Archive for the ‘Arts&Media’ Category

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D23 Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Architect’s View

July 15, 2017

Disney Imagineering and Disney Parks released a huge model yesterday of the upcoming Star Wars land at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World (to which the name has also potentially been leaked as Galaxy’s Edge).  And I do mean huge model – a full blown architectural model complete with silhouette people.  Quite frankly, it is crazy impressive, and it gives an amazing amount of insight into how the land will be designed (and how far they have to go to complete it, judging by looking at recent satellite imagery).  Seeing this model has me totally stoked – so much has been revealed!  Let’s do the architectural deep dive!

First and foremost, the baseline for all the buildings appears to be around 3-4 stories tall.  These are not small at all, and walking down the streets and alleys will feel very canyonlike.  The streets are also twist and kink.  Not only does this mean you won’t be able to see out of the area, thus cementing the magic and immersion, but it also, quite significantly, means that you also won’t be able to see most of the rest of the Star Wars area either.  Which in turns means you’ll never get a reference for scale which will make the park feel larger than it is as you walk and explore all over.  This is very different than many of the other areas at Disney.  Because you can’t see one street over, and you’ll rarely get a “down the street” look, coupled with the fact that there is so much detail and little alleyways and alcoves and they are probably littered with little interactive moments, this thing is going to feel huge.

The only area where you have a straight sightline will be the Resistance (though I’ll call it Rebel area, I’m oldschool) camp.  This in of itself is an unexpected twist, a forested area that’s separate from the starport area.  We’re getting two new themed lands in one!

Back to the buildings, making them so tall also means they have plenty of room for second or even third floors.  I’d wager most of this will be taken up for “backstage” areas – one of the most exciting things about this new Star Wars land is that there will be no Disney castmembers within it, or, more precisely, every single castmember will be “in costume”.  It is a 100% role playing area, and so if you go to buy a drink, you’re not buying it from a Disney uniformed member in some themed restaurant, you are buying it from Grubarsh the Jenet from their cantina.  It’s all RP, all the time, and they are going to need a lot of backstage areas for members to costume up, rest, and travel to and fro without being seen “out of character”.  That said, there’s a lot of second story area, and they could potentially put some attractions up there and grow the amount of content in the land without growing its footprint.

The next most interesting thing for me is all that rock.  Hiding the large rides – Battle Escape and the Millennium Falcon ride – behind rock faces is a great way to keep what amount to very large buildings from breaking up the ramshackle small-scale feel of all the rest of the starport buildings.  It also creates a very strong edge that’ll help in the feeling of a cramped starport, nestled up as much as it can to a natural boundary.

And then there are all those spires – if the scale of everything within that model is accurate, those are some very tall spires, tall enough they’ll likely match the Matterhorn and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, out rivaling the height of the castle.  From outside the land those spires will be very visible.  While Galaxy’s Edge is very well designed to be isolated visually (and thematically) from within the rest of the park (and, as noted above, vice-versa), these rock spires break that isolation enough to be a calling card.

There’s so many fun details to explore in this model, which bodes well for the real thing.  This is going to be a blast to be in, totally immersive, with so much to discover.  Plus they’re talking about tracking visitors real time through “Galaxy Credits”, so that your actions on rides (such as how well you pilot the Millennium Falcon) and interactions with the denizens of the starport and the Resistance base will influence how your subsequent interactions will go.  This sounds amazing (and a bit creepy!), and will mark a very different park going experience, one of being a participant and character rather than an idle spectator.  Very cool.

Now all we have to do is wait two years for it to open.

 

Photos sourced from the following, check them out for additional coverage including videos of the model!

blogmicky.com

Mercury News

DSNY Newscast

And the official Disney Parks Blog

 

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Wonder Wednesday

July 12, 2017

by Loika

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Peter passes the microphone

July 5, 2017

Watching the Canada 150 celebrations this past weekend was a treat not just for the party, but because it was also the end of an era.  Peter Mansbridge* retired from the anchor and chief correspondent position of the National at the CBC after nearly 30 years at its helm.  It was an emotional event for Peter, certainly, but I’d wager for many of us on the other side of the screen as well.

30 years.  While Knowlton Nash may have formed my vision of what a news anchor ought to be, Peter was the chief correspondent for most of my viewing history of the National  And Peter cemented that first vision expertly.  He brought humility, humanity, understanding, and expertise to his newscast every night, pushing himself and others in the team to understand as broadly as they could the events they covered.  He brought himself to his newscasts and assignments without making it about himself.  And he brought humanity, seeking contact with people and engaging with their stories.  Never detached, he always personable while also being on point.

The CBC crafted a wonderful tribute:

… and renamed their entrance lobby Mansbridge Hall.  His farewell speech is wonderful:

As he finished his broadcast on our nation’s birthday, he said “I’m not a fan of long goodbyes, so this won’t be one.  I am a fan, however, of long thank yous.”

Thank you Peter.  Thank you for being our anchor all these years.  Not just the anchorperson of a news organization… our anchor.  Our grounding.  Our link to hold on to and to right ourselves amongst the events of the day, months, years.  The voice to guide us towards context and understanding, to a place at the centre from which we could survey the waters and choose our bearings.  Thank you for your generosity, your intention, your care, your commitment, and your time.

All the best in your next adventures.

 

* AKA Peter Moosebridge, and I assure you I was/am jumpingly excited that they chose him to be the voice of one of the newscasters in such an incredible movie.

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 20, 2017

This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Tonight in comic form:

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 13, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

When I was young, my parents owned a cassette of Tchaikovsky music that led off with none other than the 1812 Overture.  Start the tape, Side A, first thing, there it was.  And I loved it.  I listened to it over, and over, and over again, the full thing, from the opening strings to the final carillons.  I’d get into it,  mock-conducting as the music went by, spinning the story of the music in my head.  I knew it inside out and backwards.

Some years later, I came across a different recording of the 1812th.  I don’t remember if I heard it on the radio or off another cassette, but I do remember instantly knowing one thing:  I didn’t like it.  At all.  It was just so WRONG.  Why were they playing with the wrong tempo here?  And what was with that different instrumentation there?  Who in their right mind would place the emphasis on those particular notes?  Or have the brass take the lead in that passage?  Why change the arrangement like that?

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??

I had so gotten to know a particular version of the piece that it became the “right” version.  It wasn’t even a version, it was just RIGHT.  Normal.  Proper.  Truth.  Reality.  How it should be played.  It’s what sounded best.  It wasn’t judgment, it was self obvious.  This was what the 1812th Overture was.  Everything else was flawed (and so were you for not doing it right).

Soooooo, a bit righteous there.

Of course, at that age, I had not yet learned that classical music – any music, for that matter – was open to so much interpretation and alteration by conductors and musicians and artists.  And, certainly, I was very much not alone in this.

Less immediately obvious, however, is that this very much doesn’t apply only in the realm of music.

Our brains are pattern making machines.  We take what we experience and turn it into reality.  We inherit what we see and hear and experience around us in our culture, family, society, we add to it that which we encounter, decisions we make, events that happen to us, outcomes of our (in)actions, and it all gets wrapped up into a nice little ball that we take with us as we go about our lives.  And whenever something doesn’t match that what’s within that little ball, our feelings come online pretty quick:  dislike, upset, unease, weirded out, disgust.

We get so familiar with something that our feelings quickly reject anything outside of that “norm.” Things can feel bad just because they’re foreign, different, or plain new to us.

Of course, because it’s our feelings, it, well, feels right and truthful to us.  We’re having the correct reaction.  That really is bad.  And wrong.

There is a large pitfall in that immediate, and quick, rejection:

We can miss out on so much because of it.

Architecture, art, music, literature, cuisines, styles, aesthetics, people – a whole world of exquisite beauty and form we can miss out on by being dismissive and moving on.

But even more importantly, it can completely blind us and shut down avenues towards listening to each other, towards compassion, and towards growing a society that benefits us all, with human rights, dignity, and with the growth of love, understanding, and freedom.

It limits who we are and who we can be.

Those other 1812th Overtures I heard weren’t bad.  I just wasn’t used to them.  I’d never experienced them before.  The ick factor was real, yes, but there was no meaning behind it, other than simply ick.  Other than simply that unfamiliarity.  I had to put aside what I knew and expected to listen generously and with curiosity.

And so it continues.  All the time.  Let the feeling be, and go forward to explore.  To get past that first thought and go beyond.

And through that gain access to new realms of possibility, and to glorious new worlds of wonder.

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Wonder Wednesday

June 7, 2017

Maps of the Atlantic, the Great Lakes, and the boundaries of Canada from (likely) the 1600s.  Amazing, meticulous work.  And I really like that there’s a list of birds, animals, and plants at the bottom…

Photos by Jim Hines taken at the Bibliothèque Municipale d’Epinal

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The Oxygène Experience

May 28, 2017

I first heard the music of Jean-Michel Jarre when I was 12 or 13 years old.  A friend introduced it to me (Friends:  Introducing you to wicked music since forever) off some multi-artist compilation album that was popular at the time.  I loved it immediately.  Symphonic, melodic, electronic, playful, the music was chock full of journey and wonder.  It was a few years later before I got my hands on one of his complete albums, and later still the libraries in Ottawa proved very useful in listening to the rest of his work (Libraries: Giving you access to all sorts of cool stuff since forever).   To this day, I continue to love it.  They are timeless and still filled with wonder.

So when I heard he was coming to town as part of his first ever North American tour, there was no way in hell I was going to miss it.  This Friday past, Yebo and I travelled back to the Greek theatre to once again be amazed in aural glory. Read the rest of this entry ?