Friday, July 16, 2010

The Magic Bus: Too Much!

TSG recently took a ride on Antenna Theater's Magic Bus. Antenna Theater is an avant-guard/performance art troupe with a history of works featuring audience involvement and group participation. They unveil new projects each year for the San Francisco International Art Festival. This year's presentation is their version of a big-city tour bus, aptly named in honor of The Who's timeless saga of "transcendental transportation".

Catching our ride at Union Square, across from Macy's, we discover that this isn't your everyday bus. We're all sitting in a line, back to back with the other passengers. There is a projection/sound system installed around and above us.

Then, as we get under way, the magic really starts. Mechanized screens roll down over the windows at various points during the tour, and we're amazed by a kaleidoscopic multi-media show.

Seen above is a portion of the show featuring clips from the 1967 "Our World" broadcast of  All You Need Is Love  As you can see in the images below, there was more than a few psychedelic images included in the show as well.

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For a better rider-POV of the experience, check out our youtube video impression. (Note--there is no sound at the beginning of the clip--there is no need to adjust your set):

The 90-minute tour through the the city's historic 'burbs only set us back $25. Definitely NOT too much!


Parm said...

Huh. I had not heard of this. I take it the screens went up and down during the tour, mixing the multimedia show with real street scenes? That would have been cool if, say, you saw something intriguing but bizarre on the screens, and then the screens lifted and there, outside your windows, was the same bizarre scene, in real life.

I also noted that, when I watched the YouTube video, that there had already been 19 viewings. Without you having named or tagged the video. Are there YouTube fans out there who hunt down and watch EVERYTHING that gets posted?

I was also somewhat struck by the fact that you made that video. As in, the bus people let you capture the video in the first place. Or was this a case of planning to ask for forgiveness rather than permission?

All nerdiness and geeky ponderings aside, this was pretty neat, TSG. Thanks for sharing it!

Willard Biscuit said...

As you suspected, the screens went up and down throughout the tour. (Sometimes they seemed to be a little out of whack, but that added to the charm of the whole enterprise.) I'm not sure, but I think the soundtrack/narration was audible outside of the bus, because passers by were paying a lot more attention to us than one would expect from the colorful paint job alone.

As far as my video goes, I made no attempt to hide my camera during the show--at one point our stewardess/tour guide tapped my on the shoulder to get my attention away from the viewfinder. She was passing out candy and flowers (part of the "experience", and much better than a bag of peanuts!)

RE the 19+ views: I posted the clip on the Townshend message board, showed it to some folks from work and a couple of other people. I purposely give it an arcane title, just in case there were any performance rights issues. Considering my considerably less than vast public following, I seriously doubt they'd have a problem with it.

I did search to see if there were any other videos of the Magic Bus ride, but all I could find was a very short clip posted by one of the video artists showing his submission for the project.

Parm said...

Willard - thank you very much for stepping in and providing the facts behind the facts.

And while I have your attention, I've been meaning to ask you something . . . So, how's the walnut collection going?

Willard Biscuit said...

RE: Walnuts--truth be told, the biographical info posted when I signed on w/TSG was already several years out of date. And, if I may correct you, dear reader, it wasn't walnuts exactly, but walnut shells that I collected. I had accumulated a vast mountain of big, in fact, that you could see three states from the top!

I discovered that they were in high demand* and made a killing during the short-lived walnut shell bubble of aught two. I was living foot loose and fancy free off the profits until I found a home here as a guest commentator/comment reply guy.

*walnut shells are used to clean soft metals, fiberglass, plastics, wood and stone. They provide an environmentally friendly and recyclable soft grit abrasive that is well suited for air blasting, de-burring, de-scaling, and polishing operations because of its elasticity and resilience. Uses include cleaning automobile and jet engines, electronic circuit boards, and paint and graffiti removal. For example: In the early days of jet transportation, crushed walnut shells were used to scour the compressor airfoils clean, but when engines with air cooled vanes and blades in the turbine started being manufactured this practice was stopped because the crushed shells tended to plug up the cooling passages to the turbine, resulting in turbine failures due to overheating.

They also are used in oil well drilling for lost circulation material in making and maintaining seals in fracture zones and unconsolidated formations.

Flour made from walnut shells is widely used in the plastics industry.

Walnut shells are added to paint to give it a thicker consistency for "plaster effect" ranges.

Walnut shells are used in the explosives industry as a filler in dynamite.

They are also occasionally used in soap and exfoliating cleansers.

Parm said...

Willard - So YOU'RE the "walnutmeister" of '02!!!!!!! Incredible!! I remember reading that op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal about that play! Nicely done!

So, are you the man behind the man who's recently cornered the cocoa bean market???

WB said...

No, from what I've been able to glean from the murmurings on the grapevine, the cocoa-bean king is either the Dos Equis guy or his arch-rival, the Old Spice guy.