Journey across the stars this Valentine’s Day

Image edited by Patrick Hascall

Valentine’s Day can be stressful having to buy chocolates and roses or just having the pressure to do something romantic and memorable.

This Feb. 14, however, WCC’s Hōkūlani Imaginarium is offering an affordable, out-of-the-box option for those 18 years or older–a special show called “Stargazing: Star-Crossed Lovers.”

There will be two shows that night at 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. The $10 cover includes admission, chocolates, roses and a photo booth.

“Stargazing” is typically a show put on every second Wednesday of the month at the Imaginarium in which veteran storyteller/presenter Krissie Kellogg gives a tour of the night sky, exploring our stars, planets and solar system as well as current events in space exploration.

“It’s very similar to the planetarium shows at the Bishop Museum you go to on field trips when you’re younger,” said former student Valerie Smith. “I love getting lost in the stars and constellations. It’s just like when I was a kid.”

Although “Stargazing” is usually a hit, the Valentine’s Day specials are extra popular. “They offer a unique type of night,” Kellogg said. “We’ve been doing them for four years now and the shows are usually very full.”

“Star Crossed-Lovers” focuses heavily on the love stories of Greek mythology, which is the reason for the minimum age.

“It’s awkward for me to tell kids in an audience that Zeus was married to his sister, Hera,” Kellogg said. “With the 18 and older rule in place, I don’t have to worry so much about editing the star stories.”

It’s these star stories that inspired Kellogg to not only study the night sky, but to educate and inspire other people as well.

Kellogg got her start in astronomy by simply wanting to learn about the constellations.

“My mother suggested that I try to get a job at the Bishop Museum Planetarium,” she said, though she had little initial knowledge of the stars. But she started volunteering and eventually landed a job doing two shows a week.

During this time, Kellogg was taking an Astronomy 110 class at WCC and the Imaginarium was still being built.

However, her professor, Dr. Joseph Ciotti offered her a job working in the Aerospace Exploration Lab, promising that she could do star shows in the Imaginarium once it was completed.

“That was a really long time ago, and here I am,” Kellogg said.

Kellogg continues to do the shows, maintaining that it’s important to perpetuate human interest in the night sky.

“The ancient people are the ones who started looking at the sky,” she said. “They knew the sky better than we can even imagine nowadays. They built monuments for the stars. They told stories about them. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”

And she has, especially for people like Valerie Smith.

Although Smith has never been to the Valentine’s Day special, she is confident that it will deliver.

“As if stargazing wasn’t romantic enough already,” she said.


by Cory Ogata, Special to Ka ‘Ohana