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Green Eagle (World Wrestling Superstar)
Date: 2005-07-22
Category: Culture / Performing Arts
Price: Free
Target Audience: Pro wrestling promoters and aspiring young wrestlers who are looking for an appealing identity to assume.
Description: By bridging worlds and representing a rapidly-growing consumer consciousness, wrestling sensation Green Eagle has become one of entertainment's most interesting (and profitable) celebrities. In the highly-encoded world of WWE wrestling personalities, numerous characteristics set the part-Native American muscleman apart from his peers. His tie-dyed headband, silver and turquoise cross pendant, bald eagle icon, and forceful personality blend together in a convincing mix of patriotism, Christian faith, environmentalism, health consciousness, and a dash of hippie idealism. While other wrestlers consume the same brand-name packaged products in between rounds, no matter where the WWE tour takes them, Green Eagle snacks conspicuously on organic produce that's grown locally, appreciating the region's farmers. Where other wrestlers drink commercial sports drinks, Green Eagle quenches his thirst with local tap water, which he drinks from a re-usable Nalgene bottle that's covered with stickers from a carefully-chosen set of environmental organizations, including the Nature Conservancy and the Evangelical Environmental Network. And unlike other wrestlers' tour buses, the Green Eagle Express runs on 100% biodiesel.

In his pre-match interviews, Green Eagle usually takes the high ground-- a strong, silent type who's more likely to quote the book of Genesis, or a traditional prayer from the local indigenous population, than to talk trash. But when he's pitted against wrestlers such as Johnny Nitro or Joey Mercury, whom he sees as representing shameless excess, Green Eagle shows a ferocious, righteous streak, laying into his opponents for their disrespect of Creation and mocking their weakness from filling their bodies with chemical preservatives and poisons.

Green Eagle's distinctive persona has drawn a diverse range of fans, including the countless wrestling enthusiasts who are starting to trade fast food for the increasingly-popular organic produce offerings at Wal-Mart. Other fans include farmers and artisanal food producers nationwide, and intellectual hipster types who never followed pro wrestling at all until they started reading about Green Eagle in the leftie press. These new fans have measurably boosted WWE event attendance in many coastal cities-- a whole new audience for the sport. They typically come to the shows in safe "field trip" groups, and cheer their hero and the message that he's bringing to newly-receptive ears across America with the enthusiasm of a Semiotics professor at a Madonna concert. You can usually identify these new pro wrestling fans by sight, and by the way they pepper their conversation with numerous Obligatory Distancing Comments that ensure their like-minded companions that they have little in common with the other closed-minded members of the audience.

Affirmation Mixes Vol. 1
Date: 2005-02-08
Category: Culture / Music
Price: Free
Target Audience: Dance / electronica musicians and labels, personal-growth publishers
Description: Daily affirmation audiotapes and CDs can be effective tools for personal growth, but frankly, their dorky-sounding voices and cheesy background music limit their appeal. Affirmation Mixes Vol. 1 offers the same nourishing words, but they're recited by people with sexy British accents against an energizing and musically-appealing dance beat. For example, the beautiful statement "I am powerful and loving" weaves in and out of an irresistible, 140+ bpm techno mix. The tracks are available on CD, cassette, and vinyl, making them equally suitable for playing in the car on the way to work, or mixing into a turntable set at a superclub. Affirmation Mixes Vol. 1 has sparked controversy among DJs, which has only increased their popularity. The alienated, irony-addict elitists in the scene pooh-pooh the recordings as profoundly uncool, but meanwhile, the music has been enthusiastically embraced by DJs who see dance culture as a celebration of connection, acceptance, and shared humanity-- perhaps even a form of group therapy. Which side are you on?

Hearts and Minds Board Game
Date: 2004-04-20
Category: Culture / Games
Price: Free
Target Audience: Parker Brothers (Hasbro), Maxis, other board- and simulation-game producers
Description: First published in 1959, Parker Brothers' Risk: The Game of Global Domination remains great fun-- but the classic board game's Cold War outlook now seems quaint. Enter Hearts and Minds, a game of global domination for today's ideological landscape. Like Risk, you play it on a map of the world, and you can deploy armies and weaponry. But there are other forces to exploit and contend with as well, including media conglomerates, bomb-making experts, political organizations, national elections, commentators and clerics, cultural values, ancient texts, and disenfranchised populations. Players play world leaders, and in each round of the game, they take turns "sending messages" to each other and to the public. These messages can be verbal (transmitted privately or publicly), or other forms of "high-level messaging" such as political maneuvers, economic actions, or lethal physical force. Players gain or lose operational strength depending on whether their messages resonate with the global public, an outcome which is determined by combining a roll of the dice with numbers generated by a social-forces simulation system that's housed in an electronic device resembling a Magic 8-Ball. The world leader who wins over most of the remaining population's "Hearts and Minds" achieves world domination, thereby winning the game and ushering in a new era of global harmony and understanding.

Astral Challenge
Date: 2004-04-02
Category: Culture / Television
Price: 200
Target Audience: Game show producers
Description: Astral Challenge is a game show with a twist: All contestants were born within two hours of one another and share the exact same natal chart. Each show begins with the Expert Astrologer's quick overview of the chart, in which she explains what it means for the contestants' personalities and how they'll interact: "With all the Leo and Aries in here, we're gonna have a fiery struggle!" The competition's actual format must be worked out by the experts, leaving room to tailor each installment so that it tests the contestants' specific astrologically-predicted strengths and weaknesses -- for example, athletic ability where Mars is prominent.

Karaoke: From Uncool to Cool
Date: 2004-03-17
Category: Culture / Film and Video
Price: Free
Target Audience: Documentary filmmakers, underwritten by the karaoke industry
Description: Not long ago, karaoke in the U.S. was for dorks, mocked on Saturday Night Live and never considered seriously as an entertainment option by culturally-elitist urbanites. But since then, karaoke has shed its lamer reputation, and it now stands as a perfectly respectable activity for all but the most orthodox cool-police opponents. Karaoke nights have sprouted up in trend-setting hipster bars several cities, and karaoke was embraced naturally and fully by the American characters in the with-it film Lost In Translation. The one-hour documentary Karaoke: From Uncool to Cool charts this remarkable shift, recounting the history of karaoke with special emphasis on the social factors that have defined and modified its coolness over time. Included are recent underground variants of karaoke, such as Porneoke, Movieoke, and Costume Karaoke, which provide sufficient ironic distance to serve as "gateway" activities, luring uninitiated hipsters over to the hard stuff.

Warhol's Empire on DVD (Flat-panel TV Decor)
Date: 2004-03-11
Category: Culture / Film and Video
Price: 25
Target Audience: DVD producers, art museum gift shops.
Description: You've wall-mounted one of those nice, big, flat LCD or plasma television screens. But what does it do when you're not watching? You can just let it sit blank, play a cheesy fireplace or aquarium video, show some distracting eyecandy. . . or you can display a true landmark of modern art: Andy Warhol's Empire. This 8-plus hour experimental film consists of a motionless shot of the Empire State Building, filmed in 16mm from the 44th floor of the Time-Life building back in 1964 -- perfect for adding that quietly artsy touch to your living room, or even making it look like you have a window that faces midtown Manhattan in a time warp. Despite the film's epic length, Empire compresses easily onto a single DVD because it's black-and-white, it has no sound, and most significantly, it has no movement other than slow changes in lighting and the occasional bird flying. Finally, a way to put this notorious film to good use!

Cirque de Bleu
Date: 2004-03-07
Category: Culture / Performing Arts
Price: 100
Target Audience: Las Vegas show producers and culturally-daring ex-Cirque de Soleil performers, along with their aspiring pals who also tried out but didn't quite make the cut
Description: Have you ever watched professional acrobats perform and wondered about the sexual gymnastics they might be capable of? Well, wonder no longer, because you can see it all at Cirque de Bleu, Las Vegas's hottest new adults-only spectacular. Marvel at the all-lovely, all-talented cast as they demonstrate obscure and near-impossible Kama Sutra positions with balletic grace! Thrill to daring young men on the flying trapeze-- and even-more-daring young women!! Gasp at the sheer breadth of sexual athleticism that our glorious human species is capable of!!! Note that this is a strictly high-class show, sumptuously staged, with a live orchestra playing music that sounds sorta like classical, but has a good beat. All orgasms are completely faked as part of the overall, precisely-timed choreography (and of course, you will see no "money shots," which, despite the name, are not classy).

Screenplay Press (Book Publishing Division)
Date: 2004-02-29
Category: Culture / Books
Price: Free
Target Audience: Book publishers
Description: You've seen the movie-- now read the screenplay! Back in the 1970's, before VCR's became popular, mass-market "novelization" paperbacks sold millions. But as home video raised the public's sophistication regarding film, these low-aiming adaptations seemed increasingly stupid, and sales dropped. Now, decades later and well into the era of home DVD film study, book publishers still haven't realized that the general public is sophisticated enough to read screenplays in their original format. (Publishers such as Faber and Faber do print select screenplays for academic audiences, usually after the movies have already left theaters.) Screenplay Press publishes screenplays of current films for the general book-buying public, with or without photographs or other costly "extras." It's a triple-win for the parent publisher, studios, and booksellers: Low-hanging fruit for the publisher, who expends no editorial time or effort on the titles because they're already completely written; gravy for studios, who get free publicity and income for selling print rights that they're currently just sitting on, and a good bet for booksellers, who can fill more of their shelf and table space with publicity-fueled known quantities, rather than obscure books that no one has ever heard of or cares about.

Milvian Bridge
Date: 2004-01-23
Category: Culture / Film and Video
Price: 200
Target Audience: Miramax
Description: As Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ will undoubtedly demonstrate, orthodoxy equals controversy equals big ticket sales. Milvian Bridge applies this profitable formula to a Protestant religious perspective. The film focuses on the Constantine the Great, the Roman emperor who made Christianity the official religion, thereby spawning the Catholic Church and assuring its political dominance, via Roman-built organizational infrastructure, for centuries afterward. The triggering event for Constantine came after his military victory over Maxentius in 318 A.D., which serves as the film's opening sequence. Following the battle, while crossing the Milvian Bridge back into Rome, Constantine looks up at the sun, sees a Christian cross inside, and hears the words "By this sign, you will conquer" (In hoc signo vinces). This vision instantly converted the military-minded Constantine to Christianity, and what follows is his rise in political power and the spread of his version of Christianity, culminating in the First Council of Nicea (325 A.D.), where Constantine banished the influential and charismatic Arius, the Council's chief theological opponent. Throughout the film's many heated political and religious arguments, Milvian Bridge explores the controversial possibility that Constantine's vivid, fiery post-battle hallucination was put into his mind by Satan, not by God, as the centerpiece of a devilish plan to pervert true Christianity. As Constantine's opponents are variously outmaneuvered, banished, and silenced, they astutely cite New Testament scriptures such as Jesus' plea for strict separation between religion and politics ("Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's,") and Revelations' encoded characterization of Rome as the evil Babylon. For added impact, the producers of Milvian Bridge should be Jewish-- then the fur will really fly! Ka-ching!!

Ibogaine-Fueled Dianetics
Date: 2004-01-20
Category: Culture / Religion
Price: 200
Target Audience: The Church of Scientology
Description: To improve mental health, Scientologists "audit" subjects' life experiences to find pivotal moments during which strong emotional reactions formed lasting blockages to reason-- not unlike the process of psychoanalysis. Meanwhile, many have reported that the drug ibogaine, when taken in conducive settings, elicits a hallucinatory review of the same sorts of events, allowing the adult user to understand, recontextualize, and defuse these stored experiences from a mature perspective. Ibogaine-Fueled Dianetics combines the two, turbo-charging the "audit" process by administering ibogaine orally or via enema (to prevent vomiting) before each session. You get the brain-combing power of psychedelics with the stability and guidance of a powerful, name-brand institution! And because ibogaine has also proven effective as an addiction recovery tool, it fits in with Scientology's anti-drug doctrine, making the Church's adoption path, well, clear. First, set up a Scientology-sponsored ibogaine recovery clinic in or near Tijuana, targeting wealthy, influential heroin addicts in the Los Angeles area. Meanwhile, apply political pressure to get ibogaine approved for medical treatment of addiction, a good and winnable cause which has growing support but needs big donors. Next, use the addicts in Mexico as guinea pigs to help design new ibogaine-assisted audit processes for non-addict "preclears." Finally, wherever the law permits, begin conducting ibogaine audits for good candidates in Scientology centers worldwide.

Goth Idol
Date: 2004-01-11
Category: Culture / Film and Video
Price: 1% of net
Target Audience: TV Producers of Pop Idol/Clones
Description: The UK television series Pop Idol and its US version, American Idol, may be hugely popular, but they have little to offer the "alternative" crowd, other than yet another reason to feel alienated. Goth Idol gives these sensitive individuals a show of their own. Contestants may express themselves in any way-- sing, dance, bite the heads off of rubber vermin, or even simply pose and cry dramatically. Goths are interesting people; who knows what new forms of entertainment they'll come up with? The show's all-star panel of judges includes Ozzy Osbourne (or a less expensive alternative), any member of KISS (Gene or Paul if budget allows), and Pop Idol judge Nikki Chapman, to provide contrast.

Malcolm Gladwell's Project X
Date: 2003-12-29
Category: Culture / Film and Video
Price: 150
Target Audience: Documentary TV series producers
Description: Japan's hit television series Project X documents key industrial innovations, one per weekly episode, with topics ranging from the development of the VHS standard to the development of the electric rice-cooker. Featuring frequent interviews with retirees, the detail-rich and optimistic program has inspired a large, devoted following, while spawning companion books, comics, and DVD's. Malcolm Gladwell's Project X translates this successful formula to U.S. audiences, focusing on American innovations. The appealing young New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell hosts the program, further guaranteeing its embrace by the PBS-NPR complex (which seldom backs properties that don't have a highbrow name attached).

Arabic-Language Dub of The Hebrew Hammer
Date: 2003-12-18
Category: Culture / Film and Video
Price: Free
Target Audience: ContentFilm International, the international sales and distribution division of ContentFilm, producers of The Hebrew Hammer
Description: Culturally with-it and currently anti-Semitic young Arabs need a more complete picture of Jews than the one inspired by the aging revenge-monkeys who rule the Zionist Entity next door. This greater understanding can be easily provided by dubbing the excellent new comedy The Hebrew Hammer in Arabic and distributing DVDs and tapes throughout the Arab world. The film draws a winning portrait of an underdog Jewish action hero, even as it (half-?) jokingly raises such notions as the Zionist banking conspiracy -- a perfect combination for credibility and interest with the Arab street. And while the film's producers shouldn't underestimate modern Arab cultural sophistication, it would probably also help, if budgeting allows, to do some very minor recutting for the Arabic version. For example, to draw a more sympathetic portrait of the protagonist's mother and to reduce the plot's reliance on It's A Wonderful Life -- a film which relatively few people in that region of the world have seen, and which if they did, would (unlike The Hebrew Hammer) prove bafflingly foreign and difficult to relate to.

Saddam Interview with Live-Video Commentary
Date: 2003-12-15
Category: Culture / Film and Video
Price: Free
Target Audience: TV producers -- especially ones who do live sports, interviews, or Blind Date
Description: Immediately after Dan Rather (or whoever) conducts the inevitable "major television event" pre-trial interview with Saddam Hussein, commentators will give their personal analyses of the conversation. These promise with equal inevitability to be overly general, predictable, and dull. But the Saddam Interview with Live-Video Commentary mixes running expert editorial interpretations in during the interview itself, on a slight delay, rather than having you wait for them afterwards, when they can't be as precise. The comments appear via simple visual additions, like the thought balloons and marginal remarks on Blind Date, but done in a more serious manner. Sports-style "instant replays" zoom in on, highlight, and interpret telling facial expressions, while particularly interesting phrases are displayed and analyzed at the bottom of the screen. Paul Ekman could direct the "color commentary" on the significance of Saddam's facial expressions while George Lakoff works the transcription to bring out the meanings and metaphors that underlie his language. Meanwhile Thomas Friedman would be a good, if obvious, choice for anchoring the live video commentary desk.

Song of the South Remake
Date: 2003-12-03
Category: Culture / Film and Video
Price: 200 + small percentage negotiable
Target Audience: Disney (which has undergone recent Board of Directors changes and may need new directions).
Description: Song of the South (1946) is a wonderful story, but because audiences today might consider some elements racist, Disney has kept it out of circulation. This family classic is ripe for a good remake, and here's how to do it: Set it in Sapalo Island, Georgia, with an all-black cast. Keep the original cartoon characters and songs, but make Brer Rabbit and his gang Gullah. This would dramatize a vivid chapter of Black History while bringing Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear to a new generation-- which would be just plain fun. And think of the toy potential!

The Skeletonization Society
Date: 2003-11-13
Category: Culture
Price: 1% of net
Target Audience: Morticians and freethinkers
Description: Do not go gentle into that good night-- party on! The Skeletonization Society promotes skeletonization as an alternative to burial and cremation, challenging modern society's denial surrounding death. The eco-friendly process returns your soft tissues to the earth (via Dermestid beetles, used by top museums worldwide) while keeping your articulated skeleton jumpin' for years to come. Your gleaming bones can live on, teaching the difference between maxilla and mandible to generations of Boston Latin students, or serving as "house skeleton" for the Phi Gam sorority, studied by pre-meds all week and photographed with drunk coeds all weekend. You can be the skeleton in your children's closet, appreciated by generations of descendents, or the trusted Yorick at your favorite local theater company. No matter what, you'll look great-- beautiful and clean, no rolls of fat, skin problems, or obscene genitalia, the enduring and universal essence of humanity. Contrary to common belief, it is perfectly legal to own a human skeleton, just as it is to own human ashes. But they've become more expensive since India, the traditional medical school supplier, banned their export roughly a decade ago. Part club, part business, The Skeletonization Society educates and builds community for people interested in skeletonization, while offering training, supplies, and political support for participating undertakers. And when your skeleton is ready to show, the Society presents your loved ones with a certificate that documents your life, keyed to a unique identifier implanted into the bone, and holds a festive "coming out" party.

GunNut Magazine
Date: 2003-11-13
Category: Culture / Magazine and Newspaper
Price: 1% of net
Target Audience: Magazine publishers
Description: A whole generation of video-gamers is coming into legal gun-buying age, and some are realizing that blasting inanimate objects with big guns is just as thrilling in real life as it is in DOOM. But they don't share the cold-dead-fingers paranoia or Bambi-shooting sensibilities of traditional gun enthusiasts. Enter GunNut magazine, tagline: "Shooting Is Fun." Each month, GunNut covers all forms of recreational shooting (except for hunting), emphasizing target practice with real firearms, but also discussing First-Person Shooter videogames, paintball, homemade siege weapons, archery, and other projectile-centered recreations. All topics are presented with a lively, young, video-game sensibility -- think PC Gamer meets Guns and Ammo meets Maxim. The magazine will attract a whole new audience of trigger-happy gamers to the world of gun ownership, inviting lots of advertising revenue. Meanwhile, gun traditionalists will resent the publication's playful, irreverent attitude, and concerned parents will object to the way it blurs the distinction between virtual and real-life shooting, guaranteeing a rebel-cool "underground" status from both sides of the shocked-grownup spectrum.

Roommate Court (Public Access TV)
Date: 2003-10-27
Category: Culture / Film and Video
Price: 200
Target Audience: Public Access television hosts looking to expand their audience beyond their immediate circle of friends.
Description: Your roommate never washes his dishes? Or he left his latest stupid "sculpture" right in the middle of the hallway, where you stepped on it, like anyone else would have late at night? Settle your grievances on Roommate Court, San Francisco Public Access Television�s surprise hit program. Every week, the colorful "Judge" Knox listens to each disgruntled roommate's story and dispenses firm-but-fair rulings and entertainingly apt punishments, some of which are administered on the spot. You�d better sign up soon, though -- with all the roommate problems out there, the "Judge's" waiting list gets longer each week.

Big Music
Date: 2003-10-17
Category: Culture / Music
Price: 200
Target Audience: Major music studios and the disgruntled execs who want to leave them
Description: Wounded by downloading, Universal Music Group recently slashed wholesale CD prices -- a sign that the music industry bloodbath can only continue, sucking a thick layer of percentage-shaving L.A. schmooze-weasels out of the bloated payrolls like so many liposuctioned fat cells. But upstart studio Big Music sees no future in distributing entertainment for home consumption anyway. Instead, it focuses on two things that computers can't do: manufacturing celebrities, and providing the thrilling and copy-proof experience of being in an audience. Talent development, PR, and concerts; that's it, and any music that the studio produces and distributes simply serves as an advertisement for the live events and merchandise. Furthermore, for some live events, the performers aren't even physically present, which reduces costs considerably. Instead, the bands play at one high-profile venue, and their performance is simulcast to other arenas across the country, projected onto big screens, and supported by dazzling video effects and stage pyrotechnics. Naturally, the thousands of screaming fans, who are the main source of concert excitement anyway, are all real. Big Music has found that these lower-priced "Simulcast Tours" work best for bubblegum bands, and the company does not expect them to be embraced by properties like Neil Young.

Fire Twirling: Great Exercise (and Great Television)
Date: 2003-09-05
Category: Culture
Price: Free
Target Audience:
Description: Assume the position, Yoga. Fire twirling (aka fire spinning or fire dancing) is the hot new physical discipline now-- empowering, strengthening, fun to perform, beautiful to watch, and linked to a fascinating and inspiring subculture. Imagine the commercial possibilities! First of all, note that Olympic-style gymnastics and ice dancing seem awfully tame after you've watched a pierced, well-muscled hottie execute a complex ballet of swinging chains and flame. (The standard routine lasts about five minutes, the time it takes for a fuel-soaked Kevlar wick to burn out.) The best fire dancers, both women and men, have genuine star quality, and someone in charge needs to organize and broadcast an international tournament, pronto. It could be put on by fire-twirling specialists like New Zealand's Home of Poi, or else as a part of something larger, like ESPN's X Games. Secondly, a national women's magazine needs to do a feature on fire twirling, perhaps as a trend story, or else as a profile of someone like Isa Isaacs, aka GlitterGirl, a fire performer and instructor who gave up a high-flying HR career and survived a life-altering automobile accident to later found the Temple of Poi, a popular San Francisco school dedicated to teaching and building community around the fire arts. Thirdly, fire twirlers worldwide need to start offering lessons and classes, with an eye towards quitting their day jobs. Fourth, there needs to be a magazine dedicated to fire twirling and its associated lifestyle, or at least regular coverage by a pub such as Fierce in Atlanta. Fifth, some fashion designer needs to specialize in sexy, fire-resistant fashions that twirlers can wear both in and out of the fire circle. Sixth... well, you get the idea.

Stoner Film Festival
Date: 2003-08-15
Category: Culture / Art / Exhibition
Price: Free
Target Audience: Enterprising stoner film buffs. If the First Annual is a success, might consider seeking corporate sponsorship for future festivals from High Times, Graffix, Mountain Dew, Frito-Lay, etc.
Description: Let the frat boys and sorority girls invade Fort Lauderdale next spring break -- the annual Stoner Film Festival in Santa Cruz is the way-funner alternative party destination. Featuring new independent films with a "stoner sensibility," the festival runs through the last week of March at the spacious Rio Theatre, kicked off by the public-domain chestnut Reefer Madness. Meanwhile, festival attendees get discount rates at several friendly local motels. Party in Santa Cruz! Organizers say that when they put word out about the festival, they were flooded with entries (and $20 entry fees). Accepted submissions -- many of which, for some reason, turned out to be comedy shorts featuring puppets -- were selected for quality, variety, and "stoner appeal." Festival organizers officially discourage the breaking of any laws, explaining that they use the term "stoner" to describe an outlook, an approach to life, without implying anything about illegal plant use, which they do not condone.

News and Power
Date: 2003-08-15
Category: Culture / Books
Price: 100
Target Audience:
Description: How did the August 15, 2003 edition of the New York Times get out during the blackout? News and Power examines the artifact that is this newspaper, particularly the front section, and gives the inside story behind the news stories -- a newsroom staff under new managers negotiating their first big crisis, deadline-driven reporters waiting for pay phones and fighting their way across town with flashlights to file their stories. Like a The Soul of a New Machine for the newspaper business, it portrays hero journalists struggling against urban mayhem to make the day's report. Along the way, we learn the history of newspaper operations and backup infrastructure during catastrophes, when the product is both more important to society and more profitable, thanks to the guaranteed windfall of newsstand sales. In the last chapter, newspaper veterans reverse-engineer the August 15th edition's front section page-by-page, examining the stories, advertisements, and layout to explain how the newspaper reveals signs of strain (for example, the greater-than-usual number of large ads for the Times itself throughout the section, the four short reports by the same journalist, Glenn Collins, on the same page).

Jesus Christ Superstar Sing-Along Benefit
Date: 2003-07-12
Category: Culture / Event
Price: Free
Target Audience: Large urban repertory-house movie theaters
Description: H�ndel's Messiah sing-alongs are a lovely tradition for the dressed-up Holiday season, but when springtime comes around, people want to rock. And they can do it for a good cause at a Jesus Christ Superstar Sing-Along benefit screening. The formula is simple: Show the 1973 movie version of JCS at a large theater, publicize it as a costume-friendly, sing-along event, and charge $10-15 dollars, with proceeds going to some charity organization that Jesus would have liked (I believe there are many). For added interest, prepend a live introduction by relevant local speakers or performers. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, for example, would be a nice choice for such a benefit held at San Francisco's Castro Theater, although another choice might work better in Peoria.

The Light Jockey Handbook
Date: 2003-07-07
Category: Culture / Books
Price: 200
Target Audience: Book publishers
Description: DJ'ing is great, but running a club's lighting and video is an equally interesting assignment, despite the fact that the field lacks Turntablism's vocabulary and established cultural lineage. The Light Jockey Handbook fills this void, providing both historical context and practical instructions for running a designed gathering's visuals. The first chapter charts the light show's evolution from the all-analog pioneers of the Sixties, with their dye emulsions and color wheels, through the laser era, up to today, where easy downloading, capturing, and editing wares allow laptop-wielding jockeys to assemble fresh, dazzling evening commentaries on the political events and cultural hot-buttons of the previous day. Succeeding chapters explain various technologies, one by one, in both practical and artistic terms: analog "psychedelic" color effects, slide projectors, lights, lighting controllers, lasers, mirror balls, fog machines, video projectors, capture tools, and image and video editing software. Concluding the Handbook is a Glossary of Terms and an Appendix that explains theatrical lighting notation, augmented for use by LJ's who want to script their performances. The book's Foreword is by Stewart Brand, who in 1966 San Francisco produced the historic Trips Festival, a light-show heavy event that was billed as a "non-drug re-creation of a psychedelic experience." (Today, Brand and others in his circle are still devoted to blowing people's minds-- although the minds involved now belong to decision-makers in offices as well as to kids off the street. This is a good thing.)

The Caesar Rendering
Date: 2003-06-30
Category: Culture / Politics
Price: Free
Target Audience: Street servers like London's Street Sensation or San Francisco's Seamless City.
Description: Most goggle-based Augmented Reality networks are developed by institutions, such as the Army helping soldiers navigate the battlefield, or tourism boards annotating destination cities with travel-guide recommendations. The Caesar Rendering, in contrast, is a grassroots, open-source AR channel that allows ordinary citizens to augment the world with verifiable, Mark 12:16-friendly identifications of the unpublicized money behind the artifacts being observed. Looking at a newly-built skyscraper? The Caesar Rendering flashes your heads-up display with who owns the building, who else has financial interests, and who approved its construction. Passing a billboard? The channel shows you the agency responsible, their client, and the size of the account. Waiting for a movie to start? The channel details the amounts paid for the promotional trivia questions flashed on the screen. Wherever anything is placed in public view as a result of money changing hands, the Caesar Rendering reveals the sources and amounts of these funds. The information is researched and contributed by interested individuals who obtain it from local news sources and public records.

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