September 28, 2009

Morning in Maui

The view from my desk each morning is of the ocean in soft amber light. The sun has risen but Ma'alaea Bay is still in shadow. Between November and May the humpback whales are playing in the bay.

The Myna birds are singing and the tourists are leaving the harbor in boats heading out to Molokini to snorkel for the day.

Here's an aerial shot of Molokini island which is about 2 miles away from the harbor. This is actually an old volcanic crater. The island is a bird sanctuary and the water below is a marine sanctuary which has about 250 fish species.

As the sun rises over Haleakala (which translates to the "house of the sun") the atmosphere becomes yellowish and the ocean gets bluer. The colors of the sunsets are spectacular but the mornings are subtle.

I'm glad I get to see them both each day.

September 20, 2009

Real Class Acts

It's been a busy couple o' weeks for me, working on shows for John Legend, a Hula competition and a dance show featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Anna Laguna, who are probably the most famous dancers in the world.

But one of the funnest shows I've ever had the pleasure of working on was Slava's Snow Show which occurred at the end of August.
I had worked with them many years ago and was blown away by the simplicity of the show that comes over so big. Piles of paper snow gets blown into the faces of the audience with the help of a plane prop. That scene is followed by huge balloons rolling out into the audience from the stage. Both of these scenes are visually stunning.

I watched from the back of the theater as the snowy walls of the set begin to move in response to the cold wind being heard. The blue stage lights flicker and Slava the Clown raps himself in a piece of the quilted wall. Then there's a sudden blackout , the music swells, your pupils dilate in the
dark and then as the music reaches a crescendo a bank of intense white lights blind the audience and a mass of snow particles propelled by a rush of wind and billowing smoke explode like a bomb from the stage and slowly envelop the audience row by row. Really trippy effects that will make you say WOW!

The "Ball of Balls" follows with huge balloons being battered around by the audience members for at least a half hour until all they have enough and filter out of the theater. I had to personally take steps to make sure there were no sharp objects within the theater that might puncture the balls.

Slava Pulonin is the creator and performs as the main clown. The Russian tech crew worked in a completely different way than we were used to. Snow machines had to be hung over the stage and over the audience. These were no hi-tech gadgets. Basically, it was a motor hooked up to a 5-gallon water jug with holes cut in it. The jug turns and the snow falls through the holes.

All I can say is, THIS IS THEE SHOW you should go see if you ever get the chance. You can take this from someone who has seen thousands of shows. This is something completely unique.


Halloween is approaching and the ghosts are beginning to creep out from their dark corners.

Why is it they want to haunt the living, anyway?

Maybe they're in need of something... something they've lost and hope the living can return to them. Chances are they either seek atonement for wrongs they perpetrated in life, or restitution for wrongs committed against them.

I fear no ghosts. What they really are, are just old memories... regrets, missed opportunities... poor choices. They're shadows of inflicted pain, misery and fear... remorse for broken promises... remnants of a conscience that continues to struggle with past sins. They are human shame seeking forgiveness for betrayal.

And they pop up every now and then in the hope that the wounds they once inflicted have healed and those they've betrayed no longer hold them responsible. What they really need to do is to make amends within themselves.

Shoo, ghost!