Sunday, October 21, 2007

Genesis - LIVE

Tuesday, Oct 10 - Dateline, San Jose. Genesis, live in concert!! We went out to see the 'reunion tour', the first time in 15 years that Phil Collins has played with Mike Rutherford & Tony Banks. The reunion was originally conceived with Peter Gabriel & Steve Hackett as well - how awesome would that have been!! Still, this concert was cool, the best of the year I must say. They played for about 3 hours without a break. A lot of typical choices - the 'old medleys' were the same as what they had done on previous tours (In The Cage -> Cinema Show -> Afterglow, & "Firth of Fifth/I Know What I Like w/tambourine tarantella"), but a few surprises : opening with Duke's End, playing "Ripples", and 'Domino'. The video display was solid for the most part (too-cheezy CG animations; and, really - "Hold on My Heart"? Utter waste of 4 1/2 minutes), and the delivery was effective (they transposed most of the later stuff down, so Phil wouldn't have to sing so high). Plus, a good 1/3 of their set was Hackett-era material, he should've joined them on the tour!! They coulda done "Please Don't Touch" and "In That Quiet Earth", and maybe even "Star of Sirius" with Phil singing... Ah, a fan can dream...
FYI - you can get a copy of each concert from either their N American or European tour, 2-CD set soundboard mix, or a complete collection of every concert from each leg of their tour. Lemme just say - I find live albums kinda pretentious and opportunistic - I mean, it's the same songs you know, with a different arrangement & poorer sound quality. But for someone to buy 20 versions of the exact same concert ($940 for the entire boxset) is f*cking absurd! Still, I'd consider getting the San Jose concert, just for memorabilia's stake, kinda like getting your photo from the Splash Mountain, probably won't though... Plus, their T-shirt merch was kinda silly - just rehashes of old album covers, much like The Police tour shirts. And, at $35 a pop, not fun.
What was fun was a concert this weekend - The Fiery Furnaces, Oct 19 at The Independent Lounge . Very college-rocky band, but they have a great mixup of punk, prog, and '70's retro (with a refreshing absence of guitar - all keyboard. Plus a female singer). They'll play a theme in a song, and do several variations on it (think how many times the main theme of Beethoven's 5th gets varied in the first 2 minutes of that piece), and live they'll play a nonstop medley of songs. Strong groove, strong melodies - perhaps too incohesive, and a little too much of their 'garage virtuosity', but still satisfying. It was one of those shows where you say, "OK, two more songs and we'll leave.", but we ended up staying for their whole set.

Silicon Oct 07

I had the opportunity to appear & present at a comic/sci-fi/movie convention - the SiliCon on Oct 5, 2007 in San Jose (thanks to my friend Ed Martinez). I hosted a solo presentation about the CGI/VFX industry - basically, I just spoke about my background in the biz, then showed my reel, & walked through it, explaining the technical and contextual aspects behind each shot. I made a meta-version of my reel, including shots from Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers, thru King Kong (no Shrek 3 available then, though I did get my reel within 2 weeks after the event). It was fun - first time I've done public speaking at that level in a while, it went well - I was rather dry, but I didn't make any major gaffes or lengthy pauses. The audience was only about 10 people, but a few people had compelling questions. It was a bit convoluted at first - the room we were scheduled to be in had no A/V services (in fact, only1 room among all the conference did...) So, it was some wrangling, but the organizers were very apologetic and friendly, and it all worked out in the end. (well, maybe it would've been a larger turnout if we didn't wait till the last minute to switch rooms). Anyway... I appreciate the opportunity to be included.
After my presentation, Ed did a demo of makeup & FX, based mostly on Smooth-On & its wonderous qualities. Very interesting walk through of creating basic makeup FX & scar tissue.
We checked out some other things going on - the vendor hall, the film fest, the charity auction, the live music (maybe get my band to play there next year!),the 'Hollywood movie museum'. All good, I hope SiliCon gets more funding and attention next year, & can sustain for a while (though unfortunately I think they got royally screwed by the DoubleTree on many levels...)
Thanks again, Ed & Nina!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Then October

Hmmm... seems these updates are becoming monthly... Anyway, fun news - this weekend is SiliCon 07, a sci-fi/media arts/indiefilm convention, where I'm doing a presentation about my experience in the CGI business. I'll report back later...

Events the last few weeks : went to some concerts - Power to the Peaceful (Indigo Girls, Spearhead), Midlake (very cool - huge array of instruments); saw some classic movies - 'Hunchback' at Essanay Silent Film Museum, 'Day the Earth Stood Still' at Oakland Outdoor Movies. Went to bandmate Tim's wedding in Santa Clara; had a couple earthquake retrofit appointments on the house; caught up with friends who are changing jobs, or moving away (good luck Gen & Tom in Sydney!)

Also, my good friend from college Jan Miller has moved out to the bay area to work for Autodesk, I caught up with her for dinner in SF (at the launch of the new Kid Robot line of figures), but she's been pretty slammed with the move & looking for housing in Marin & paperwork for all those life things. Fluxuations in work have come up for me as well - got an offer from a small company in SF - very intriguing project & very attractive offer for the most part, but I ultimately decided to stay where I am, mainly because they've started to make good on giving me additional training, leading toward an opportunity to move into FX anim. More on that down the road, too... Bonnie had an intriguing new opportunity at work as well, but she declined as she determined it wasn't quite in-line with future goals. Still, always nice to have choices like this.

Plans are moving forward for out Big Event next summer. We've said all along we want to keep it manageable, not let it get out of hand, do planning in pieces, eschew tradition & impersonal standards, and focus on the guests, not us. Still, lot of work to do, and I expect the specific flavor will take shape when we plan the moment-to-moment.