Invade the Cernan Center

t rex 2For the next two months, The Cernan Earth and Space Center on Triton College’s River Grove campus will serve as a modern-day time machine, transporting audiences back in time to when dinosaurs ruled the earth and sky.

“Dinosaurs at Dusk” is a whirlwind adventure exploring the earth when it was filled with Pterosaurs and other feathered dinosaurs, which may be the ancestors of modern-day birds. Join Lucy and her father as they fly through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous eras searching for clues about the origins of flight. They soar above cliffs and canyons; all the while chasing, and sometimes running away from, a wide variety of dinosaurs. This extraordinary fulldome, digital planetarium experience is suitable for dinosaur devotees of all ages.

Showings of “Dinosaurs at Dusk” are Saturdays at 7 p.m.* and Sundays at 2 p.m., from Feb. 6 through March 27. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 2 to 12 and senior citizens 55 and over. Children under 2 and Triton College students with a current semester ID are free.

*Please note “Monthly Skywatch” will replace “Dinosaurs at Dusk” on Saturdays Feb 27 and Mar 19.

Best of the Beatles

Enjoy the Beatles as you never have before as stunning laser light complements the timeless tunes of the Fab Four in this anthology featuring 17 favorites including “Octopus’ Garden,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Yesterday,” “Twist and Shout” and many more.

You can catch “Best of the Beatles” Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., from Feb. 6 through March 27. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 2 to 12 and senior citizens 55 and over. Children under 2 and Triton College students with a current semester ID are free.

Early Explorers Program

The Cernan Center’s new ‘Early Explorers’ program introduces young scientists and curious minds to the wonders of the universe at the Cernan Earth and Space Center. These programs are suitable for children 3 to 7 years old and most adults.

“Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast” is the first show to be featured for Early Explorers at the Cernan Center. After decades of teaching, Rusty Rocket has decided to retire after he leads one final mission. The audience will join this class of rocket rookies as they learn the basics of rocket science and explore the great distances between the planets on their first tour of the solar system.

“Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast” will be presented Wednesdays at 9:45 a.m. from Feb. 3 through March 30.* Admission is $3 for adults and children ages 2 and above. Children under 2 and Triton College students with a current semester ID are free.

*Please note “Our Place in Space” will be shown on Wednesday March 9 instead of “Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast.”

Monthly Skywatch

Monthly Skywatch offers your opportunity to bask in the wonder of the nighttime sky.  The events are set for Feb. 27 and March 19 at 7 p.m. at the Cernan Center. Following Monthly Skywatch, a ‘Star Party’ will feature telescopes set up outside for people to observe the Moon, planets and other celestial sights for FREE. Telescopes are provided by the Chicago Astronomical Society and Cernan Center staff.


Romantic Masters: Dominican University Performing Arts Center’s Lund Auditorium

Violin2The Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest will present “Romantic Masters” at its concert on Sunday, March 6, at 4 p.m. at Dominican University Performing Arts Center’s Lund Auditorium, 7900 West Division Street, River Forest, IL 60305.  Rachel Naomi Kudo will perform the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2, and the program will conclude with excerpts from Richard Wagner’s Parsifal featuring soprano Nancy Pifer, tenor Thomas McNichols, and bass Kurt Link.  A preconcert conversation about the program will be given by David Leehey at 3:15, and a reception will follow the concert.  The award-winning Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest is conducted by Music Director Jay Friedman, who is celebrating his twentieth season with the orchestra.  Concordia University’s Maurice Boyer is Assistant Conductor.  Tickets are $28, and students through college are admitted free of charge with school ID.  For more information go to or call 708-218-2648.

and the oscar doesn’t go to…

oscarJust when the Oscars had become more diverse over the past few years, it seems they are now back to square one, with no African-American contenders among this year’s twenty acting nominations. The Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has admitted that its membership is 90% white and about 75% male, and that many members do not even participate in the industry anymore.  The organization has pledged to diversify the membership, and even weed out the inactives, but that is a process that arguably could take years.

A quicker method might be to raise the number of acting nominations in each category from five to six.  That might increase the odds.  This was done a few years ago for the best picture category, which stood at five nominations for decades, but this year includes eight.  It is possible under current academy rules for ten films to be nominated.  That was of course a marketing ploy, for the television ratings for the Oscar show had slipped recently, and while the broadcast of the award ceremony is not exactly at the stage of fighting for survival, it is fighting for relevance among an increasingly younger audience.

But it is that issue of relevance that disturbs the conservatives, who don’t want to see the awards “diluted” to a grab bag event or reduced to a cultural quota system.  The Oscars might then resemble the Grammys, which currently offers nearly 80 categories.  In the Grammys, several genres have their own “best” award and there are four “general” award categories. Every one goes home happy, it seems, and the music industry has operated comfortably with much more diversity than the film industry for quite some time, though there is some occasional in-fighting.

Could color-blind casting be an ultimate solution?  This is already done in professional theater, why not try it in big budget movie making?  Or would this shatter the illusion of realism a bit too hard?  For the moment we seem to be a culture of sub-cultures.