Dress rehearsal: New Year's Eve at Grand Park (video)

nye-rehearse-ch.jpgIt's always been a little bit sad that there is no community gathering place in LA for New Year's Eve, or anything else really except for Halloween in West Hollywood and, more recently, CicLAvia. Of course, it was more than a little sad when LA Live tried to be that place. And I may be in the minority thinking it's still rather sad that Los Angeles feels it needs to create an artificial celebration to emulate, if not even begin to approximate, the ball drop in Times Square in New York. But here we are, and on the night of Dec. 31 there will be a gathering in Grand Park that tries to be the place for Angelenos. I guess they will project a countdown on the west face of City Hall -- they did a run-through tonight. See the video above.

The organizers have bigger plans than just a countdown — and if you're into that sort of thing, it could be kind of cool. They intend to put on "a dazzling technological display that will be the largest of its kind ever attempted on the West Coast." ZevWeb explains:

Of course, there’ll be live music, dancing, food trucks and a cash bar. But the highlight is expected to be a colossal presentation of so-called “3D digital mapping”—a high-tech urban art form that will make L.A.’s iconic City Hall do some things that it may have to blame on the champagne in the morning.

“I don’t think anyone in L.A. has done anything on this scale,” says Jonathan Keith, creative director at Idea Giants, the local consortium of 3D special effects artists who created the extravaganza.

The technology, which employs projectors and sophisticated 3D models to make art out of ordinary landscapes, has been used to turn skyscrapers into everything from ancient ruins to giant dancing monkeys. Windows can seem to extrude, walls can seem to fall away, and—in one stunt hinted at by the creators of the New Year’s Eve show—whole landmarks can seem to disappear and be replaced by Grand Park’s renovated jewel, the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain.

Keith says his team will use a 20-foot stack of five 40,000-lumen projectors weighing about 500 pounds each—state-of-the art equipment. “I believe we have every 40K projector in California for this event,” Keith says. “We needed some major fire power with a structure the size of City Hall.”

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