of history into the present. Full armor is recommended.

Melissa Kaercher
Multimedia Artist, Queen of the Lizard People
Melissa is a collector of many things, and some of those she’ll share with us this day include the most precious of all: sounds.


9:00 Glessner Hours Tours

10:00 Opening/Registration

10:15 Welcome!

10:30 The Most Dangerous Man in the World
Hal Bidlack

11:00 Lying for Fun and Profit
Aubrey Henretty

11:30 The Wonder Makers
Thom Britton and Dennis Watkins

12:15 Lunch, Chicago Style – Curiosity Tables Open

12:45 Curiosity Kits Exposed

1:00 The Nutshell Studies
Jennifer Newport

1:15  Rome Wasn’t Burned in a Day
Jairus Durnett

1:45  The Sound and the Foley
Melissa Kaercher

2:15  FreakShow & Tell: Glass
Thom Britton

2:45  Closing

3:00 Glessner House Tours


What you’ll experience:

  • A tour of the 18,000′ mansion
  • A Curiosity Kit, featuring objects to delight and amaze
  • Lessons on how to eat fire, make impossible objects, and solve crime
  • Demonstration tables of unknown object and amazing phenomena
  • A chance to participate in our Oddments audio program
  • Luncheon of local delicacies included
  • And much more…


Optional Friday Night Show:

The Magic Parlour with 3rd generation magician Dennis Watkins!
This acclaimed, sell-out show has amazed Chicago audiences for years. Don’t take our word for it, just read these Yelp reviews! The show is now housed in cozy Victorian chamber at the legendary Palmer House, giving it just the right ambience for this intimate performance.

Seats very limited, and this will sell out!
$75, program, beer and wine included. 


Optional Sunday Curiosity Chicago Tour:

Join us for a few hours of adventure as we see sites and shops that most visitors to Chicago miss. We’ll be visiting a “Boring” store (not boring at all), a place you can shop for artillery, a building made of stolen artifacts, a fun shop which features items from your forgotten past, Route 66, and many other strange attractions. At the end, you’ll have the option of touring a Victorian conservatory where you can visit another world, and ride the historic Brown Line El over the streets that once witnessed an epic battle between Batman and the Joker.

$45, lunch on your own

Registration is open now!


∞These presenters are regular contributors to Oddments.

*This event is produced as a private party. If you cannot afford the price of admission, please contact us and we’ll try to work something out.