Greetings from South Florida! To those of you shivering in the cold (as I will be again in four days) this is what it looked like in Miami Beach today. I got to do something I really love doing today - I got to cover the creative aspects of the Super Bowl, specifically the music. I also got a free concert from His Purple Badness, Prince, and got to laugh at Billy Joel's jokes. And I interviewed a young woman named Yulia (AKA Smartass) who is a Moscow-born aerialist with Cirque Du Soleil.
This was the first press conference I attended in the Main Media Center I told you about in the last post. They actually brought out the Cirque du Soleil people first and they were pretty cool. The pregame program has been designed by the folks at Cirque, and a Miami-based artist named Romero Britto, who was recently a guest artist at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. That's Romero in the colorful shirt. Next to him is Daniel LeMarre, the CEO of Cirque du Soleil. The guy in black is Louie Vega - yep Mambo #5 Louie Vega.
This colorful creature is not Yulia the aerialist, but it is one of her cast mates who is in the same costume. They were acting birdlike, and being very convincing about it. Getting anyone to talk was like prying open a can with a pencil. I guess it's that mime history or something. I can only imagine.There was some brunette handler making sure that no one in makeup was talking to someone like me.
But I charmed a few sentences out of Yulia anyway. I never found out why she's called Smartass. Yulia told me they would be doing a Russian high-flying routine. Obviously, they're BIRDS. But they're actually people dressed up like birds. After them and a great session with Billy Joel, who said the National Anthem was not America's best song - he prefers America the Beautiful and called the National Anthem "a slog, really," - it was time for PRINCE.
And he did not disappoint. I actually got a chance to chat with his guitar tech, a French Canadian named Jeff DuBois, who as it turns out has worked 18 years with Celine Deion's show. And he still works for Celine in Las Vegas. And this man has to work hard, because the humidity in Vegas doesn't get above 40% unless it rains two days or more in a row. That dry climate tends to be hard on wood, which is what guitars (including Prince's) are made of. Turns out, Jeff is a luthier - a guy who builds guitars.Prince played a Hohner knockoff of a Fender Telecaster guitar and he also had two girls dancing with him that made the carpet melt. Typical Prince. No need to hide the fact that his show is about SEX. Come on. Who do you think you're dealing with? No costume malfunctions, Prince, but I think his show will probably still be pretty hot.
Anyway, he pretended to be ready to answer questions at this Press Conference, and then when the first question was asked, he launched into Johnny B Goode as his answer. And the brother rocked the joint. Massively. And he had a FUNKY group behind him. Horns, keyboards, drums, bass - of course - and vocalists. It was like a free concert. So maybe this job ain't so bad after all. At least this part of it.
I haven't eaten any real food here yet. I think that will be Super Blog III. Later. Stay warm.