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The Last Lecture
September 26, 2009 4:56 AM   Subscribe

Horrifically bad software demo becomes performance art
posted by kliuless (28 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
The way to best post on Metafilter is to put a lot of links into your post, especially for first-timers.

Then, follow the links up with carefully-vetted facts that support your argument or statistics that underline your thesis.

Finally, you should prepare yourself for the long thread that follows where you are challenged by Metafilter users about the validity of your claims.

Of course, one must have a very strong constitution for this type of thing, because it can quickly become personal and if you're easily squicked or hurt it may not be the place for you online. I had to learn it that way, and I....I don't know, I try so hard and I thought that maybe this site was The One you know and then at night.

...the wolves come.

Ohgod.....
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:22 AM on September 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


I actually made it most of the way through the video of the lecture but my internet connectivity slowed and then I lost my DNS and then my laptop crashed. At least I'm not sorry for myself.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:34 AM on September 26, 2009


I thought this was gonna be about the Windows 7 party video.
posted by fire&wings at 5:49 AM on September 26, 2009


Unfortunate name
posted by DU at 6:22 AM on September 26, 2009


Looks like people are really going to attack this post's weak point for massive damage.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:40 AM on September 26, 2009


I'm a playwright and actor. The format of "failed presentation" is really ripe for theatrical exploration, I think -- it explores boundaries between performer and audience, public persona versus private persona, etc. But pulling a "gotcha" move on an audience, torturing them with awkwardness instead of letting them in on the fun of what you're doing, just makes you a dick.
posted by HeroZero at 7:46 AM on September 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Looks like people are really going to attack this post's weak point for massive damage.

But, see, the post itself is the performance art.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:58 AM on September 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


The format of "failed presentation"

One of the most awkward things I've ever experienced was a presenter at a scientific conference, in a stadium format with well over 1000 people present, who took the podium and just broke out in nervous laughter for quite some time before he was eventually escorted offstage.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:01 AM on September 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


> and just broke out in nervous laughter...

Oh God, that happened to me in front of my grade 13 Writer's Craft class. We were doing presentations where we read a kids' book we remembered from our youth and then talked about it a bit. I chose "I Am A Bunny" and got about two pages into it before I started giggling uncontrollably. I was usually pretty good at the whole public speaking thing, but the book seemed so absurd in that context, and once I started laughing I got into this feedback loop where the laughing made me even more nervous and embarrassed, which made me laugh more, which made me even more nervous...
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:11 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Invisible theatre
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:30 AM on September 26, 2009


I couldn't make it more than 30 seconds throught the video. Terrible.
posted by empath at 8:47 AM on September 26, 2009


I couldn't make it more than 30 seconds throught the video.

Then you only saw the setup, and never actually got into the performance? Talk about short attention span!
posted by hippybear at 9:16 AM on September 26, 2009


I watched the whole thing last night -- the idea of a failed software presentation as theater captured my imagination. In the right hands, it could be comedy gold. Or maybe "Tony n' Tina's Dev Conference," but that's OK.

My reaction to this was mixed, though. The first ten minutes, which is mostly monologue, doesn't seem to have much to do with software. The theme of death and sickness -- while it plays heavily in the story -- doesn't seem to weave itself with the failed software theme in a meaningful way. (It seems more like it's "defense" than anything else, to guilt the students into staying for the full presentation.) The puppets and the Quake-map design of the game were a little ridiculous for someone trying to go for realistic, too.

But the moment where the sound started quickly looping, the presenters ears perked up, he said "that's a crash," waiting a second, starting to go over to the other machines to check what was going on, the loop stopped, another pause, and the game came back up -- that was perfect. There were a few other moments like that which made it worthwhile. It needed more comedy and the truth about software demos than heightened drama.
posted by eschatfische at 9:27 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I watched the whole thing and loved it. I'm not sure what that says about me as a person.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 9:49 AM on September 26, 2009


I had to stop watching after 10 minutes or so because I was in a coffee shop and was laughing too hard. Will finish later... Thanks!
posted by LordSludge at 11:21 AM on September 26, 2009


Also watched the whole thing. Great stuff.
posted by jadayne at 12:27 PM on September 26, 2009


I always kinda liked it when software demos went wrong - it was so much more entertaining, and you didn't have to feel bad about nipping back to the bar for more of the complimentary refreshments
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:46 PM on September 26, 2009


Just sounds to me like some smug jackass wasted a bunch of people's time.
posted by broken wheelchair at 1:15 PM on September 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh. This explains a lot about work.
posted by BaxterG4 at 1:22 PM on September 26, 2009


Unfortunate name

I don't see how calling it the "Last Lecture" could have been anything but an intentional reference to the very famous lecture of Randy Pausch, which makes this "performance art" incredibly jackassholistic. RIP Randy Pausch, you were a much better man.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:51 PM on September 26, 2009


Horrifically bad software demo becomes performance art while Conan O'Brien runs interference.
posted by ardgedee at 3:39 PM on September 26, 2009


I don't think I've ever had to experience a software demo before, in this sort of setting, but man it seems awful if this acting was actually remotely believable.
posted by NikitaNikita at 6:25 PM on September 26, 2009


So, the professors wasted these students' class time on some art student's school project, which is flippantly named after Randy Pausch's lecture. That's nice.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:52 PM on September 26, 2009


Damn, I should have thought to add the statement "performance art" as a prefix to some of my demos/presentations...
posted by jkaczor at 8:38 PM on September 26, 2009


I made it to the Jesus puppet, but that was it. Neat idea, weak execution.
posted by Jairus at 9:04 PM on September 26, 2009


Unfortunate name

As I recall he actually talks about this in the lecture, claiming to have had the idea first but then been cured of his terminal illness, leaving him awkwardly alive. He also claims that the other guy (Randy Pausch) appears to be "in hiding" over legal troubles due to stealing his idea.

Macabre and tasteless, but funny.
posted by skintension at 12:54 AM on September 27, 2009


The Card Cheat: the giggle loop.
posted by goo at 3:12 AM on September 27, 2009


"When a student dies, it's nearly always a tragedy."
posted by StopMakingSense at 9:14 PM on September 27, 2009


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