Monday, March 26, 2012

Born Performer

A few months ago my family and I went to a dinner theater. We have been twice before but it has been a while. This time it was the King and I. Looking past the racist undertones, it was actually a pretty nice experience. The actors and production exceeded my expectations. We are actually returning next month to see The Wizard of Oz.

I bring all of this up to shift the focus back to me. Seeing all of these performers on a small stage brought me back to 5th grade. That year I starred in what many refer to as the greatest elementary school production of the last hundred years.

While this occurred over 20 years ago, I remember a lot of specific details very vividly. What I don't remember is how I came to be the star of the show. I don't think I had any dreams of being a star. I wouldn't have actively sought this out and yet here we are, discussing my glory. I can only assume that the dance and theater teacher witnessed my natural shine and knew that I was the only way this show could reach that next level. Want to turn amateur hour into broadway? We better lock in the star.

There were a lot of components in this show. It had dance scenes with neon geometric shapes and black lights (think Daft Punk video, except better). It had me having various dialogues with my costars. It somehow involved math. It played 3 times I think and it sold out everytime I am sure.

I recall having to cold open the show. That was always scary. Once I blacked out and the first lines were projected out of the cafeteria p.a. I just went on autopilot. I was involved in every scene and would have to run all over the place, jumping into dance scenes with my rhombuses. Another reason why I was a big deal: I had a headset microphone. Keep in mind, this was the 80s. That would be today's equivalent of me being simultaneously projected as a hologram and acting with myself on stage. Also, I was the only one that got to wear one. That might sound like bragging, but yeah, only Kevin.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Test post part deux

Here is my second post using blogsy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Finding new music is a problem for many people. Spotify and Pandora do provide both almost unlimited access to all music and music recommendations based on your tastes, respectively. While tools like these are great, there is plenty of void left within the music discovery experience that is left unfulfilled. Aweditorium makes an attempt at generating a more unique and interactive musical discovery experience.

Upon starting Aweditorium, you are presented with a beautiful user interface made up of a grid of slightly grayed out images that each represent a different song for you to experience. Click on an image and the screen navigates to it, opening the image and playing the song. You also see the lyrics displayed at the bottom of the screen. When you click on the screen, the lyrics are replaced with VH1-style pop ups with random facts about the band or musician. From this screen you also have other options. If you like the song, you can share it via Twitter or Facebook. You can purchase it from itunes. For some you can also open a video with an interview of the band/musician. Once you are done, you can go back to the grid page to navigate around and listen to more music. The entire experience is very smooth, seamless and a lot of fun. It gives a sense of interaction that is lacking from other music apps.

Considering that this is a music app, the sound quality is very good and you are even prompted to use headphones for the best experience. I actually enjoyed sitting next to my ipad in my living room, listening off of the iPad speakers. Either way you will have a quality aural experience.

One very important note to make would be the musical offerings. Within a few minutes with Aweditorium it became very obvious that this app focuses strongly on various takes on indie rock. While these can range from folk to math rock, from what I could tell almost all of it would fall under the broad genre of indie rock. There was a small sampling of hip hop and world music. One thing you will not find is any top 40 or too well-known musicians. Personally this works perfect for my musical tastes, but might not appeal to everyone.

Another nice thing that Aweditorium does is when you pull back to the grid, not only are the songs you have listened to, now lit up, there is also a more meta screen in the top left that illustrates what percent of everything you have explored.

Overall Aweditorium is a great addition to music apps. It certainly fills a void through its interactivity and slick interface. While the musical offerings may be narrow, if you do have any interest in indie rock or any one-offs from the genre, you may find yourself blissed out. Even if you are not someone who keeps up with sites like Pitchfork or Coke Machine Glow, exploring different styles of music can broaden your horizons and I can think of no current app out there that makes it this much fun. Also considering that this app is free, I can't recommend this app enough.