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New Perspectives Grant Inspiring New Perspectives

June 11, 2017 • Los Angeles

south pole view of JupiterIn the last decade or so there have been several mind-bending images published of Jupiter and Saturn from unfamiliar perspectives. The Cassini probe has been at Saturn for a while, in 2006 showing us photos of the planet and its rings in silhouette with the sun behind—a perspective no human in history had ever seen. On its way to Saturn, Cassini flew by Jupiter, in 2000 producing a mesmerizing photo of that planet’s south pole.

In 2014 the plucky little probe found a structural hexagon at Saturn’s north pole, and more recently Juno, which arrived at Jupiter in mid-2016, produced an image of Jupiter’s south pole in stunning shades of blue with dramatic roiling cyclones.

These views are significant for more than just their novelty. We’re seeing these giant planets in ways no one in history ever has. Much like the nineteenth-century thinking about Mars and its canals has evolved to our current clearer understanding, we’re getting a better look at Jupiter and Saturn.

For me it’s always inspiring to see something familiar from a new perspective. It’s part of why repertory theater is meaningful; an old classic reinterpreted for today sheds new light on the original story, lets us obtain glimpses of the core truths therein. I’m lucky to live in a city with a lot, a lot of actors and other entertainment-industry luminaries, and because there’s so much downtime in film and TV production, there are some very talented people honing their skills on local stages. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be inspired by a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, or Hedda Gabler, or George Bernard Shaw’s You Never Can Tell. But ten years ago I hadn’t seen photos of storms brewing at Jupiter’s south pole either. The experience is similar: an opportunity to transcend the ordinary and the familiar, which for me fuels my own creative drive.

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