February 3rd, 2007

Egrets Reading

Rebels with a cause....

Does Los Angeles need more live speculative poetry events?

I think so! samhenderson and I went to the Griffith Observatory today to do a test run of an idea we have for a speculative poetry workshop there on February 24th.

In addition to planning, we enjoyed playing tourist - some highlights were the above statue of James Dean, fantastic views of Los Angeles(skyline, Hollywood sign, etc.), the Camera Obscura and the new Gunther Depths of Space exhibit hall. The Gunther hall is built underground, underneath the old observatory, where there are some very cool up-to-date exhibits from recent NASA missions - for example, a 3D viewer to see photos of the surface of Mars, etc. There are interactive touch screen displays which show things like the landing on Titan or new photos of Saturn's rings. One interactive display allows the visitor to similate what would happen if meteors of various sizes, masses, and velocities hit various targets (i.e. the moon, Venus, the earth...)

Depending upon your choices, you could end up with very cool simulations of a meteor streaking through the earth atmosphere, leaving craters....or your meteor might just burn up in the atmosphere...or you might destroy the earth completely. (At one point, one of Samantha's daughters pleaded with us to not select the planet earth as the simulation target.)

My favorite part of the visit were the views from the telescopes, both the 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope and the sidewalk telescopes the staff set up after dark in front of the observatory. I saw the great nebula of Orion through the observatory telescope and one of the sidewalk telescopes, plus great views of the moon and Saturn through the sidewalk telescopes.

For anyone here in Southern California who is interested in attending our February 24th poetry workshop, please let me and Samantha know.