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.

Socialize with House of Blues

Social media outlets are a great resource for entertainment venues, both in terms of relaying information and personalizing the relationship between your brand and its fans.

House of Blues (HOB) at Downtown Disney considers social media one of their most valuable marketing outlets. It provides brand awareness as well as an open forum to communicate with fans directly.

Similarly, it provides a space for HOB fans to converse with others of similar interests, and they see the value of allowing fans to share personal thoughts and experiences with each others.

HOB periodically asks their fans questions to gain feedback about how they can make guest experiences at their venue even better. The key is to actually listen to what they have to say, what they want and expect from you, and then actually do somethingHouse of Blue Anaheim Brew Master Dinner about it.

On the flipside, a potential downside is that people can use social media to share negative thoughts and experiences; it’s uncensored and leaves businesses open to criticism. But with the good, it’s important to take the bad and learn from your fans.

HOB takes a lot of pride in knowing that the fans they have on these portals have CHOSEN to “follow” on Twitter and/or “like” on Facebook; fans that are genuinely interested and WANT to know what HOB has to offer.  They also have an outlet for easily sharing news about music and events in the community, things that are relevant to their audience.

Additionally, HOB is able to use Twitter and Facebook for promotional purposes to distribute information about upcoming shows, pre-sales/on-sales and restaurant promotions. They post all upcoming events with a direct links to purchase tickets, or a number for more information, making the purchasing process direct and seamless.

They also provide more “exclusive” offers like ticket giveaways, which ends up benefiting them as well since they typically see an automatic ticket-sale increase for those shows with ticket giveaways.

Rena, their marketing manager, believes it’s important to have some type of call-to-action when posting an event, especially nowadays when most people have smartphones and can purchase tickets right from their phone.

“There are endless opportunities with social media,” Rena noted, “and it’s important to be creative and keep it interactive.”

Have any other entertainment venues caught your attention as being really proactive via social media?


Discovery Cube Reaches Audience via Social Media

In addition to hotels and restaurants, there are many other venues making a splash in the social media world. Twitter and Facebook are a great way for “recreational” venues to educate future guests about upcoming exhibits, events and more.

One such venue is Orange County’s Discovery Science Center.

Thanks to Jeff Friend of Social Good Today for this outline of Discovery Science Center and its social media channels:

Discovery Science Center Cube
You have probably seen this huge 108-foot cube off of the 5 freeway at Main Street in Santa Ana, and many of you have probably been there, but you may not know that it’s actually a nonprofit organization. For those of you who have not yet heard of the Discover Science Center (DSC), it is a 59,000-square-foot learning facility (est. 1998) that is dedicated to educating young minds, assisting teachers and increasing public understanding of science, math and technology through interactive exhibits and programs. There are nearly half a million people per year who visit the Discovery Science Center!

Within DSC there are approximately 120 interactive exhibits that encourage visitors to search for answers, think and explore. The center is divided into several themed areas including Perception, Dynamic Earth, Quake Zone, Science of Hockey, Space Exploration, and DinoQuest.

Their big Summer attractions are the The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head (he will lead you on a number of fun and educational adventures, from trips to outer space to jungle safaris and archeological digs), and Water Works: Soak Up The Science (exploring how water gets physical by creating a perfect rainbow, capturing a raindrop and examining snowflakes – one of nature’s most complex structures).

Hockey Exhibit at Discovery  Science Center

The Science of Hockey Exhibit from early 2011

Discovery Science Center is open 10am–5pm Monday – Saturday and 11am–5pm on Sundays. With regular admission at only $12.95 for adults, and $9.95 for youths (ages 3-17), DSC would be a great place to spend a day with the family!

Get Social!

See what fun stuff they’re doing on their social sites:
Facebook (Join the 4,000+ people who “like” them!)
Twitter (Follow and learn fun facts about their exhibits!)
YouTube (Watch nearly 40 videos of fun stuff people do at the Center!)
Flickr (Check out 200+ photos of the different exhibits and events!)

Which exhibit are you most looking forward to at DSC this summer?

More and More Consumers, and Businesses, Going Mobile

A new study shows that, for the first time, consumers are spending more time on mobile apps than on the web, according a recent Mashable article. With that in mind, there’s many taking advantage of the opportunity to reach their mobile-inclined audience in new, innovative ways.
Destinations Travel MagazineDestinations Travel Magazine just released a mobile page allowing subscribers to access the latest issues from their smartphones. Beginning with the July 2011 issue, the magazine will be available for iPhone, iPad, Droid as well as a variety of other devices.

OC Fair iPhone AppWhat’s also really cool is that travel service providers, merchants and restaurants can go mobile with the magazine’s readers, too, by providing special offers, discounts and promotions right in the magazine, which has also incorporated new social networking features, including ‘share’ buttons for Facebook and Twitter.

The Orange County Fairgrounds also just released an app for this summer’s fair.

It allows users to view a complete listing of extreme sports events, concerts and any other activity, and buy tickets online. You can navigate and plan all aspects of your fair experience strictly through this app!