Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another day, another free event with over 50,000 people in attendance

Kind of on the spur of the moment, I attended the much-hyped Criss Angel event at Clearwater Beach last night. The illusionist was scheduled to "escape" from the condemned Spyglass Inn live before it was imploded on his A&E television show. I was just excited to see a building imploded, something I've always wanted to witness live. Unbelievably, there's no actual video of it up on YouTube yet (of course, that could change by the time you read this), but here is the computer animation of what was supposed to happen:

It went down just like that and was truly an amazing thing to see happen in person. On that front, the evening did not disappoint. Other aspects, however...

We were really too far away to witness the whole magic, great escape aspect but I recorded the show and watched it this morning and it looked kind of corny on tv. What I find strange...and how many people seem seriously upset after the fact that there might have been some trickery involved. I guess it didn't occur to these people that neither the city of Clearwater nor the company handling the demolition would sign off on a televised stunt where there was real danger. If nothing else, do they really think the guy in charge of pushing the button to set off the explosives is going to do so if it means killing someone? "Sorry, my orders are to push the button at 10:55 and that's what I'm-a gonna do. (BOOM!)" Newsflash: Magicians don't really have magical powers. There's a reason these stunts are called "illusions". Somebody better hide the sharp objects if these people ever hear some of the ugly rumors out there about Santa Claus.

Navigating and exploring Clearwater Beach itself turned out to be the most unpleasant aspect of the whole thing. True, it's really not the kind of area that's set up to handle a sudden influx and egress of 50,000 people but surly parking attendants and (some) restaurant and hotel staff who seemed genuinely annoyed by having to deal with extra customers on a Wednesday evening didn't help matters. When it was over, there were lots of police officers driving around but they didn't seem to be doing much to speed the flow of traffic. I left there at 11:45PM and got home (24.2 miles) at 2:20AM, by which time I was wishing that they'd imploded more than the Spyglass.

No comments: