Watching almost any film often requires the audience to take a leap of faith, but that doesn't mean we can't be skeptical. That dream within a dream situation in Inception? Yeah, right. The time-travel in Back to the Future? Dubious, at best. Every car chase in the Mad Max movies? Not exactly based in reality.
But that skeptical spirit is what makes the San Diego Natural History Museum's Reel Science series of film screenings so appealing. Rather than just having to take that leap of faith, audiences will hear from real scientists who will discuss the scientific validity of some classic flicks. The four-film, month-long series of screenings is themed "Cult Sci-Fi Meets Real Science," and the NAT (1788 El Prado) teamed up with Digital Gym Cinema to compile a list of cultish films that had more far-fetched elements.
"We all agreed that we wanted to focus on cult cinema and steer clear of the blockbusters, because those films are easily accessible," says Robert Rutherford who works at the NAT as the audience engagement manager. "Once we contacted scientists who were into the overall idea of presenting research or providing a new lens in which to see the film, then we were able to choose the four films."
The screenings take place every Saturday in January at 7 p.m. and include showings of Altered States (Jan. 7), Weird Science (Jan. 14), Donnie Darko (Jan. 21) and Flash Gordon (Jan. 28). Dr. Michael Wall, an entomologist and the NAT's Vice President of Research and Public Programs, will be speaking before the screening of Flash Gordon, a film set on a planet called (no kidding) Mongo.
"From a scientific perspective, if Mongo was an actual planet, what were the set of environmental circumstances that would lead to what we call parallel evolution of certain traits," asks Wall. "The whole idea is to have fun with a movie I love to death, but also taking people through the scientific process of what would need to happen in order to result in these types of films." sdnhm.org
Photo courtesy of Culture Shock San Diego
Culture Shock Dance Troupe’s 'Nutcracker'
Over the years, highlighting Culture Shock Dance Troupe's Nutcracker has become as much of a tradition for CityBeat as it is for normcore people to attend the OG Tchaikovsky ballet. Culture Shock's rendition of the classic pays tribute to both E.T. Hoffman's story and Tchaikovsky's score but adapts the storyline, music and fashion to the present. The result is a high-energy production that includes modern and hip-hop dance. It opens Friday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. at Spreckels Theatre (121 Broadway) for $15 to $35. Or, buy $120 tickets to the VIP opening reception at 5 p.m. at Currant American Brasserie (140 West Broadway) for behind the scenes entertainment, a cast meet-and-greet, a silent auction, and exclusive seating at the theater. There will be seven performances through Jan. 8. cultureshockdance.org/nutcracker
Photo by Scott Witter
Since we're apparently on our way toward a new Cold War, it's a good time to revisit one of the bands that made the '80s a little more tolerable: The Cure. Throughout that time, The Cure delivered an eclectic series of post-punk albums that elevated them to goth-rock heroes while also inspiring generations of moody teens to dress all in black. One of the longtime members of the band, Lol Tolhurst, will be reading from his memoir Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys, about his friendship with frontman Robert Smith and his time in the band, at Golondrina in Barrio Logan (2148 Logan Ave.). He'll also be signing copies of the book, which will be available for sale at the store, along with other merchandise. It happens Saturday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. facebook.com/golondrinastore