Red Bull Flugtag Tampa

October 8, 2011 at 11:19 pm (Art, Branding, Design Events, Florida, free, marketing, News, performing arts, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Timelapse photo of The Florida Aquarium's Flugtag in flight

Take a 100,000 of your closest friends and watch as 39 teams launch home-made flying machines off of a 30’ platform at the Tampa Bay Convention Center. Sounds like a fun day? You bet it was!

This afternoon Red Bull Energy Drink returned to Tampa Bay for the only US Flugtag event to be held in 2011. Teams came from around the globe to show off their machines made of wood, foam, pvc, fabric and other basic materials. They formed these into crafts of all different shapes and sizes. Some of my favorite included a giant fork, the A-Team van, the biggest bra you will ever see, and even life-size Back to the Future DeLorean! In the three Flugtags events, and 6 crafts, I’ve helped build I have never seen the hangars as packed as they were today. I’m not sure if this was due to the layout of the hangars or the amount of attendees, but there was barely enough room to move through the crowed before the launches started.

Throughout the day weather was a bit of concern. Wind was definitely a factor throughout the event, but the rain stayed away until this evening. Weather wasn’t the only good luck had during the day. A big scare came when Little Evil, Dade City Motocross Dare Devil, appeared to be knocked unconscious and had to be taken out of the water on a backboard. Luckily he was checked out and up walking around before the next team was out of the water. Other than it seemed to be a fairly safe day in the skies and water of the bay, which is always good to hear after an event such as this.

If you missed this event Red Bull is holding a Kart Fight in Orlando on December 1st and there are rumors of another Red Bull event in South Florida during 2012. If you have a chance to attend Flugtag I would definitely suggest it, if you have the cans to built one I would encourage it. I’ve actually built 6 of them helped launch two. This go around I designed and helped build two, one for Fox 13 and one for Jana Water, so you have some catching up to do …get on it!

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U2 360 MIA

July 1, 2011 at 10:05 am (Design, Florida, Miami, South Florida, technology, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Taken with a Blackberry

Imagine a structure 164 feet tall, that uses 120 trucks to move and several days to assemble. Now imagine that same structure surrounded by 50,000 to 300,000 people per tour stop; pretty impressive, right?

June 29th U2 landed their space ship like stage in Sun Life Stadium. This monster stage – the largest touring stage ever built – looks like a giant claw or a structure built by NASA. The stage has four legs that support a center column of LCD screens, speaker stacks, and even four aerial lighting platforms that 12 crew strap in to and get hoisted into positions within the legs. A giant spire looks as though it’s been thrust through the whole apparatus, and the stage has two concentric circles of performance platforms. There was a lot of buzz about both the stage and the tour when I went to LDI in 2009, but even with the advanced knowledge I couldn’t grasp the magnitude of this concert.

The idea of the stage, as the “360” tour name suggests, is a concert in the round. Instead of the traditional stage flanked by speaker stacks and fans only concentrated in one direction, the fans literally surround the stage. This stage did everything functionally and SFX wise that I was hoping for. Whenever I’d say “it would be cool if…” all of sudden that very thing would happen – smoke, LCD screens moving, elevator systems for bringing equipment on stage, even the ramps that span from the inner circle to the outer circle moved! With 432 speakers distributed between eight speakers stacks the sound quality was excellent no matter where you sat. This was truly a feast for the eyes and a massage for the ear drums.

U2s songs reverberated through the stadium and the crowd was so in tune to it that you could feel it. Yes in the way you do at a normal concert where you feel the bass and the music, but there was more than that. As people were clapping, stomping, and jumping I could actually feel the vibrations through the steel of the prestressed concrete of the stadium. This was both really cool, and a little disconcerting all at the same time. My mind kept bouncing between enjoying the show and worrying about the stadiums mechanical resonance and how that affected the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Obviously the fans did not cause the stadium to shake itself apart, or you would be reading about somewhere else than my blog.

This was one impressive concert. We left the stadium visually stimulated, physically resonated, and all over tired. If you want to check the tour out, there are only 10 stops left of the 109 scheduled on the tour. So get your tickets or watch it online!

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Fat Village Art Walk

June 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm (Art, Art Event, Design, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, free, Gallery Opening, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Fat Village Art Walk including the Art of Alex, Sixth Star Entertainment, and Gallery 101

You’ve probably heard of 2nd Saturdays in the Miami Design District, but how about 4th Saturdays in the Fat Village Arts District in Fort Lauderdale? That’s right, Broward County is getting it’s culture on.

Saturday June 26th spirited in the monthly summer gatherings with the opening of some new studios covering fine arts and entertainment. In the last few months the area has had a surge of new talent come to join neighboring Sixth Star Entertainment, Blackbooks and the Puppet Network within the district. Some of this talent includes The Art of Alex, Rachel Henriques, Alfred Phillips, Gallery 101 and – moving in just days before the event – was the Downtown Music Hall featuring the Floribbean Swamp Funk Roots Rock Jamband, Shack Daddys.

This little stretch of Downtown Fort Lauderdale is proving to be quite promising as an up-and-coming arts district. Join them the 4th Saturday of every month through November. The area spans 4 blocks from NW 6th St. on the north, to 4th Street & from N. Andrews to the railroad tracks on the west side. See you next month.

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RefreshMiami

October 1, 2009 at 1:37 am (Design Events, free, marketing, Miami, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

refreshmiami

Tonight’s RefreshMiami was a little different. Apparently the hotel it is normally held at is under new management, and ill informed of the tech community’s monthly meeting. Luckily Windisch-Hunt Fine Art Gallery stepped in and allowed the group to use their beautiful art gallery for the evening.

The goal of tonight’s event was to answer three questions:

  1. I’ve got an idea, now what?
  2. I’ve got a company, who can fund it?
  3. I’m up and running, now what?

So in the adaptive spirit of our newfound meeting place we all sat around for story time.

First up was Startup 101 with attorneys Gaida Zirkelbach, Esq. and Nicholas Robbins, Esq. of Gunster, Florida’s Law Firm for Business. Together they discussed what is needed to start and protect a business and other intellectual property. We discovered the difference between ©, ® and ™, the different types of investors, and parts of contracts, privacy statements, etc.

After the legal discussion the guys from Worsterer.com took the reigns and told us about their company, and how three former Yahoo employees formed it. They dispelled some good tips about defining a business plan, checking your software, and testing your product.

It was a good and informative meeting. Thank you to all the presenters, and especially Windisch-Hunt Gallery for letting us use their space. Hope to see you at one the next events: Southwest Florida Code Camp, Wodpress Meetup, and Twineup Take 2

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Smithsonian’s Museum Day

September 26, 2009 at 11:52 pm (Florida, free, photography, South Florida, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Museum-Day

What happens when you trudge up a small hill, climb 105 steps up a spiral staircase, take in the view at 146’ then walk down the 105 steps and the small hill? You get a little tired. But you also get some cool photos and a little history lesson.

Today was the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Day, where 1000 participating museums nationwide allowed free admission to anyone who downloaded the pass from Smithsonianmag.com. To change things up from our usual experiences in art and design venues we headed north to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. The museum showcases exhibits about Florida’s earliest inhabitants, the history of the lighthouse, and the area’s military activities during WWII. It is located in a World War II U.S. Naval housing building that was built as the married men’s quarters of the Directional Finding Station known as “Station J” The station was used to locate German U-boats and also to serve as a navigational beacon for military ships and aircraft during the war. The building is now owned by the Town of Jupiter and operated by the Loxahatchee River Historical Society.

Jupiter Lighthouse, the one with all the steps, was first lit on July 10, 1860. It has remained, with the exception of a few years during the Civil War, a functional lighthouse ever since. The US Coast Guard took over operation of the beacon in 1939, and has never missed a night. As part of the admission to the museum you are given the opportunity to climb the steps, view the light mechanism, and peer out over the Loxahatchee River from 146 feet above the water.

After our trek up the lighthouse and through the museum we decided to check out another rather unknown area of Florida – The Blowing Rocks Preserve. The preserve is a 73-acre barrier island sanctuary that includes walking trails, an open-air butterfly garden, and most impressively a beach lined with Anastasia limestone rock formations. The formations have been eroded over time to form blowholes able to shoot sea spray up to 50 feet in the air. A very impressive sight indeed!

We had a fun day participating in the Smithsonian’s Museum Day and exploring a little on our own. The lighthouse and museum are finishing restoration on a second building, and should have that open in the coming months. I plan on visiting Blowing Rocks more; it was a beautiful beach with excellent photographic imagery.

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Graduates of Distinction

September 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm (Art, Art Event, Design, Design Events, Florida, free, Graphic Design, Logo Design, Miami, networking, News, photography, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

portfolio-review

It’s graduation season at the Art Institutes again, and once again I was not disappointed at the showing in Miami. The graduating class at Miami International University of Art and Design seemed a little smaller this quarter compared to last, but the work was equally as good. Interior design was set up outside the hall and the extra space allowed for a little less congestion throughout portfolio review. Fashion Design, Accessory Design, and Fashion Merchandizing had a good showing with a wide variety of styles represented. Graphic Design showed sound composition and design aesthetics. Juan Lopez from the Graphics Department caught my eye with some interesting 3D work.

Visual Arts had only two graduates this quarter, but both were very strong. Alejandra Cicilia showed her diversity in photography. She had some fantastic photos of construction workers in front of the Fontainebleau on Miami Beach, her fashion photography was well composed, and her nighttime photography has an amazing use of color. The work of Chantal Disler can be an event in itself. She takes watercolor, newsprint, and other mixed media and forms them into beautiful arrangements of harmony. Her branding seems to be set around birds in different forms and flight patterns. Her photography, drawings, and portraits all follow a free will aesthetic.

This quarter’s showing was very good. The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale had their portfolio review today at the Broward County Convention Center. Unfortunately I was unable to attend both, but wish graduates from both schools the best of luck!

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Shoot’n Hot & Wet on Brickell

September 22, 2009 at 11:37 pm (Florida, free, Miami, networking, photography, social event, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Brickell

Sunday and Monday were photo-filled days. Sunday saw a small contingent of photographers from Shoot Miami converge on Brickell Avenue. We met in front of Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant located a little south of the famed Brickell Avenue Bridge and Miami Circle. The small group that I was with wandered a for a while before finding ourselves at a Miami Metromover station – Elevated transportation stations are a great place to get photographs from in Miami or any other metropolitan area that has them. After getting off the Metromover we got stuck under a pavilion waiting for a rain storm to pass until it was time to return to Gordon Biersch for some food and good conversation

Monday evening was the monthly Shoot Miami general meeting. The photography theme was “architecture.” I saw some really nice HDR images that were not over processed – an all too common abuse of Photoshop’s power. Some of the photos that come from that group are amazing!

Shoot Miami’s next schedule event is October 3 and 4 at the Dragon Boat races in Miami, but there is rumor of a Halloween shoot in the works. Details on the group can be found here.

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The Great Grove Bed Race 2009

September 6, 2009 at 10:14 pm (Florida, free, Miami, News, social event, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Bed-Race

Coconut Grove was the location of this afternoon’s “Great Grove Bed Race.” This competition pits teams of 5 (one rider and four pushers) against each other to race down a 1/8th mile track; their vehicle is of course a twin-size bed.

Race events kicked off the evening before with a Pajama Pub Crawl through the Grove’s many watering holes with 100% of proceeds going to the Alonzo Mourning Charities. Race day began with the Ford Motor Company Family Pajama Party at The Bookstore and included the reading of “The Princess and the Pea” by the Alonzo Mourning Charities Honey Shine Girls, along with live music and book giveaways. At 1 PM the races began with the Pit Row Parade. At 2 PM time trials began down Grand Avenue, and by 4 PM the Sandbar Sports Grill team had clenched the win.

The event was fun. There were many creative ideas for beds – everything from a hospital gurney, to a cabana, and even a President Obama. I hope to be able to participate next year, nothing’s really filled the void left after Flugtag never returned to South Florida.

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W Fort Lauderdale – Carpe Diem

September 6, 2009 at 12:36 am (Design, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

W-Carpe_diem

The W Hotel Fort Lauderdale is as striking during the day as it is at night. The highly stylized interior combines clean lines and a neutral pallet with dimensional textures and splashes of blues and reds. Throughout the décor of the hotel a coral pattern is used in tasteful hints. The shape can be seen as a backlit abstract art feature, negative space in the coffee tables of the Living Room’s patio, and it is even severely abstracted, but still legible, along the walls and ceiling of the billiards area.

During the day the hotel has a quite calm about it. Light shines through skylights in the bottom of pool, which allows dancing light patterns to project along walls, floors, through staircases and into atriums. This adds a wonderful and soothing kinetic energy to the elegance of the Living Room and areas of the convention center. The ballrooms feature plush benches with bench-to-ceiling upholstered walls, the ceiling design looks like giant woven bands, and the chandeliers are reminiscent of floral flash used on Broadway.

Water features, fresh flowers and river-rock are used as accents throughout the common areas, and the whole hotel has an open and airy vibe during the day. The hotel was so calm – even mid-morning on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend – that I would love to have daytime client meetings there

The W Fort Lauderdale is truly a stunning hotel. It has the styling of South Beach with the more laid-back feel of Fort Lauderdale. Thanks again to my friends at O’Connell & Goldberg for recommending a visit to the hotel.

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STOP, Or I’ll Tweet You to the Police!

August 31, 2009 at 11:49 pm (Florida, News, social media, South Florida, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

tweet-policeWe’ve heard of people posting updates to social media sites that have cost them their jobs and relationships, but how about their freedom? The City of Boca Raton, Florida has started using Twitter as a crime fighting and public information tool. Who knew that the little blue bird from twitter would replace McGruff the Crime Dog?

It’s refreshing to see that local police are adapting to the new frontiers of social media. Sure cybercrime units are nothing new, hey there are even some movies featuring cybercrime now, but to use social media as a communications link between the top brass of crime prevention and the community is fairly new. Boca Police Chief Dan Alexander gets it. His blog, The Chiefs Corner, outlines why he chose to create a blog:

“Through this blog, I think we have an opportunity to provide another, perhaps more personal angle to the issues we face and the work that we do. We have turned on blog comments, but we will screen any messages in order to avoid the obscene, offensive and otherwise inappropriate. I hope you enjoy this blog and look forward to hearing from you.”

He later discusses that the department’s use of social media is to be “not interested in technology for technology’s sake.” We have eliminated those [social networking sites] that don’t reach our target audiences and will try to avoid merely being fashionable when it comes to new programs in the future.”

So you may be asking “what real world application does all this web based Tom Foolery have for a serious police department?” Well, he can tweet things like: “If you work in a bank, please call when this guy walks in. Please make patrons remove hats and glasses.” with a link to a surveillance picture of the bank robber. Or a link to information about a recent hit and run involving an officer. This way the public can assist in the community policing effort and information can get released in real-time instead of hearing about it on the news after the fact.

I say well done to Chief Alexander! You can follow him @bocachief and the police department @BocaPolice.

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