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Bill NyeMay 5, 2011

We Roasted and We Toasted...

Last Saturday, April 30, 2011, the Planetary Society roasted and toasted Lou Friedman -- our cofounder and retiring Executive Director.

It was a lovely and fun party at the remarkable Cicada Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, hosted by gala co-chairs, Board Member Neil deGrasse Tyson and me, the new Planetary Society Executive Director. The fete was both a successful fundraiser for our organization and a heartfelt tribute to Lou's 30 years at the helm of the organization.

We met up with old colleagues and made new friends. The Not Ready for Planetary Players (the staff) presented a comedy sketch that featured Advisory Board member Robert Picardo of Star Trek Voyager fame playing Lou himself. Robert also sang some Planetary Society songs along with chanteuse and longtime friend of Lou, Angela Brown.

I served as master of ceremonies, along with my good friend Neil. Several wonderful roasts were presented by Lou's old cronies, including John Casani, Jim Burke, Michael Shermer, John Garvey, Tom Thornbury, Slava Linkin, Mike Brown (a video roast), and Dave Doody, as well as Board members Jim Bell, Joe Ryan, John Logsdon, and, of course, Neil. There were plenty of laughs -- really. And, there were some wonderful warm tributes. It was a delightful evening.

I'd like to again thank our sponsors, Joseph and Kathy Ryan, Toshiba America, Bamag Industries, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stellar Exploration, and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. and the many members and friends who represent 30 years of the Planetary Society and our myriad projects.

Thank you, too, to all who sent in your roasts and toasts for Lou. He's going to enjoying reading them over the weeks to come.

We had an outstanding time celebrating our first 30 years, and we're excited indeed about the next 30 and what's to come.

A delightful evening

The Planetary Society

A delightful evening
Well-wishers crowded Cicada Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, April 30 to "roast and toast" co-Founder and former Executive Director Louis Friedman at a gala to benefit the Planetary Society. Embracing the evening's baseball them, Lou donned his favorite team's choice of evening wear, a Yankees inspired striped tux.
Our gala co-hosts

The Planetary Society

Our gala co-hosts
Planetary Society Executive Director Bill Nye and Society Board Member Neil deGrasse Tyson delighted guests with their wit and warmth as co-hosts of the Planetary Society Roast and Toast of co-Founder and former Planetary Society Executive Director Louis Friedman.

Bob Picardo as Lou Friedman

The Planetary Society

Bob Picardo as Lou Friedman
In addition to captivating the audience with song, Planetary Society Adviser and Star Trek Voyager actor Robert Picardo joined a cast of Planetary Citizens to star as Lou Friedman in a sketch that paid tribute to Lou's passion for baseball and creative space exploration, "The First Off-World Series."

Read more: fun, Planetary Society People, Planetary Society, Bill Nye

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Bill Nye

Chief Executive Officer for The Planetary Society
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