Friday, March 19, 2010

Mindshare L.A. March Event

Mindshare? What the hell is Mindshare? Well... let me back up.

Two weeks ago, before the NYC trip, my friend introduced me to the OkGo video This Too Shall Pass, which if you have not seen you must see. (Embedded at bottom.) This video is amazing to the extent that it drove both of us to learn how such a feat was accomplished.

Apparently, when the band had the concept that they wanted to create a one-shot music video of a massive Rube Goldberg Machine in an empty warehouse that would be a part of the song and perhaps abuse them in the process, they posted around online for help and discovered a community of artists and engineers and generally enthusiastic persons known as Syyn Labs. Together, OkGo and Syyn Labs created a simply amazing work of art which takes the form of a music video.

A short yet useful blurb from the Syyn Labs website is this, "Syyn Labs was formed in 2008 by a group of creative engineers who twist together art and technology. We build gizmos, whatzits, and interactive installations that encourage strangers to play together by lowering social barriers."

My friend learned that they hold a monthly event in Downtown L.A called Mindshare. Neither of us hesitated when deciding to go. I do not make resolutions, but if I did then I would resolve to go to more art-themed events.

We sincerely had no idea what we would find at Mindshare. Would we be wandering around a club with techy art pieces here and there? Would there be performance art on a stage? Would this just be another boring night club for singles with a techy-artsy side?

We would have to go Downtown to find out.

Nobody ever uses words like, "vibrant," to describe Downtown L.A.

We found the place, parked, and walked toward the alley entrance of Club 740.

That dude is the type who shouts at a bicyclist to get off the sidewalk. I know, because he did.

The line-up at the alley entrance is made more friendly by one of L.A.'s gourmet catering trucks.

Even though I have never eaten at one, and did not eat at this one, I love how the Catering Truck, known to people like me as a Roach Coach, has managed to go upscale.

A lousy pic, but you can kind of see the chairs set up as well as several balcony levels. This downtown L.A. theater was probably once a true beauty.

As the chairs kind of indicated, Mindshare would be more of a series of presentations than an art gallery thing. It was more a mini-TED. Mirco-TED. Maybe even nano-TED. (If you do not know what TED is, google it.) There was a little bit of art up in balcony that reminded me of the technology rooms at the Sundance Film Festival, but otherwise Mindshare is pretty straightforward. A series of presentations and then socializing.

Time to ditch the flight instructor and the citywide A/V systems guy and grab a seat.

The presentations were, and this is by memory so get off my back if I'm wrong or leave something out; a lawyer-motivational-speaker presenting a little diddy about negotiating; a guy from I think the X-Prize talking about the White House's Open Government Initiative which is something nobody knows about and everyone should; an architect presenting a series of projects including permanent housing for the homeless, a central park for Playa Del Rey, and a CSUSF performance center; the Syyn Labs guys presenting a behind-the-scenes look at the OkGo video (which was cool but I'd already seen this exact presentation on youtube); a kid who builds geodesic tree-houses for the very rich who would have been interesting had he shown the process; a woman from USC promoting TEDxUSC; a futurist of sorts named David Orban who is clearly a genius and spoke of the coming world of exponentially growing data being analyzed by machines instead of people; and finally a hip hopper rip rapping with the crowd clapping/snapping/stomping the beat for him.

The architect, whose presentation I think I enjoyed the most. If I had understood David Orban better perhaps he would have been my favorite.

The crew that put together the OkGo video.

I sat behind Maude Lebowski.

The hip-hopper. He had two guys in the dark center there guiding the clapping, stomping and snapping.

All said it was an interesting night. Had I grabbed food from the catering truck earlier I might have wanted to stick around and meet interesting people. But I was starving, and my friend was slightly drunk and hungry, which lead us out the door soon after the presentation was over.

I bet you did not know about Downtown L.A.'s Historic Core District. Neither would I, if I had not seen this sign on the way back to the car.

We zipped over to Los Feliz for a late-night bite at Fred 62. Since we were far hipper tonight than usual, it only made sense to eat at a hipster joint. After all, Fred 62's motto is, "Eat now, dine later."

The college women next to us were discussing fake I.D.'s. As Bradley Nowell taught us, you can't fight against the youth.


The BBQ Royal was disappointing. The college girls had pancakes and I was filled with self-loathing that there were no pancakes in front of me.

And that is all. A night spent away from the computer and the television; spent in an effort to expand the horizon a little.

I will attempt to embed the aforementioned OkGo video here. Not sure if it will work.

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