Geneva 4 Drive-In Urban Scrabble

While recently looking for a nice location for an afternoon hike with a friend, we stumbled across the remains of the Geneva 4 Drive-In movie theater in Daly City. What first caught my eye was three old lightbox signs atop polls with changeable marquee letters.

Geneva Drive-In

Cinema Treasures tells us that the Geneva was a 4 screen multiplex that opened in 1950 on an abandoned dog racing track. It had west facing screens positioned at the bottom of a gentle sloping grade with a mesmerizing view of the infamous aptly named Cow Palace. “Great place for taking dates in the 50’s and 60’s.” Apparently Hunter S. Thompson was a frequent visitor and wrote about his experiences there. One can only imagine the freaky shit that must have gone on during its 50-year history.

Geneva Drive-In

This required further investigation. We wandered around the grounds and soon discovered a cache of leftover marquee letters strewn about.

Geneva Drive-In

With darkness coming on fast, we quickly went about to use our collective Scrabble skills to come up with this solid 17 point word score.

Geneva Drive-In

I get the feeling this place doesn’t get a lot of visitors, as the marquees hadn’t been changed in over a year as evidenced by photos on the SF Gate’s The Poop blog.

Think you can do better than QUEEF? Post links to pix and prove it.

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Me and Christopher Coppola, sitting on a panel, M-O-N-D-A-Y

I was invited by the fine folks over at Social Media Club to participate on a panel about mobile video creation this Monday night in San Francisco. I guess my experience as an “assistant director” on the collaborative Spike Lee movie that Nokia Productions organized is what peeps want to hear about. Also on that panel will be Christopher Coppola, nephew to Francis, brother to Nicolas Cage, and also a director in his own right. He’s got a pretty cool thing called Project Accessible Hollywood that he’ll be talking about. Should be a fun night. If you’re in SF, stop by. Tickets are still available.

Here’s the official blurbage:

This month Social Media Club San Francisco / Silicon Valley chapter digs deep on the subject of mobile video. How it’s created, strategically deployed and consumed. The program will be divided into two separate, but related discussions:

Part one, moderated by Chris Heuer, will feature representatives from Qik, Justin.tv and our sponsor Real Player SP leading a discussion on how mobile video is really being used. Working to go beyond the hype, the panel will be turned, with the panelists asking questions of the audience and of each other. Getting beyond the hype to what’s really happening and what we really wish was happening. Together we could help shape our own future, collectively discovering new possibilities and exchanging stories of how people are really using mobile video.

After a 15 minute break, Jennifer Lindsay will facilitate a panel of creative video all-stars discussing how they are approaching the changing digital video landscape in an always on, always connected world.

During the second half, our discussion will focus on hearing some stories from the front lines of digital video. Eddie Codel is a pioneering vlogger and producer for Geek Entertainment TV. Eddie was one of five (5) people chosen from around the world to work on an innovative film project with Spike Lee entirely shot on mobile phone video cameras. We will hear what it was like to be a part of such a ground breaking project and what lessons he learned that we can all apply when thinking about our next mobile video shoot. We will also be joined by Christopher Coppola, a seasoned film and television director who is also founder and chairman of Project Accessible Hollywood (PAH), a non-profit organization that brings digital empowerment to underserved communities and individuals worldwide. Christopher will discuss PAH Fest, mobile phone films and Cellunovellas and the Latin American market.

Audience members will also be encouraged to share experiences and use cases.

Please note tickets are $10 in advance, or $20 at the door. Tickets are non-refundable, but may be transferred to another guest to attend this event.

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The Atomic Level of Porn

At monochrom‘s Arse Elektronika conference last week in San Francisco, computer historian and agitator of Internet trolls everywhere, Jason Scott gave a brilliant in-depth look back on the early days of computer rendered pornography. From early line printers generating monochromatic pinups with X’s to blocky pixelated 80’s video games with box covers much more alluring than the game play, Jason runs the gamut. Here’s the video I shot of it with Jason’s slides inserted.


Mardi Gras World Photo Tour

While in New Orleans for SIGGRAPH last week, the organizers threw a welcome party at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. This place is a massive warehouse and prop shop that houses tons of floats used in New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras parade. Here’s my full set of photos.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

Since 1947, this is where most of the floats and props have been designed, built and stored.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

Walking through the space is like taking a tour through Disneyland. Many props and floats come from mythology, history, movies and pop culture.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

My favorite are the Halloween and evil monsters section, of which there are many.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

If you find yourself in New Orleans, you really should stop in and take a tour of Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World.


Speaking on panel at Siggraph: DIY Media & Distribution

Siggraph 2009
I’m heading to New Orleans in the morning to attend Siggraph 2009, the “36th international conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques.” Long time pal Spot Draves, the super genius computer generative artist behind Electric Sheep, asked me join him on a panel he’s moderating titled DIY Media & Distribution. Pioneering musician Todd Rundgren was originally slated for the panel, but had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict. Here’s the full description:

DIY Media & Distribution

Thursday, 6 August | 10:30 AM – 12:15 PM | Room 243-245

A discussion of how low-cost or open-source development and distribution tools are affecting creative production. It features creative pioneers and programmers who have irretrievably altered musical composition, computer graphics, the future of journalism, and the definition of art. Like every advancement since the stone age, their work enlists the help of machines to improve upon what humans once made by themselves – fundamentally modern but also timeless.

The panelists explore people-oriented ideals, like creating design programs that are free for everyone to use and build upon, television programming that allows amateurs to acquire air time, one-person symphonies, and artwork to which non-artists contribute small drawings. They also discuss the users, who help the internet live up to its potential by taking part in the myriad opportunities to show off their creativity in ways never before possible.

Do we live in a brief renaissance period where the gates are down and all bets are off, little realizing that the window will soon close and economic, corporate, or government forces will restrict the world’s media again? Or do our times mark the beginning of a permanent openness, where you don’t have to be established to have a voice, and where large-scale collaboration happens without financial incentives.

Scott Draves
Google Inc.

Todd Rundgren cancelled
Musician and composer

Eddie Codel
Geek Entertainment TV

Aaron Koblin
Google Creative Lab

Tiffiniy Cheng
Participatory Culture Foundation


Google Voice transcribes the FedEx guy

I have my front door callbox forward to a Google Voice virtual phone number. It creates transcripts of voicemail messages people leave. You might never guess this is from the FedEx guy.

hi good morning this is robin right now i’m part of the for calling me matt andy for darryl i gave him a call there it looks like it tomorrow thank you bye bye bye baby bye

Want to give it a try? Just click below, punch in your number and Google Voice will call you and make a connection to my voicemail inbox after 5 rings. Go ahead, give it a shot. I’ll post the most ridiculous translations.

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Littlefield Tank Tour + Oilpunk Boiler Bar on BBV

Two more fun videos I had the pleasure of shooting for Boing Boing Video went up recently. First is a tour of the amazing Littlefield tank museum. From BB:

In today’s edition of Boing Boing Video, guest-host Todd Lappin explores a massive collection of historical military vehicles tanks collected by an eccentric Silicon Valley multimillionaire. The recently-departed Jacques Littlefield amassed one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of this type, and his collection is now overseen by the nonprofit Military Vehicle Technology Foundation.

The second video is of Jon Sarriugarte’s sexy burlesque and oil and fire fueled Boiler Bar event. Includes a great interview and demonstration from old school blacksmith Shawn Lovell. The video really has it all: sexy burlesque dancers, fire, steam powered car, blacksmithing w/lots of fire, snail car w/fire and fireworks w/more fire.