Aura at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal by Moment Factory

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While on a trip to Montreal with the TEA, we visited the really amazing “Aura” show at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal by Moment Factory. This great and amazing son et lumière is well worth a visit, and a quantum leap over the old show which I saw in 2002. Pictures and video weren’t allowed but here’s an official one from Moment Factory:

And here’s a behind the scenes video:

Quebec's Enchanted and Amazing Foresta Lumina by Moment Factory

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On a great TEA trip to Montreal in July, we visited the amazing Moment Factory. I’ve been a fan of Moment Factory’s work since I first became aware of them on the NIN tour in 2008 (writeup here) and have been following them since (other writeups here)..

During the tour, they mentioned a son et lumière (sound and light) show they had created in a forest two hours east of Montreal. I was intrigued because I have long loved this kind of show (and probably the first show I ever worked on was one in my home town) and so I extended my trip for a day and checked out this show; I’m very glad I did.

Foresta Lumina takes place in Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook, in Coaticook Quebec. It was created in 2014 when the local tourism agency wanted to promote the region, and contracted with Moment Factory. The result was this amazing night time experience, where the audience walks through this dark forest park, and throughout are greeted with lighting, video and truly immersive sound experiences telling the story of “the mythology of the Quebec forest”. The story that is told is not particularly scary, it’s more moody and mysterious. And there are some really well done video and lighting effects and one of the best truly immersive soundscapes I’ve heard.

There are things here that are part of the experience that are somewhat shocking to an American who lives here in the land of litigation and non-universal health care; often you are walking in near-complete darkness, and there are inclines along the path (well lit) that would never meet ADA requirements. But all that—with a really great design—works to create a really great and beautiful experience. I highly recommend seeing it!

Here’s a few photos taken hand held (a tripod is really needed to get really good pics) that can’t really capture the experience but can give you a sense of the place.

Circus Knie's Very Cool Indoor Drones by Verity Studios

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Screen grab from Circus Knie youtube video

I’ve been following the use of drones in live shows since I saw the first Intel drone show at Disney in 2016. When they can be used in a large scale outdoors (which always has airspace issues) the drones have been interesting, but most indoor usage I’ve seen hasn’t been that impressive, because it’s been in a two dimensional proscenium frame.

But I’m a big circus fan, but Todd Robbins posted on FB a video from Swiss Circus Knie that features some very cool drone usage (starting around 1:15:):

The cool thing (at least watching on video) for me is not only the circus element of this usage but also because it fully exploits the 3D nature of the drones and is performed in the round. It turns out the show uses 32 drones from Swiss company Verity, who has done some very cool stuff. I found a couple backstage videos:

I won’t be able to get to Switzerland this year to see this but if anyone does please report back!

City Museum in St. Louis

Well I’m really late to the game but the City Museum is really amazing and incredible. It’s a predecessor to and in the vein of the amazing Meow Wolf and in the spirit of everything that The Vessel should have been but wasn’t. If you’re in St. Louis, you need to spend a few hours here, preferably when schools are not out for spring break as I experienced yesterday. They have adults only times as well which I recommend if you are an adult.

It’s really an inspiring place not only because of the art, but also because of the amount of trust and faith that it places into its attendees. While they clearly have safety in mind, there are many, many points through out this place where people could get hurt if they do something stupid or are not paying attention. So often these kind of places feel sanitized, where every possible risk is removed, so this place is really refreshing.

Also, interestingly—and maybe because it was overrun with spring break kids when I went—but I saw very few people taking selfies, perhaps because they were truly engaged and inspired?

Here’s some cameraphone photos, click any to enlarge.