Rock of Lasers
By Billy Ludt
A hemisphere placed upon an upward pointing pole emits lights of red and green. The colors mix and dance off of mirrors and shine beams of light in the dark, moving amorphous figures upon the ceiling, while Pink Floyd plays in the background.
This Friday and Saturday only, the Ward Beecher Planetarium will present Laser Weekend, a series of hour-long, music-themed laser light shows. Laser Weekends will feature classic artists such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
Curt Spivey is the planetarium engineer, as well as Laser Weekend’s emcee and light disc jockey. He explained the attraction, mechanics and purpose of this weekend’s laser show.
“The main reason [for Laser Weekends] is to spread word about the Ward Beecher planetarium and attract more people to shows,” Spivey said.
The laser-light apparatus being used for Laser Weekends comes from the company Audio Visual Imagineering. AVI is the only planetarium supply company that manufactures entire light projectors that use the entire dome of the planetarium.
The shows will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with “Laser Vinyl” — a collection of rock singles by legendary groups such as Van Halen, Queen, Kiss and AC/DC. At 6 p.m., the tempo will be pulled back featuring songs by The Cure, The Police, Duran Duran and many more.
Artist-exclusive shows start at 7 p.m. with “Laser Beatles,” followed by Spivey’s favorite from the series, “Laser Zeppelin” at 8 p.m. Pink Floyd closes the night, beginning at 9 p.m. with “The Dark Side of the Moon” played in its entirety, and an excerpt of songs from “The Wall” at 10 p.m.
Spivey explained that an overabundance of people have come to the planetarium in the past. In certain situations, some have been denied admission due to lack of seating.
“We almost had to beat them off with a stick,” he said.
The planetarium seats 145 and they are first come, first serve. Admission to Laser Weekend is free, but a donation of $1 or more is recommended.
“We expect demand to be heavy, so get here early,” Spivey said.
Spivey advised that food, drinks and psychedelics are strictly prohibited in Friday and Saturday’s showing.
For more information regarding Laser Weekend, or other events at the Ward Beecher Planetarium, visit wbplanetarium.org or The Ward Beecher Planetarium Facebook page.