Welcome to the Sound and Light Show

Sort of a diary for myself ... but you can read it too.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hothouse 2007

Random Pictures from the Hothouse 2007 Party:

Monday, August 27, 2007

I told you that ...

... that disco ball was big.

I unfortunately took a camera to the event this weekend that had dead batteries in it. I'll have more pics of the Hothouse Party up as soon as friends start posting them online.Disco Ball photos courtesy of J-'Mall$'

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Disco Balls

Last night I had a chance to see, up close, the biggest Disco Ball I have ever seen in my life. I couldn't put my arms around it it was so big and I certainly couldn't pick it up. It had to be close to 5 ft in diameter. I got to see the thing being hung in a circus tent that will be used as a DJ dance tent this weekend at the Hothouse 2007 Fundraiser party I've been working with. It took 3 guys and forklift to get the sucker hung in the middle of the tent ... and the DJ booth is being constructed in the center of the tent underneath the disco ball - it should be a pretty neat scene.

The Hothouse Event is coming together nicely. I made a site visit to the party space last night to go over my groups role in the event (which is making sure the waste stream of the event is handled properly - recycling and garbage removal, etc). The space for the event is actually spanning an area of about 2 square blocks. This area is being transformed into it's own little, living 'village' complete with entertainment, art, live music, exhibitions, food and drink, programming, etc. There will even be a temporary jazz club created for the night, a small movie theater, dance tent (as mentioned above), hot metal casting (It's pittsburgh, can't forget the steel making), auction house and small art museum. You have to see it to believe it. It's amazing how many people are involved and working together to make something like this happen. I've been busy at least 3 or 4 nights a week getting ready for my part in the event and I can only imagine what the other people go through to transform a few blocked off streets and parking lots into an event of this size. I'll be posting pictures after the party takes place this Saturday.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mullets and Fireworks

I got to see Styx play at PNC Park last night after the Pirate Game. The show was not bad but they didn't actually play a full set since their appearance was part of the 'Skyblast' event which included a fireworks display during the concert. It was kind of a weird set up because Styx would play a song or two and then the stage would go black and then fireworks would start going off coordinated to songs by other aging, classic rockers played over the PA system. After the brief sound and light show, Styx would come back on and play another 'hit' or two and then lather, rinse, and repeat - Fireworks, Boom, etc.

I did get to see and hear them play 'Blue Collar Man', 'Fooling Yourself', 'Lady' and of course the favorites 'Come Sail Away' and 'Renegade' so it was worth it (even if Dennis DeYoung is no longer with the band).

Incidently, the Pirates won the game too, 10 to 7 over the Mets. The game was pretty exciting; scoring in every inning except the 9th and the Pirate's managed to hit a ball out of the park (completely out of the park - something you don't see everyday) ... but it was a long game (3 hrs:15 min) ... and very hot and humid (82 degrees at the first pitch). The park was sold out, and not just on paper, I'm talking it looked like there was not an empty seat in the house.

Thanks to 'Moon Over Pittsburgh' for the tix.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Budos Band

I went and saw The Budos Band play at the Shadowlounge last night. Wow ... yet another funky night in the 'burgh. The Budos Band is an 11 piece afro beat band on Daptone Records hailing from Staten Island ... and I'll just say that they blew the room away. The air conditioning definitely lost the battle last night against the heat radiating from the 100 or so people that crammed the lounge. At one point, I saw 'SMI' pushing his way through the dancefloor holding an industrial floor fan high above his head just trying to cool off the overheating crowd and bring some relief ... but hey, what's a good funk and soul party if you don't have a standing room only crowd of sweaty people all dancin' and groovin' ready to pass out from the heat?

and here is a video by them:

I ended the night by hitting up Kelly's Bar and Lounge for last call. 'Meg F' and I danced to some Sam Cooke played from the jukebox and then we closed the night out with a sing along to some Johnny Cash. Pretty good for a wednesday night.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

48 Hour Film Project Update 4

Yesterday was the awards ceremony and final screening of the ten best pgh films submitted to the contest. I didn't make it to the show because I was hosting people at my house but was at home eagerly awaiting a text message with the results. Around 8pm I still hadn't heard anything from the film maker so I texted asking, "so how did the film do?"

my phone lit up instantly with a response, "we won!"

Ha ha ha. I literally jumped out of my seat.

A little later I received another text message stating, "We also won Audience Choice, Best Editing, Best Direction (honorable mention) as well as Best in the City. We're making another movie for the national contest."

Wow ... that is completely awesome and I am so excited for Orionvega Designs. I'm also pretty psyched that I was a part of the whole project, even if it was in such a small amount.

Prizes for City Winner:
  • A Trophy
  • Filmapalooza: The City Winner will be screened at Filmapalooza, the official 48Hour Film Project Awards Weekend, held in the past at SXSW in Austin and Cinequest in San Jose.

  • National DVD Distribution: A selection of the City Winning films will receive distribution on DVD.

  • Second-round contests: US City Winners are eligible for the Fall Shootout and HD Showdown.
and now ... on to the national competition.

You can go here to see the results yourself.

and you can check out their short film that won it all at this website.

Friday, August 10, 2007

48 Hour Film Project Update 3

Just got the news ... the film made it to the final ten which will be screened during the awards ceremony tomorrow. I hope this means the film won some type of award ... (best music perhaps?) ... We'll find out tomorrow.

Welcome to the Dark Ages

So I was without electricity at my home for a total of 17 hours yesterday. 2 hours in the morning and then another 15 hours from mid-afternoon to early this morning.

15 hours ... 2:56pm Thursday through 5:55am Friday morning to be exact. (I know this because I was home for most of the day - the building where I have my office located was also without power for half of the afternoon.)

17 hours is a little ridiculous ... Granted, the storms that hit Western Pa yesterday were pretty bad ... I wouldn't be that upset ... but what was really annoying me (other than having to sit in the dark and heat) was that half of the houses on my street had power restored to them as early as 9pm last night. I could look out of the 2nd floor window of my house, out over the rest of my neighborhood, and see that all of the homes had electricy. I called the Electric Company to ask about this but I only got an automated response telling me I would have power restored by midnight. It really did seem like my street, or half of my street, was the only one in the dark.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

My most anticipated film of 2007

Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover and Mia Farrow under the direction of Michel Gondry. Can't ... possibly ... wait.

48 Hour Film Project Update 2

I went to the screening of the film last night. Packed house. Actually I got to see 12 short films last night. 35 film makers signed up for the contest here in Pgh, 28 film makers completed films, 23 of those filmmakers completed their films on time within the 48 hour deadline.

As I mentioned before, all of the film makers had to incorporate the same character, prop and a line of dialogue in their film, given to them at the beginning of the 48 hour period by the judges of the project. The film makers also didn't know what genre they were to produce until the beginning of the contest. Here is what they ended up being.

The Character = Jason / Julie Whittaker - Camp Counselor
The Prop = Tea Cup
Line of Dialogue = "I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Genres = Buddy Film, Drama, Comedy, Horror, Musical/Western, Cop/Detective, Love Story, etc. etc.

It was fun to see what people produced having to use the above criteria within all of the different genres.

The quality of the films (direction, acting, writing, etc) spanned from very, very amateurish to pretty good quality. The film I worked on landed in the latter. (the director is a an actual TV commercial director) ... but again, everyone only had 48 hours to complete the whole project ... and it showed in some films.

The film I contributed to was of the Cop/Detective Genre and the film maker based the short film about a Meter Maid training a protege' ... very tongue and cheek. My music was used briefly but effectively in the opening sequence and then in another high energy character intro sequence. I got many compliments from people I was introduced to last night ... it was very cool and humbling.

Out of the all the films viewed (again, we saw only 12 in our group and another 11 will be shown tonight) the film I worked on looked the most polished. Seriously. The film maker got the rights to film shots of PNC park so that helped. The actors used were all top notch. Most of them didn't even know each other and met for the first time at the beginning of the shoot. The film maker actually used craigslist to find actors, make up artists, etc. One of the make up artists found was actually from Tom Savini's FX School.

The film was the last one shown at the screening and it definitely got the biggest laughs and biggest applause of the whole night. We got to vote for our 3 favorite films as part of an audience appreciation contest. The films will later be judged by professionals in the local film and TV business and another screening of the ten best films followed by an awards ceremony will be held this Saturday. They are actually giving out awards for every category like best direction, best actor, best actress, best MUSIC ... etc. etc.

Fingers crossed ... the winning film goes up against all of the other winners from cities from around the world.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

48 Hour FIlm Project Update

The Pittsburgh film team, Orionvega Design, has created a website about the film they produced and submitted to the 48 Hour Film Project.

The film is titled, 'Time's Up' and you can read more about it here.

Thanks to 'Joran and Lowe' for the opportunity to help out with the film.

Radio play ...

I also just got word yesterday that my last DJ mix is going to be aired on our local radio station 91.3 FM WYEP at the end of the month. A buddy who is programming director for the station heard my mix over at radiohypno.com (Thanks again to Hypnotyza) and contacted me about hosting it on his show called The Dubmission.

But it doesn't end there ... as well as getting radio play ... my mix will also be hosted as a podcast ... plus hosted and played on lastfm.com, beyondjazz.net and virb.com as well as in the giantstep.net forums and on radiopellenera.com out of Italy.

I'll take it.

The mix will be played here on our local FM between the hours of 2am to 3:45am on Sunday Sept. 2nd.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Landscaping 106

The mixture of rain and extreme heat has kept me from working on my backyard landscaping as often as I would like so I installed a ceiling fan in my bedroom this weekend instead.

I did however find time to make one run to Home Depot early on Sunday to grab the last of the retaining wall stones that I needed to complete the second wall. As I was loading the stones into my car at Home Depot it started to rain. I got home and wanted to just leave the stones in my car since it was so wet out but I had a meeting to get to and I didn't want to drag over 400 lbs of stone all over town with me (bad for my little old Ford Escort). I sucked it up and started to unload the stones in the rain. This meant taking the stones (two at a time) from my car at street level, up my front steps to a dolly, then carting the dolly full of stones (about 8 stones) around to the back of the house and then unloading them in the backyard.

... not much fun ... especially when it's pouring down rain.

But then the coolest thing happened ... as I was returning to the front of my house with the empty dolly after the first load of stones ... I see my neighbor reaching into the back of my station wagon. He didn't say anything ... he just grabbed some stones and started up my front steps to help me. We finished the job in half the time it would have taken me and I thanked him as he ran back to his house for cover.

Damn, I have nice neighbors.

48 Hour Film Project

Move over John Williams ...

Thanks to Evil Genius for that one.

I recently helped out a friend of mine, a local commercial television producer, with a movie he was filming this weekend as part of the 48 Film Film Project. Basically, the concept was this; a group of Producers are going around from city to city holding an international contest for local film makers to try and completely produce a short film in a span of 48 hours. The catch being that the film makers aren't given the genre of film to produce until 48 hours before the entire film needs to be submitted. Also, to make it more difficult, the film makers are given a single prop, a line of dialogue and a Pittsburgh location that they must incorporate into their final film. So basically, these film makers have to write the story (around the aforementioned criteria), find actors, then shoot, edit and produce the whole short film in those 2 days having basically no prior knowledge of what they are about to make.

The Film Project Competition happened this weekend. I got the call last Wednesday to help out with the soundtrack. My friend already committed himself to make the film about a meter maid no matter what genre he got assigned this weekend. He asked me if I had written any songs that were 'action oriented', like 'chase scenes' or 'bad mofo character intros'. I sent him over a few songs I've written ... and he loved all of them. I had to tweak a few songs because of the use of samples in some of them ... can't be infringing on any copyright laws (or so said the multi page waiver I had to sign for use of my material in this film project).

Anyway ... I got word that he submitted his finished film with only about a half hour to spare and two of my songs ended up being used. I don't know where, how and in what context the songs appear but I've been invited to the first screening of the film this Wednesday at Star Cinema in Bridgeville, PA. I'm excited to see and hear the finished project ... It should be pretty cool to hear my music up on the big screen. Too bad I was told I still have to pay $7 to attend the screening.

It's all about Mother Earth

New developments in my work and social life have kept me from writing. So let's catch up:

I've recently been working with a company called Restorative Events, a for profit company a buddy of mine recently started. This company acts as a consulting business that provides strategies to reduce the negative impact that large, social gatherings and events can have on the environment. His company works in collaboration with event producers to reduce the waste of energy and materials, educate the end consumer, improve recycling efforts, increase the use of post-consumer products and utilize cleaner energy sources.

The overall vision is to transform the event production market from wasteful to restorative.

(Basically, his company will 'green' your event so you don't have to.)

My friend approached me last month and asked if I would join him to help get this company off of the ground. He knows I own my own company and that my schedule is pretty lenient so he asked if I would be willing to help. I don't know much about saving the environment but I do know how to project manage ... and I'm always eager to learn something new ... so why not? (I did get to see Al Gore give his Inconvenient Truth presentation at Tulane University earlier this year ... maybe that will come in handy). So far, my friend has about 6 resourceful volunteers working with him at the moment ... and right now, of course, all work is pro bono. (so I still got my day job.)

Our first major event that we will be participating in is this month, the Sprout Fund's annual Hothouse Fundraising Party ... an outdoor event with over 2,000 attendees, plus bands, DJs, multiple stages of art and entertainment, major food and beverage distributors, silent auctions, etc.

For this event it is going to be our job to make sure that all food and drink containers used during the party are biodegradable. This means working with all of the caterers and drink sponsors to make sure they are all using our Eco friendly food and beverage materials that we purchase from an outside company. We are also going to be responsible for providing and monitoring all Recycling, Waste and Trash containers though out the party. We will employ the use of signage all over the event to educate and inform the party goers important facts about the negative effects this sort of event will have on the environment and what is being done or can be done to reduce these effects i.e. Taking alternative transportation to the event rather than driving, the amount of trash that could have been produced if everything was not biodegradable, etc. We will also make sure bio diesel fuel is used for any generators and vehicles used in the event. Plus, we are offsetting the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions created by the festival's electricity usage, staff and artist travel and office-based emissions by having sponsors donate funds to purchase Green-e certified renewable energy credits from sources like wind and biomass power. And lastly, for this type of event, we will be providing a 'goodie bag' to all VIP attendees, 700 in total ... a canvas bag made out of recycled material that can be reused for shopping. In this bag we will be providing articles about 'greening' events and other basic information about being environmentally friendly.

Should be a fun party ... it's on the 25th of this month which is quickly approaching (one reason we had to work over the weekend).

So far, joining up with Restorative Events has been very educational and I hope we make a name for ourselves and get more contracts like this in the future.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Landscaping 105

I'm finally done planting the 'Creeping' Myrtle on my backyard hillside. I'm doing this to provide a simple ground covering so I don't have to deal with weeding or mowing the hillside plus it will keep the hillside from eroding. I acquire the Myrtle from the side of the road out by my parents house about 30 miles away. It grows wild out there so I just dig it up and replant it here. This is the main reason I have planted it in so thick ... it's free. It usually sells for about $9.99/ft2 at Home Depot. If I was paying for it, I definitely would have planted it in more scarcely but since it is free, I felt why wait for it to fill in over the years ....