Saturday, April 9, 2005

The Ring Cycle part II

Getting down to Chicago's Lyric Opera House on a Saturday at 5 proved to be a little more difficult than I suspected. I was coming from a music class I was teaching, Monica was coming from her house, and Stef and Andrew were already downtown filming for another project. I took the Brown Line elevated train, and if you are from Chicago you know that's a good way to get into the city because (unlike the Red Line) the Brown Line winds through the city on a track about 20 feet above the street level. It's a beautiful way to get downtown.

And it was a beautiful day, too. Andrew had made arrangements for us to arrive and meet the manager of the Lyric Opera (he had warned us all to dress a little nicer than normal) and to get shots inside the lobby, which was very generous of the Lyric and worked well for us.

Rocky and his wife, Adrienne, showed up a few minutes late, but dressed perfectly. Rocky was looking quite relaxed and poised, and Adrienne clung to his elbow. We "staged" a little event where they walked up and handed their ticket to an usher before the crowd was allowed in, since they were anticipating a full house and a really loud, crowded lobby. Then we took them back outside and strolled down the columned sidewalk and asked Rocky some questions. He is perhaps the most skilled interviewee of anyone we've spoken to so far, and today, in his expensive suit at the Opera with his wife on his arm, he was in fine form. His answers were polished, clean, and the perfect length. Unfortunately, at times, it sounded a bit rehearsed, perhaps something more along the lines of a Nova episode. However, what he said was provocative and interesting: he expressed some real concern about the future of science in America. He also made a couple of nice connections between the opera and high-energy physics, admitting that he loved to come to the opera in part because "where else can you sit for three hours with no one talking to you? It's the perfect place to think about physics."

The whole time he was talking, a Streetwise guy was leaning against the wall shouting "Streetwise! Get your Streetwise!" hoping for a donation. During the last part of the shot, I think Stef framed him in the shot, which was nice. Later Monica and I wished we had thought to get a shot of the Streetwise guy all alone (Monica thought of it at the time, but didn't push for it since we had Rocky and his wife for a short time).

Then we went back inside the lobby, made our way up to the upper level, and shot the crowd as they entered. We said goodbye to the Kolbs and went back outside where Stef got some great shots of the outside of the building.

On the way back, Monica handed me the tiny remote video camera which we plan to strap on to one of the model airplanes when we meet with Barnstormers, Fermilab's Remote Control Model Airplane Club....

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