Thursday, September 27, 2012



[Every once in awhile we will chat about the "new technology" which does its work destroying art as it galumphs from strength to strength.  Though a local matter, I will include this little bit from a reader because it well illustrates the point.]

From one of our readers:

The director of the IMAX and Planetarium over at the Milwaukee Public Museum has just hornswoggled the big money Daniel M Soref folks into giving him a couple of million bucks to install digital 3D into his dying planetarium venture.  He must have forgot to mention to the Sorefs that planetariums are ceasing operations all over the world...even the spectacular London Planetarium went kaput.  He must have also neglected to inform his backer that 3D is - once again - on its way into history land.

The frosting on this particular cake is that by installing all this new equipment for audiences who will not come to see it in operation requires that the spectacular IMAX film system will be junked!  The biggest, best movie system there ever was now goes bye-bye in Milwaukee, a new victim of the Digital Downgrade.  Smart move!  Now you have to go to Chicago if you want to see a real IMAX movie.

Attendance at the Museum planetarium has been going south since it first opened while IMAX attendance has held steady and has in fact wildly outgrossed the planetarium.  But such sobering statistics don't trouble the aging Trekkies at the Museum planetarium who think that by pouring more millions into it will somehow save it.  Damn the torpedoes!  Do not let reality rear its ugly head!  Yikes.

Then there's the 3D angle.  Wouldn't ya think they'd learn after three failed attempts at 3D - the 1950s, the 1970s , the 1990s - that maybe the public gets kind of sick of the novelty after three or four times??  And how many complaints of severe eye strain from wearing those special glasses to they have to hear before the light bulb goes on?  Hidden beneath all the hooplas and halleluiahs in the press releases and newspaper articles is the rather minor point that Hollywood is starting to ratchet down 3D production in the face of declining attendance.  Of course Hollywood contributes to this by their never-ending stream of lousy movies.

The director of the Museum, whose knowledge of storytelling craft is rather on the light side, promises more original productions with his expensive new digital toys courtesy of the Sorefs.  Having sat through such distinguished and Academy Award-worthy original homemade Museum planetarium productions as "Honey I Shrunk the Solar System", "Cosmic Colors" and "Spooky Skies", charity demands that the less said about these productions the better

Undaunted, the Museum lumbers its way into new territory, a day late and a dollar short, and the sci-fi buffs who run the planetarium there can enjoy themselves sitting in their near-empty dome excited about how much money they were given to merrily flush down the toilet. 

As the old song says, "When will they ever learn?"

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