We're going to celebrate Lou Friedman's 30 years of service to the Planetary Society by mercilessly making fun of him at a gala "Roast and Toast" event in downtown Los Angeles on April 30. (We will probably say some very nice things about him too.) If you're reading this, you're invited to the dinner and entertainment at the lovely Cicada Restaurant; proceeds from the tickets sold will benefit the Society. Presenters include Bob Picardo, Bill Nye, and Neil Tyson, and of course Lou will be there, but I know you all will really want to come in order to meet me, right?
Buy your tickets here. We've also negotiated a good rate at the Pasadena Westin if you'd be coming in from out of town.
If you can't attend, you can send a tribute message (roasty or toasty) to Lou from the same page; an even better tribute would be to support the organization he founded and guided for 30 years by giving a donation to the Society in his honor!
I'll tell you my tribute: Lou's a visionary, with a thousand ideas a day. A few of them are even good ones! And I've never worked for anyone else who is so unruffled by frank criticism of the other 997 ideas. He may not agree with my opinions, but I've always been able to tell him what I really think. Also, Lou has a talent for finding silver linings in apparent disasters. He once reassured me that I'd somehow achieved an advantage for the Planetary Society by causing an international incident, a complaint to an embassy that was escalated all the way up to the State Department. (That's a story for another time.)
So I joke about roasting Lou, and there will certainly be horribly geeky jokes (and skits!) at his expense, but the event really will contain heartfelt tributes as well. I hope that some of you out there can join us for the fun!