Audio/visual experience comes to the Versant Power Astronomy Center for limited run

A unique audio-visual experience is coming to the Versant Power Astronomy Center this month.

The Center is playing host to Mesmerica, a visual music journey that brings the mesmerizing music of Grammy-nominated composer and percussionist James Hood together with visually-hypnotic, 3D animated art curated from artists around the world, creating an immersive experience designed to transcend time, relax, soothe, and stimulate the mind and senses.

Mesmerica has toured all over North America, bringing this incredible spectacle to planetariums near and far. And now, it’s coming to Orono, courtesy of Versant Center director Shawn Laatsch.

Laatsch is always on the hunt for engaging programming, so it’s no surprise that something like Mesmerica might catch his eye. But what was it about this particular experience that got his attention?

“I had a chance to see it at a planetarium conference and found it to be an interesting experience,” said Laatsch. “The music is relaxing and the imagery is fun and energizing. The program features the music of James Hood, formerly of The Pretenders, in an interesting, meditative way.

“The show has performed exceptionally well at other planetariums in the US and Canada too,” he continued. “James Hood also was involved in Moodswings, which performed live at a planetarium I worked in right after college and I really enjoyed it.”

Shows like Mesmerica are a key component of the Versant Center’s mission, expanding the community’s understanding of just what a valuable resource it has in its midst and building on the foundation of astronomy and space sciences to present a wider variety of programming.

“The modern planetarium like ours is a visualization tool so we are able to present content in a variety of ways, from live music like the Baroque Orchestra of Maine (BOOM) to plays like Silent Sky to programming in a variety of science and cultural realms.”

While this show will certainly appeal to regular attendees of events at the Versant Center, Laatsch says that this sort of programming also serves to draw in audiences that might not be as familiar with what they have to offer.

“We see this as a way to raise awareness of how our programming has expanded in many ways, and the Mesmerica team does a variety of promotion and advertising which benefits facilities like ours who have limited funds to promote programs,” he said.

Laatsch went on to add that the Mesmerica team provides promotion and handles all ticketing and check-in, which is different than their usual fare and more along the lines of the aforementioned BOOM concerts and the production of Silent Sky done in cooperation with True North Theatre.

“Our goal is to try to reach the broadest, most diverse audiences possible in exciting new ways,” said Laatsch. “Shows like this help us do just that.”

Mesmerica opens at the Versant Power Astronomy Center on September 23. For showtimes and tickets, visit their website here. Please note that seating is limited, so patrons are advised to purchase tickets early. For more information about the Versant Center’s regular programming, visit their website here.