I am not exaggerating when I say that I could not imagine Blockparty going better than it did.
Oh, sure, I could make things up and say that it didn’t have a air castle or funhouse in the parking lot, or I could complain there was no free sushi cart in the hallway with a master chef flown in from Tokyo, but as one of my favorite reviews once said, “These are mostly minor, made-up complaints.” In point of fact, it was just an overriding success.
I apologize in advance if this entry is scattershot. Pure delight often sounds this way.
As mentioned during the week of demoparty posts, it’s been a dream of mine to be involved in a North American demoparty, and as it stands, I ended up being a co-organizer of one. This event, Blockparty, took place from basically Thursday April 26th to Sunday April 29th. The coding and preparations were taking place from Thursday to Saturday, followed by a two-hour presentation of entries from midnight to 2am in the main room of Notacon, followed by judging (vote tallying, really) and then the awarding of over a thousand dollars in prizes on Sunday. I have photos taken during the event, including some taken by Trixter when I was awarding prizes.
We had 40 entries from probably 12-15 people or groups, although there were lots of surprises. I myself entered a couple contests, although I didn’t win. Which works for me! I’d hate to have to refuse prizes. It was more fun making the stuff, and also realizing I didn’t really have to enter to have enough entries, which was our big fear going in. People stepped right up and did stuff.
The talks we had planned all went off, although poor Trixter had a power outage during his. Even then, he recovered and kicked ass. Necros, who was someone who blew me away in a presentation 11 years earlier, proceeded to blow me away again. Who gets the same amazement twice in a lifetime from someone doing the same stuff? Nullsleep, who is a big ol’ hero of mine, was a fantastic part of the proceedings, and RaD Man goes without saying. And, once again, Inspired Chaos, a person who is the secret heart of the North American Demoscene, contributed in all manner of ways to take things to the next level.
Was there stress? Hell yeah. As mentioned last week, I failed to bring along the main partymeister machine and had to spend time getting it to work. Even there, things came out better because Notacon folks stepped in and saved my bacon with endless work and effort to get it smooth. The partymeister software worked great throughout the event once we had it up and running and it was a breeze to use for voting. I also had some sort of breakdown a couple hours before the main event, making sure all of the entries were accounted for and tested and ready to go, and there the rest of the blockparty crew took over and I could get the show on the road elsewhere.
So what IS a North American demoparty? Well, it’s a lot of people hanging out with computers, it’s definitely a lot of people getting together and doing technical stuff. But paired up with Notacon, it became something much more. Stuff that’s a staple of conferences like Notacon add another layer of cool to the proceedings; lockpicking workshops, technical presentations, food and drink, a Wii set up on projectors… if you got bored of hanging in the Blockparty Lounge you could always wander out and hang with dozens of others doing cool stuff.
I think the biggest compliment came recently when I was discussing the surprise competition, the “rapping freestyle to Timbaland’s stolen track” event we started the Blockparty Midnight Show with. (The story of Timbaland ripping off a demoscene song is everywhere, and we wanted to make commentary on it.) My buddy was talking about how we were able to pull it all off with probably minimal rehearsing and preparation, especially that last bit with the pre-written rap. But there was no such thing! It was all spontaneous, in the moment. But it felt as smooth as a planned situation. That’s great.
I considered writing endless reams of stuff about the party, but that seems uninformative; instead, I’ll probably bring up subjects inspired by Blockparty and ruminate on them in weeks to come. That’ll yield better fruit.
Speaking of which, at the event, I made the promise that there would be five Blockparties. And we’re doing it. The plans are already in place for Blockparty 2008. Perhaps you want to start thinking about it.
I am, to put it mildly, happy. Now, back to work.
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