Wednesday, June 19, 2002

The Webbies was okay. I found that this year I knew many people working the event (some as volunteers hosting and others there as entertainers) than I did in the audience and potential recipients. There were net celebs: I recognized Howard Rheingold; Stewart Brand was there, I heard tell. The press has not been positive about the event, and neither is the pulse on plastic. The 5-word acceptance speeches are always good for a chuckle.

Survival Research Labs put on a show to close the evening. SRL had a giant Tesla coil, a gracefully lumbering machine called Running Man, a thing like an unfolded idiot box out of water that flip-flops along (I would call it Jacob's Elevator Shaft, but I doubt they thought of that) with some anime-esque illustration on one side and something I don't recall on the other, and another behemoth of some sort. At any rate it was a lot of fun. About halfway through a forklift brought forth a steaming barrel and poured it into a giant junk petri dish. What came out was a molten flesh-colored substance that inside sources say is a homemade version of "silly putty", the recipie for which is available on Nickelodeon's website, rumor has it. All the machines (except the Tesla Coil) gathered round and dipped what woulda maybe been their probiscuses in the hardening goo. much fun was had by all.

For me there was an exciting contrast with the first time I ever saw an SRL show (1995's Crime Wave) which was right after I moved to San Francisco. That was a much bigger show--this was after all just a small demonstration for the wanna-be Oscars of the internet's first post-boom year--and I was very excited to be there, having heard SRL's legend long before moving to this city. And I was okay getting the few glimpses that I did amongst a gigantic crowd for the event. Last night I had ringside seats, hanging out with my friends that were working on the show. Being amongst it, not just spectating. This town is an incredible world.

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