Jan 29, 2011
Jan 28, 2011
CHICAGO -- Vanessa Kluth and Scott Cummins were just an unassuming couple enjoying a Bulls-Knicks game from the comfort of their courtside seats when in an instant, they became the stars of the show at the United Center.
"It was fun. It was a great time," Cummins said with a laugh.
Unwittingly, the couple became the latest stars on the "Kiss Cam", America's longest-running unscripted romantic drama that unfolds in front of tens of thousands of sports fans on JumboTrons across the country every night.
Over the past 20 years, it's become one of the most popular in-game promotions by putting couples on the spot -- literally.
"In general, it's hard to really tell for the camera people who's a couple with the way everyone's sitting," said Sergio Lozano, senior director of scoreboard operations at the United Center. "Sometimes we have two people and they're not there together, they're there with the person to the left or the right of them."
Lozano is the man behind the curtain of the Kiss Cam, calling the shots from his perch high above the court and determining what couples get to show their affection -- or lack thereof -- for one another on the big stage.
His staff consists of five cameras located throughout the crowd. His charges all have two simple instructions.
"Be safe and pick some interesting couples," he said. "It is somewhat of a family audience so we try and be kind of safe with the couples that we're displaying up there and just in general to have a good time with it."
Preparation for the big moment during the first break in the fourth quarter begins long before show time.
Lozano says he and his camera operators are constantly scanning the crowd, searching for couples who will bring the crowd to their feet. Cameramen we spoke with say they try to have a handful of couples in mind so it's only the couples -- and not camera operators -- who are caught off guard when the music starts playing.
With 20,000 people all together under one roof, it's not easy to pick out the couples from the non-couples, something Lozano says has caused some awkward moments drawing laughs instead of cheers from the crowd.
"That's just part of the trial and error of live TV -- just not knowing what's going to happen," he says.
Nobody -- not even Bulls legends -- are off limits.
"Last year we put up Scottie Pippen and his wife," Lozano said. "He was kind of surprised we put him up. They kissed and he kind of did the finger and pointed at us and did a nice little smile, so that was a good one."
Jan 26, 2011
To the editor:
After reading the opinion column of Nov. 9 in reference to the “excessive” use of cowbells at Mississippi State games, I thought I would share our experience at the game Oct. 30 against Kentucky.
There were frequent reminders broadcast on the jumbotron throughout the pregame activities and throughout the entire game that fans were to ring their cowbells only at specific times. The scoreboard had an area that was just dedicated to “Ring Now” or “Yell Now” flashing signs. With very few exceptions, the fans followed these requirements.
We were pleasantly surprised at the cooperation among the fans. In our section, there were perhaps 3 or 4 people who didn’t follow the instructions. Naturally these 3 or 4 were drinking during the entire game.
Because I have sensitive hearing, I flinched each time the cowbells rang. To my surprise, I was sincerely offered packages of earplugs by two different gentlemen sitting nearby. If the cowbells really bother you that much, perhaps you should stay home and watch the game on TV or bring a set of earplugs along because it doesn’t seem that the cowbells have hurt MSU’s game attendance at all.
Jan 23, 2011
Jan 16, 2011
Back in December, the Boston Bruins gave away Rene Rancourt bobbleheads to the first 10,000 fans in the building. Rancourt is the Bruins anthem singer. (via @nhlbruins)
Jan 13, 2011
Jan 10, 2011
Jan 7, 2011
There are at least three reasons why someone might pay five or ten or a hundred times more to see a concert than the CD costs (not to mention the value difference: you can listen to the download again and again but the live gig is gone forever):
And yet, people in the 'live' business--restaurants, people doing presentations, the concierge at the hotel--often work hard to avoid getting anywhere near any of the three.
- There are people around you, fellow travelers, magnetic energy, shared joy.
- Something might go wrong. The artist is like a tightrope walker, taking big chances and the drama it creates is engrossing.
- You might be surprised. Something new and wonderful might happen and it might jar you awake.
Jan 5, 2011
Jan 3, 2011
For several years now, Caps fans have risen to their feet late in the third period and screamed "Unleash the Fury" along with Tom Green, as the culmination of the team's late-game rally video. Saturday night, the Tom Green who screamed inside Verizon Center happened to be about 15 pounds heavier, and wearing a red Mike Green jersey. (Video below.)
How did this happen?
Well, Michael Wurman was hired as director of game entertainment and TV production last season, he immediately thought about trying to integrate Green into the team's Unleash the Fury sensation, which has produced posters and t-shirts and personalized jerseys and other bits of Fury. He reached out to Green's team, but never heard back. As the playoffs approached, Wurman sent a message through Green's Web site, and lo and behold, he soon got a phone call from Green's agent, who passed him on to Green's publicist.
It turned out the comic was coming to D.C. in the late spring, and so Wurman crafted a plan to get Green inside the building for a playoff game. Alas, the Caps were eliminated before Green's scheduled visit.
In late July, though, Green had a gig at the D.C. Improv, and so the effort was renewed, and everyone agreed this was the time. Wurman and his crew went to the Improv with the Mike Green jersey and a guitar to mimic the original scene, and within 30 minutes they had what they needed. Their version of the scene starts with a wider shot than the original, so that the Caps logo and red jersey are immediately apparent, but other than that, it's a pretty close match.