Where do you get your parts?

Melissa Glick, Hacker Creations

This is the most common question I am asked at craft shows.  Here are some of the more interesting origins.

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I once received a box of working clock inserts in the mail. The return address was from Malden but I did not recognize/remember who it was from. They have roman numerals but take an unusual battery. Thank you to my donor!

My childhood friend was clearing out her house to be sold and bequeathed upon me her family’s first PC. It was an IBM from 1987. I remember watching Karen annihilate aliens on a tiny 5″x7″ monitor.

At a crowded Flea market a gentleman told me he had some printed circuit boards. We met at a cafe and he gave me 2 boxes of green, shiny as new boards of all sizes. These are samples he said. Let me know if you want more.

 

July 6/17 I saw a black box on the side of the street the other day…. I thought about picking it up but I walked by. Then next day, it was still there, so I took a closer look. It was a 5 disc CD player. So I grabbed it and put it in the back of my car.  I opened it up and found a piece resembling a huge black plastic throwing star. I’ve  opened one of these before, but it did not have this design. I was most interested in the black plastic pieces, I photographed against a green background.

I started off making Joseph Cornell-like boxes using the things my father had saved in the dungeon of my childhood home. The house I grew up in was being emptied out to be sold.  Examples of my oldest work.

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Fellow Artisan’s Asylum members offer me their cruft, (left over parts of unfinished projects, surplus materials.)  Generally happy to see them being put into some kind of use, even if it isn’t electronic.

Once after doing a workshop at an after school in Southie, I was “paid” with a tower of PC’s they were upgrading from. Stacked, they were as talk as me.

My 100 sq foot studio is packed with components that need to be taken apart. At Open Studios a visitor said, entering my studio “is like entering another world, there is so much going on.”

Sometimes when I am offered parts, I take them, even if they are nothing special because I am grateful they think of me and for their act of generosity. I am also grateful for the time the other members give to me when they answer my questions. Although they often go into more detail that I need.

 

Melissa Glick has been an inmate at the Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, MA since 2012. She grew up in a home where recycling and saving cool looking things was the norm. She studied Art History at SUNY Purchase and got a masters in art education at Mass College of Art.

 

 

 

OPEN STUDIO season!

Melissa Glick
CubaDiegohttp://www.Hackercreations.com
glick.melissa@gmail.com

What an exciting Spring !
I’m just back from a trip to Cuba which was so inspiring, I’ve already made new 2 pieces. Including this one that includes images of the neighborhood covered in mosaic.

I received a grant from the Artisan’s Asylum to start a line of work to market specifically to funky art gallery shops. After Open Studios, I will start learning to use the Shop Bot (CNC Gantry Router) to drill shadow boxes out of a 2 ” solid piece of wood. If you know of any funky art gallery shops, similar to where I current sell work, Blue Cloud and Uni-T please let me know.

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First weekend of May you can visit me at The Artisan’s Asylum, 10 Tyler St Somerville. The largest Maker Space on the East coast with 40,000 Square feet of workshops, studios, classrooms and community space. Parking in the lot off Dane St. Learn about all the classes you could take.

Come to Space #10 and see all my new work! You also get to check out all the old technology that has been donated to me and my organizational system that goes up 10 feet, requiring a ladder to reach the top! You can also make a pin or necklace.mwc800px72dpi32

Additionally, there is the SOS First Look show at the Somerville Museum, One Westwood Ro. Every SOS artist has been invited to submit one work. Open April 27-29: Thurs 2-7pm, Fri 2-5 pm, Sat noon-5pm & SOS weekend May 4-7: Thurs 2-7 pm, Fri 2-9 pm, Sat and Sun 11am-6pm.

MAY 6 & 7

Preview Party Invite

The Atrium 100-200 Technology Square on Main Street at the railroad tracks, in Kendall Square. Refreshments will be served.

The Second weekend of May is Cambridge Open Studios where I will be displaying my work along with 9 other artists: Jose Estrela, Shin MaengMelissa Glick  Seeds of JoieDeborah Peeples,  Carlos Arzaga,  Alice Kovler, Rebecca Scott, Rhia Swyers & Julia Blake.

Check out this awesome bike tour map! Our Open Studios Launch Party and Artist Showcase will be Thursday, May 11th from 6-8pm at The Cambridge Art Association  25 Lowell Street, Cambridge. Open to the public.

GearlogoHACKER WORKSHOPS

Lots of people have expressed interest in taking my fun workshops…..but I haven’t managed to get them all in the same room! If you would like to join and give it a try, please email me:  and let me know what days/times work best for you and we will make it happen!

LONG LIVE HACK!!! 

Cuba!

Where to begin? I haven’t traveled in a while so please excuse my excessive gushing about how good it is for the mind & soul! I came home inspired, motivated to make art. I loved it and here are some of the things I learned:

1. Cuba is a beautiful country with decaying Colonial Spanish architecture, undeveloped rural land, blue ocean, sunny skies and beautiful, creative people.

2. People to people which is one of the required travel visas, is something I excel at, I was told. I would talk to anyone. I started many of my interactions with Cuban people by saying, “Trump es diabalo.” To which they would smile and we would both shake our heads in agreement.  Then I would say, “I hope it doesn’t change here.” Many said,  “We don’t want it to change.” Others said, “It will take a long time to change.” (Just today someone told me about what it was like there 15 years ago. A lot has changed!)

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Sylvia and Jorge huddle over ice cream discussing our next move in Cienfuegos

3. The group I went with was lead by Syliva of Colibri Travel out of Cambridge MA. She is an awesome person & tour guide. Our Cuban guide, Jorge was also awesome and very guapo.

 

 

 

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Everyone make a funny face now!

 

 

 

 

It was really nice to be in a small group of eight. We began to act like a family, with Tlak and Iruna as Mom & Dad, I was always running to catch up with the group. There were the girls, Diana, Joan and Cindy; and Linda & Dick, who I coincidentally know from Cambridge.

 

 

 

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Sorry we couldn’t bring the puppy home.

 

For my travel partner, I had the honor of being accompanied by one of my oldest and best friends, Karen R.  Even though Karen and I first became friends on a 10 day bike trip when we were 13. It took some getting used to the close quarters.  I haven’t shared a room with anyone (of my own gender)… since my sister moved out to college in 1974! Thanks for coming KR.

 

 

 

In the 3 days we spent in Havana, we visited National Museo of Fine Art & Revolution Museums, “Squares” of Old Havana (De Armas, de la Cathedral, de San Francisco, Vieja). I attended a Flamenco performance at the beautifully restored Teatro de la Habana. We walked to Hotel National along the Malecón the 5 mile long seawall which stretches from Old Havana to the Vedado neighborhood where we stayed at the awesome Vintage Casa.

We then drove east to the rural area where we visited a Tobacco Farm, we ate the most amazing vegetarian lunch in history at a “finca” farm. Not only did we count 45 different vegetables but the view was breath taking. Coconut drink with herbs, magical! The largest flan ever! Literally 12″ in diameter!

 

A night in Vinales at a Casa where we ate breakfast on the roof terrace.

 

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Diana, Jean on roof of Casa in Vinales

 

 

A night at the amazing Moka hotel at Las Terrazas, eco community, artists, swimming, trees growing thru the hotel!

 

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Artists and Farmers, Las Terrazas

 

 

Its hard not to take a good photo in Cuba. Note to self: don’t delete folders trying to make more room – due to lack of internet, they haven’t been backed up. Thankfully, my travel mates shared their best photos which I were way better than ones I lost.

 

We then headed west, our tour bus sharing the highway with horse and buggies. After visiting Che’s memorial in the heat, we headed to Unesco-protected town of Trinidad. Our final day was spent in Cienfuegos.

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Stone streets of Trinidad

 

 

Post  Script: I’ve been back in Trumpland for two weeks – what a contrast. And to dampen my mood even more, I just watched the documentary, “Cuba Fatherland or Death: Unvarnished look at contemporary Cuba through the eyes of its people” by Patria O. Muerte, which shows Cuba very differently from the one I saw as a tourist. Especially shocking  were images of people being taken away by police, as Obama disembarks from his plane. In the film, Fidel triumphantly announces “Cuba is not under anyone else’s sovereignty!” This was a great accomplishment but what followed did not provide the strong foundation, spirituality or shared values needed to succeed.Cuba is now faced with the challenge of building a society & economy to support their people. In that sense it is time for big change.

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Beautiful Decay

 

On a positive note, Cuban artist, Tania Bruguera has started the  INSTITUTO DE ARTIVISMO HANNAH ARENDT . Perhaps the arts will help Cubans have a say in what’s to come. “Here Cubanos de a pie (everyday Cubans) will use Art-activism to wish, think and do, in order to build a real democracy in Cuba.”

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The Author

Open Call: HackCycle Deadline for Submissions: May 25th

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The Nave Gallery (Somerville, MA) invites artists to participate in the curated exhibition, HackCycle.

HackCycle celebrates recycled art of the 21st century. We invite submissions from  artists, nerds, makers, burners and others who employ experimentation and serendipity using today’s technological debris and/or innovative techniques as part of their creative process.

The exhibition examines the transformation of bits, bytes, cruft, e-waste, circuits, doodads, odds & ends and more into objects of art. Work may (but is not limited to) demonstrate the use of 3D printing, laser cutters and/or CNC bots in combination with found art, assemblage and/or appropriation.

Entries sought may (but are not limited to) include unique and reimagined re-uses of the following elements:

 – robotics
– electronics
– sci fi
– cosplay
– anime, action figure toys & fun childhood memories

GUIDELINES:
– $15 entry fee payable through PayPal

– A maximum of five pieces may be entered for consideration

– Submissions will be accepted through September 8, 2015

– The Nave Gallery will retain a 30% commission for work sold

– Artist is responsible for cost of shipping work to and from the gallery

HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR WORK:
-Send up to five artwork submissions as .jpg files to info@navegallery.org.

-Each .jpg should be 1200 pixels in the long dimension and named as “NAME_#.jpg” where # is the submission number and NAME is your last name

-Include an image list with your jpeg submission email, indicating submission number, title, size, process and year, as well as a brief artist bio and statement

-There is a $15 submission fee, payable through Paypal. Paypal is available here. Please include “HackCycle” in the note field

– Please indicate where you learned of the call

Accepted pieces should be delivered to the Nave Gallery located in Teele Square (155 Powder House Blvd, Somerville, MA) ready to install.

CALENDAR:
Deadline for entries: May 25, 2015
Notification: May 30, 2015
Artwork drop-off: June 7, 2015
Exhibition dates: June 11 – July 11, 2015
Opening reception:  June 11, 2015; 6:00 pm-8:00 pm

ABOUT THE CURATOR:
Melissa Glick is a Boston-based artist and teacher who finds beauty in unexpected places. She creates dynamic compositions with abstract elements and bold colors by combining disassembled computer parts with appropriated imagery and personal relics. In addition to her work being fun and eye catching it address the environmental impact of our technological lifestyle and our emotional attachments to the “things” that represent and validate who we are. Melissa works out of the Artisan’s Asylum and is a proponent of the Maker Movement and the democratization of production. She has a Masters in Art Education from Mass College of Art and a BA from SUNY Purchase and has run educational programs at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, Boston Ballet, Museum of Fine Arts, Watertown Arsenal Center for the Arts, Parts & Crafts and at various community events.  View her work at www.melissasglick.com

Arduino Connects Art and Robotics

When I volunteered at Arduino Day on Sat. March 28th, it was snowing so hard, the Charles River was barely visible from the top floor of the MIT Media Lab. But what an interesting place to learn more about the “Lego” of electronics. Make Magazine posted a  slide show of photos I took that day.

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Arduino is designed by an international group who’s mission is to give everyone the tools needed to invent stuff, because you never know where the next life changing idea will come from.

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An Arduino controlled vehicle can follow the path of a black line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first heard about Arduino from the collaborator on my piece The River of Connectivity which has 12 re-purposed computer fans across a 6 ft. long assemblage. Tyler built and programed an Arduino that turned the fans turned on then off in succession from left to the right. The fans, that look best when slowing down and starting up, recalled flowing water.

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Tyler Hutchison is the mastermind behind this controller – 2 wires go to each fan, powered by a DC plug.

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The River of Connectivity now hangs at the Edward M. Kennedy Health Center, Milford Ma. Thanks to The Art Connection, an organization that facilitates the collecting of art by community groups.

 

 

What is it? Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for anyone making interactive projects.  Therefore it is becoming popular with new media artists who create experiential environments and work with light and sound.

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How Does it Work? As with all electronics, components are connected to a board. The Arduino board comes with some components already attached so you can just plug into your computer and use a free software to program, tell it what to do. There are many companies doing this.

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Here I am using a toy that teaches the concept of programming. By putting different colored parts into the holes in my “control panel” I make the little box with the smile more in different directions.

The program spells out what steps to take in computer language. Using If statements allows the instructions to change based on options. Various roles of components include:

  • Sensors, that react to light, sound, touch, speed, temperature, moisture;
  • Switches, that turn things on and off and adjust speed;
  • Clocks and counters, used to schedule frequency etc.

How does it relate to art?  Some of my favorite artists made kinetic sculpture. Calder and Rikey made large metal shapes that moved, be they powered by the wind or human interaction. I once witnessed a couple of percussionists make wonderful rhythms on a large free-standing Calder swung around at The Neuberger Museum at SUNY Purchase, 1981. (This was it’s intended purpose.)

Alexander Calder, Red Mobile, 1956, Painted sheet metal and metal rods, a signature work – Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

 Closer to Home:  Some of my friends at the Artisan’s Asylum are experimenting with Arduino. Sage Kochavi’s piece Furry All, consists of  two feet high letters, covered in soft fun fur. She programed the Arduino sensor to trigger LEDs embedded in the fur. As your hand nears, the lights glow brighter and when you stroke the fur, the letter begins to purr via the embedded motors which are triggered by the interaction.

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That’s me at the bottom right, kneeling to take the picture.

Another Asylum member Mark Brownawell, has set up a little monitor connected to a temperature sensor. As people come near, red blocks of color increase and blue decrease. Temperatures in between are represented in yellow and green.

The best example of technologically assisted art I’ve heard about was Rain Room at the MOMA.

It is inevitable that the current technology would be integrated into the art of the period. Products like Arduino make it possible for artists to push boundaries and use it in ways corporations and scientists would never would. How can you imagine using Arduino in a creative project?

Where Can I learn more?

You can take a class  Introduction to Arduino

Arduino website:  http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/HomePage

Store: http://store-usa.arduino.cc/

You can see a lot of interesting projects on

Instructables: http://www.instructables.com/howto/arduino/

https://data.sparkfun.com/   There are other companies doing this sort of thing.

https://processing.org/ — another artist friendly programming language.

Resources:

http://www.makershed.com/?utm_source=makezine.com&utm_medium=ads&utm_term=Shop+Now&utm_campaign=makershed+banner

http://playground.arduino.cc/Projects/ArduinoUsers

Kaleidoscope: http://arduino-cool.blogspot.com/2014/06/kaleidoscope-with-arduino-and-rgb-led.html

Xmas Decorations: http://luckyresistor.me/xmas-decoration/

The Art Connection: http://www.theartconnection.org/

Its July Everybody!

stopwatchA lot has been happening! I have been making lots of new work! After a bit of a breather after Open Studios and Craftopia, I am more inspired than ever! I so many hard drives, disc drives and vcrs I have no room left in my 50′ workspace at the Artisan’s Asylum. People are so generous with their donation and time. Thank you to everyone who has helped me to learn Solidworks and cut out my first piece on the CNC router!

 

 

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I am so happy to announce that I was accepted into the Boston Hand Made artist’s group! This collection of 10 artists works together to support and promote their handmade businesses together. Already I have attended a new member cocktail event at Gather by the ICA. Today is a meet up in Melrose and next week will be a workshop in Concord, I am looking forward to working on a potential Holiday Storefront in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. Check out their beautiful website and blog at: http://www.bostonhandmade.org/   Already I have upgraded my website and purchased my own domain name. You can visit my new and improved website at: melissasglick.com

 

Last week I led a lovely workshop by the River at the new mall Assembly Row. Set up on a grassy area with a view of boats Assembrowboyand the busy pedestrian path. There were participants of all ages – from 3 – 73! It was part of the series of free workshops every Sunday from 2 – 3 pm.

 

Tomorrow July 19th is Art Beat, in Davis Square, Somerville, MA from 10 am – 5 pm. There will be music performance, art, food and craft vendors! I will be manning an info booth about the Artisan’s Asylum. We will be located on Statue Park by the animals and other activities. There will be a glass blowing demo from 11 am – 2pm, map drawing and take a part. Come by and say HI!

The Incredible Clock Show

April Hacker Junk Creations News letter           Welcome Spring!!!
Wed April 16, 4:30-6:30pm Recycle Creativity Lab Reception University Place Gallery 124 Mt. Auburn St Cambridge.
Sun. April 27, 10 am – 4 pm CRAFTOPIA a super-duper day of art, craft, food & fun! in Pawtucket, RI. Fri-
Fri-Sun May 2.-4 Somerville Open Studios Visit the Artisan’s Asylum 10 Tyler St.Don’t miss The Artists’ Choice Exhibit at the Somerville Museum.
VISIT:  Etsy Store     Flickr Stream

UPDATE: I have been spending all my time in the studio. Making clocks and chokers for the Nashua Steampunk Festivaland working on my first large scale collaborative piece, The River of Connectivity!

Unfortunatesos copyly the Steampunk Festivalwas cancelled….. so instead, my theme for this year’s Somerville Open Studios will be: Melissa’s Incredible Clock Show. Re: my love for Modern Art, there is a Mondrian clock, Basquiat Clock, Escher Clock and lots of new work. I may also be selling Hacker Junk by the OZ. Mostly plastic gears spray painted silver and copper – for all your Steampunk costume making needs! If not you can get it at MELSPACE.

 RECYCLE CREATIVITY LAB : I spent 3 snowy afternoons with middle school kids at the Gately Afterschool as visiting artist for a Cambridge Creativity Commons  project. Each kid got a (broken) laptop to take apart and transform using collage and assemblage! After showing my Power point presentation about found art and abstract composition, a girl responded by saying, “It’s like how some people don’t think Graffiti its art.” Thank you Paul, Erin and Kyle for this opportunity! With support from the Cambridge Art Association  the results of the program along with my River of Connectivity will be displayed at University Place Gallery 124 Mt. Auburn Street, Harvard Sq. I hope you can drop by the reception Wednesday, April 16, 4:30-6:30 pm.

How Thtylerbox_web copye River of Connectivity came to be: 1) Erin from CAA said University Place Gallery is really large, and wondered if the children’s work would fill it & invited me to include a piece.   2) I had a collection of beautiful parts that were too large for my usual work.   3) I had a source of large plywood from the dis assembly of The Asylum’s Veladrome.   4) I saw Tyler’s awesome phone booth and I invited him to collaborate. Thus my first collaborative, moving, large scale piece was born! Again I hope you will come to see its debut on April 16th. So exciting!! Here is a description  of the work.

Somerville Library Workshop: We made mobiles a February mobkids2editVacation Week workshop that was well attended by regulars and new folks including a group from the Elizabeth Peabody House. The instructions were to balance parts off hangers that were suspended across the room, but some kids liked the challenge of attaching the MOST stuff.

Up Coming: I am looking forward to participating in some Indy Craft Festivals( If you hear of any other please let me know.)  My first will be: CRAFTOPIA  on Sun. April 27th. It is being held at the Hope Artiste Village 1005 Main St, Pawtucket RI. It’s a wonderful day trip!

I will be updating my ETSY store MELSPLACE with all my new work soon!. Take a look and while you are there, please click on the FAV button- so I will come up in the search algorithm.

Workshops for all ages are available at the Artisan’s Asylum  (for over 18) and other locations. Parts and Crafts. Please contact me if you are interested! glick.melissa@gmail.com

Take care and thanks for your support!

Melissa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White House Maker Faire taking place in 2014

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I have been working at the Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, MA for almost 2 years. Its an amazing place where I have been able to merge visual art with technology! I make “mosaics” by combining old computer parts with colorful collage made with recycled papers. When I work with children (and adults), I tell them to look at the parts like “tiles” in various colors, materials, shapes and sizes – to use in compositions. I know 101 (not literally) fun projects to make out of recycled computer parts! While we are doing “take apart” and using our imaginations, kids are seeing for the first time, the multitude of parts (screws, heatsink, hard drive, gears, motors, wires, processors, springs, stators, transformers, copper wire, fans….) that fit together like a puzzle to make your computer work!

It is a fun and inspiring activity, that I love to share with others. You can see examples of my and the work from workshops at my website, on my blog and at my etsy store!!!!

The engineers at the asylum usually think my work is weird, but when we have an open house and they see the hoards of kids, they are very impressed! Artists make great teachers…….engineers, not always! Check out my and the work of my students.

A Celebration of Electronics

When I first learned about the phone box project in Somerville, Ma, I immediately saw a vortex of motherboards, closing in from four

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sides….reminding me of the force and speed of technical advancement that has relegated the old telephone to a thing of the past…… Six months later I see this and I love love love it! For a split second there was a feeling like someone had stolen my idea, my thunder…. but when I read the description I saw how much….. knows about engineering and said things I didnt know how to say!

So I searched him out, and friended him AND he wrote me back!We have a tentative date to meet up to swap ideas! How great is that! I love Somerville and the Artisan’s Asylum.  I hope something can be done to insure they continue to exist! Somerville must plan ahead if they want to preserve the kind of community that supports and nurtures creative collaboration. Planning Board Link goes here.

Tyler Hutchison: A Celebration of Electronics

In our digital world, I feel it is important to remember and celebrate our analog electronics. While digital electronics offer convenient, neatly packaged chunks of information, our world is analog. Information arrives to our senses continuo

usly. Since our eyes and ears are imperfect sensors, digital electronics can model and mimic continuous information, but if our eyes were better, we could see the pixels or the 60 Hz refresh rate on a computer monitor. If our ears were better, we could hear the individual bits of an mp3. Analog electronics are necessary to interface with the world; they are in power chargers, cell phone antennas, satellites, defibrillators, pressure sensitive touch screens, microwaves, life support systems, cars, smoke alarms, heaters, stereos, somewhere within nearly every electronic we use daily. Analog electronics still deserve, and will continue to deserve, celebration.

In A Celebration of Electronics, the audience consists of transistors which are standing or using op amp and capacitor furniture to take in the show. Vacuum tubes take the center stage and play instruments for their adoring transistor fans. Capacitors and diodes make up the guitar, an ultrasonic transducers drum set keeps the beat, and the lead singer belts melodies into a resistor microphone. Six discrete LEDs above the stage provide concert lighting and the three headphone speakers make up the ‘large’ speaker box stage right. To unite all the components, several printed circuit boards (PCBs) serve as floor, stage, and backdrop.