Ticket Giveaway: Cirque du Soleil’s OVO

Cirque du Soleil OVOI had the pleasure of seeing Cirque du Soleil’s OVO this past week in Santa Monica. My second Cirque show, I was, once again, mesmerized by the focus, coordination and unequivocal talents of the performers. The combination of sets, costumes and energy is magnetic and it’s really difficult to leave the show without a smile.

OVO, with its insect theme and colorful imagery, is suitable for kids and adults alike.

Cirque has generously offered a pair of tickets for me to give away to a February show of the winners’s choosing (date and showtime based on availability; seats assigned).

To enter to win, leave a comment answering the following question:
If were insect, which one would you be and why?

The contest will run for a full week, Monday, January 30th-Sunday, February 5th at midnight. The entries will be numbered and the winner will be chosen via random.org.

Please enjoy the below press information about the show, and I look forward to reading your submissions!

Cirque du Soleil Ovo

Proudly presented by iShares© Cirque du Soleil is thrilled to be back to the Santa Monica Pier with its critically-acclaimed and family-friendly big top touring show OVO, performing for a limited engagement under the trademark blue and yellow Grand Chapiteau (big top).  Two additional weeks have just been put on sale, and the show is now playing until March 11, 2012.

Since its world-premiere in Montreal in 2009, OVO has charmed well-over 2 million spectators in over 15 different cities in North America. Santa Monica will be the only Southern California stop for a Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) production in 2012.

Tickets all performances are now available online at cirquedusoleil.com/ovo or at the Cirque du Soleil Box office located inside the main entrance tent of the Grand Chapiteau at the Santa Monica Pier. Regular box office hours will be 12:00 p.m. – end of show Tuesday through Saturday; 11:00 a.m. – end of show on Sunday and will be closed on all Monday’s and the following Tuesdays: February 7th, February 28th & March 20th.

Cirque du Soleil OVO

About the show

OVO, meaning “egg” in Portuguese, is a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement.

When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects are awestruck and intensely curious about this iconic object that represents the enigma and cycles of their lives. It is love at first sight when a gawky, quirky insect arrives in this bustling community and a fabulous ladybug catches his eye – and the feeling is mutual.

The cast of OVO is comprised of 55 performing artists from 14 countries specializing in many acrobatic acts. One highlight of OVO is the stunning flying trapeze act, in which six flyers soar 40 feet in the air, making this the biggest act of its kind to ever be presented under a big top by Cirque du Soleil. It combines many circus disciplines, including banquine, Russian swing and swinging chair. The finale features 20 artists running, jumping and leaping up a 24-foot vertical wall.

 The Creative Team behind the world of OVO is:  Artistic Guides Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix; Writer, Director and Choreographer Deborah Colker (first female director at Cirque du Soleil); Director of Creation Chantal Tremblay; Set and props Designer Gringo Cardia; Costume Designer Liz Vandal; Composer and Musical Director Berna Ceppas; Lighting Designer Éric Champoux; Sound Designer Jonathan Deans; Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer hting Designer éclairagesa creative team for the first time at Cirque du Soleilerms of distance between stations.Fred Gérard;  Acrobatic Performance Designer Philippe Aubertin; and Makeup Designer Julie Bégin.

Cirque du Soleil gratefully acknowledges iShares as the presenting sponsor of the OVO 2012 North American tour as well as Infiniti, CGI, XEROX, Sun Life Financial and American Express as the official sponsors.

Cirque du Soleil

From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Québec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 artists from close to 50 different countries.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in more than 300 cities on five continents.

A Live Journey Through The World of Cinema

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of catching Cirque du Soleil’s IRIS, a journey through the world of cinema, followed by a Q&A afterward with some of the creative staff and performers.

The Los Angeles theater production presents an imaginary journey through the evolution of cinema – from the foundations of the art form to the bustle of the soundstage – through optical effects and film genres.

IRIS transposes into a language of dance and acrobatics displaying all of cinema’s splendor, inventiveness and, above all, its sense of wonder. It conjures up a place between motion and picture, light and sound, that shifts constantly between reality and make-believe, to explore the limitless possibilities of cinema.

By combining dance, acrobatics, live video, film footage and interactive projections, the show illustrates both the mechanics of cinema and its extraordinary power to deceive the eye.

Needless to say, IRIS defies being visually stunning and thoroughly entertaining. The company does a fantastic job of keeping the audience engaged, whether it be through physical obstacles or intentionally silly humor. The stunts are phenomenal and I can’t imagine the amount of strength, balance, coordination and other physical capacities that go into mastering them.

The artists arrived in Los Angeles in April, and rehearsed on a daily basis, oftentimes from 9am-10pm, for three months through the show’s soft opening in July. It’s been in the planning stages for three years. There are actors as young as 17 in the show’s 12 acts, which include aerial performers, film strips, comedy bits, trampoline sketches, contortionists, etc.

The film strip act was honestly one of my favorites. The timing is impeccable and it evolves from an already-awesome display to a film strip then ties in actual film in the background, interacting with the live performers. There is no way I can attempt to do it justice in words, but it’s a major trip to watch.

Cirque du Soleil Iris

 The show evolved from the cinematic theme and the acrobatic skeleton, then the incorporation of those two things together.

It features over 350 props all created specifically for this production, many of which are animated and remote controlled, and many of which serve actual purposes in the show in addition to their aesthetic value. Nothing is off a shelf — everything was specifically designed. Similarly, over 200 costumes from 1000 sketches were also created.

The music was composed by Danny Elfman, whom noted this project was different from assigning tunes to film since, for a movie, he gets to put music to a finished product, whereas here, it’s never really a finished product; it’s constantly evolving. Live musicians performed music in conjunction with recorded tracks, aligning with each segment.

IRIS was created exclusively for the Kodak Theater and will remain a resident production, Kodak’s only in addition to the Academy Awards. (This means the show will only be performed in this location; it will not travel like other Cirque shows.)

Proudly presented by Sun Life Financial, IRIS was written and directed by French stage and film director, artistic director, dancer and choreographer Philippe Decouflé.

Tickets can be purchased online, or visit IRIS by Cirque du Soleil on Facebook, Cirque du Soleil on Twitter, and #Iris for additional information, clips, tidbits and more.

Surfing Social Networks for Unique Local Artists

Hilton Anaheim Murals
Hilton Anaheim
, Orange County’s largest hotel, and MUZEO, Southern California’s newest museum, recently joined forces to find and commission three talented muralists for the unique opportunity to have their work seen. A panel of judges led by MUZEO and Hilton Anaheim’s executive committee made the final decisions.

The stylized vacationers represent the brushwork of Apple Valley, California-based artist Robin Knilans Morrow, who has been working as a professional artist for more than 20 years. Los Angeles, California-based artist Gus Harper, who has been working as a professional artist for more than 12 years, painted the surfers.  The talented muralist behind the realistic images of birds, shells and other life by sea is Anaheim-based Piccolo Batlle.  He has been working as a professional artist for more than 20 years.

Located at the hotel’s main pool entrance, on the patio, and at the towel shack, the murals illustrate the theme line, OC Forever Summer , in keeping with Southern California’s mild climate and forever summertime attitude. Commissioning the murals also conveys the community’s welcoming spirit and reflects the Hilton’s efforts to develop a progressive community within the local arts district.

Brilliantly rendered images of seaside life, colorful stylized human figures actively enjoying their vacations and surfers riding the big waves now decorate the newly renovated outdoor pool area at the main pool entrance, at the Pool Bar and Grill wall plus the towel shack. More than $1 million was spent in renovating the area, including adding a giant water bucket, a poolside lounge, grilling station and more.

The hotel utilized social media to help draw entries for the contest via a custom Facebook tab outlining the initiative and allowed artists to download relevant forms and specifications. This help make the submission process easier and allowed entrants of those who might know some the ability to conveniently access all information from a single place. More simply, it also allowed further publicity of the contest.

What other unique contests have you seen hotels run online?

QR Codes for Upcoming Theater Performances

Segerstrom Center for the Arts showcases a wide variety of the most significant national and international productions of music, dance and theater to the people of Southern California.

Segerstrom Center for the ArtsThe Center presents a broad range of programming each season for audiences of all ages including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events.

Social Media for the Arts

They’ve done a phenomenal job of keeping fans up-to-date via social media: Their Facebook page has over 17,000 fans; their Twitter account has over 3,000 followers; their YouTube channel has nearly 300,000 total upload views; their Flickr account has over 90 sets of photos; and their blog boasts regular behind-the-scenes incite to show rehearsals and more.

As a subscriber, I recently received their latest brochure in the mail with information on the upcoming season.

What caught my attention as I first started flipping through was the inclusion of QR Codes throughout. I hadn’t before seen them in this capacity and found it fascinating that a venue of this magnitude would note the value of using QR Codes mobile marketing.

How to Use QR Codes

QR Codes are basically barcodes that people are able to scan very easily from their cellphones. They’re typically square, and take users to a specific website of their choosing.
There are various mobile applications that scan QR Codes, including many free options. As soon as you open the app, it knows if/when it’s looking at a QR Code and begins reading it accordingly.

Sonny Rollins Audra McDonald

The purpose is to simplify the process of visiting a website from a mobile device. Rather than having to open a browser and find the desired website, a user can simply scan the barcode and be directly taken to a relevant page.

Here, for the arts venue, when you click on the corresponding codes, it takes you to a YouTube channel featuring a trailer of the corresponding show or performance.

This is awesome in that fans can learn more about artists they may not know about and/or get a sample of a Broadway show they may be considering. Because it’s a printed brochure, people may not be sitting at their computers while sifting through it, and thus being able to grab their phone (rather than the computer) and swiftly scan the code simplifies the “research” process.

Have you seen any other venues using QR Codes in creative ways?