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Wednesday May 17, 2006

Pearl Jam show + Air Guitar Nation + Super Mario Theme Park (!!) = Best Weekend Ever?



So this is soooo two weeks ago (er, Wed May 3), but I randomly met up with Mr. Kevin Slavin at Spring Lounge (after LVHRD @ M1-5?) who was hanging out with a bunch of kids who were in town for the GEL conference ("good experience / design" conference).

Special guests included Paul.S from Apple and Nora.A from Burda Media (remember this night?). Anyway, the GEL conference sounded like a good time (me = not invited. Sniffle) so Nora + Paul told me to come check out the GEL open-bar after party (which was conveinently sponsored by Google).



So I did. And met up w/ Ms. Nora (and other internet celebs such as Xtina from Glowlab + Lili.C from Microsoft + Jason from Blogger) Thursday after work at Exit Art. Free drinks : good drinks :: Free sandwiches : _______________ (answer: "good sandwiches").

When the free drinks ended, we jumped in a cab and met up w/ Slavin (again) at some random Japanese noodle shop in the East Village (Xtina says: Uminoie)



Where we dined on fine udon (Japanese noodles) and Shochu (Japanese potato vodka?). Read: crunked.



And then busted out some Sing Sing Karaoke Revolution (me = Warrant's "18 and Life"). Bonus points to Xtina and Paul.S for flexing their Japanese fluency in a rendition of "Linda Linda" by the Blue Hearts (awesome, btw).

We lasted a little more than an hour (73 minutes) = a bill of $136. For this reason alone, I hate hate hate The Karaoke Prisons.

Okay, so are we done with Thursday? Friday and New BFF Nora calls and asks if I want to go to the Pearl Jam show that night (!!) and I'm like, "Sure!". So I grabbed dinner with Argo + Socolokaboom and then met up with Nora up at Irving Plaza.



Actually, we didn't really have tickets, but apparently Nora had met the guy who ownes Irving at the GEL Conference (?) and he offered to hook her up. So, we showed up at Irving and waded through the crowd of holding "Please, just 2 tickets!" signs and eventually got whisked in and sent up the VIP staircase (sweet!).

We missed the first few songs, but rolled in just as they started playing Evenflow.



We eventually snuck our way up near the front. I took this slamming video.



And had this moment at the end - bear with me here - where I realized that the first time I was listening to these songs was freshman year in high school (1990)... which is also the last time I was wearing these sneakers (cue: me plugging the 1990 Nike Bo Jackson cross-trainers I just bought on eBay. Pow!)



Okay, so the show ended around 11:30 and, as a "Thank You 800x For Sharing Your Pearl Jam Tickets" gesture, I took Nora as my date to the midnight screening of Air Guitar Nation @ the Tribeca Film Festival (yes, the documentary about the Air Guitar World Championship that I saw at SXSW). Buuutttt, we got out of the show late, and the movie started at midnight, and there were no cabs at all around Union Square...



... so we hailed a limo. A dirty old prom limo from the early 1990s for sure. $40 bucks to go from Union Square to Tribeca. In style! (sadly, no sunroof)



We tried the limo-self-portrait, but the Player's-Club-Built-in-Bar got in the way.

Anyway, so no pics of the movie screening (um, sure), buuutttttt how about some pics from the Air Guitar Nation premier after-party? (these are actually from a week earlier, Sat 4/29) Grellan scored some VIP passes, so we got to see the likes of...



... Air Guitar World Champion, C-Diddy...



... US runner-up, Björn Türoque...



... um, and some random dude. Note the cameras. MTV News was filming the shit out of the party (did it ever air?). Me + Youngna wrestled our way up to the front so we could bring you these exclusive videos (!!)...



C-Diddy. [video]



Björn Türoque. [video]



Random dude. (who I think was another US finalist from somewhere, no?) [video]



And, some random girls. The whole thing was set up to be like Air Guitar Karaoke (a.k.a. Aireoke) - you request a song, the DJ queues it up, and you get up on stage and perform. I didn't stick around much longer after these girls went up. [video]

... okay, so that's Friday night (Best Friday Ever?). Was in bed by 2am, because I had to get up early Saturday to go and check out the prototype of the Nintendo Theme Park (!!) that was set up out in Brooklyn.



The Nintendo Amusement Park is actually one of the final project's that came out of Frank Lantz's "Big Games" class at ITP (the same class that spawned PacManhattan, btw). I sat in as a guest critic on final project day, which I guess qualified me for a trip out to see the park in action (special thanks to Dan.A, btw). Me + Frank + Kevin.S + Nora all made the trek out.

The presentation they gave as a final project was pretty much a demo of the proof of concept - trying to answer the question: "Is it fun to strap on a harness and some bungee cords and jump around as if you were Super Mario?" (the answer = "yes")



Frank was first. This video was actually from the end of his run (read: exhausted). Best part is when the curtain falls at the end to reveal the Sweet Sweet Yoga Girls who were sharing the space with us. ("the space" = rented-out dance studio in Williamsburg) [video]



Thanks to Kevin's generosity (god bless), I was able to get it a try. Harness goes under the overalls; fake moustache is really itchy.



And, post-Frank, the gloves were really sweaty. Hot.



So, the harness was a little tight around the crotch region. And because the bungees are tied to a central point, you don't have as much motion as you'd like, but still it's pretty rad to jump around and try to knock the mushroom out of the box...



... and jump over the Bomb-ombs...



... and stomp the Goombas.



Verdict? Nintendo Theme Park = awesome. And Luigi = exhausted. Keep an eye on what these kids are up to because if they get the funding they're looking for, this is going to be pretty hot.

ps: Make sure to watch the video these guys have up on their site. (complete with Super Mario sound effects!).

(the end)


Wed 5/17 @ 6:28 PM | # link| Comments (4)
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