I got an invite last week to come to a media preview of Time’s Up, the Griffith Observatory’s new planetarium show, so in between Good Samaritan Hospital’s never-miss Blessing of the Bikes yesterday morning and a long-overdue physical exam that afternoon, I biked up the hill to one of my favorite places in Los Angeles to take advantage of the Observatory’s hospitality and see how and why they decided to counter the anxiety being produced by those doomsdayers dead-set in their belief that the Mayans predicted the world to end this coming December 21 and that it’s so going to happen.
The answers are with a provocative and eye-popping new program in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium that opens on the beach next to the Santa Monica Pier, serene for a few moments until meteors start raining explosively down upon the westside, a huge tsunami closes in and a rogue planet grows larger as it bears down on its collision course with earth — accompanied by flying monkeys, of course.
Inside joke: Pictured during this doomsday scene is Lifeguard Station No. 5150. Since most of the station IDs are no more than two digits, I’m betting this was done in snarktastic reference to the police code that’s basically short for bugged-out basketcase kRaAzEe.
But just when all seems lost, Planetarium Lecturer Kelley Hazen steps in bearing a beautifully illuminated and illuminating hourglass to put a freezeframe to all the apocalyptic nonsense and go on with a visually stunning and intellectually compelling show that counters folly with fact and explores what time is all about.
“The year 2012 is acting like a badly behaved celebrity,” said Observatory Director Dr. E.C Krupp. “Frightful rumors and gossip are spreading. Dozens of books are marketing fears and exaggerations about the 2012 End Times. Most of what’s claimed relies on wishful thinking, wild pseudoscientific folly, and a level of paranoia worthy of Night of the Living Dead.”
Time’s Up does not stop with the lore and false predictions of doom. The show uses the Maya calendar as a gateway to explore what time really is and how we measure it, immersing the audience into its flow, from the Big Bang to the ultimate future of the cosmos.
Fifteen months in the making, Time’s Up will become part of the observatory’s regular schedule starting May 31. But on the evening of May 29, Friends Of The Observatory (FOTO) are scheduled to host three live fundraising performances for both FOTO members and the public. Tickets are $35 for FOTO members, $50 for nonmembers. Parking is guaranteed for anyone buying tickets, and those attending will enjoy refreshments, the chance to hear special talks, and mingle with the observatory’s astronomers.
WHAT: An Intimate Evening with the Astronomers at Griffith Observatory
WHEN: May 29, 5 – 10 p.m.
WHERE: Griffith Observatory
COST: $35 for FOTO members; $50 for the public
MORE INFO: www.friendsoftheobservatory.com
CONTACTS: 213.473.0807; firstname.lastname@example.org