Just back from the MTV 2009 Video Music Awards, where we integrated Twitter into the pre and post show with the help of Stamen and Radian6, with iJustine reporting. Catch some clips of the pre show here and here.
The VMAs are a major production–it seemed like all of the city, from the police and fire departments, to every production engineer, teenager, musician, dancer, celebrity and roadie had flooded to Radio City Music Hall.
Our team was in one of the tents surrounding Radio City Music Hall, and between the screaming fans, massive ganglia of wires running everywhere, trucks, satellites, cameras, monitors, sound boards, the shaking from the bass of the music, smoke, rain, wind and fire, it felt a little like being at war–but a fun, if stressful, war.
Go here to see the online, interactive version of the VMA Twitter visualization.
I only managed to take a few photos of odds and ends, since we were just a bit busy, but Stamen put together a nice blog post from behind the scenes:
Twitter on comms. We had our own channel.
Backstage during rehearsals on Saturday.
My position in the tent. You can see Kanye blowing up post his outburst.
VMAs during act one, from the back.
Radian6, Stamen in the Twitter tent.
From Ben’s birthday party, taken by Elizabeth Churchill (xeeliz on Flickr):
Harper & Matt. A most silly look (on Harper).
Nothin' but eyeballs
Ok, more than a month later, I’m finally posting about Election Night at Current. A fantastic night all ’round. Here it is, sort of, in photos, with huge portions missing since I was so busy.
I started by voting at 8am in the Dogpatch. There was a line and it took about 25 minutes (see iPhone photo below)–and Dogpatch is underpopulated! I was positively glowing at my neighbors with excitement.
And then a crazy production day began for “Current Diggs the Election: Your Election Night Party with Digg, Twitter and Diplo.” I don’t have any behind the scenes photos or screen shots, but here’s sort of what it looked like on-air–definitely not your father’s CNN:
Diplo played for a little over two hours from our studio in LA, and all the Flash animations (dancing map, tweets, etc.) were programmed to bounce to his beats. We also occasionally streamed video of Diplo over the social media mashup (as well as 12Seconds.tv webcams and Video the Vote reports) and he took the opportunity to write notes that he would hold up to the camera. Here he is preparing a little message for the audience:
Diplo with our LA music team (and, apparently, a ghost who took over spinning after his set):
Digg threw a party at a club to showcase our joint effort–after all, this was election night coverage designed to be watched with friends, and loud!
We finished our live broadcast at around 9:30pm PST, and the 50+ Current team got to the Digg party a little after 10pm. After quite a few drinks, I look about as ecstatic as I did at Burning Man:
Not bad considering we put together a 5+ hour live broadcast in only 11 days and entirely out of Flash, social media and Blue Bottle coffee. It was a glorious night, fueled by a most amazing Obama victory.
A fabulous few weeks, all centered around the launch of Hack the Debate with the first Presidential Debate on September 26th. This was an idea about three months in the making, but 18 months in gestation. At last, at last…
Some photos to illustrate the event. My Dad visited and caught the very first one which was quite special.
First, how others saw Hack the Debate. Current sponsored the DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival, which included a screening of Hack the Debate at Galapagos:
Folks also took photos from home, trying to catch their tweets, and posted them to Flickr: Matt Cohen and Urbanblitz.
A screen shot from our Kennedy/Nixon debate promo video:
We started the first presidential debate with a blogger outreach event, and Al addressed everyone assembled. This was 45 minutes before we went live and I had no idea if it was going to 1) technically work, and 2) be interesting. Slightly stressful. Here’s the video–including a shout out to Dad–in an appropriately snarky post on ValleyWag.
The bloggers and journalists observing.
Robin, my co-conspirator in this effort, and me just before launch.
Dad, Al, Joel and Joshua at the end of the introductions.
The Twitter River editors, at work, with Andrew in command:
The Production Control Room, getting ready:
This is about 20 minutes before going live, in Production Control Room, watching the dias at Oxford University in Mississippi via our ABC NewsOne live satellite feed, and my Twitter page:
Hack the Debate II: Palin/Biden. October 2nd, 2008.
Here we are in the middle of the VP debate, in Production Control:
Trying to read the tweets, listen to the debate, watch upcoming tweets, and absorb various other inputs:
Looking more relaxed during an as-live test earlier in the day:
Conor prepping for his live bridge, while we tweet over him. Notice the unicorn avatar? This is the default avatar we inserted when we couldn’t include users’ own avatars due to copyright issues, or if they didn’t have one. My, do I love that we squeezed a green unicorn into the debates.
So many social media things going on in this photo:
A final photo of Dad, pensive, overlooking the Current TV offices:
See everything, including cut-downs of the debates and all the fabulous TV promos, here:
Dad came to visit for a wonderful few days. We enjoyed a rambuctious birthday dinner at Piccino’s, where Sher started us off with a bottle of Prosecco and Jon closed us out with a home-made lemon tart. For which he burned his wrist. Sacrifices. And Mel introduced Absinthe, with sugar and spoons, once we were back in my garden. Apparently, Absinthe makes me want to play Whitney Houston really loudly. My next door neighbors were showing another black-&-white film and I think we ruined their hipster-quotient for the night. Dad put up with all admirably.
The police found Roxy last Tuesday! Funnily enough, the auto compound where she was towed is just down the street from my house in the Dogpatch, so I got to explore one of the old areas in the defunct port. Who knew that “car prison,” as the guard at the heavily fortified entrance to the yard called it, was literally two blocks away. They’ve repurposed a group of old brick factories right on the water, and now cars that have been towed, stolen and recovered and in accidents are moved around a giant lot by forklifts and tow trucks like a giant game of Tetris.
As I waited nervously for Roxy to be delivered, uncertain of her condition, a roasted car with its paint melted off and doors missing was unceremoniously dropped off. But happily, Roxy was delivered with all doors in place and drivable off the lot. She’s generally ok, tho’ she does have a bunch of scrapes, some dents and bashes, and gouged metal at the passenger door handle and gas cap. Her new radio was stolen, ignition ripped out and replaced with one that can be started with a screwdriver (now I know how to hot-wire a car). But it is all fixable. And at least she’s back.
Oh woe is me. My dream car, by little hot-rod, my reason to smile every morning on the way to work–Roxy– was stolen last night. We had such a short time together.
Apparently, the police recover 95% of stolen vehicles, but often not in an operational state. And the parts for 280Zs are highly desirable and very expensive, so I fear she will have been stripped even if we find her. Oh, I am so entirely bummed about this. Not a good week. Not a good month really.
Let’s remember her in her glory days:
Deepti, Jon and I threw a summer dinner party in early August. Jon orchestrated an amazing menu; we had a special secret theme. We drank many lovely bottles of riesling, chianti and prosecco, and somehow, a bottle of tequila. And I still have the group voicemail, left at 2am, as a record of the evening.
Pre-party prep dinner. Why is Deepti laughing? Because of Jon’s duck feet.
I love my mustard yellow table, especially with its grey chairs. Deepti brought dahlias, and the evening sun is casting wine glass shadows on the wall.
I’m practicing wedding photography here. Below is a shot from the garden looking in at pre-party cocktail hour:
Note that I moved Harper’s feeding dishes outside for the party. Inevitably someone (usually Frank) kicks the entire thing across the kitchen, and not once but several times throughout the party.
Note Deepti’s unconventional place card protocol.
Jon & Frank.
Action shots. Jon plating the salad. Said salad being eaten.
Frank holding court at the head of the table. Jon after three bottles of wine.
Enjoying an after dinner glass. And something funny.
Deepti hugging Jon. Deepti & Graham. Much love.
Best shot of the night. The dancing has started. Haven’t had a dinner party without dancing yet.
Crazy SF marathoners the very next morning. Too damn early. And an afternoon bloody mary recovery at the Ramp the next afternoon. Note Jon’s excellent headband.
Here’s our menu:
* Halibut and scallop ceviche on flash-fried wonton crisps with avocado
* Mussels with saffron and mustard, and crusty fresh bread
* Rocket green salad, shaved parmigiana, lemon vinaigrette
* Veal and pork and ricotta meatballs (with pistachios!) with heirloom tomato sauce and fresh basil; pea & boston lettuce tarragon puree
* Grilled fresh figs with goat cheese and balsamic-port reduction sauce. Here are the figs; they look ugly but tasted so good!
I finally got into my dream home on Tennessee in the Dogpatch, and here’s a photo tour. I would love to renovate this house; I literally vibrate with happiness when I walk past and imagine bringing it back to its original splendor. It could host some killer dinner parties.
The facade. The entrance is overrun with geraniums.
A simple but nice bit of stained glass in the entry way:
The front rooms, with sliding doors, and an old coal fireplace:
Lovely mouldings around the light fittings throughout the house:
The saddest paint in the world, in the master bedroom on the main floor. And its thin little master bathroom:
A large and old-fashioned kitchen, with beautiful tiles:
Third floor landing, pink bedroom, another kitchen and a claw-footed bathtub in a second bathroom:
The garden, with its rickety old stairs. There’s a plum tree and feral cats hidden amongst all that brush:
On the ground level, there was a flat with lots of mold and water damage:
Large undeveloped space in the basement where you could expand the flat to two bedrooms, and the garage:
Lots of work…