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Pictures from our photobooth. Throw up a red curtain on a wall, download Pocketbooth from the app store, point and click. Just add friends.

Cirque du Soleil’s IRIS

Film Strip

Photo: Matt Beard (c) 2011 Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil has long been a favorite of mine. My first time attending one of their shows was about 20 years ago with my mother and aunt. I was just a kid of 11 years, but remember being completely blown away at the unbelievable feats of acrobatic mastery contained within the temporary tent constructed in the South Coast Plaza parking lot. Over the years I would go on to see Mystère, O, Zumanity, Kà, and Love; all of which quickly became instant favorites of mine. So when I heard Cirque du Soleil was bringing an all new show to my city of Hollywood based around the art of cinema, I was more than ecstatic.

Playing at the Kodak Theatre, home to the annual Academy Awards show, IRIS by Cirque du Soleil is a live performance of uninhibited skill, daring, and imagination. Some of the world’s best acrobats converge on stage for a show like no other I have seen before, blending technology, music, and comedy with their hallmark brand of acrobatics. IRIS takes the viewer through an interpretive history of cinema starting all the way back to the shadow stories in prehistoric cave walls, to modern cinema. All the while, we follow the story of a young composer pursing his true love, a beautiful actress attempting to become a movie star.

The dreamlike sequences of acrobatics are brilliantly matched to an orchestral score by Danny Elfman. I can’t think of a better composer for such a unique show filled with crazy costumes and wildly imaginative sets. The live orchestra brings the show an added layer of energy and life that resonates throughout the theatre to the very last note.

The experience of watching IRIS is difficult to explain, as I believe it is probably different for each person. Part of the reasoning behind that is because there is so much going on at the same time during most of the acts that it would be impossible to see everything. One particular act that comes to mind is the Movie Set scene that opens up the second act. There are easily 20-40 people on stage during this scene, each one dressed in a different costume, and each one doing some sort of acrobatic feat on a different part of the stage. I tried as hard as I could to absorb everything but there was simply too much going on for me to process the entire scene. Imagine hitting a bee hive with a stick and the madness that would ensue. It was kind of like that.

And speaking of frenzied insects, the Kiriki act which featured eight acrobats dressed as colorful bugs, was a nail-biting experience as I watched them tumble and spin as they stacked themselves into a pyramid of bodies formed with precision. In fact, there were several moments of the night where I was on the edge of my seat filled with amazement at the seemingly impossible feats the performers executed with fluidity and ease. But like the contrast of light and shadow used throughout the show, there are also moments of calm and grace that contrast beautifully with the moments of higher tension and energy.

Perhaps my favorite part of the show was the way they used live video and projection in some of the acts to create effects that have to be seen to appreciate how amazing they are. Acrobats moving in front of a large black screen are recorded live and a series of still images of their silhouettes are projected behind them in sequence to give the impression of film frames being overlayed on top of each other to show their motion. Another time, a series of small rooms lined up side by side act as individual frames of a film strip as the characters record a quick 5 second snippet of video which is then echoed and replayed in each room in sequence as they make their way down the line of rooms, interacting with the video they just recorded. Again, my description doesn’t do it any justice; you really have to check it out live to appreciate it.

Without a doubt, IRIS has become one of my favorite live shows of all time. It is a spectacle of action and talent that will leave your heart racing and wanting more.


Jesse Is Like A Modern Day Robin Hood

Double Dart

3 x 2 = 6

A modern-day Robin Hood with bad aim. However, he did manage to throw a few darts at a dartboard and practically split one of them in half. The picture you see above is the actual outcome of two consecutive throws and was not set up manually or altered in any way. The tip of the second dart struck and wedged itself into the plastic fins of the first dart. The only thing that would have made this more awesome is if it hit any number higher than 3. At least he’s consistent.

Katrina’s Medieval Birthday

Katrina's Birthday

Let the games begin!

The night started off very promising when a girl scout came to Mike’s door selling cookies. We bought out her entire supply that she had with her and she had to go back to her mom’s car to get her reserves. We eventually made our way up to Medieval Times and were promptly ushered into the lobby and handed our Black & White crowns.

There was an hour of hanging out and drinking until we were allowed to go out tables. By then, most of us were feeling good and ready to enjoy the dinner and tournament. Our confidence led us to begin chants of “Red Knight’s going down! Down, down, down.” Believe it or not, you can’t trust movies from 1996 to predict the outcome of a fixed fight. B&W Knight was the first to go down, and Red Knight was the victor. I call bullshit.

Flickr Set: Katrina’s Birthday at Medieval Times

Back To My Mac – Practical Use/Joke

Jesse Poking His Head In

Smile, You're On Camera

Today at work, I was killing time during a render, when I stumbled across a great use for the Back To My Mac function of MobileMe. Essentially it is a feature that allows you to remotely connect to your Mac over the internet and see your files as if they were attached to your local computer as an external drive, or see your screen and control your computer from within a window. It works great when it works, but there have been several times where it won’t work due to incompatible routers or networks. I’ve actually read a few stories online about how people have recovered stolen MacBooks and MacBook Pros by watching the thief log into various sites and then reporting it to the authority. But that’s all besides the point of this post.

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Benelogo, originally uploaded by GBMB.

Killing time before heading down to Orange County. I took his existing logo and just turned it 3D in Cinema 4D and gave him a slogan, since every good business needs a slogan.

AC/DC Smoke

AC/DC Smoke

Originally uploaded by GBMB

trapcode particular + sound keys test

AJ showed me an awesome music video the other day and asked how they did it, so i tossed together a particle system and grabbed a song from my itunes to test it out. not nearly as cool, but somewhat close. i need particular 2.0 i think.

The Chronicles of a Time Traveling Idiot

If you haven’t been going to Eric Koziatek’s Comedy Collision show in Santa Monica every 1st Friday of the month, then you might have missed the greatest time traveling movie since Back to the Future III. We wrote this pretty much on the fly and shot it in about an hour. Jesse was a good sport and by channeling his high school acting coach he was able to turn in the performance of a lifetime. There has been talk of turning this into a trilogy, just like any other good intellectual piece, but for now, you will have to just keep hitting replay at the end of the video. Enjoy.

Who’s Your Lifeline?

If I ever ended up on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, I know that I would want one of two people to be my phone-a-friend. Jesse Collier or Matt Lundstrom. They’re my go-to guys when I have a question about damn near anything. Both are well-versed in computers and technology, while Jesse seems to have a slight lead with pop culture. Having them as friends is like having my own custom wikipedia.

The other day at work I was asked to design a graphic that was to be printed and affixed to a small trashcan. The prop was going to be used as an over-sized cup of soda for a shoot that we had coming up. After measuring the circumference of the base and rim of the trashcan as well as the height, I thought I had figured out everything I needed to know. I created a design in photoshop that was 36″ on top, 30″ on bottom and connected the ends of the two lines that were separated at the right distance forming a trapezoid. After printing up a small scale model I found the one major flaw in my design; it needed to be designed in an arc in order for it to wrap around the trashcan neatly.

Big Cup and Big Popcorn

After scratching my head for a few minutes I decided I wasn’t clever enough to figure out how to calculate the angle of the arc. I saw that Matt was online so I asked him if he could help. I gave him the dimensions of the can and a description of what I needed to accomplish. In about 5 minutes, he came back and IM’d me this file. Ridiculous.

Cup Diagram