Among the newly gentrified neighborhoods of downtown LA off 7th street, a small yet beautiful mix of comics and science came to visit. Marvel Studios, The Science & Entertainment Exchange and a local creative co-op space called The Great Company hosted what was called a “multi-sensory, immersive learning experience”. The overall goal of the event was to promote the upcoming Doctor Strange film, celebrate the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as to connect, educate and inspire fans of all ages. So think of this as comic-con meets a science lecture with an audience of hipsters, film students and scholars all in one place.
The small, intimate space displayed all sorts of Marvel wonders like Captain America’s suit and shield, Thor’s hammer, Dr. Strange’s costume along with other items seen throughout the MCU. As I walked the halls before the event opened to the public, I spied celebrities like Wesley Snipes (Major League, Blade), Colin Ferguson (SyFy’s Eureka) and Neil Grayston (SyFy’s Eureka) snapping pictures and truly nerding out over the displays.
I personal loved the event. As someone who digs both comics and science I think the event was perfect for people like myself. The only problem was there weren’t that many people like me there in attendance. Given the space and layout of the venue it gave off a small exclusive feel, fit for a crowd who would really appreciate all aspects of what Marvel was trying to do. But instead they got a lot of people who think of themselves as being too cool to be seen reading a comic or attending a convention. At the same time trying to stuff themselves into a small venue in order to take selfies with Cap’s shield, to prove how much of a nerd they are. Like the Watcher I observed just how many people in attendance didn’t know dick about the Marvel Universe nor did they care, which was sad, but normal for LA. More people cared about being seen by the celebrities and Hollywood execs in attendance than being engaged with the subject matter at hand. But that all changed as the speakers came up to bat.
Outside of the one off, odd sponsor, Honor, who was there to plug their new cell phone, the event featured some great speakers like Jill Tarter from SETI, Hugh Herr from MIT and Alicia Jackson along with many others. The speakers’ topics ranged from astrophysics, genetics to bio-engineering and it was great to see intellectuals get some time in the spotlight. Although, I did see a lot of glazed looks on the faces of many audience members as the speakers started diving deep into their subjects you did see others listening intently. You could even hear smaller circles, I mean very, very small circles of people talking about the application of some of the ideas being discussed in relation to the cinematic universe and how it has shaped our future as humans over all. I thought it was awesome to see these scientists become celebrities outside of their respective communities for a while. I’m guessing this is what Marvel and the Science & Entertainment guys had hoped for when planning this event. Who knows maybe just maybe some film school student or writer walked away with an idea for the next scientific adventure like The Martian or 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Like I said before, I personally thought this was a great event. The venue was awesome and the message was on point. it just sucked that the majority of the crowd had no clue what was going on, nor did they care. If Marvel does decide to do something like this again I would suggest that they take a page out of the Disney playbook and catch them while they are young. Because of characters like Tony Stark, Hank Pym, Reed Richards, and especially Moon Girl kids are primed and ready to soak up material related to engineering, physics and biology, thus inspiring a whole generation of young minds. I wouldn’t have wasted a dime on the cool kids and trying to get them to engage. I really hope to see more events like this in the future, not only from Marvel but from other entertainment companies like it.
Check out more from my Marvel night of science:
ABOUT: The special event was made possible by the brand partners at Honor, Google, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
From Marvel Studios comes Doctor Strange, the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange—armed with newly acquired magical powers—is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt and Scott Adkins, with Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton. Scott Derrickson is directing with Kevin Feige producing. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard, Charles Newirth and Stan Lee serve as executive producers. Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill wrote the screenplay. Join Strange on his dangerous, mystifying and totally mind-bending journey when Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange opens in U.S. theaters on November 4, 2016.
THE SCIENCE & ENTERTAINMENT EXCHANGE is a program of the National Academy of Sciences that has executed 1600+ consults for feature films, television and video games since 2008. The Exchange serves as the Hollywood hotline for science (1-844-NEEDSCI), presenting the opportunity for entertainment professionals to engage with great science communicators. www.scienceandentertainmentexchange.org
The Great Company is a creative studio that brings “great company” together through the powers of storytelling, design and unique experiences. The Great Company headquarters also serve as an incubator space for emerging creative communities and ventures, especially those with socially conscious initiatives. For more information on GreatCo, visit its site: http://www.thegreatcompany.com
HONOR is a leading smartphone e-brand in 74 countries that epitomizes internet-optimized devices designed for digital natives. It shares this idea for millennials around the world: dream big, believe in your potentials and create your own legend, thus making this partnership all the more compelling.
GOOGLE focuses on providing the best user experience possible. Whether designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the home page, Google takes great care to ensure that it will ultimately serve the user, rather than its own internal goal or bottom line.
ALFRED P SLOAN FOUNDATION was founded in 1934, providing grants for research and educations in science, technology and economic performance. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science & Technology supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience. During the past 15 years, Sloan’s nationwide film program has provided screenwriting and production awards at six leading film schools: American Film Institute, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, New York University, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California and supported screenplay development programs at the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, the San Francisco Film Society, the Black List, and Film Independent. Sloan’s “farm system” has helped develop 20 feature films with science and technology themes or characters including The Imitation Game, The Man Who Knew Infinity, Experimenter, Birder’s Guide to Everything, Robot & Frank and Computer Chess.
About Marvel Entertainment
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over 75 years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit marvel.com. © 2016 MARVEL
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