My pals and I ushered in the start of a "New Day," Obama-Style at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. this past Monday and WOW, what a wild ride it was!
This is the first time we ever produced and designed an inaugural ball and it certainly was exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. The sheer quantity of people teeming in the streets of D.C. was overwhelming (sometimes maddening), but the energy was always jubilant and the excitement from young to old was truly palpable. Same at our party. The numbers clocked through the door were rather incredible! Our photos show just how well attended our ball was, but it is important to note that of the 3,500 guests (!), all were celebrities, top government officials, writers and A-Listers from all walks of life who shared the same joy and excitement as the average guy on the street: OBAMA FEVER.
Obama's win is often attributed to his trailblazing use of technology. Thus, it is fitting that Arianna Huffington (one of the smartest people I have ever met!) and the Huffington Post, the trailblazing media leader on the web, owned the night before inauguration day ushering in this new age. We did it New Year's Eve-Style with a countdown at midnight, hats, noise-makers and hoopla as well as amazing performances by Sheryl Crow, Sting, Will.i.am, and an innovative décor that brought the connectivity of the web to our party, creating the first internet inaugural ball.
As our rendering shows, we created jumbo laptops in which live twitter feeds, live blogging, thousands of photos and video clips all lived on both the Huffington Post website AND live at the Newseum. Thus, the internet served as a window into the party for those that could not attend, and those partying with us at the museum were in direct dialogue with the world at large. My buddy, Keira Alexandra of Employee Number One, is the genius behind the graphics, video, and internet connectivity. The essence of "surfing the web" and community interaction was brought to life with fabulous style.
I am really proud of the sculptural object-ness of these grand laptops which is really a trick because they are essentially flat. Note that the hands typing away are video (also shot by Keira) and the keyboards are an enlarged photo we took of an actual laptop. But I am enthralled, too, with the conceptual breadth that these flat objects have because they embody the landscape of real communication and interaction reflected in the content on the screens. That tightrope walk looks effortless, but those of us behind the scenes know just how much invention went into that.
I did not leave D.C. with any Obama souvenirs. I regret not purchasing an Obama air freshener for my car, actually, but I am really proud of what we accomplished artistically and, for me, that's the best souvenir of all.
p.s. Hats off to my buddy Mario Ruiz, Vice President of Media Relations for the Huffington Post. He was there side by side with us, creating this evening every step of the way. Bravo, Mario.