Flying through the stars at warp speed, you see the shining blue lights vanish in the rearview. Flashes of neon beam out all around you. It's a Space Odyssey head trip with a Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon soundtrack.
It's an extrasensory experience the whole family can enjoy. The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, which opened last month, will continue the traditional Friday-night musical laser light shows that ran for decades at the old location near Vizcaya.
With 8K projection resolution (double the amount that leading high-def TV screens have), 3D capabilities, and a 16-channel sound system, the new, 250-seat Frost Planetarium boasts amazing updates. "In terms of technology, we are definitely among the best one, two, or three planetariums in the world right now," says Jorge Perez-Gallego, the curator of astronomy and exhibition developer at Frost Science.
The updated technology will be used in the planetarium's more traditional programming, such as the presentations Asteroid: Mission Extreme 3D and Dynamic Earth. And it will really come alive as some of the 20th Century's most beloved music blasts from the speakers inside the 67-foot dome every first Friday night of each month.
Perez-Gallego and the Frost Planetarium team made sure to bring back many of the old planetarium's most popular musical selections. The inaugural night will present shows with music by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and, of course, Pink Floyd. Space oddity Lady Gaga is also thrown into the mix for good measure. The curators wanted to include contemporary acts and genres alongside classic selections to attract a crowd for whom musical laser light shows might be a new art form. Future announced laser shows will include music by Michael Jackson, Daft Punk, and Radiohead.
Though the shows are created by LaserNet Studios in North Miami, Perez-Gallego says the Frost Planetarium works with the creators to make tweaks that help to better serve the audience.
"Oftentimes we actually can work with those companies to modify and tailor things," he says. "We can also ask for new artists to be incorporated into the reverie, and then... they work with us."
It's a world-class, immersive experience. Seating at the new facility is tiered like that of an IMAX theater. The layout makes for a nearly 360-degree viewing experience that's easy on the neck.
The team plans to compile data about the popularity and audience reception of shows and is open to suggestions. "We want to engage in these conversations with our guests so we can keep tailoring the experience to better suit our guests' needs," Perez-Gallego says.
Feedback has been positive so far; the first round of shows is sold out. No need to fret, though. The artists will rotate every month, and the July and August shows, featuring many of the same artists alongside some new ones, have already been announced.
Admission to the First Fridays laser shows also includes access to the planetarium's observation deck if weather permits.
Frost Planetarium's First Fridays
7 p.m. Friday, June 2, at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, 1101 Biscayne Blvd., Miami Beach; 305-434-9600; frostscience.org. Laser show tickets cost $10 and combo tickets including museum admission cost $27.25 via frostscience.org.
New Times' Best of Miami party will take place at the new Frost Science Museum Thursday, June 22, from 8 to 11 p.m. Visit newtimesbestofmiami.com.