Journey to the End of the Night Kicks Off Come Out and Play Festival

On Saturday, October 29th, San Francisco’s week-long Come Out and Play Festival starts with the 3rd annual Halloween edition of Journey to the End of the Night.

San Francisco’s second annual Come Out and Play Festival will transform the city into a giant playground once more with an expanded week long line-up of over 15 real-world games. Showcasing more local designers than ever before, this year’s festival emphasizes creative, site-specific games like Undercover Capture the Flag, and strategic, city-wide games like Journey to the End of the Night. In addition, the Come Out and Play Festival will invite players to sample games from across the spectrum, including street games, site-specific games, smartphone-based pervasive games, and alternative sports.

The 2011 festival will kick off with the third Halloween edition of Journey to the End of the Night, an epic chase through a series of artist-created checkpoints scattered across San Francisco, which last year attracted 1,300 players. This year, Journey organizers will present a new format featuring nonlinear checkpoints and the Chaser Killer, a new character designed to terrify chasers as they pursue their targeted players across the haunted cityscape. Winners will, as always, be feted and praised at the final checkpoint’s atmospheric outdoor party.

JTTEOTN starts at 7pm at Justin Herman Plaza. Check the schedule for all other Come Out and Play games. All the games are free to play.

photo by Sam Lavigne

Journey To The End Of The Night, A Pursuit Across San Francisco

For the past 5 years a street game called Journey To The End of The Night has been played out in cities around the world. This time it returns home to San Francisco where it all began 5 years ago as an SF0 event created by Ian Kizu-Blair, Sean Mahan and Sam Lavigne.

On June 18th, players will have to navigate through unique checkpoints scattered throughout the city while chasers try to tag them. Once tagged, players join the chasers, hunting down their friends and others. To make things more interesting, players may only travel on foot or by public transportation.

Registration for the free game starts at 6:30 PM on Saturday, June 18th at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco. The game will start around 7:30 PM and will end before BART stops running. Bring some water, your running shoes, and some slow friends to sacrifice to the chasers.

More information can be found on the site:

Syzygryd, A 2.5 Ton Collaborative Music, Light, and Fire Sculpture


photo by Nicole Aptekar

Industrial art groups and large scale projects are no strangers to the Bay Area, but it’s not often that several of these groups collaborate on something so large they couldn’t do it alone. Syzygryd is a 2.5 ton interactive, collaborative musical instrument that breathes fire. This Burning Man Honorarium project is being created through the combined efforts of Interpretive Arson, False Profit Labs, Grey Area Foundation for the Arts, and Denmark based Illutron.

Syzygryd is an interactive metal sculpture measuring 60 feet in diameter and 13 feet tall at its highest point. It consists of three giant spiraling metal arms that join into a tornado of cubes in the center of the space. At the outer edges of the sculpture are three touchscreen grid sequencers (think of a giant 4 foot wide Tenori-on) which allow people to visually compose music together. The touchscreens are also connected to DMX controllers which sequence 1.5 kilowatts of LEDs and an array of flame effects, including a 20 foot fire tornado in the center. In short, the music composed by three strangers will be translated into fire, light, and sound.

While Syzygryd is a Burning Man Honorarium project and received partial funding from the Burning Man Organization, it’s not quite enough to build the envisioned art piece. The Syzygryd team will be throwing Syzygy, a Gala Benefit for the Syzygryd Project at CELLspace on Friday, June 4th with live musical and aerial performance as well as a silent auction to help raise additional funds. You’ll also get a chance to get a hands-on preview of the controllers

There is a Kickstarter going to help put the fire in Syzygryd. In addition to helping bring more fire into the art world, you’ll also score some great rewards for your pledge. The goodies range from stickers and t-shirts to a handheld flamethrower and even your own personal Dance Dance Immolation run. After paying for all the plumbing and parts for the flame effects, any additional funds raised past the $8224 goal will be put towards more fuel for the fire during Burning Man.

Most of Syzygryd will be open-sourced. There are currently plans to release the collaborative grid sequencer (written in Processing), the plans for the AVR-based DMX to LED controller and flame effect relays, and Creative Commons licensed sets of sounds for Ableton Live. If the Kickstarter is successful, additional information including the fire tornado CAD drawings, the flame effects ignition system plans, and detailed fuel diagrams will be publicly released.

This multi-disciplinary project is currently in full swing in community spaces across the Bay Area, including NIMBY, Noisebridge, and TechShop. Additional volunteers of all skill levels are always welcome. If you have interest in anything from music or electrical design to lighting, software, or metal fabrication and you want to work on one of the biggest projects at Burning Man this year, send an email to If you’re a musician, familiar with Ableton Live, check out the MDK to get your music added to the sculpture. For more info on the project you can check out and follow @Syzygryd on Twitter.

A Critical Analysis of the Architecture of Couch Cushion Structures


In a two part series, an “Industrious Architecture” company named BUILD has collected, analyzed, and graded several wonderful examples of structures built with the most readily available materials for the young aspiring architect: couch cushions.

Their analysis of each structure is highly entertaining even if you don’t know your T-cushions from your box cushions. The rating on the above structure? A solid A+ for it’s “brilliant synergy between the weighted foundation and the light tensile structure” and “attenuation of structure and bright interior spaces.”

Part 1 and Part 2 of “Couch Cushion Architecture; A Critical Analysis”

Lullaby #2 by Corpus Callosum, Shooting a Music Video Frame By Frame

Corpus Callosum is a California-based music & performance art ensemble that performs regularly around the Bay Area. In addition to their wide variety of instruments (everything from accordions to glockenspiels to home-made instruments), their performances also include stilts, puppets, moving picture boxes, and various other performance art. Their music is best described as “folk-haunted orchestration” or “post-industrial-folk-noir”. You may have seen them performing at a Tweed Ride or over at Noisebridge.

Last October they filmed the above music video for their song “Lullaby #2″ at the Wave Organ in San Francisco. Utilizing two DSLR cameras they made a stop motion video of the band playing while Avery Burke, the lead singer, was fitted for a blazer. The budget was less than $200 and all filming was done in a single day.

photo by Audrey Penven

Band member, Dax Tran-Caffee explained that in order to film the video they had to first shoot the band playing the song in real-time. They took that video, dropped down the framerate, and displayed it on location via a big screen with live video overlaid on top. In addition to the overlaid video, there were also karaoke-esque cues such as which beat, chord, word or phoneme the frame should be. Then it was a matter of matching up their live-feed bodies (mouths, instrument placement, strums, etc) with their pre-recorded bodies every 8 seconds before the intervalometer fired off the DSLR still cameras. All of this over a 6 hour shoot on a peninsula extending into the Bay waters, with everything running on gas generators.

They are currently working on raising funds for their first full length in-studio album via Kickstarter.

Revolving Door Party at SXSW 2010

Everyone knows that a large part of SXSW is the parties. Sure we all go to a couple panels during the day, but the true networking happens late into the night at various venues and taco trucks around Austin. This year was no different, except for one new party: the Revolving Door Party in the Hilton Lobby.

As people returned to the Hilton after last call on Sunday night, they were invited to don a party hat and take a dance around the revolving door of the Austin Hilton. Some people took one quick turn, while others spent quite a bit of time dancing round and round. One of the organizers, @efng spent an astonishing 2 hours in the doors, keeping the party going late into the night. Another organizer was SF Shenaniganist Nelz, who handed out hats and noisemakers. I worked “the door” for awhile checking IDs.

The Revolving Door Party

photo by Ed Hunsinger

Foursquare and Gowalla checkins plus multiple tweets drew people to the Revolving Door Party and the after party in the lobby. That’s how Robert Scoble heard about it. He got out of bed to come partake in the fun and ended up springing for pizza for everyone. LA Weekly’s Shannon Cottreell has some photos and Chuck Reynolds takes us on a video tour of the party. I also snapped a few pics and video.

Chatroulette Map: Not So Anonymous Anymore

Chatroulette Map
Whenever people mention the random webcam site, Chatroulette, it inevitably leads to talk of how there are certain less-than-desirable webcam chat partners on the service. Some would wager that the guise of anonymity on Chatroulette helps these users feel a bit safer when baring it all. They aren’t as anonymous as they think.

Chatroulette Map is a project that is grabbing the IP addresses of users, along with a screenshot, and then using Geo IP tools to pinpoint them roughly on the map. The site relies on the fact that Chatroulette connects users directly to each other (assumedly in an effort to save bandwidth) and in doing so exposes IP addresses. Most of the screenshots are safe and entertaining, but there are a few of those Not-Safe-For-Work ones mixed in. The site is also a great way to see a small sampling of the concentration of users around the world.

Previously on Laughing Squid:

Andrey Ternovskiy, 17 Year-Old Founder of Chatroulette

Jon Stewart Using Chatroulette on The Daily Show

Chatroulette Game, If You Turn Your Head I Win

Meeting Yourself on Chatroulette