At Seattle’s World Fair: space was the place

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair — an event shaped by the Soviet Union’s launch of sputnik, President Eisenhower’s creation of NASA and President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon.

I’ve been working on a series of short radio pieces about the fair with public radio station KUOW and Jack Straw Productions and had lots of fun working on this piece we’ve titled “Space the Place,” which includes parts of my interview with astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, who attended the fair when she was 13 years old and already certain that she’d make her way into space.

Please give a listen and let me know what you think.

The project is funded by 4Culture in Seattle.

NASA: savvy art collector

Turns out NASA hasn’t been focusing all its energy on poking around in space.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has also been creating a unique and, now, very valuable art collection.

Chirs and Batty Explore Space, by Willam Wegman

Chip and Batty Explore Space, by William Wegman. Courtesy NASA Art Program


It started back in 1962 with the creation of the NASA Art Program and ever since then the agency has been inviting well known artists to document the space program.

The work includes paintings, drawings photographs, sculptures and other media by the likes of Annie Leibovitz, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, William Wegman (above) and Jamie Wyeth.

Curious to see what they’ve got? Starting Saturday, May 28, 2011, more than 70 pieces from the collection go on view in Washington, D.C. at the National Air and Space Museum.

Here are a few more samples:
Grissom and Young, by Norman Rockwell

This 1965 painting by Norman Rockwell shows astronauts John Young and Gus Grissom suiting up for the first flight of the Gemini program in March 1965. As in the William Wegman photo above, NASA loaned Norman Rockwell a spacesuit so the work would be as accurate as possible.

Liftoff at 15 seconds by Jack Perlmutter, 1982

Liftoff at 15 seconds by Jack Perlmutter, 1982

Space Shuttle Columbia rises from Kennedy Space Center on its third flight into space, on March 22, 1982.

These and close to 70 other space-related art pieces from NASA’s collection are on display as part of NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. May 28 – October 9, 2011.

Thanks, NASA!

Feeling spacey?

NASA planets

If you’re a wee bit crafty, then NASA and Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade arts and crafts, want to hear from you.

The two groups are hosting a “Space Craft,”  contest seeking original handmade items or works of art inspired by NASA and NASA’s programs, such as the Space Shuttle Program, aeronautics, science and exploration of the universe.


The deadline is November 2nd and entries can be two-dimensional original art (painting, drawing, prints, mixed media, photographic and computer generated prints) or three-dimensional, such as wearable art and soft sculptures.

The grand prize winner gets a $500 Etsy shopping spree and an trip, with a guest, to February’s shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  Three Best in Category winners will get $250 and gifts from Etsy and NASA.

I’m working on my entry, but here’s a link to some of the artwork already submitted.

And for inspiration, here’s one of my favorite space videos, Gumby on the Moon.

Love the layover: Chicago

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to find out exactly what’s going on in a city when you touch down at the airport?

Well, for the next six months, when you touch down at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport you’ll be able to find out what’s going on in town at two “Explore Chicago” lounges promoting the City of Chicago’s tourism website.


The lounges have these HP Touchsmart PCs, comfortable seating (always appreciated) and giant, GigaPan ultra high-resolution panoramas showing iconic Chicago locations including the skyline, Millennium Park, and the interior of the Field Museum.

In addition to the Touchsmart PCs, there are a few computers that let you explore NASA’s website.


The lounges are in Terminal 2; another 50 Touchsmart PC’s are scattered throughout the airport.