Beakerhead announcement at the Grand
There was definitely some weird science going down at the Grand Theatre on Wednesday evening as the Beakerhead festival announced its arrival on the scene.
Aiming to be a fusion of science, engineering and creativity (a video presentation called to mind the kind of wacky robotic contraptions you see at Burning Man), Beakerhead is the brainchild of co-founders Jay Ingram, best known for his work with the Discovery Channel, and his partner Mary Anne Moser. Collaborating organizations at this point include the U of C’s Schulich School of Engineering, Mount Royal University, SAIT Poytechnic, Telus Spark, the Glenbow Museum and local arts groups such as the High Performance Rodeo, the Calgary Animated Objects Society and the Green Fools.
The evening was hosted by Ingram, who set the mood early on when he made his entrance in an automated golden-rod velvet easy chair, to the sounds of house band The Beakerthans, comprised of day-job engineers and scientists. Following his presentation Ingram joined the band on electric fiddle. The concept that science and engineering should be cause for a city-wide party carried over into the event reception at the Grand’s UBU theatre lounge, which featured a signature “screwdriver” cocktail served in — you guessed it — mini glass beakers.
At this point, the first Beakerhead is still a long way off — Wednesday’s event was basically an introduction. Next up is a preview version of the festival staged on the grounds of the 2012 Stampede, while the first stand-alone Beakerhead won’t take place until September 2013. However, with a strong start out of the gate, and a unique concept rooted in some of this city's most vital sectors, the festival appears to have what it takes to keep the momentum going.