If Mom still has your old Speak & Spell in her attic, this means two things: 1) You have a very generous, patient mother, and 2) You have a fun instrument to play at this year’s Bent Festival. Three days are devoted to the nuanced art of circuit bending, or the modification of the circuitry in children’s toys that creates unidentifiable, bizarre, and altogether unique noises. Think this sounds too complicated? Think again. The festival offers numerous areas for its attendees to experiment on their own (a selection of electronics will be available to choose from, but participants are encouraged to bring their own playthings). If you ever get tired of tinkering, take a break and watch one of the many installation artists breathe life into those old toys. Of course the excitement doesn’t end once the sun goes down; each night, the festival, presented by the Tank, features concerts that include custom-made electronics, battery-powered devices, and–you guessed it–circuit-bent instruments.

June 23-25, 2011