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Home » Features » Articles » “StarTalk All-Stars” premieres in New York City!

“StarTalk All-Stars” premieres in New York City!

In case you haven’t heard, Patreon is a new and personal way to interact with the content creators you love. As a huge fan of the StarTalk Radio Show, and its host Neil deGrasse Tyson, I joined their Patreon community last year once I read the plethora of available rewards for their top-end pledges (such as an invitation to this party!). I have found it to be a superb way to engage with some of the most popular faces in science–or science communicatorsin the game today. StarTalk’s groupin particular, is one of the best uses of this format I’ve seen, but there’s other excellent groups on the page like MinutePhysics and SciShow. Not only can you get early access to some of the best content from the podcast before anyone else, but the top-end pledges get you backstage access with the hosts of the show at StarTalk Live events!

Dr Funkyspoon (Dr David Grinspoon) slides down the red carpet.
Dr. Funkyspoon (Dr. David Grinspoon) slides down the red carpet in style!
The internet has done wonders for the science community. Websites like I Fucking Love Science garner millions of followers and countless hits to their website. With a public that has a growing interest in space and science, StarTalk saw the need to expand their current StarTalk brand with a spin-off series called “StarTalk All-Stars“, a show that will feature previous expert guests and guest hosts in the lead chair.
Future hosts including Bill Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society; Dr. Carolyn Porco, lead of the Cassini imaging team that brought us stunningly close to Saturn; Astronaut Dr. Mike Massimino; Astrophysicists Dr. Janna Levin, Dr Charles Liu,  and Dr. Emily Rice; Cosmoschemist, geologist and space scientist Dr. Natalie Starkey; and astrobiologist Dr. David Grinspoon, “Dr. Funkyspoon” himself. Also on tap are Dr. Helen Fisher, Dr. Seth Shostak, Dr. Amy Mainzer,  and many, many more. To celebrate the fans and the kick off of the new show,  StarTalk invited the members of their Patreon community to celebrate with a “Leap Into Launch” event on Leap Day 2016 in New York City.
It. Was. Amazing.
 Before the show, guests were informed that some of the aforementioned titans of science would be in attendance, but I honestly didn’t understand the scope until I was in the room. The recording studio had an intimate feel to it that can only be described as cozy, so it was impossible not to rub elbows with the voices we’ve all grown to know and love. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see a friendly face before I even walked in the door, as‘s Elliot Severn was awaiting an arrival of StarTalk mugs to be presented to the guests of the evening. Thus began the numerous face-to-face meetings I’d been so looking forward over the previous few months. The fellow Patrons I would meet were just as excited about space and science as I am, and I simply had to sit back and smile as conversations about the cosmos popped up all around me.
Stacey Severn, aka "The Fancy Flautist", community manager for StarTalk!
Stacey Severn, aka “The Fancy Flautist”, community manager for StarTalk!

This chance to see behind-the-scenes of how the show is made was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. First up, I have to commend community leaders like Stacey Severn, Community Manager, Laura Berland, Chief Marketing Officer, and Jeffrey Simmons, Social Media Director, as well as the rest of the team, for all they do to enhance the fan’s experience. The content is always top-notch, and they are quick to help in any way they can. On this night in particular they welcomed us with open arms (they quite literally rolled out the red carpet for us) and introduced us around to the stars of the show. With electric personalities like Leighann Lord and Chuck Nice firing off joke after joke, we all felt at home, as if we had always been a part of this very tight-knit group. There was an excellent selection of wine and craft beer–such as Ground Control, with its “yeast from Space”– to help the conversation flow throughout the night.

 As the party raged on, Chuck lead the plethora of talent through a multitude of segments for the new show; some live, some via Skype. As different experts took the helm, I couldn’t help but imagine the possibilities of this show moving forward. All-Stars will carry on the ever-popular “Cosmic Queries” with the charismatic new crew, and I can’t wait to see how each one tackles the on-the-fly questioning format. As I caught bits and pieces of the recordings, I witnessed each skillful science authority bring their signature flavor to the show. Any single one of them could take over the show regularly and draw similar listenership. I believe they have a sure-fire hit on their hands here. Just wait.
If you’re as big a fan of the show as I am, then all I can say is “get ready”. It’s about to expand in excellent ways, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. One of the main things desperately needed in this day and age is higher levels of science literacy and space advocacy, and with headliners like these, it’s a show that is impossible to listen to and not learn something. This night was the rare oddity where we toasted to science’s popularity and  rapidly-approaching “Golden Age”! A rare occasion indeed.
Chuck Nice gives the "How awesome is this?" look...I think.
Chuck Nice gives the “How awesome is this?” look…I think.
On a personal note: I was able to meet my biggest influence in the science community, Neil Tyson, and he was just as approachable as the rest of the talent in the room. I tried (and failed) to articulate my nervousness and he was quick with a kind word and a joke to help me get beyond my anxiety. They say you should never meet your heroes, but I assure you he is one of the exceptions to that rule.
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