26 May 2009

Comments on "Poetry Time, Part One"

I worked in the ElectricSky Theater of the Clay Center's Avampato Discovery Museum. We had this 60-foot domed screen upon which we could project the entire night sky from a star ball at the center of the room for our planetarium shows. In that same area was where a 70-millimeter projector would fill 3/4 of the screen with giant, moving images. A state-of-the-art sound system and reclined seating made everything in the theater an immersive experience.

Apart from the thrill of getting to work with all of this high-tech equipment and project my voice through the bass-enhancing speakers, we had to watch the same movies (most of which were within forty minutes in length) over and over and over....and over again. During a movie's 6-month run (yes: we only had 6-month rotations) at 5 showings a day, we watched what amounts to hundreds of hours of the same movie.

Most of the time it would take a couple of months to get tired of hearing the same voices, the same narration, the same music, the same sound effects, the same sequence of events, the same bad dialogue...I think you catch my drift. One film in particular stayed rather comparatively fresh with very few intolerable moments for most of its run: Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey, mainly because there was no spoken dialogue--just very awesome rhythm and music. (I'll post more about this film in a future blog to ease your anticipation on what intolerable moments were in that movie.)

Anyway, I said all that to say this: the poem I posted previously about dolphins was written while I was sitting in the dark at the console while Dolphins was playing on the screen. My mind already knew what sounds and sights to look for in case I needed to react to something going wrong with the film (that is, the film going through the projector; unfortunately, the movie never changed). Early on in my position there I was trained to respond to the sight of scratches in the film, unsynced audio, or too much light on the film. I always reacted to these with a speedy and Pavlovian response: nervous, shaky hands, upset stomach, and squeaky voice over the radio.

But, as I was saying, I was trying to avoid reciting the lines with the movie as I fell asleep. That's where the poem was written. It's not a good poem, as is typical with all of my poems. I just thought you'd enjoy the context in which they were written.

No comments: