10,000 Year Clock

“There is a Clock ringing deep inside a mountain. It is a huge Clock, hundreds of feet tall, designed to tick for 10,000 years. Every once in a while the bells of this buried Clock play a melody. Each time the chimes ring, it’s a melody the Clock has never played before. The Clock’s chimes have been programmed to not repeat themselves for 10,000 years. Most times the Clock rings when a visitor has wound it, but the Clock hoards energy from a different source* and occasionally it will ring itself when no one is around to hear it. It’s anyone’s guess how many beautiful songs will never be heard over the Clock’s 10 millennial lifespan.” -Longnow.com

Visit Longnow.com to learn more about the 10,000 Year Clock.

*There is a large weight hanging on a rack gear and a solar powered winder.


Cirque du Soleil KÀ

Cirque du Soleil KA

Ka is a show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with an emphasis on aerial acrobatics like no other show I know of. $225 million dollars was spent developing a custom built theater with seems to have no floor but only cat walks and aerial platforms.

The New York Times Travel section says:

The story is by turns funny, tragic, and whimsical. There are at least two moments that are nothing but simple stagecraft and yet are exquisite, among the most memorable of any current Vegas show. The theater is cavernous, but extensive catwalks and other staging tricks mean that those in the back won’t feel far from the action. It might be too long and intense for younger children, but older ones will be enthralled — and so will you.

This TechCrunch article describes the marvelous technical achievement.

Wikipedia says:

Due to the speed in which artists fall from the decks, an array of airbags had to be used en lieu of traditional nets alone. These airbags sit atop two nets, which at times are 70 feet (21 m) below the point the artist begins the fall. The airbags contain individual cells which can inflate and deflate independently. In case a power outage occurs, each airbag has its own uninterruptible power supply which can last up to 30 minutes.

This video briefly describes some of the incredible moving platforms in the theater.

Cirque du Soleil – Totem

I saw Cirque du Soleil’s Totem yesterday (September 9) in the Washington, D.C. area after driving five and a half hours from Greensboro, NC. I saw O in Las Vegas several years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If I had the money I would see all the Cirque du Soleil shows. Totem, In D.C. was performed under a custom built big top tent which they call the Grand Chapiteau. You enter the tent at ground level and descend towards the circular stage which is built below ground level to allow for stadium seating. Once inside the tent you forget that this is a temporary structure with a fabric roof. The venue is fitted with state of the art lighting, sound, video projection, rigging, and mechanical stage lifts. And for everyone’s comfort the tent was air conditioned. Wikipedia has an excellent article describing some of the technical details behind the show. Totem will be in Washington, D.C. until October 7. Later the show moves to Atlanta and then Miami.

The thing I like best about Cirque du Soleil is that every act flows smoothly into the next act. Every move from the entrance on stage to the final bow is thought out and carefully choreographed. I drove 300 miles and paid $150 to see Totem and it was worth every bit.

List of acts:

Parallel bars and trampoline
Hoop dance
Rings trio – much like gymnastics rings except high in the air
Clown act
Chinese unicycle and bowls – fantastic act
Foot juggling – rug spinning
Perches – climbing and balancing on poles more than 30 feet tall
Devil sticks
Hand Balancing – hand stands, acrobatics, etc.
Cone juggling – juggling inside a 10 foot tall clear cone
Clown act
Hoop dance
Roller skate – beautiful act. A pair of roller skaters spin and whirl on a drum-shaped platform in a scene that evokes a wedding night
Russian bar – Acrobats flip and bounce off of flexible beams held by burly assistants