Words by Marissa Rubenstein, Photos by Clarissa Villondo
The night was off to a promising start, nabbing the world’s best parking spot in front of the International Spy Musuem. I briefly contemplated how best to enter the museum’s event exploring fashion in the world of espionage with stylist Stacy London and former intelligence officer Tony Shaffer. The event was conveniently tied in with the new James Bond movie Spectre and the Spy Museum’s new Spectre additions to their Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains exhibit, I quickly decided my go-to thought of the night would be “What Would James Bond Do?”
How would James enter a museum? With style and class! So of course, I enter through the wrong door and get accosted by a cleaning lady trying to finish her mopping. Minor setback, I decide, and proceed to check in. Included in the $75 dollar ticket was a complimentary martini, so what would James Bond do? I strode over to the bar and immediately ordered one, “Shaken, not stirred.” the bartender even laughed as if that wasn’t the billionth time he had heard that one that night.
Also open while everyone drank their incredibly strong martinis, was the museum’s Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains. If you haven’t been yet, this exhibit alone is 100% worth the $21.95 it costs to enter the International Spy Museum. My photographer and I ran around dodging shark attacks, diffusing ticking bombs, and holding on to the bottom of a helicopter for dear life as the rail shook and tried to spin us off.
After our happy hour and exhibition exploration, the Bond-ish suit wearing Spy museum staff ushered us upstairs for the lecture and q and a with Stacy and Tony, which was supposed to be about fashion and the spy world. Remember those aforementioned strong martinis? Clearly the speakers had had one too many (very un-Bond-like of them) because as soon as the lecture started they seemed very confused as to why they were there, and what they were supposed to be talking about.
Intelligence officer Tony Shaffer sounded like a pretty interesting human, he’s written a semi-autobiographical novel on his time in Afganistan called Operation Dark Heart. As a spy novel nerd, I was fairly excited to hear what he had to say on how technology and clothing affected his missions (and the Bond films as well). However, what we were treated to instead was Stacy reading off slides and not seeming to know much about them. At one point when a slide came up with Daniel Craig’s Bond dressed in a suit all she said was “Bond’s suits are all about the fit”. Yes, we know. And? At another slide, with the picture of Ursula Andress wearing the famous white bikini from Dr. No, all we learned was that the Bond movies helped increase the popularity of the bikini.
All in all, the night was a pretty big disappointment, and all information gleaned is pretty easily accessed by Googling. The idea that people paid $75 for a martini and a slideshow is almost comical.