Cirque du Soleil’s dance of drones and a road-trip proposal

SPARKED: A Live Interaction Between Humans and Quadcopters

Bonus: Cirque du Soleil, ETH Zurich, and Verity Studios also posted a behind the scenes video that goes into the progeneration of the film.


Kurios, the newest Cirque show is going to be playing the west coast this winter. In my quest to see EVERY Cirque show, I have seen an unlikely number of Cirque productions – five or six tent shows (in Vancouver, Seattle, and Montreal), and four of the eight shows permanently installed in Vegas – and Kurios is easily one of my very favourites, right up there with “O”. (I saw it in Montreal during it’s opening run while I was there for ReCon.) It’s a clockwork time-travel, turn-of-the-century bit of deliciousness, dipped in retrofuturistic science fiction and with an undeniable City of the Lost Children vibe. Very brass, electricity, and polished wood, but bright and colourful and sweet.

It’s playing Seattle from January 29th, 2015, to February 22nd and I would very much like to go with as many of you beautiful people as possible. (Unlike the majority of my road-trips, this is being proposed far in advance.) So, with that in mind, who would like to come with me? Let’s plan!

Cutting your nose off to spite your face

  • Love, Actuarially: How Mathematician Chris McKinlay hacked OKCupid to find the girl of his dreams.

    How typical. As soon as I begin to believe, it’s over. I am a fool. My lover abandoned me the day before we were to go to Vegas together for a captivating weekend of circus and adventure.

    I asked for him to come anyway. If he needs to put this relationship down, I respect that need, but please respect mine, too. Let us do it together and with grace, with sympathy and care. End it with a whisper, I begged him, so that everything that came before could remain valid, so that the joy we found in our hearts in each other could stay alive, so that he would not have left a terrifying gulf of pain between us. My heart could remain connected to the world. We could stay open. We would still have undamaged space. He refused.

    Now there is nothing that does not hurt. I have been running through my entire catalogue of cognitive reprogramming devices to try and repair as rapidly as possible, but it is impossible to remove this much pain on pure “I said so” alone. And it hurts that I know that he isn’t going to help me and it hurts to know that it is possible that his life never offered the compassion tools that teach a person how.

    (I imagine he might be the only person more sorry about this than I am. And making a decision one will regret for reasons that will pass will probably only make for more sorry over time.)

    Meanwhile, I try to stay distracted, the same way it’s better to talk about anything but an injury when you have to walk on it. No downtime. No interstitial moments that aren’t filled with something. Songs on repeat with lyrics or chord progressions I want to learn, playing Tetris-like repetition games while I mentally recite lists of scientific facts, “In order for nucleotides to..”, or practice foreign languages, “Estoy desconsolada.”

    There is only so much strength to this sort of knowledge. For such tricks to work, there need to be new associations, better associations, you need to have happier threads, spark your neurons with joy like forcing a new path through a forest. And I haven’t had such a thing for a very long time, actual years, nothing could get in until I discovered our connection. Now that my only well has been poisoned, I am left without comfort. (Appalling, dire, it almost feels like life has reset back to quotidian norm.)

    So I called out to my social media networks, asking if there was anyone who could come with me. It felt unnatural, but it was all I could think to do. Everything had been paid for, I had been saving for a year and I couldn’t afford to pay for it twice, and there were only a few things I had warning enough to cancel, (some surprise reservations, something on Friday night, a flower delivery on Sunday). And it would be something different. New pathways, new experiences. But even so I knew I couldn’t do it alone. There would be nothing except in relation to that void and his absence would overwhelm the world.

    It took hours, until almost midnight, but eventually the internet shivered, shook, and delivered. People had been looking at air miles, at school schedules, at spontaneous adventure savings accounts, had been reaching, but failing. Until there was a shift. The gears caught together. Esme offered to drive me to the Bellingham airport, That 1 Mike wouldn’t be leaving for his tour until Saturday morning, Joshua was back from Africa, and a woman named Cypris had recently moved to Nevada, CJ said, and you two would get on like a house on fire. Then Cypris showed up in the thread, summoned by his tag, and promised a visit with the tigers, panthers, and the lion that live on the property she’s moved to with her love. It was the tipping point. I would not be alone in the most artificial city strip on earth while my heart was breaking. There would be company, authentic company. And that would be enough to go on, enough to carry my through.

    So thanks to you, my internet, I went to Vegas anyway. I cried a lot. (The universe had a lot of extra fuck you saved up for me, too, like being denied entry onto Friday’s flights and the only empty seat on the Saturday morning plane being right next to mine, where he would have been.) I melted down a lot. But I also social hacked a $350 plan ticket with a chocolate bar, visited my favourite bronzes and the mantis art car with Joshua and went to the sexy Cirque Du Soleil show with a circus person who was pulled on stage and gave an incredible performance and we rode the roller coaster on top of New York New York twice, once in the very front, once in the very back, and Cypris and I made faces together for the coaster camera and I got to sleep on a couch in a pretty little house in the desert instead of the soulless hotel room and I woke to savannah-style roaring and I walked on a new kind of stilts and I pet big cats and was licked by tigers and scruffled a gigantic lion and held paws with a panther and fed a different panther and climbed all over Red Rock canyon. And it was magical.

    I wished the entire time, a rolling dull thunder, that he was there to share it with. I wanted to be the person who brought him to lion scruffling. To introduce him to these beautiful people. To kiss him in the art gallery. To pick him up and spin him in the line for the roller coaster. To coax him to laugh in the two-person sized bath I sat in alone. Of course I did. I still do. (I had semi-promised him a red rose in a love letter, so I carried one with me from the circus for him anyway and left scarlet he-loves-me he-loves-me-not petals in all the important places. I shook the last of them from the stem as confetti over my new friends and I at the airport. I told you I was a fool.) He would have loved it, we would have blazed with light, we could have had a record breaking excellent goodbye. But we didn’t. But I didn’t miss out because of him. That was important. Now I have these moments. They are shaded with loss, but still beautiful. Thank you.

    TLDR: Mourning. Loss. Suffering. Friends. But you know what else is important? Majestic one-on-one interaction with fucking gigantic cats.

  • catharsis

    Circus Contraption – Love Makes The World Go ‘Round

    “Love makes the world go ’round, or so I’ve been told and I think I believe it. And when we decide to enlighten the wise, the world will be happy again.”

    My endless gratitude to those who also attended the Memorial tonight. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

    You are the beautiful, brave people who made their songs true.

    a goodbye that came far too soon.

    Tony & Jhayne w. Drew aka Schmootzi the Clod
    The day we met Drew Keriakedes (aka Schmootzi The Clod) at Circus Contraption. ♥

    Drew and Joseph Vito Albanese (aka Dexter Mantooth) and God’s Favourite Beefcake will be missed.

    For those who haven’t heard the shocking news, Drew and Joe were killed at 11 o’clock this morning by a random gunman at Cafe Racer.

    News of the crime and the murderer.

    Titanium Sporkestra have opened up their rehearsal space for an impromptu vigil at 1700 East Marginal Way South, which is where I would be if I were in Seattle tonight.

    The gunman killed another woman during his car-jacking escape and then later shot himself in the head when cornered by police, but did not successfully kill himself. (He is known to be mentally ill.) Kendall and Dustin were not present, but Len, who also works at Cafe Racer, is still in the hospital, potentially still in surgery, and the severity of his injuries are unknown. Drew and Joe’s families were not notified by police, but found out through their facebook pages, which was stunning to behold.

    They were glorious, talented, and beautiful people, lions and lords of their community who I greatly respected and deeply admired, who always made me feel welcome and loved. My heart aches to lose them and I have spent my entire day glued to the news, watching the story unfold, unable to stop crying. They’ve taken part of the soul of Seattle with them.

    “It’s been good to know ya.
    The time has come for us to say goodbye.
    Put on your mask and don your feather boa.
    We’ll sing and dance until the end of time.”

    also, we’re going to san fransisco in july

    Long exposure Roomba path, by (More from other people on Flickr.)

    Nicole was hit by lightning this week.

    Sarah is finally convacating with a Bachelors of Arts degree.

    Tracey has just become finally engaged to her Edward, and they’re to be married in August.

    Tony brought me to see Circus Contraption last weekend and it was so beautiful as beautiful does that it shattered me into a better person. I cried, watching it, as the experience shook my heart in my chest.

    Horribly, painfully, (how could they), after eleven years of perfecting their incorrigible circus, they’re shutting down at the end of May, so, as Tony said, “if you are in Seattle the next couple of weekends (or can be so) and have yet to see any Circus Contraption show (or have seen them before) then make every effort possible to see one of the last shows that this exquisite troupe will ever be doing.”

    We’re going again on the 23rd with as many people as we can.

    Dee, (in town from Montreal), is coming, as is Nick Eddy, and maybe Rafael. Are you? Please say yes.

    ps. I need need a place for my mum to stay in Seattle that weekend. Anyone have a spare couch/bed/room?

    My boss just walked by, talking into his cellphone, “They got the flu, hey? How many deaths?”

    “Sex. All those complications, all that messiness. It’s like watching a group of enthusiasts really get into a hobby that you don’t share.”
    from Sex with Ghosts, by Sarah Kanning

    Last weekend I was in Seattle, Tony and I came to a silent understanding that the next time I was to go down there, it would be for A Visit, the capital letter sort, where we spend time holding hands, memorizing the sassy curve of dancing cheek to cheek, tangling our feet under tables, and generally acting like a pair of besotted fools. When I mention this to absolutely anyone who knows him, it’s like I’ve announced that we are getting married, running away to the garden of Eden, and intend to spend the rest of our days enmeshed in each other in paradise. Though I appreciate the encouragement, intimidating though it is, honestly, really very, I can’t help but notice it’s bloody well off the scale. The uncanny levels of jubilation present, a sort of incredible, “WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF THAT BEFORE??!” eureka-congratulations, is bizarre, as if we’ve gone off and invented a new kind of light bulb that runs on wishes. I have no idea what to do with it.

    That said, I am thrilled with the shape and depth of our upcoming weekend. Sleeping in and circuses, bruised lips and breakfast. It’s been confirmed, Tony and I are going to Teatro ZinZanni on Saturday, a fabulous blend of European cabaret, circus arts, restaurant, and vaudeville performed in an actual honest-to-mercy Belgian spiegeltent, (a word meaning mirror tent that amuses Tony endlessly to hear me say), and the Portage Bay Cafe for breakfast on Sunday. I’m beyond thrilled, given my relationship with such creations, and delighted and overwhelmed and all flavours of nice things. I have started counting out until I get on a bus, thinking, “less than a day away, remember your birth certificate, his smile, your house-coat, a towel, remember your book, your extra underwear, your toothbrush, hair-brush, pens, paper, and name, exchange your currency, check your camera battery, replace the missing lens cap, pick up a memory card, Robin’s music box, a back-pack, the books that need to return, a ring.” A litany of prepare, of hoping I am ready, of trying too hard not to be nervous as I sit back in the hours and wait.