Alien Invasion

You know that awkward moment when you think you know someone — say, your tax advisor — when all of a sudden he pulls out a grainy photo of a light in the sky (probably created by the camera's own flash) and lectures about UFOs and making contact with aliens via your microwave or something? You can thank Steven Spielberg for that. Before Close Encounters of the Third Kind hit theaters in 1977, outer-space sci-fi was relegated to cheap paperbacks consumed in nerdy basements. But the special-effects-filled blockbuster about a lineman's encounter with UFOs in the Sonoran desert made space exploration cool — and most important, bankable. It was nominated for eight Oscars and is preserved as a historic artifact in the National Film Registry.

This Wednesday, Cinema Series at SoundScape will pay tribute to the movie that paved the way for classics such as E.T., Star Trek, and, of course, My Stepmother Is an Alien and Muppets in Space. Close Encounters will be projected — via space-age technology otherwise known as a projector — onto a wall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center.
Wed., Feb. 22, 8 p.m., 2012
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Gabriela Garcia