Capitalizing on the excitement generated by L.A.’s forthcoming Museum of Broken Relationships, an institution that collects and displays the objects left behind in the wake of couples’ breakups, a similar facility, the Museum of Broken Plans, opened its doors in Silver Lake last night.
But to the dismay of organizers, not one of the nearly 2,000 people who’d reportedly planned to attend the launch party actually showed up, offering a wide variety of reasons from heavy traffic to a lack of parking to “food poisoning” that was actually just a fleeting bout of diarrhea caused by an ill-advised late lunch of a Taco Bell Quesalupa and a large Coke Zero.
The brainchild of L.A. native Benji Campbell, the Museum of Broken Plans boasts an impressive collection of texts, emails and voicemails sent by people who were forced by factors beyond their control to cancel dates, dinners and other engagements to which they’d previously committed themselves. When he set out to compile these artifacts, Campbell noticed a common thread running through the correspondences: “All of the people who were breaking plans really, really, really wished they’d have been able to make it, but they just couldn’t — it’s actually pretty sad when you think about it.”
Included in the museum’s inaugural exhibit is a March 2016 email that 37-year-old Mid-City resident Claire Clarkswell sent to high school acquaintance Amanda Klein, a multilevel marketing representative from Orlando, who was in town for a leadership conference. The two had planned to catch up over pinot and nachos at Klein’s hotel bar, but at the last minute Clarkswell dreaded to inform Klein that her “asshole” boss had moved up a deadline and that she’d been stuck in the office deep into the night and “probably every other night that week.”
“It sucks because I was really looking forward to seeing you,” Clarkswell wrote, inserting into the message a frowny-face emoticon with a single teardrop running down its pathetic, one-dimensional face.
The crown jewel in the collection, however, is a 1945 telegram sent by Sadie Goldberg to Adam Rosen, with whom she'd been set up on a date by her mother. In a sad turn of events, the very day they'd planned to go to dinner, Goldberg realized that her forgetfulness had foiled her shot at romance with the bespectacled CPA. From the yellowed sheet of paper, you can practically feel Goldberg's agony: “I am pretty sure I’ve left the curling iron on or the clothing iron on or something is on I am sure of it [STOP] I forgive you if you never want to see me again [FULL STOP]”
As for the museum opening's missing attendees, 1,880 of whom had RSVP'd on Facebook, L.A. Weekly was unable to verify reports of illness and other small personal disasters. Campbell is planning another event for next Tuesday. As of press time, 600 people were already arranging to meet friends at the second opening, keeping in mind that lots of fucked-up stuff can happen on a Tuesday and also The Voice is on that night.