The Right Stuff At The Vancouver PlanetariumWednesday, August 08, 2012
Michael John Unger aka Johnny Tomorrow
|Michael Unger - Johnny Tomorrow|
It is probably safe to say that without competition and rivalry stirring the human ego in its quest for dominance as a species on this planet, nothing would get done. Such was the case when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957 thus thrusting the Americans, who couldn’t be bested by the Communist regime that threatened their perceived way of life. If there was no Cold War would we have even gotten to the Moon? Would humanity have been content to sit on their front porch and admire the sun setting, and moon rising without ever venturing off towards them?
In 2010 I created Johnny Tomorrow for the Fringe Festival in the Planetarium. Initially a lot of my motivation for doing the show came from the same reasons. Perceived notions of competition with other artists, wanting to be on their level or better, but mostly the turmoil of an artist comes from within in trying to achieve a monumental task and the doubt of failure if you don’t get there. Creating a planetarium show from scratch was not an easy thing to do especially for one that has never done it before, but that’s exactly the scenario that newly formed NASA found themselves in when they were tasked with the goal of getting to the Moon before the Russians did. I guess that’s what they call healthy competition, but what happens when there is no competition? How do we motivate ourselves as a species to create a better world with exploration when there is no competition of dominance or some monetary justification? As I write this with the Mars Rover Curiosity just having spent one day on the Red Planet, it’s clear our task as a species is not to just seek out the burning questions of what else is out there in the universe, but to inspire the next generation so that they can be the ones to actually touch the surface of another world. We must restart the passion of exploration that has fueled our species since the beginning of time.
The Vancouver Planetarium is showing The Right Stuff this coming Friday at 8 pm.
Tom Wolfe's book on the history of the U.S. Space program reads like a novel, and the film has that same fictional quality. It covers the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager to the Mercury 7 astronauts, showing that no one had a clue how to run a space program or how to select people to be in it. Thrilling, funny, charming and electrifying all at once.
Directed by: Philip Kaufmann
Starring: Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Veronica Cartwright
Presented on one side of the planetarium dome, with the stars filling out the 360 degree space. GSO Observatory open till midnight.
Spock meets Harold