The drawback to being the Tech Museum of Innovation is that visitors expect everything you offer to be five minutes in the future. Which is a problem when your IMAX dome theater — state of the art when it made its debut in 1998 — is running on technology that was so 20th century.
The Tech solved that problem with the unveiling over the weekend of a new digital laser projection system, along with a new sound system and “seamless” screen at the Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater. Construction on the $2.7 million project forced the Tech to close the 280-seat theater for four months. It’s now back open with a new documentary, “Oceans: Our Blue Planet,” narrated by “Titanic” star Kate Winslet.
“A lot goes into recreating something that hasn’t been changed in 20 years,” Tech Museum President Tim Ritchie said at a members preview Friday night.
On top of having a projection system that produces sharper colors and deeper blues and blacks, the new system also allows the Tech to expand the way it uses the theater, like beaming in oceanographer Bob Ballard for a live presentation on the massive screen during its recent Youth Summit.
Now some of us, myself and Quentin Tarantino included, believe there is an inherent superiority to the image you get from actual film, especially the 70mm variety that IMAX and other large-screen venues use. But film has major issues, too: It breaks, it gets dirty, it degrades and it takes a lot of space to store those huge reels. And more and more filmmakers are using film less and less, which was whittling down the Tech’s potential IMAX offerings.
So I’ll miss film, but when you’ve got a place like the Tech, the whole point should be to have the newest technology available.
VALLEY VERDE TO HOST DOLORES HUERTA: Legendary civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will be the guest of honor Nov. 19 at Semillas de Esperanza (“Seeds of Hope”), the fall fundraising event for community gardening advocate Valley Verde. Huerta, who worked alongside Cesar Chavez and also championed women’s rights, will be featured in a conversation during the downtown San Jose event, which will include dinner provided by Luna Mexican Kitchen, one of San Jose’s hottest restaurants.
Huerta’s presence will help Valley Verde reach its goal of providing 80 low-income families with the opportunity to participate in its programs next year, executive director and founder Raul Lozano said. Valley Verde’s community programs promote the cultivation of home vegetable gardens to encourage healthier eating and address food insecurity. Tickets to the dinner are available for $150 at Eventbrite.com.
FAREWELL TOUR BENEFITS HOMELESS: It’s a farewell tour for the holiday rock show known as December People, which brings together musicians from bands like Boston, Sammy Hagar’s Band, the Tubes and the Greg Kihn Band to put their high-energy touch on classic holiday tunes. But there’s still a chance to see the group get together one more time with “A Classic Rock Christmas” on Saturday at the Campbell Heritage Theater.
Proceeds from the show will benefit Downtown Streets Team, which works to get homeless people off the streets and into jobs and housing. And you can still do your part by bringing a donation of new socks to the concert to help keep some of those people still on the streets warmer this winter. Tickets are on sale at www.ci.campbell.ca.us.