Capitalizing on the
blackhole Upside Down of '80s nostalgia that has imprisoned the early part of this century (the '80s have "been back" for almost two decades—Fox tried to make That 80s Show a thing in 2002), the Pacific Science Center's Laser Dome recently announced a new, limited-running laser show: Laser Stranger Things. The hour-long presentation celebrates the music of Netflix's Stranger Things, and it includes a humongous, bloody-nosed Eleven drawn with lasers. It's trippy. And, sure, a laser show sounds like a great thing to take your sniffling 9-year-old nephew to—which it is—but this show is really a treat for a certain crowd of Seattleites: Stoners.
Before you get your hopes up: THIS THING IS SOLD OUT. COMPLETELY. I know. It sucks. I'm sorry. But please keep reading, because it's probably your only chance to experience this shit.
Like everything touched by Stranger Things, people are freaking out over this laser show. Why? I'm not sure, but Stranger Things-mania reminds me a lot of Harry Potter-mania, or Lord of the Rings-mania, in that its cancerous virality makes us feel culturally obliged to participate. And like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things attracts a certain demographic... kids.
Even though we aren't children, the Pacific Science Center was kind enough to let me and my nerdy cub friend into the Laser Dome for last night's Member Preview. I'm a fan of laser domes, and my friend is a fan of Stranger Things, and we're both fans of weed, so we were hella stoned. But isn't that what laser domes are for?
Lying down in the comforting womb of the Laser Dome, my friend and I hazily waited for everyone in the theater—mostly families—to power down their iPhones. Kids have iPhones, too, and it takes them twice as long to turn them off. "Cover your light-up shoes," the laser artist warned from the back of the house. "Anything that omits light needs to be turned off." In 2017/2018, there's something prehistoric about sitting in a dark cave and waiting for a person to draw pictures on the ceiling.
Laser Stranger Things is an exercise in kitsch. Like most of the laser shows at the Pacific Science Center, the majority of the show is made up of a laser artist crafting psychedelic patterns and scribbles to a soundtrack. In this case, it's '80s-era bangers like Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" and Bon Jovi's "Runaway." (The show also features the moody, dark soundtrack created by the band S U R V I V E, including the show's iconic title track.) The crude lasers are nostalgic for some—reminiscent of an earlier time long before iWatches and Face ID, before social media, before MySpace, before computers, before... (I can't go back any further, I'm a millennial born in 1992)—but for the generation that's coming up underneath millennials, the whole production is a bit, like... So what?
"There was just one image of Eleven," I heard a tween say after the show. "Which is, like, cool, but... I don't know, I don't wanna be rude, but... Who wants to sit on the ground and watch lasers? I'm not a baby." The tween's right. There are only a few images from the show, which are impressive, but hardly enough to woo over a tech-addled mini-millennial. But for this stoner? Those neon scribbles are practically religious on a good edible. Spending a blissed-out hour inside the Laser Dome is a perfect, rejuvenating wintertime activity, even if you're too young to enjoy the nostalgia of an '80s comeback.
The Laser Dome has plenty of shows for stoners to attend—there are few experiences I'd recommend more than getting high with friends and watching a laser-made Beyonce do the "Single Ladies" dance—but you have some options if you're bummed out about the limited run of Laser Stranger Things:
1. Give the Pacific Science Center feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let them know you want MORE STRANGER THINGS LASERS! Tell 'em this stoned faggot sent ya.
2. Drown yourself in the endless amount of readily available Stranger Things kitsch, like this newly released LEGO Stranger Things: