11
Aug
08

The Chinese Put on Quite a Show


I don’t want to lose my blogger street cred, but the Olympics opening ceremonies on Friday were totally, ridiculously amazing; I was blown away by how awesome it was. The ceremony cost over $300 million (that’s even more expensive than Waterworld!), the most expensive by far, and it looks like they took advantage of every penny. The numbers are staggering, 15,000 performers in all, none of whom repeated, which is more performers than there are athletes in the games this year. Even with that many people the precision and coordination of each segment of performers was totally boss, no one was off, no one looked out of place, everything was perfect. Of course, that’s probably because if you screwed up the Chinese government would immediately label you a dissident or something and you’d never be heard from again so…

Director Zhang Yimou put on a show that is going to be extremely difficult to top for a long time. For some reason I don’t think the Vancouver games will have quite the same flair or great stage pictures. The colors of the opening ceremony were so vibrant and striking and combined with the use of the massive LED screen on the floor and the scrim on top the stadium the images from the opening ceremony are going to stick with those who saw it for a while. For a great gallery of images from the ceremony, check out The Big Picture.

Fortunately, I didn’t watch it live and so was able to fast-forward through the inane Matt Lauer and Bob Costas talk. Some of which certainly was informative but much was just the chance for Matt to say words. Also, his constant referring to the scrim as a “membrane” became almost too much to bear. I am also especially glad because I may have thrown my remote through the television if I would have had to sit through the 14,000 commercial breaks. The worst part was at the very end of the ceremonies after lighting the flame and as the ridiculously awesome barrage of fireworks was going on and looked incredible on the screen, NBC decided to just cut away, so we could come back and get that all-important wrap-up from Bob and Matt. Yeah, because that’s what people prefer, not hundreds of dope explosions that light up the sky in a coordinated show of pyrotechnic mastery, you’re right NBC, I’d much have Matt Lauer talk.

For all the ills of the Chinese government, for all the problems leading up to the games, for 4 hours during the opening ceremonies these games were the most incredible in the modern era. As someone who knows quite a bit about performing and theater, the Chinese fucking nailed it; everyone is now fighting for second-place in these ceremonies.

Some other random thoughts about the opening ceremonies:

  • President Bush got shitty seats, also, way to not stand for Puerto Rico or Guam. C’mon they’re America too (sorta.)
  • Putin is definitely a Bond villain, plus he was commanding invading tank regiments while at the ceremony, now that’s multi-tasking
  • The NBC director has a great eye for the hot chicks during the parade of nations. I don’t think we missed any of the under-the-radar hot athletes. Most impressive was the nation of Jordan which has only 7 athletes, 4 of whom are women (from an Arab nation no less) and all of whom were attractive. Way to go Jordan!
  • Chinese soldiers are scary.
  • This blog is inaccessible in China, the government has blocked access to it, I must be pretty important…
  • I love the nations that walked through the parade that had less people in their countries than were in the stadium at that moment.
  • There are a LOT of really attractive athletes, no wonder the Olympic village is Fuck Mountain.

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