Just a quick note to say that I’ll be talking about artificial flavours at 6:30pm tonight, at The Studio Loft in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, as part of MCA Denver’s excellent Mixed Taste series — I believe that there are still a few tickets available.

The genius of the series, which was developed in 2004 by the museum’s Director and Chief Animator, Adam Lerner, lies in its format: two speakers give back-to-back presentations on seemingly unrelated topics, such as Hegel and spontaneous human combustion, or fingerprinting and traditional Sumatran architecture, and, miraculously, the juxtaposition and unexpected overlaps turn out to shed new light on each topic.

Meanwhile, the question and answer session that follows the presentations is a very different thing from your typical post-lecture awkward silence punctuated with rambling observations — having the audience do the work of synthesising the two topics makes for a much more energetic conversation. I was lucky enough to attend one last year, on blood sausage and urban spelunking, that inspired a fascinating conversation about mining and charcuterie’s shared challenge of creating structure through casing.

IMAGE: Chef Jorel Pierce, of blood sausage fame. Photograph by Lori Midson for Westword.

In any case, I’ll be talking about the mechanics of flavour perception, the anal glands of beavers, my recent adventures in search of flavour factories in the New Jersey Meadowlands, and much more. I also spent yesterday making oatmeal raisin cookies with fake and real cinnamon for your sampling delight. And I’m paired with Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG, who is going to be discussing Archigram, an avant-garde architectural group from the ’60s. It should be a lot of fun: come along if you can!