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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Evolution of the Disco Ball 

Great minds think alike. At the same time that I was writing something with every 70's cliche I could find, Jennifer was writing about disco balls in the 80's:

I bought my first tape that year, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. My friend Stacy had a mini disco ball in her room, and we would turn off the lights, start up the disco ball and dance to Thriller.

Well, I've written about disco balls before - namely, the use of a disco ball in Devo's video for "Disco Dancer."

Others of us are living in the past. Take Isabel:

Last Saturday Tom and I went to my friend Cecilia's Pump Up The Volume party. She and some of her friends got someone's work loft; rented lights, speakers and a disco ball; and put on an 80s party. Hearing the song Tainted Love brought me all the way back to the Santiago club, Blondie, where I did most of my 80s dancing in the 90s.

People seemed really nice at the party. A good crowd of Quebexicans, as Tom likes to call us. EVEN THOUGH WE'RE NOT MEXICAN...! :) Chilequebes is a good alternative, although more nation-specific.

And Mike and Paul are taking the essentials with them when they move to New York:

Well in my last post I mention that we are moving to NYC - well we are moving to Queens which is only a few stops from Manhattan. Paul has a couple of high-falooten jobs out there and I graduate soon with my Economics degree so where better to do finance stuff than The City. I just hope I don’t personally cause the second great depression. (If you know how I spend money you would understand this! - I actually own a disco ball for the kitchen, it makes it so much more fun to cook.)

If you're too young to know what I'm talking about, turn to Wikipedia:

A disco ball, mirror ball, or ball mirror is a roughly spherical structure that reflects light directed at it in many directions, producing a complicated and hard-to-anticipate display. Its surface consists of hundreds or thousands of facets, nearly all of approximately the same shape and size, and each having a mirrored outer surface. Usually it is mounted well above the heads of the people present, suspended from a device that causes it to rotate steadily on a vertical axis so that stationary viewers experience beams of light flashing over them.

Wikipedia led me to National Products, Inc.:

National Products manufactured mirror balls and related lighting-effect products. With installations from Madison Square Gardens to America West Arena (Phoenix), National Products Inc. has manufactured disco balls and lighting effect products for professional sports arenas, theatrical shows, trade shows and nightclubs for over 50 years.

Their list price for a 12" disco ball is $99 (but this does not appear to include the ceiling turner motor). A 48" disco ball will set you back $2,500.

And Devo isn't the only artist inspired by this device. Take Who Da Funk featuring Jessica Eve with "Shiny Disco Balls."

Too bad that people worried about energy consumption aren't looking at the possibilities:

A disco ball powered computer. Using technology first dabbled with in the late seventies I was able to harness the unbelievable power of the disco ball. Instead of using its energy to make people do stupid things in ugly clothes I was able to redirect its incredible power for the better good of mankind.

The only peripheral required is a specially designed power supply, which not only provides the electricity but also gathers the disco ball's powerful, encrypted signals.

Close up of power supply. This computer is operating in these pictures. No, I'm not kidding.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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