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Wonderfully Awful: LAZERS PEW PEW PEW!


a blogumn by Robin Rosenzweig
Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley

Last weekend I did something that people have been doing for decades but was brand new to me. Something that people generally don’t choose to do if they’re in their right mind. Something that enjoyed a bit of a heyday in the 80’s but really hasn’t been talked about for a while…until now.

Perhaps it’s one of those “only in Los Angeles” kind of things, but somehow in the year 2009, I found myself inside a dark movie theater watching a laser light show.

I don’t know who invented the laser light show or when it got its start. What I do know is that someone came up with the idea of putting lasers to music, and sometime thereafter realized that it was a prime way for the 1980’s stoner crowd to enjoy Pink Floyd. Perhaps that’s because it helps to be under the influence of a mind altering substance to really get into Pink Floyd, and adding lasers to that equation takes the experience to a more “holy crap, you’re blowing my mind” kind of place. Like chocolate and peanut butter, I suppose.

In Los Angeles, the laser light show has returned via the Laserium, located at the Laserium CyberTheater (aka the Vine Theater at Hollywood and Vine). From what I gather, Laserium has been doing these shows in various places around LA for a while, but now they have set up shop in Hollywood to introduce the laser light show to an entirely new generation. Or I should say re-introduce it to the original generation, who is now introducing it to their kids.

For the old schoolers, Laserium offers a Pink Floyd show. They also have a Led Zeppelin show and a Beatles show, which is where I found myself last Friday. As my fiancé and I waited in line to enter the theater, we noticed the crowd ranged from groups of friends to couples on date night (younger and older) and a good number of families. Funny how the activity that some people used as an excuse to get zonked out of their minds is now where they take the kiddies for “family friendly fun.” Those kids have no idea.

For reasons that still escape me, we attended the Laserium completely sober. When we settled into our seats in the crowded theater, it occurred to me that I was about to sit for about an hour and watch…lasers. That’s it. As I heard the first refrains of “Twist and Shout” and the lasers began to dance, noticed that when you’re sober as day, the laser light show is akin to watching your screensaver live and in concert.

But then something changed and as I continued to be taken on a journey through the Beatles musical career, I was no longer watching SCREENSAVERS, LIVE! I started to think about how, exactly, a stoner would enjoy this show, and I sank lower in my chair and relaxed. I focused on certain lasers and tried to make out shapes such as origami swans. I got really into it and had a fantastic time. All that said, if I attend the Laserium in the future, I might choose to have a couple cocktails first.

As a side note, for a period of time when we were in line, we stood in front of a very conveniently located head shop. Seems like a prime stop for a pre or post show impulse purchase, much like the snack bar is at a standard movie theater. Except instead of overpriced Milk Duds, you can get a shiny new bong to help you enjoy the next Floyd show.