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“Something wonderful is about to happen” at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences | Feb 5

RoySchrieder

In the very near future a small group of Americans and Russians set out on the greatest adventure of them all … To see if there is life beyond Glenwood South. The answer is yes, when “2010: The Year We Make Contact” comes to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on Friday, February 5 at 7 p.m. Free.

In the year 2001, Capt. Dave Bowman was taken by a large black monolith and transformed into a powerful being. Now, in the year 2010, a joint American-Soviet expedition must travel to Jupiter to reactivate the psychotic HAL9000 computer and discover the meaning of Bowman’s last, mysterious transmission: “My God, it’s full of stars …”

This early ‘80s follow-up to “2001: A Space Odyssey” is full of stars; no mystery there. Roy Scheider plays Heywood Floyd, the man held responsible for the USS Discovery mission’s failure nine years earlier, while John Lithgow plays crewmate Walter Curnow and Helen Mirren is Russian Captain Tanya Kirbuk. Scheider was huge in the ‘70s, starring in “French Connection,” “Jaws” and “All That Jazz”. But did you know his acting career first came to life in the below B-grade horror flick “The Curse of the Living Dead” in 1964?

Decorated stage actor Lithgow, winner of two Tony Awards, is (sadly) probably best known for his portrayal of Dick Solomon in the late ‘90s TV series “Third Rock from the Sun.” Lithgow also provided the voice of Yoda for the NPR adaptation of the Star Wars Trilogy and is rumored to be lending his voice (again, sadly) to an animated movie trilogy of “The Smurfs,” currently in production. Oscar-winner Mirren (“The Queen”), likewise a veteran of the stage, is well-known for her role as detective Jane Tennison in the long-running, multiple-award-winning TV drama “Prime Suspect.” In 2005, Mirren provided the voice for the supercomputer “Deep Thought” in the film adaptation of Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” In “2010,” Keir Dullea reprises his role as the evolved Bowman while the voice of HAL9000 is reprised by Douglas Rain, who also voiced the evil computer and various robot butlers in Woody Allen’s futuristic spoof “Sleeper” (1973).

2010,” like its predecessor, is based on an Arthur C Clarke novel. In fact, Clarke appears in the film, first as the man feeding the pigeons while Dr. Floyd is engaged in a conversation in front of the White House. Later, in the hospital scene with David Bowman’s mother, an image of the cover of Time magazine portrays Clarke as the American President and Stanley Kubrick as the Russian Premier. This image might be a window into Clarke’s feelings for Kubrick, the director with whom he co-wrote the novel and screenplay for “2001,” since it is fairly well known that the two collaborators ended up at odds over the final cut of the film. Clarke wrote two other sequels that have not (yet) been adapted to the cinema ― “2061: Odyssey Three” and “3001: The Final Odyssey.”

The Museum stays open from 5 to 9 pm on the first Friday of every month. Arrive early and wander through eye-catching exhibits highlighting the natural beauty of North Carolina, enjoy snacks and beverages from the Acro Café, and groove to live blues from Steve Harvell (harmonica) and Daniel Sean (guitar) starting at 6 pm. Additionally, the Museum Store offers after-hours shopping and an opening reception (6:30-8:30 pm) for artists from the Triangle Plein Air Society, whose paintings of Prairie Ridge in the fall will be on display February 5-28. All exhibited art is for sale.

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences is located in downtown Raleigh at 11 West Jones Street. Parking is available on the street and in surface lots along Wilmington and Edenton streets. For more information, contact Steve Popson at 919-733-7450 x379.

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