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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Flandrau laser shows aim to draw attendees

    Kimberly Cain
    Kimberly Cain/The Daily Wildcat Barbara Appleton (left) and Marely Beard (center), tucson community members, pay Joseph Howdeshell (right), a pre-pharmacy junior, to get tickets to a laser light show at the Flandrau Planetarium on Sunday.

    When the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium isn’t showcasing the biodiversity of Arizona’s Sky Islands or studying the mineral heritage of China, it is hosting a far different kind of attraction — with a lot more lasers.

    The center has hosted countless laser shows since 2010, and they’re set to continue this year, said Michael Magee, the planetarium’s technical manager. The end of September marked the end of “Electrolaze,” a new show that featured lasers played to dubstep music by artists like Skrillex and Deadmau5. The show, along with “Dark Side of the Moon,” the planetarium’s regular laser show set to run throughout the semester, is intended to draw more students to the center, event organizers said.

    “We wanted to try to get more college students,” said Roseann Mankel, program coordinator at the planetarium, adding that “Electrolaze” had plenty of attendees.

    While “Electrolaze” may have attracted more people, Emily Papenfus, a general studies junior and a student employee at the planetarium, said she noticed a change in the audience itself, especially with “Dark Side of the Moon,” which features music from classic rock band Pink Floyd.

    “Pink Floyd has a nostalgic audience,” Papenfus said. “Old people don’t like [Electrolaze] much.”

    Since their start three years ago, laser shows at Flandrau have become a source of alternative entertainment compared to the astronomy events the planetarium is known for.

    “I think it’s really interesting,” said Stephanie Romo, a business management senior and a student employee at the center. “You think it’s just a red laser but they have all sorts of shapes that go with the music.”

    “Electrolaze” is just the start. Though its run is now finished, Flandrau will show Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” on Friday nights and have a Saturday matinee entitled “Laser Zeppelin.”

    Flandrau will still also show “Dark Side of the Moon” on Saturday nights. Additionally, a show called “Fright Lights” will begin as it gets closer to Halloween, Mankel said.

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