The Downtown Project

Last week Reinventing Events invited me out to Las Vegas to play for the Downtown Project at the Container Park. I came early to check it out , on all my other Vegas trips as I had lazily stuck to the strip.

The Downtown Project was started by Tony Hsieh (Zappos CEO and venture capitalist) to redevelop the long neglected Downtown of Vegas. Downtown was were the Rat Pack performed in the original casinos of classic Vegas but over the years downtown had been neglected and left behind by the mega casinos of the strip. The Downtown Project has invested a bunch of dough into building venues, creative spaces, services and also supporting startups of all kinds to be based there. When you visit you can do a tour of Downtown where members of the Downtown Project will whisk you around Tony’s apartment followed by a trip to the coffee shop, shared creative spaces and venues of nearby.

The Downtown Project, image from lasvegassun.com

The inspire theater there is a space for any visitor interested in talking to give a talk on anything to Downtown. I watched a lot of talks from the theater to create remixes for the show and in them the Downtown Project staff talk a lot about “collisionable hours”. The basic idea is by basing so much cool shit in a nearby vicinity and having people live and work there just by walking the street and sitting in a coffee shop you will by chance bump into and talk to more people increasing the chance of making cooler shit with them. 

The night before the show I setup in a car park with the Live Spark guys to test out their rhythmical fire that I wrote about in the last post. They are one of the many startups working in Downtown Vegas.

The show was at the Container Park, which is a park of containers as the name suggests. They have restaurants, bars, venues, a 4 story slide and a  NEOS play system. When I was there they had a giant preying mantis with flame throwers for antlers that jams along to a daily drum circle. Can’t advise enough getting away from the strip if your ever there, visit downtown go to the park and walk around those few blocks.

Fire Pixels

Just did a show in Vegas with LIVE SPARK, they have made a digitally triggered musical flame thrower. So various arrangements of these devices can be played musically by Ableton or even with a live drum pad. For the show I did, Brett from LIVE SPARK was jamming fire to my set using an Ableton Push interface. He was programming fire beats live using Push’s sequencer but also just straight drumming with the flames like it was an MPC. I had a play on it the night before the show. Being able to play flames like a musical instrument is bound to excite any overgrown kid like myself. Also it’s ridiculous how musical the sound of a gas nozzle firing is. Live Spark are just really getting going now so expect to see it all over the place soon. For now check this video of it in action.