Earth is done. We had a good run, but between Donald Trump and the threat of nuclear annihilation I’m ready to get off this stinking rock. The stars, they are my destination. I’m lucky that there’s already an enterprising group of awesome weirdos setting up the kind of space colony I want to live on. No, I’m not talking about Elon Musk and his terrifying corporate-space enclaves. I mean the Asgardians, those fine folk already skirting Earth’s musty laws to set up a new civilization in the stars.
The space nation held an incredible ceremony on Monday inaugurating its self-declared leader Igor Ashurbeyli as its head of state. Ashurbeyli is a Russian billionaire whose money comes from weapons systems. His backing has allowed Asgardia to thrive and he wants the country to join the UN, but to do so it must have a functioning government. It elected a parliament in April (a motley collection of international characters between the ages of 40 and 80, as specified by the Asgardian constitution) followed by Ashurbeyli declaring himself head of state.
To celebrate the momentous occasion, the Asgardians held a fantastical celebration at the 13th century Hofburg palace, the former principal imperial palace in the center of Vienna, Austria. It was creepy. It was beautiful. It was elegant and magical in a way that Terra-based ceremonies no longer are and it began with children introducing cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev who shared a very special message from the International Space Station.
With extraterrestrial introductions out of the way, Ashurbeyli appeared to place his hand on the Asgardian constitution, swore to uphold its ideals, and donned the ceremonial Asgardian jeweled necklace. Disaster almost struck when the necklace was nearly put on backwards, but the benevolent Space-lord Ashurbeyli smiled and gently reminded his subject of the proper procedure.
Thus legitimized, Ashurbeyli delivered his first speech as head of Asgardia. Then the ceremony paused for half an hour and the entertainment really got going. What followed was a solid hour of world-class entertainment that kicked off with a Viennese opera star singing techno-style like she was the Diva from The Fifth Element .
The orchestra played while a couple danced the Flamenco.
A woman performed a Bollywood dance, a man sang about New York City, and the whole thing closed out with an incredible electric violin performance that brought the house down.
It was a night of culture and dance and strangeness. It was everything I want space and the future to be. Well, almost everything. It is being lorded over a Russian billionaire. But his smile was kind, his party was lit, and—right now—that might be the best we can hope for.