ON WEDNESDAY I had an exhilarating time playing spy. In fact, I seemed to enjoy the experience in exact opposite degrees as some critics disliked it. I've long suspected these "some critics" don't enjoy much of anything, though, especially if there is the slightest hint at fun involved. So their reviews weren't much of a surprise. It doesn't seem to matter anyway, as the event is currently sold out. (But check in with them in case of cancellations! There may be a chance yet to participate!)
I'm talking about "A Machine To See With," an interactive experience created by London-based Blast Theory, brought to Minnesota through The Walker Art Center. From their description of the event:
Arriving at your appointed street corner, you wait for your cell phone to ring. When it does, your journey through the city begins. Keep your eyes peeled for traps. You are the lead in a heist movie; it’s all about you.You can read the entire description here.
Obviously this experience can't be a recreation of The Game -- you remember that thriller with Michael Douglas? The one where he gets drugged, kidnapped, and confronted with a creepy camera-faced clown, etc? You've got to build up to an experience like that, honestly. "A Machine To See With" could be that introduction; despite the absence of drugs and flying bullets, it's far from a child's game.
After the first couple of phone calls I no longer had time to Tweet -- I was on the run! Also, I stopped tweeting because I was on a heist, after all. Top secret stuff. My pace quickened the moment I was told I had "better get the fuck out of there as fast as possible." What's not fun about that?
There is an underlying purpose to this project, of course. It wouldn't be a proper heist without one, really. According to an even more in-depth description of "A Machine To See With" on Blast Theory's Web page, the event is not only about cinema, but also the tyranny of choice and consumerism, and the financial crisis.
Just as one often does when attending more traditional theater, I enjoyed suspending my disbelief for this nontraditional experience. Additionally, I enjoy all manner of heist and spy lore and this was, to put it simply, incredibly fun. I had a blast.
Saw the documentary Front Page: Inside the New York Times and enjoyed it very much. I always love a good newsroom/journalism story, and this one narrows in on the subject of the New York Times' Media Desk and how it is managing to survive in the shaky world of print newspaper. David Carr, who writes a column for the Times' Monday Business section, participated in a Q&A after the movie along with director Andrew Rossi.
Again we all shuffled out to the party tent where, after discussing the movie, The Ultramods and the Folliards closed the place down. Glad the rain stopped long enough for our walk to the car.