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Arts & Culture

Star Trek: The Exhibition


Beam me up Scotty! Star Trek: The Exhibition at the San Diego Air and Space Museum (CBS Studios, Inc.)

Over the Fourth of July weekend I went to the recently opened Star Trek : The Exhibition at the San Diego Air and Space Museum , and it was a blast. I'm not a diehard Star Trek fan but I got a kick out of the exhibit nonetheless. I enjoyed The Original Series (TOS) , and liked aspects of Next Generation but something such as the 2001 prequel series called Enterprise completely slipped under my radar. But for me, TOS summed up the hope, dreams, and even a bit of the rebellion of the sixties in a pop culture way that I found wonderfully appealing. The Exhibition celebrates TOS as well as the vast number of series spin-offs and films that have followed. The Exhibition allows you to go on a replica set of TOS ' bridge of the Enterprise and sit in the chair that William Shatner sat in and pondered weighty decisions in. You can also stand on the Transporter from Next Gen and get a lenticular photo of yourself magically appearing and disappearing. That alone made it worth going (even though the pic cost $27, but it's so cool!)

While I was there I saw both kids and adults take pleasure in playing Captain Kirk, and I saw quite a few dads passing on their love of the show to a new generation. There are props and costumes from TOS as well as from Next Gen . The models of the various versions of the Enterprise are impressive in their detail but the glittery orange biohazard suit from the episode The Naked Time is delightfully cheesy (note I use the word "cheesy" with nothing but great affection). You can also get an up close look at one of the tribbles that caused so much trouble, various phasers, and communicators. You will also find a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. praising Uhura for inspiring people of color in the sixties. That's the kind of broad appeal the series gained.

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TOS left a mark not only on a generation of sci-fi and fantasy fans but also on the entertainment industry and the world of science. Comic book artist and publisher Jim Lee is a fan of TOS and he pointed out that shows like TOS "stir up the imagination, they stir up the powers of creativity. You look at our cell phones and exploring space, these things might not happen without shows like these. It inspires the next wave of scientists and explorers."

So looking at my cell phone and the Star Trek communicator on display, I have to agree. Star Trek serves up a legacy worth celebrating and The Exhibition provides a fun and fitting tribute. So boldly go forth and enjoy. The San Diego Air and Space Museum is located in Balboa Park (2001 Pan American Plaza). For information call (619) 234-8291 or visit their website at www.aerospacemuseum.org .

TRIVIA: The Exhibition points out that Captain Kirk never actually said "Beam me up, Scotty!" But he did say, "Scotty, beam me up."