Really Cool Effect at the Center Bar at SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

I've been in this business working on all kinds of weird projects since 1985, so it takes a lot to fool me.  But this effect in the ceiling of the Center Bar at the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino had me wondering for a while:

Did you figure it out?  

Hint: It's an illusion that only works from this angle.  

See this page for the solution.  I'll definitely be checking this out on my next Vegas trip!

Idiotarod NYC XI Photos

I went today to the excellent Idiotarod NYC XI, which the organizers describe as, "an annual event that puts a satirical creative spin on the famous and totally unrelated dogsled race in Alaska. Instead of dogs with sleds, Idiotarod NYC features costume-clad teams of people with elaborately themed shopping carts, and instead of the brutal landscape of the frozen tundra, the race takes place on the streets of New York City. It is, however, usually really friggin' cold." I was at the start at Grand Army Plaze, checkpoint #3 (Freddy's Bar), and was the only photographer on hand to capture the dramatic arrival of the first cart at the finish line. There all the carts were subjected to detailed scrutineering (bribes were encouraged and helped the process, of course). Below are some photo highlights; I have more highlights on Facebook here, and many more photos here.  

Click on any photos for a larger version:

The Vanderbilt Republic's "Spectrum II" Lighting Installation

I went down tonight to check out The Vanderbilt Republic's Spectrum II", a "Photographic Monument by Colin Bowring and George del Barrio".  It's an "analog" installation, meaning they used a bunch of ETC Source IV's, but it looks pretty cool (although a bit dimmer in person than you see here).  They are having a reception tomorrow.  I have more photos here, and here's a little making of video:

The Illusionists on Broadway

The first magic show I remember seeing as a kid in the 1970's was also the last magic show I saw on Broadway: Doug Henning's The Magic Show. Today, I saw The Illusionists on Broadway with my friend Bonnie A, and I really enjoyed it. The show features seven magicians, each with a different specialty. And in this version of the show (they seem to change the acts around depending on where the show is produced), there happily wasn't one "watch while my assistant crawls around inside this box" illusion, which I always find cheesy.  Here instead, each of the performers demonstrated quite a bit of skill in their respective disciplines, the acts were well ordered and the show was paced well.  I love figuring out magic tricks, and I figured out all of them except for one by Kevin James--a beautiful number performed in the audience for a little girl.  But it's really fun to be fooled.

They made good use of video for the close up acts, and I liked the lighting. The sound mix seemed fine, but unfortunately, in the top of the mezzanine where I was sitting, the sound coverage was inadequate and there was very little high frequency coverage, so everything was too quiet and muffled, in the notoriously dry and acoustically dead Marriot Marquis theatre. They had a standard touring line array setup so in the orchestra it probably sounded fine, but for the very high price of tickets even in the mezzanine, the sound should have been better. I think the sound problems led to a feeling of disengagement for those up in the seats near me--you could hear the applause much more strongly from below than from those up top. No sound designer was credited, so I'm not sure what happened.  And apparently the fill speaker you can see in my crappy Instagram photo was not working today:

In any case, the show tours through June, go see it!