A new multi-disciplinary, eclectic new cultural festival kicks off tonight at the Exploratorium, but there are multiple events happening at venues across the city all weekend.

It's called MAX — short for Media Art Xploration — and it's the brainchild of Harvard professor and theater director Kay Matschullat. She tells the Chronicle's Datebook that the fest grew out of an interdisciplinary piece she was working on about the 1969 moon landing, which involved both engineers and performers.

As Matschullat says in a statement, "At this time of speed-of-light scientific innovation, we thought it time to bring together artists, humanists, scientists and artist-engineers to engage the public and ignite the imagination around these advances, and in doing so, take some to time to ask the question: ‘What kind of new Space Age is this?’"

She adds, "There is no better city for such a meeting of the minds and the machines than San Francisco."

The festival begins with the Exploratorium's After Dark program this evening, beginning with a playful talk and movie montage led by local artist and writer Sarah Hotchkiss, titled Space Travel Sci-Fi Style. (The program will be repeated Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m.)

Also being performed at the Exploratorium this evening is a human-robot dance collaboration called “Pas de Deux,” created by roboticist Alexander Reben and dancer-choreographer Alice Sheppard. Sheppard's movements in the piece are tracked by some software created by Reben, and then translated into paintbrush and pen marks by a robotic arm.

Friday afternoon at the California Academy of Sciences there's an "Outta This World Poetry Slam," outside in the Piazza.

Friday night at the Exploratorium, the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet will be performing its 2017 eclipse-inspired piece "233rd Day, before and after Totality." And at 10 p.m. at Z Space, there's an "extraterrestrial" space-themed drag show.

On Saturday, there's an educational program in the Academy of Sciences called "Star Stories," featuring interactive exhibits and presentations including photomurals created by Lakota youth to express their connection to the cosmos.

Also Saturday there's a jazz cabaret at Z Space called "The Outer Space," along with a closing night party.

There are individual event tickets as well as a weekend Max Pass you can purchase here. The individual events range in price (some are free), and the Max Pass is $99.

Top Image: Christine Zuercher