Legendary DJ Rob Sherwood to Spin for Bal Ingenieux on May 4

“This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to play every genre I’ve ever played all in one night. I really am excited about that. I keep telling people the coolest thing about what I’m going to do here is that it’s going to be everything. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a gig where I could do that.”

Rob Sherwood is learning back on the plush red stairs of a room tucked away in the Halcyon Lodge; a glare reflects off his glasses as he angles his camera phone, one eye squinted with a furrowed brow that reminds anyone in his presence: he is a man of his craft. He snaps photos of the room he’ll be DJing in for Bal Ingenieux to send to Ben Sota, artistic director of the folk art acrobatic troupe Zany Umbrella Circus, who he plans to collaborate with for a mix of sound and visuals at the fundraiser.

Sitting feet away from pillars that connect ceiling to stairs, the space mirrors Sherwood’s stories of spinning at the hot spots like Aquilon that made him a legend of Cleveland nightlife. “There was a 19-piece big band, old people in tuxedos and hipsters dressed to the nines until the freight elevator doors opened and the kids poured in,” he says. “It was the coolest mix.” He speaks with the most affection about the alternative scene that was the Nine of Clubs but even when recounting one of his most decadent residencies, U4IA, he remarks, “It was a time everyone could do their own thing and not step on anyone’s toes. That was every club I did. It was just really inclusive; people came to look at freaky but not to pick on it, or make fun of it, or cause trouble.”

“THAT WAS EVERY CLUB I DID.. PEOPLE CAME TO LOOK AT FREAKY BUT NOT TO PICK ON IT, OR MAKE FUN OF IT, OR CAUSE TROUBLE. “

It’s in the midst of relaying his memories of throwing the city’s first raves and the excess, lavish and luxury that his face breaks into a coy half-smile and he says, “But the people who came to support me on a funky Tuesday night were ten times as cool as the people who came to the Saturday night party that was the big thing.” If the Kokoon Arts Club that Bal Ingenieux is inspired by marked a turn-of-the-century bohemian art community, Sherwood may have been their reincarnated hero of the new wave underground.

Sherwood left to pursue his career in New York and will tell you with a laugh that he came back to Cleveland on accident. “I went to New York and lived every single DJ dream I ever had,” he recalls, “All of my heroes were coming out of the studio at night saying, ‘I just cut a disc, I want you to play it’ – my heroes. Not just some guys, my DJ and producer heroes. Every club I ever dreamed of wanting to work at, I worked at.”

IF THE KOKOON ARTS CLUB THAT BAL INGENIEUX IS INSPIRED BY MARKED A TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY BOHEMIAN ART COMMUNITY, SHERWOOD MAY HAVE BEEN THEIR REINCARNATED HERO OF THE NEW WAVE UNDERGROUND.

Even for someone who made a name for himself in a culture based on breaking rules, in true DJ form Sherwood’s greatest excitement about Bal Ingenieux is having no restrictions, no rules or style guidelines to what he has to play. “This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to play every genre I’ve ever played all in one night. I really am excited about that. I keep telling people the coolest thing about what I’m going to do here is that it’s going to be everything. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a gig where I could do that.”

Rob Sherwood DJs Bal Ingenieux, May 4 at the Halcyon Lodge, from 9:30 P.M. until 1 A.M.

About Ingenuity
Ingenuity’s mission is to ignite the creative spark where the arts, science, and technology intersect. By animating Cleveland’s urban spaces with world-class, innovative experiences, Ingenuity provides a unique platform to explore the boundaries of art and technology.

To purchase tickets to Bal Ingenieux, IngenuityFest’s fundraiser on May 4, please visit ingenuitycleveland.com/maskedball/.

Art Installation Spotlight: “Game of Life” by cyancdesign

Local designer Chris Yanc (cyancdesign) will debut a preview of his latest project for this fall’s festival, the “Game of Life”, at Bal Ingenieux. Last September, cyancdesign brought the glowing Interactive Hallway and Digital Graffiti Wall, where festival goers used mock spray cans to create graffiti art on a large digital screen powered by openFrameworks.

The History of the “Game of Life”
The original “Game of Life” is based on the works of scientist John Conway, who devised a model in the early 1970s to explain how a neighborhood of cells could evolve alone under a simple set of rules. Conway’s theory has been studied and recreated by computer programmers for years as an example of automated design and evolution.

“Game of Life” 2012 at Bal Ingenieux & IngenuityFest
At Bal Ingenieux, cyancdesign will create an interactive LED wall that allows Conway’s classic “Game of Life” to actually be played. “Normally, there is little interaction with [the game],” Yanc explains. “You would set the game up at the beginning then let it run and see how it evolves. But it will be set up so that you’ll be able to interact with the game while everything is evolving to see how you are affecting it.”

Cyancdesign’s “Game of Life” will be controlled by openFrameworks which will relay information from the game player’s selections to an Arduino, an open source hardware often used for interactive electronic projects, and create the LED display.

A preview of the lights working in grid form:

The “Game of Life” Rules:

  1. Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by under-population.
  2. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
  3. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
  4. Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.

“Anyone will be able to touch one of the cells on the wall to either make it alive or dead before the next evolution,” says Yanc. “The initial build will be a smaller version for the fundraiser coming up in May. Then the large wall version is planned for IngenuityFest.”

About cyancdesign
More information at cyancdesign.com.

About Ingenuity

Ingenuity’s mission is to ignite the creative spark where the arts, science, and technology intersect. By animating Cleveland’s urban spaces with world-class, innovative experiences, Ingenuity provides a unique platform to explore the boundaries of art and technology.

To purchase tickets to Bal Ingenieux, IngenuityFest’s fundraiser on May 4, please visit ingenuitycleveland.com/maskedball/.

Zany Umbrella Circus Plans an Evening of Bohemian Folk Artistry for Bal Ingenieux

Vintage street theatre and whimsical circus kitsch will fuse with technology when the national touring Zany Umbrella Circus collaborates with legendary Cleveland DJ Rob Sherwood. “With Rob contributing sound,” Sota says, “I think we can provide really strong visuals.”

Ben Sota talks spiritedly in a rapid fire of ideas about Hawaiian culture and couture, “I’ve been thinking of a scene working with Hawaiian recordings, Hawaiian muumuus.” As the artistic director of Zany Umbrella Circus, Sota is plotting out loud for the night his troupe of bohemian acrobats invoke the underground arts culture of the early 1900s Kokoon Arts Club  for Ingenuity Cleveland’s Bal Ingenieux masquerade fundraiser.

His costume embellishment brainstorming may owe a small credit to his residence on the island where he studies for his doctorate in between coordinating performances for Zany Umbrella. “The history of Kokoon is really cool and I feel like there’s a big part that’s exotic,” Sota explains. “When I think about what is most modern and most exotic, I think Hawaiian. Most people have no idea how much of an arts and culture scene there is here.”

At Bal Ingenieux, vintage will fuse with technology when the national touring group, versed in the folk artistry of street theatre and whimsical circus kitsch, collaborates with legendary Cleveland DJ Rob Sherwood. While Sota explains these days the group usually performs shows based around a storyline, “eye candy” is how he describes what to expect from Zany Umbrella on May 4. “With Rob contributing sound,” he says, “I think we can provide really strong visuals.”

Although Sota says Zany Umbrella now normally bring their spectacle to stages with little chance for audience interaction, Bal Ingenieux will relive their early years touring across America and performing on the city streets. “A lot will be improv,” Sota says of the “ground-based circus” being created for the evening. “Circus acts will happen in the grand ballroom, but we’re bringing some masks to move through the space as well. If we see people open and generous with their energy we’ll take them into a private area.”

After Bal Ingenieux, Zany Umbrella has shows planned throughout the year at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, a tour of New York City boroughs in partnership with the City Parks Foundation and overseas at the Childrens’ Museum of Jordan.

About Zany Umbrella Circus
Zany Umbrella Circus exists to build and strengthen communities through education and folk artistry– particularly puppetry, circus, music, storytelling, street theatre and visual arts.

More information at ZanyUmbrellaCircus.com.

About Ingenuity
Ingenuity’s mission is to ignite the creative spark where the arts, science, and technology intersect.  By animating Cleveland’s urban spaces with world-class, innovative experiences, Ingenuity provides a unique platform to explore the boundaries of art and technology.

To purchase tickets to Bal Ingenieux, IngenuityFest’s fundraiser on May 4, please visit ingenuitycleveland.com/maskedball/.