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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Flandrau’s laser show a trip worth taking

    Weekend visitors to Flandrau Science Center this fall are in for a mind-bending display of laser light animation interposed with classic rock and electronic music.

    This spectacular show juxtaposes the music of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and various artists such as Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers in three separate shows Friday and Saturday nights, beginning at 9 p.m.

    Each show is approximately 45 minutes in length. There is also a matinee show at 5:30 p.m. if you are an early bird. Friday’s matinee features Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Saturday’s is dedicated to Led Zeppelin.  It’s a fair price of $7.50 with a student ID, and  this price includes entry to an exhibition celebrating 50 years of the laser, just outside the screening room.

    Flandrau has harkened back to its classic ’90s laser shows; although this time it’s not like anything you’ve seen previously, because the technology of the laser is now incomparable to that in the ’90s, let alone the first laser in 1950.  The lasers create colored shapes that vibrate and snake around the domed ceiling. Concentric circles, like tree rings, pull you up out of your seat into the night sky. A multihued vortex of lightning unfolds and an animation of a man in a chair rotates towards you, so close that you dive through his eyes.

    Digital Media and Marketing Director Sean Fitzpatrick says, “”What is really unique about the laser show is that it is an abstract visual art form matched to music. Even if you’re not into the music, it’s a great way to be introduced to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd;  they take you to a different place.””

    You might be thinking that this is colossal waste of time. It’s not. You might also be slightly resistant to pushing back your Friday evening plans. You needn’t be. You might want to keep your earlier plans only if you are epileptic; flashing lights might make for an unpleasant evening. Other than that, you haven’t a reason not to go to what Fitzpatrick and the Flandrau crew calls “”3D for your mind.”” Depending on the night that you go, the use of a smoke machine and strobe light, as well as a star field projected onto the dome inside the theater will enhance your experience. While the songs and the lasers will be the same for each show, the experience will certainly be different every night because of the planetarium’s previously built-in effects, used at the discretion of the operating technician. Nearly all the images that you see do not recur, with the exception of a few of the animations (they appear several times in one song).

    It is difficult to put into words what this experience will be like for you, simply because each show caters to a different audience, not just visually but musically. It reminded me of being six or seven years old and pushing on my eyeballs late at night to see what looked like stars and nebulas. But it is the kind of show that is conducive to any experience you want to have. Like most of what we do in life, it’s what you make of it and this is definitely worth your effort.


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