“Laserium Zodiac,” a new laser light show that premiered Wednesday night at the Griffith Park Obervatory, offers some extremely attractive and often sensual effects.
Laserium artists have refined some of the visuals from earlier shows, making the colors more delicate and the movements subtler. In the “Taurus” sequence, tiny bars of brilliant red and turquoise light move through complex patterns, like a school of neon tetras in an aquarium. The bars gradually elongate as their movements slow into a sensual rippling that suggests an exotic jellyfish. The shimmering veils of pastel light in the “Cancer” segment evoke feathers or gauze moving in a gentle breeze.
Chopping (blocking the laser beam as it traces part of an image) transforms the spirals in “Leo” into hypnotic spoked wheels and mandalas. Breaking the lines of light makes the intervening areas of black seem like part of the pattern, rather than a neutral background.
However, not everything in the show approaches this level of imagination: There are a few too many of the rapidly spinning shapes that have been Laserium’s stock in trade since the shows began 16 years ago.
Despite its name, the show has little to do with the zodiac, aside from some simple graphics--a bull for Taurus, a ram for Aries, etc. Neither the music (an assortment of homogenized New Age artists, including Shadowfax, David Arkenstone and David Lantz & Paul Speer) nor the visuals suggest the qualities associated with the various signs in Western astrology. Narrator Roger Dressler introduces the segments with a brief explanation of the origin of each sign, but the information is not always accurate. The Hydra Hercules slew was not a “sea monster,” but a nine-headed serpent that inhabited a swamp in Lerna.
These caveats aside, “Laserium Zodiac” is an agreeable, handsome diversion that is more likely to appeal to an older and/or calmer audience than the louder shows, “Laseroq: The ‘80s” and “Pink Floyd: Now & Then.” “Zodiac” plays 6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday at the Griffith Park Observatory, with an additional show at 9:15 p.m. Tuesdays. Ticket information: (818) 997-3624.