Saturday, more or less

This past weekend, our group served as volunteers for a festival of urban games called “Come Out & Play.” Expectations were admittedly low going into this program, and most people adopted a wait-and-see approach to the weekend’s festivities, with descriptions ranging from widespread games of tag to stock trading simulations to intricate cloak-and-dagger games of cellular espionage. Many games were inventive adaptations using wi-fi and cellular technology, but not mine. I was assigned with leading two teams through a makeshift minigolf course that ran from Tompkins Park on the Lower East Side to Union Square.

The game was called Manhattan Megaputt. Its creators, Dave and Dustin, plotted a 10-hole course that ran through the colorful streets of St. Mark’s. The more interesting holes included what was essentially a footrace between the two teams, a live “goalie” that deflected putt attempts with a hockey stick, a NERF gun ambush, and the grand finale, a race through the first floor of Barnes & Noble to find the answer to obscure clues dealing with surprisingly obscene children’s books. Dave and Dustin were not without a sense of imagination, but I couldn’t help but question the academic merits of what I did for three hours that afternoon, especially after the novelty of commanding geeky grown men and women to race after bright little pseudo golf balls began to wear off. I felt like a summer camp counselor leading children through tasks that were almost as time-consuming as they were menial. Even after being immersed in New Media’s various iterations and applications for two weeks now in New York, I couldn’t for the life of me relate what I was doing to anything remotely resembling the advancement of my New Media knowledge.

This isn’t so much a complaint as it is a lament. As our time in each city is as limited as the direction we are given with our projects, it was a fairly frustrating afternoon as a Manhattan Megaputt volunteer, and I left the Come Out & Play festival with a sour taste in my mouth.

After the academic day, however, I tried made the most of an evening downtown by seeing the French equivalent of Sin City, Renaissance. Despite a fairly conventional storyline that echoed themes of fellow New Media-y features The Matrix and Minority Report, the film took advantage of the theater’s technical capabilities with breathtaking animation and loads of ear candy. Overall it was nothing to write home about, but worth seeing nonetheless.

After the movie and a failed attempt to see Akron/Family who sadly sold out the Tonic, the night began anew back at iHouse. Word of a party of an immense scale in East Williamsburg had spread and at around 1:30 in the morning I found myself in a cab speeding across the Williamsburg Bridge before finally arriving at the warehouse-type loft that held no less than 750 frenzied partakers. There were multiple sources of live music, huge video screens, art being destroyed as quickly as it was created, a lot of walking around dumbfounded, no shortage of spontaneous scenes of romance, and even a bit of dancing, but by 4 in the morning we decided to call it a night and staggered back to the nearest subway stop (about 45 minutes away) before finally arriving home, just in time to watch the sky start to turn to dawn.

Man, this city sure finds ways to keep one busy…


Post a Comment

<< Home