File under: odd things other people like.
Dang! London's Cabaret Mechanical Theater has closed up shop. This is terrible news, not just because I sent someone to see it this spring (Oops! Sorry!), but because this little jewel of a museum in Covent Garden was a treasure-trove of wonderful wind-up automota -- the perfect, intriguing counterpoint to the bustle and noise of Covent Garden.
The good news, of course, is that the collection is still together, and exhibits are being curated all over the place. Tel Aviv, Baltimore, The Unicorn Theatre in London.
Whirligigs have a long history of use, and not just to scare birds or amuse children... The smart folks on Radiolab looked at one automotic mechanical monk created as part of a bargain with God four hundred and fifty years ago. Here's the link. I recommend all their podcasts, but this one is especially interesting:
And for a historical perspective on these baubles, here's the link to an even longer YouTube video featuring hypnotic and intriguing (okay, disturbing) antique automata: