“Laseroq,” a new light and music entertainment at Griffith Park Observatory that celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Laserium shows and the 10th anniversary of radio station KROQ, offers some handsome new effects, but ultimately proves to be less than the sum of its parts.
The elaborate and often beautiful images choreographed to the new rock usually played on KROQ (Talking Heads, U2, Depeche Mode, etc.) reveal how much more sophisticated laser shows have become in the last 15 years. The first Laserium programs consisted of little more than circles of light spinning in time to homogenized Muzak.
Among the more impressive new effects from designer-choreographers Scott Anderson and Scott Snyder are a string of jewel-like starbursts that move to R.E.M.'s “Radio Free Europe” and a pastel, multi-hued flower that undulates like a gigantic sea anemone to “Close to Me” by the Cure. The most striking of the visuals is a soft-edged line of golden light that constantly redraws a complicated loop, but never quite completes it. The incompleteness gives the pattern a visual interest similar to the deliberate asymmetry of some Zen paintings and ceramics.
Balanced against these new effects is the fact that much of the show is still made up of figures turning in time to music. They’re considerably more elaborate figures than the loops and circles in the early laser shows, but their limited range of motion soon cloys.
Because the laser beams redraw each image several times a second (the eye blends the moving point of light into a line), the medium is limited to simple outlines and is not effective for concrete images, like the heads, hands and neurons that move to Oingo Boingo’s “Grey Matter.”
Despite these weaknesses, “Laseroq” is a bright, upbeat entertainment. The show continues at Griffith Park Observatory Friday and Saturday nights at 9:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.