We all should be familiar with Philadelphia's famed Mutter Museum, the country's best-known cabinet of medical curiosities, which has been gathering specimens since the founding of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1787. Those with a fetish for moldering human cyclopses, 50-pound tumors and antiquated medical practices, take heart! New York-based researcher and photographer Joanna Ebenstein, proprietress of the fantastic Morbid Anatomy blog ("surveying the interstices of art and medicine, death and culture"), related library and Brooklyn art space Observatory (featuring "programming inspired by the 18th-century notion of 'rational amusement' "), makes a rare West Coast appearance to introduce you to the wonders of the medical museum and its "curious denizens." In her heavily illustrated lecture, "Anatomical Venuses, the Slashed Beauty, and Fetuses Dancing a Jig: A Journey Into the Curious World of the Medical Museum," Ebenstein will discuss the history of medical modeling, survey the great artists of the genre and illuminate death-related art and amusements, which, for better or worse, enjoyed popularity in an age rife with whimsy, speculation and superstition. Velaslavasay Panorama, 1122 W. 24th St.; Thurs., Feb. 9, 8 p.m.; $10, $8 VPES members, students, seniors. panoramaonview.org.
Thu., Feb. 9, 8 p.m., 2012