original article appeared in the January 19, 2021 edition of the Tri-City Voice
cover photo by Keith Ladzinski
It’s 2021… are you ready for an adventure?!
After several months of being cooped up at home, many people are looking forward with hope and optimism to the days when travel will be safe again. To get in the mood, you may want to check out the new National Geographic Live! Speaker Series, hosted by the Livermore Valley Perfoming Arts Center (LVPAC), along with the Quest Science Center (QSC) and the Rae Dorough Speaker Series (RDSS).
Since 1888 the National Geographic Society has delivered a world of adventure to its members by inviting prominent explorers and scientists to speak about their work. Just one month after the Society’s founding and before the first published National Geographic magazine, explorer John Wesley Powell inaugurated the speakers series by delivering a talk about the physical geography of the United States.
More recently, the National Geographic Live! Speaker Series has featured world-renowned photographers, scientists, authors, filmmakers, conservationists, and adventurers who have entertained live audiences here and abroad with their behind-the-scenes stories and stunning imagery.
And now, it’s virtual. Each 60-minute event will include a moderated discussion between two speakers with pre-recorded content interspersed with live conversation, as well as question and answer periods. LVPAC is the only Bay Area venue that is hosting this event. Said Chris Carter, Executive Director of LVPAC, “It was important that we deliver something to the community. That has been our mission. We can’t just close down and not do anything.”
Carter is the first to admit that they have been fortunate. As a non-profit, they are still able to raise funds through contributions, which has been their primary source of revenue during the pandemic. Other venues have not been so lucky. The recently passed Save Our Stages Act will provide much needed Federal funding to those venues that qualify.
In the meantime, virtual adventures may just be what the doctor ordered! Tune in January 20 as the series kicks off with “Life on Other Worlds”, a conversation about discovering life on other planets with astrobiologist Kevin Peter Hand and NASA engineer Kobie Boykins. Or try out “Reimagining Dinosaurs” on February 24, where leading paleontologists Nizar Ibrahim and Sebastián Rozadilla share stories about the evolving science of dinosaurs. Or you may want to wait until March 17 when “Feats of Filmmaking” airs, showing how two guys capture extreme feats of adventure in some of the world’s most remote and inhospitable environments.
Says Carter, “There is a great intersection in my mind between the arts and sciences, so hosting this series really made a lot of sense for us.” Partnering with the Quest Science Center, another Livermore non-profit, also made sense, as well as working with the team from the Rae Dorough Speaker Series, whose speakers have engaged audiences at the Bankhead Theatre for over 12 years. “We see the fascinating Nat Geo Live series as the perfect opportunity to draw on the strengths of all three organizations and deliver events that are both entertaining and educational for our community,” Carter added.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at www.livermorearts.org
JAN 20 “Life on Other Worlds”
FEB 10 “Scientific Exposure”
FEB 24 “Reimagining Dinosaurs”
MAR 17 “Feats of Filmmaking”
MAR 31 “Mysterious Seas”
APR 14 “Women and Migration”