2013-04-06 - 2013-04-07


Saturday April 6th + Sunday April 7, Noon-5pm
at Friperie Potetr

Registration: $24
Instructor: Neil Calderone

In just over a century’s worth of genre cinema, filmmakers have conjured countless alien creatures, races and habitats to populate their imaginative stories of close encounters and invasion. Our goal in this course will be to investigate the scientific plausibility of various cinematic alien physiologies, behaviors, motivations and anatomical structures that would seem to push science and logic to the limits of our knowledge (and beyond). We will also speculate on the probable habitats and ecology of certain cinematic alien species' home solar systems based on their “strange” behaviors and physiologies.

Is there any likelihood of an alien with a mouth that contains a proboscis designed to terrify its prey? What about an alien race that abducts people only to come back years later to impregnate randomly selected females to give birth to fully grown abductees so that they can give their children psychic black magic powers to summon panthers to kill people that irritate them? These are just a few of the many cases that we will investigate using modern theories of evolutionary biology, zoology, comparative anatomy/physiology, biochemistry, ecology, biophysics, environmental biology, organic chemistry, entomology, astrobiology and other scientific disciplines.

We will also take a look at some earthly organisms exhibiting seemingly impossible behaviors and physiologies that have inspired filmmakers in the creation and design of their alien organisms.

No science prerequisites are necessary for this class. All scientific concepts will be applied directly to various examples of cinematic aliens, and will be elaborated upon to the degree students are comfortable with. The course will be student-centered, with a variety of illustrative visuals. Films and/or clips to be screened may include ALIEN, XTRO, BREEDERS and many more. Join instructor Neil Calderone to discover the plausibility of what truly might be out there!

tl_files/images/Bio pic.jpgInstructor: Neil Calderone
While a lifelong fan of genre films, Neil Calderone is primarily a scholar and educator. He spent approximately a decade in college earning a BS in Biology with minors in Ancient Greek, Chemistry, Latin and Music. He then went on to work on an MS in Bioorganic Chemistry. Neil is a former Bioorganic Chemist whose research was in the synthetic design of "lock picks" for the nucleus of human cells. He left the scientific field to pursue his passion for education. He is now a high school science teacher at one of the top-rated high schools in Chicago. Neil is also the founder and film programmer of the Chicago Cinema Society ( whose goal is to provide fantastic film festival programming all year long. The Chicago Cinema Society has received many accolades from local media such as winning a prestigious "Best of Chicago" award from the prominent local magazine The Chicago Reader.

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