Laserium is a familiar name to anyone who has been around a couple decades. The original Laserium light show was created in 1973 at the Planetarium in the Griffith Observatory and re-created in 40 other cities from the late 1970s though the mid 1990s. After an unsuccessful attempt to establish Laserium in Hollywood in 2009, the company re-opened at a new location in Van Nuys. They have resurrected the original Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin titles from their extensive catalogue of light shows as well as adding additional artists to the repertoire.
Laserium in Van Nuys
The technology has grown from one projector and one screen at the Griffith Observatory to six laser projectors and three video projectors, with added computer graphics. They've also added fog to show beams of light through space and a scrim to add 3D effects with the light beams. There are more lasers in this theater than anywhere else on the planet.
"We have two California Certified Laserists." says Jonathan Todd, Vice President of Marketing & Sales for Laserium. It took years and years to develop their skills to this level. When you see the horse galloping at you, it's amazing. The animations are fixed, created by a series of light beams hitting mirrors so fast they fool your eye into thinking it's a smooth line, but the laserists are creating the rest of the show live and feeding off the audience. They are deciding how fast they are going to spin their mirrors, when and how they will break the beams of light and how that dance dovetails with the other guy.
Continue through the slideshow for more description and photos.
Address: 6911 Hayvenhurst Ave, #102, Van Nuys, CA 91406
Hours: Fri-Sat 7, 8:30 10 & 11:30; Sun 7, 8:30 & 10
Cost: $16 on site, online $14 adults, $12 kids 5-13, under 5 not admitted
Go to the Laserium Photo Gallery
This information was accurate at the time of publication. Please check with the venue for the most current information.
Laserium CyberTheater - Page 2
"You get an appreciation that all this is created with a straight beam of light." Todd continues. "There are hundreds of mirrors, both spinning mirrors and stationary mirrors. The two guys work like a drum and bass, creating a beat which is viscerally satisfying if done well."
They plan to keep the current shows but will add live tribute bands with lasers, as well as live original artists who will help design the light exhibit to go with their music. A show is being created with David Arkenstone, the new age musician who is the sound of The Nature Company. His show, called Into the Light, will be a "mellow, low key sensual journey into the earth," says Todd, "We will be creating the laser show with the artist to interpret his vision, and he will be performing live."
The Means family stopped by on a Friday night and took in both the Pink Floyd and the Led Zeppelin shows. "It's complete over-stimulation," says Alyssa, 17, "You can go through completely sober and you'll be thinking you're high. I put in on my Facebook and my friends were all over it."
"It reaches out to all ages," says her father, Zach, who had previous experience with the Griffith Observatory show.
The production is definitely more impressive when you appreciate the live nature of the art, and how the laserists feed off the crowd. For audiences over-saturated with movie special effects, the light shows may seem a little…well, tame.
Tips for Visiting the Laserium
- The best seats are in the middle of the theater.
- If you have good hearing, you might want to consider bringing ear plugs, as the volume can be quite high.
- Children usually have more sensitive hearing than adults, so even if it's fine for you, it might be too loud for your kids.