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Monday, March 31, 2014

Taking #GoogleGlass in a Lamborghini on the Circuit of Americas Track

I was very lucky to have been invited to take a spin on the Circuit of the Americas track in a Lamborghini Gallardo, one of the sexiest vehicles around by Lamborghini of Dallas.  This was a once in a lifetime experience that I decided to take despite the consequences of motion sickness afterwards.  To prepare, I fasted for 18 hours in advance, sipped on water, and brought #GoogleGlass and candied ginger with me.  I've been on many tracks before as the driver and the passenger, and I had a feeling that this was going to be one of those where I probably wouldn't be in the best condition after exiting. 

This is one SEXY machine.  It has a nice rear.

The front isn't too shabby either. 

This is the one I actually rode in on the track.  It is smooth, slick, and sexy as hell.  If you haven't ever been on a racetrack or autocross track, people who suffer from motion sickness can get sick very quickly.  Going 160 mph isn't a bad when you are going straight.  When you are taking hairpin turns, it can really do a number on your system.  Usually, the nausea subsides after a few hours.

However, this time was even rougher on my system.  I went into stress overdrive and lost motor control.  It has happened before with a dose of epinephrine, which is typical.  I guess studying behavioral neuroendocrinology was useful.  In a nutshell, I just had a really high dose of cortisol.  However, it took several days to go back to normal.  If it happens to you, don't fret.  Eventually your cortisol levels will return to normal.

Here's the video taken with Google Glass.  Enjoy!

Isn't it beautiful? 

And here's the driver, Les Betchner.  Not only does he drives at these types of events, he also does stunt driving for movies.  I asked him if he felt bad for destroying cars, and he said, "No. They have it worked into the budget."  Aww.... I feel bad when the cars are destroyed! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Holeman and Finch in Atlanta

Holeman and Finch was one of my last stops on a an evening of eating and drinking.  It was pretty dark we're a little low on the photos.  Three things that I would order again at Holeman and Finch:

1. Drinks - the cocktails here were creative and well executed.  I ordered the Spikey #1, but every time another drink went by, I looked longingly.  Next time, I'll make Holeman and Finch my first stop and stay awhile.

2. Things with meat.  I ordered the amazingly crispy and clean tasting sweetbreads and the charcuterie board.  Get it.  Eat it.

3. The pork fat caramel is amazing.  It is simply, simply, simply amazing.  It is was definitely a sweet dessert with a subtle savory note.  I did manage to procure the recipe, and I'll be trying to make it at home.

Pork fat caramel with apples!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Behind the scenes with @Cirque Du Soleil's Varekai with #GoogleGlass

Varekai, means "wherever" in Romanian, is one of Cirque Du Soleil's traveling shows - one of the rare opportunities to get to experience Cirque Du Soleil outside of their stationary shows.  Varekai was my eighth (or ninth) shows, and it does not disappoint.  While the core of the show is around human feats of strength and skill, the frame and feel of each show distinct and beautifully done.   All photos by John M. P. Knox / @hopsafari
Photo by John M. P. Knox - @HopSafari
One of the biggest lessons that everyone can learn from Cirque is how to tell a story - how to repackage something that we've been exposed to previously and turn it into something absolutely stunning.  Prior to Cirque, impressions of "circuses" were dirt floor rings, unfocused acts, lack of story, and sometimes the smell of elephant. 
  Photo by John M. P. Knox - @HopSafari
The best example of this is Zarkana in Las Vegas.  Of the shows that I have seen, this is the one that is the closest to traditional circus acts.  However, the creative directors added a story, distinct and elaborate costumes, live music and beautifully choreographed movements.  It doesn't resemble anything that you might see in a three ring circus.

I was very lucky to get a behind the scenes experience of Varekai.  A big thanks to Endicott PR for inviting us see the artists in action.  Above is a video compilation show of clips taken by the artists wearing my GoogleGlass and my iPhone during rehearsal.  Next, I'll have some photos of the artist during rehearsal and onstage.  Enjoy!
This is Karen.  She was on the stage when we arrived. 

Karen is from New Hampshire.  It is imperative for the artists to practice at a new site because each one is a new space.  Movements need to be adjusted and refined to ensure safety.  The set takes about 16 hours to set up!

Here she is getting a few pointers. 

And this is her on opening night.  The costumes and makeup are so elaborate that it is hard to tell which artist is which. 

As she leaves the stage, the two Ukrainian artist take a turn on the stage.  There are about 50 artists total in this show from 18 different nations.  While we walked around backstage, I was certainly exposed to make other languages and accents.  It is amazing to think that these artists trust each other with their lives even though they might initially speak different languages. 

My palms are still getting sweaty and shaky looking at this photo.  I did take a trapeze class after last year's Quidam show.  It was pretty scary being 60 feet up in the air hanging onto dear life by some wires.  My hands are really sweaty now. 

Here they are setting up for the next moves. 

After watching these moves, I can not complain about planks or hand stand walks.  This is an amazing display of control. 

Do you recognize the artists?  I wouldn't have!  These boys made my heart skip a beat several times!

Icarus, the character, is getting his make up put on.  It takes the artists about two hours to prepare their make up and costumes for the performance. 

And here he is on stage, falling from the sky. 

A big thanks to Cirque Du Soleil for having us during your dress rehearsal and opening night.  What a treat!