SPECIAL EVENT REVIEWS

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising presents The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibit
April 2000
Reviewed by Suze Campagna

Each year The Academy of Motion Pictures gives out one of its coveted Oscars for costume design Now you have the opportunity to see some of the nominated costumes up close and personal at the FIDM in LA thru May 3.
When you first walk into the exhibit there is one costume form each of the winning designs of the past 10 years from the vivacious feathered dress of Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, to the elegant “I’m going to jump off the ship and kill myself” dress of Titanic.
The First room contains clothing from each of the five films nominated for best costume. The period costumes of Ali and Gosford Park were okay. The Hogwarts uniforms from Harry Potter looked just as you would expect them. However, it was difficult to recognize the Ghosts’ costumes. Nearly headless Nick’s outfit was gray and tattered with bloodstains from were his head had be nearly removed.
We were also very impressed by The Lord Of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Rings Costumes. They were very detailed especially the etchings on Sauron’s Armour. Galadriel’s dress was very delicate and beautiful.
However, after seeing the original and extravagant Moulin Rouge costumes up close and personal, my money is on them for the Oscar.
The other two rooms were full of costumes from other films from this past year including Planet of the Apes, and A Knight’s Tale (As close to Heath Ledger as I will get.) among others. Whether you go with people who know costumes or not, this is a very worthwhile experience that will only take about an hour out of day.

JPL Open House
May 19, 2001
Reviewed by Suze Campagna

JPL’s Annual Open House is held at their head quarters in Pasadena. This is a fun, educational and free event for children of all ages. If you have never been before I would recommend starting with the video narrated Jodie Foster giving an overview of JPL and the discoveries in space in which they have participated. (Personally I’ve seen this video many times, so we started right in at the booths.)
There are several sections divided by earth, the Universe, Deep Space, technology, children’s activities etc. Each section had booths dedicated to the various projects pertaining to the particular subject. There’s a lot to see and explore and we didn’t get to see it all. This year I attended with Meddler Rhonda Bartlett and my friend Kira, who was visiting from Santa Rosa. We started with “The Earth” section where we learned how ASTER (Advanced Spacebourne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) monitors forest fires, active volcanoes and even nuclear power plants from space. There was a very cool 3D image of Mt. St. Helen’s erupting. Jason-1 and Topex/Poisidon monitor ocean levels and weather patterns. There was a beautiful yet somehow disturbing photograph of the earth’s Ozone layer, taken from the space shuttle showing how thin it really is.
In the Deep space area we learned that a Deep Space Craft are built to the specification that must be equivalent to a car going 3 billion miles without failure. (So, who thinks JPL should be designing cars?)
We then went off to visit the Space Flight Operations Center, which is a historical Landmark. There was a very long line, which reminded us of Disneyland, as we were taken inside and around the hallway looking at the artwork. There were some gorgeous Murals from the Academia De Arte Yepes as well as many photographs taken from outer space. Once inside the viewing room that overlooks the main operations room, we saw a video entitled “Whispers from Space” which described the Cassini, Galileo and Voyager missions, monitored from the room we were overlooking.
In the Technology section we met Urbie, a robot used by police to go into areas deemed to be unsafe for humans, and saw an artificial muscle made from electro active polymers. We visited Building 170 where the manufacturing is done and saw how precise the machines must be.
You can also purchase some unique gifts with the NASA and JPL logos on them, as well as posters and other things. (I bought my mom some first day issue stamps.) Rhonda said, “It was like going back to school.” And Kira added, “It was more interesting.” This is a unique opportunity for Southern Californians and I would recommend it to anyone who has ever had even the slightest interest in the subject.
If you attend next year my advice would be wear walking shoes, bring sunscreen and get there early. Watch the IE for the dates of next year’s open house or visit JPL's Website

JPL Open House
June 1999
Reviewed By Suze Campagna

One a sunny Sunday in June, Arlene and I set out for a day of space and science in Pasadena. Every year on the first weekend in June JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) as division of Caltech, has its traditional open house, where the general public is invited in to learn all about the projects JPL is working on with NASA.
There were booths set up all around the facility with displays and information about each project. We learned about Voyager’s deep space mission to Jupiter, Saturn Uranus, and Neptune. We saw some interesting pictures from the Galileo Mission to Jupiter and her moons. Of particular interest were Io with its active volcanoes and Europa whose surface indicates that there may be a frozen ocean laying underneath. There was a full sized model of the Cassini craft. Cassini is on its way to Saturn and is scheduled to arrive July 1, 2004. The Stardust mission is going to do a flyby of the comet Wild2 and bring back samples that may hide the secrets of the creation of our universe. We missed the Mars section, because it was hidden way up on a hill.
There was another section dedicated to other thing in the universe, such a quasars, pulsars, and particularly interesting black holes. Yet another section was dedicated to the study of the sun and the problems with working so close to an intense heat source.
There was another section on earth, where they showed how technology developed at JPL helped track El Nino and keep an eye on our depleting ozone layer among other things. They have a great section for children too, with hands on activities.
We also saw some presentation inside the buildings. We saw the Space Flight Operations Facility, which is where all the information from outer space is gathered with the help of giant satellite dishes placed in the Mojave Desert, Spain and Australia. This building has been declared an historical landmark. We visited the Spacecraft fabrication where they make parts with machines that have to be very precise. There we saw the Bengal water jet machine that can cut steel with water. We went through the assembly room where they put stuff together. Our last stop was a film on the overview of JPL giving a history and its future projects narrated by Jody Foster.
If you want information, JPL has a great detailed website: JPL It was a day well spent and a good time was had by all.

Freight Nights at Magic Mountain (2002)
Reviewed By Scott Busman and Suze Campagna

If you can ride colossus forward, then ride on it again backwards, does that mean you never actually rode on it at all? As Captain Janeway one said, “These time paradoxes give me such a headache.” So why bring this up? It’s that time of year again when Magic Mountain rolls out its dusty, cobweb-ridden carpet for Freight Nights.
Most amusement parks have some form of Halloween event and Six Flags in no different. The Advantage at Six Flags is that you can go there and ride the rides all day and enjoy the spooks at night without paying extra. Of course riding X is scary enough, but if you are looking for more, there are areas where people are dressed in costume sneaking up on you and mazes to go through. We enjoyed Carnage E. Hall, which is a walk through haunted house/theater where the spooks come out of where you least expect them. Also the log jammer is recreated into Blood Falls, a camp where you ride the foggy dark and scary creatures sneak up on you from the woods. And did we mention many of the other rides have their lights turned off? Yikes!
If you like to be scared and you like rides like we do, Magic Mountain is the best bang for the buck.

Ministry of Unknown Science Experiment 3: The Sun (Or: the Effect of Surprise Permanent Blindness on Crowds.)(2003)

The March 28th performance was the premiere of the Ministry’s third experiment as their new home at the Century Playhouse in Century City. Theory Labs performed their first two experiments, underwear and Gud, at the brewery in LA; and you may have enjoyed experiment 2.5, Bram Stoker’s Bakula, at Loscon 29.

In case you missed it, MOUS is a multimedia experience where the scientists, Dr. Fistula (Minister of Pink), Amitage Shankes (Minister of Joy), Professor T (Minister of Rage) and Cap’n Shady (Minister of Power and Water) perform experiments that are supposed to involve the audience, but usually end up running amuck. Their experiments take place both on stage and in video and are hysterical, though they may be offensive to sensitive eyes.

Experiment 3 contained all the usual hilarity but it did have some problems. In a smaller theater it felt a little held back from the usual no holds bar antics of the scientist and everything was too neatly connected, which made some of the sketches seem forced. They were still fun, but they didn’t seem to have as much punch. They introduced two new characters, of who had control of the funding of the experiments. Usually they just did what they wanted, and this time they wanted to blind the audience, but the big guy wanted them to make Alaska a sunny tropical paradise, so they had to figure out how to turn the sun up 2 degrees without causing the end of the world.

Don’t get me wrong, it was still very funny and maybe as they get used to the new space, it will get better, but I really didn’t like the new characters; they were too much of a distraction from what we really wanted to see.

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