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.