Laser show on Lily Rock aims to awe on Fourth

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Gary Kuscher (left) and Chic Fojtik on the second story of The Fort in Idyllwild displaying a sign advertising the inaugural Fourth of July night “Laser Lights on Lily Rock” holiday entertainment. Photo courtesy Chic Fojtik

Charles “Chic” Fojtik and wife Pamela were firework show devotees prior to moving to the Hill. Pamela, who died on Christmas Day 2016, missed the fireworks but loved living on the Hill after moving here from the South Bay in 2004.

Fojtik, along with friend, gallery owner and former Art Alliance President Gary Kuscher, hope to induce the same “oohs and aahs” that come with fireworks on the evening of July Fourth with a professional laser show to be shown on the face of Lily Rock. The show, created by Los Angeles-based Laserium Daystar, the leading name in laser-based entertainment, will be patriotic in theme and, in this first year, financed by Fojtik in honor of his wife and her love for the Fourth of July.

Said Fotjik, the show will only be using the face of Lily Rock as a screen and since no beams will extend upward, no aircraft will be impacted.

Laserium Daystar is obtaining all necessary permits “They [Laserium] do have a specific document regarding the aviation permit,” said Fotjik. Also, Fotjik is attempting to consult with Native American tribes about the show. “Pamela was one-eighth Cree, so it’s important to speak with the tribes.”

The Fotjiks had first seen a laser show in Egypt, when one was projected on the Great Pyramid. “We wondered why the same approach could not be done here,” said Fojtik. “This all got started before Pamela died.”

After her passing, Fotjik contacted Jon Robertson, associate creative director for Laserium Daystar. “After a visit to the Hill, Jon assured us that his team could indeed create a spectacular experience,” said Fotjik.

“I’m certain that once it is seen, there will be a desire to make it a permanent element of the Idyllwild July Fourth celebration. It will also give day  visitors a solid reason to extend  their time in Idyllwild, ” Kuscher said.

As with fireworks, the 30-minute inaugural laser show should begin around 9 p.m. for maximum effectiveness. Presenters are working to make a musical score meant to accompany the show available as audio on smart phones. Fotjik noted that Josh White, Idyllwild Inn, had donated a cabin for the Laserium crew.

The Idyllwild Rotary Club’s annual Fourth of July parade begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 4, at Fern Valley Corners.

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  1. Dear Mr. Kuscher and Mr. Fotjik,
    Those of us in the upper Fern Valley area are still recovering from the insolence, trash, and vandalism left behind by the snow-visitors who trespassed on our properties during the weekends and holidays of this past winter. In anticipation of the crowds on the 4th of July who will stay around to partake of the laser light show, many taking their parties to the views of the higher grounds (upper Fern Valley near Humber Park), have you arranged for extra patrolling of the area to ensure the safety of the residents and visitors? And trash pick-up? The date has obviously been pre-set, the event booked. Now it’s time to prepare for the minutiae that aren’t as fun or as glamorous as a laser light show but nonetheless may have consequences remaining past the date.

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  2. I once joked that we should have an image of a Lemon lily projected on Lily Rock during the Lemon Lily Festival. It now seems it is possible.

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  3. Dear Sirs
    Did anyone gave a thought as to what effect this show will have on our wildlife? There is not much wildlife on Egyptian pyramids and Lily Rock set up is completely different so comparing the two is unfair. Laser beams are used to scare wildlife from encroaching on areas they are unwanted in, but now we will encroach on rightful occupiers of wilderness for what – 30 minutes of ohs and ahs? I dislike fireworks as they bring misery to pets and wildlife and was grateful that Idyllwild was free of them but it seems that humans are still able to make life stressful to creatures other than us.

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  4. Has anyone given thought of the rock climbing community? Tahquitz is a global destination for them. Night climbing is regular discipline. What happens in coastal communities when the surf culture is trespassed? As much as I was heartened by Rob’s (nephew of John Muir) kind sounding of alarm, Tahquitz is rather a legendary Cahuilla shaman commanding dark forces, especially the seismic….. Chuck Stroud Idyllwild

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  5. I thought this was discussed and it was acknowledged Tahquitz Rock is sacred. This is not what one should expect from the protectors of this mountain. Is it too late to stop this event? This is a really bad idea.

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    • Matthew Wettlaufer July 3, 2017, 1:39 pm

      Totally agree, my friends who are Cahuilla are incensed about this. Lily Rock is a sacred place for them–this is a cheap and tacky slap in their face.

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  6. I respect the comments here of those who feel Tahquitz is sacred, those who want to keep the area clean and protect wildlife. But I believe we can have our celebration and not violate those requests. Lasers are not likely to harm wildlife, especially when projected against a solid backdrop. Truth is, they are much less harmful than the explosions and smoke from actual fireworks. As for the indigenous element, let’s be respectful and say a prayer of gratitude. Again, it’s a light, and might just be less disruptive than climbers hammering into the rock (something else I condone because serious climbers and hikers are normally exceptionally respectful of both nature and sacred sites). As for the trash, it’s a great point, and we should make sure people know to haul out anything they bring up. If not, I’ll be the first to say let’s not do it again. And finally I want to thank Chic for underwriting what I sincerely hope will become an annual event. Fingers crossed.

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  7. Hi folks,
    I think it’s a cool idea, if done respectfully with a well thought-out plan. I don’t live on the hill, and understand that some moved there for peace & quite & to enjoy being surrounded by nature, (I live in a similar area at the base of San Jac).

    I’ll bet the local business’ will benefit from this event, allowing those that live there, (& those that don’t), to obtain goods & services w/out driving 30+ mins.
    There’s always a balance to be struck when holding an event in nature, remember the amazing Firefall in Yosemite, that Huell Howser did a piece on? Like it or not, Idyllwild & surrounding areas are somewhat dependent on tourism, as is Palm Springs & Joshua Tree.
    The wildlife that may live or frequent the face of Lilly Rock at night will manage, as they do in 70 mph winds, freezing & thawing, pollution from humans in that area, etc.
    To me, it’s a very unique way to have people gather to celebrate this great country & the freedom we all enjoy.

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  8. Samantha Thornsberry July 2, 2017, 6:00 pm

    This is a disrespectful act against our beautiful pristine mother, and this frivolous entertainment is sacrilegious to the Cahuilla people’s beliefs.

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  9. Matthew Wettlaufer July 3, 2017, 1:44 pm

    You need to speak with the Cahuilla before you do this because so far it has not been cleared with their tribal council. Lily Rock is sacred territory for them, it plays an important role in their religious beliefs–out of respect they are the ones whose permission you need. As far as I’m concerned, having lived in Idyllwild since 1968, I find the whole thing tacky and garish–we don’t need to “dazzle” anybody with a substitute for fireworks. Our wilderness is good enough as it is.

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  10. No one has reached out to the tribe’s for their input. Could someone provide a number and email for Mr. Fotjik?

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  11. James Tompkins July 4, 2017, 8:28 pm

    Thank you Chic for all of your hard work and service to our community!

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  12. Would you pay for it with your csa 36 parcel recreation fees? That show was pricey, and offended lots. From their perspective why not the whole rim? As I understand it the lasers left the rock numerous times and sliced across the controlled airspace of palm springs airport. Way to go! Idyllwild arrogance at its best!

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  13. Wanna bet Marshall writes the story calling it a resounding sucess worthy of residents flipping the bill kinda like pickle ball?

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