A quick update on Cycle Powered Cinema

Remember that idea that I had a long time ago, about using bikes to power an outdoor movie series here in Ypsi? Well, the idea, no thanks to me, is still alive and kicking. In fact, we hope to have the first bike built in time for the December 5 Shadow Art Fair. And, if all goes according to plan, we should have a live website by then too.

There are a lot of people that need thanking, as a lot of folks are pitching in to make this happen, but I wanted to take the opportunity to single a few folks out tonight for kicking me in the ass and keeping this whole thing moving forward. On the web side of things, I’d like to thank Anjanette Bunce, and Linette Lao. When I got discouraged after failing to get an Ann Arbor Arts Alliance grant, and stopped being productive, they kept right on going. And, hopefully, soon you’ll have an opportunity to see what they’ve been up to. And, on the bike hacking side of things, I’d like to thank Andy Claydon, Dave Strenski, John Shuler, and Michael Flynn. It was Andy who had the idea of getting Bike 1 done in time for the Shadow, and he’s been tireless in working toward that goal. And the rest are providing invaluable support.

So, assuming everything comes together as we think it will, on Saturday, December 5, you’ll be able to climb onto a bike, and pedal to power a screen, which will take you on a virtual tour of Ypsilanti. (This was all Andy’s idea, and I think it’s brilliant… He even rode around Ypsi with a video camera taped to the side of his head to make it happen.) So, if you’re terrified of Ypsi, but have always wanted to ride your bike here, now’s your chance to experience all the thrills of urban cycling while safely confined within the brick walls of a brewery, with ready access to police and medical professionals. (In case you should happen to see someone on the monitor that frightens you.)

We’ll be taking donations too, so start saving your change and stealing from your mothers’ purses. At the last Shadow Art Fair, I took in $52 in donations, all of which has now been put toward the first generator, and there’s still a lot that needs to be bought if we’re going to build out an entire system. (All the hardware for Bike 1 has gone on credit cards, which will eventually need to be repaid.)

And, assuming this little test goes well on the 5th, there will be another, bigger test this winter, also at the Corner Brewery, during which we’ll have two or three bikes powering a projector, and showing an actual real movie. Then, if all goes well, we can shoot for our first big, outdoor screening, with six to eight bikes, in the early Spring.

I’d also like to thank local filmmaker Mike Ambs, who has volunteered to capture much of this early work on video, with the intention of using it on Kickstarter to raise the funds we need to buy additional generators, and the like. [Mike, it should be noted, just recently wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund production of his first feature length film, Project Pedal.]

I probably mentioned it here before, but Ypsi’s a pretty great little city, with lots of wonderful, talented, generous people in it… It’s been said here before that, if Ypsilantians were so inclined, they could put a person on the moon, and I think it’s true.

Anyway, lots of people have helped so far, and lots, I’m sure, are going to help in the future. (When the site launches, there will be a section on how you can get involved in one of something like eight different work groups focused on things as disparate as public safety and screen acquisition.) And I’ll try to thank everyone here at some point. I just felt that I had to single out a few people tonight who are working their asses off for what might really be an incredible thing for Michigan… Much more later.

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  1. roots
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    This sounds so great. I can’t wait to see it on 12/5.

  2. Jules
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I love it!! I find it funny that I found Kickstarter yesterday via some other path. I love those little synchronicities. Kudos to everyone involved in making it happen. I’ll definitely be donating.

  3. Vision Haver
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I’d like to see Ypsi off the grid in my lifetime. This is a tiny step, but a significant one.

  4. Posted November 23, 2009 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Bully (in the Mark Twain sense)!

  5. Jehovah Supernova
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I like the virtual bike ride better than just watching a movie. Eventually, it would be nice to see custom digital renderings of impossible places to ride a bike, like inside a volcano, or through ancient Rome.

  6. Tim
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    We should keep one of the bikes set up in the park with defibrillator paddles. It would be cool to be able to save lives.

  7. Stan
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    You could also take one to the blood plasma place. It would be cool if people could peddle to suck out their own blood, or that of the person next to them.

  8. anonymous
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who thinks of the movie “The Triplets of Belleville” when I read this?

  9. Jules
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Anon. Yes! Me, too.

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