Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Speed Levitch Presents: The MidTown Rush Hour Tour in VR project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$4,144 pledged of $25,000 goal
backers
By ProMedia
$4,144 pledged of $25,000 goal
backers

About this project

A Description of the Midtown Rush Hour Tour

The Midtown Rush Hour Tour begins in the throes of the great rush, each weekday at 5pm, next to the Information Booth in the middle of Grand Central Terminal's Main Concourse. We meet on the side of the booth that faces Vanderbilt Avenue.

Our tour group is much like a private Greek Chorus, walking around in our unfolding Greek drama, which is happening all around us. As this drama's Greek Chorus, we participate in the rush hour and observe it but we never commit to the rush. 

To commute - (vb.) (1.) Ibsen wrote, "To live is to war with trolls." Commuting is to live is to war with trolls-consciousness. (2.) To commute is to travel with the assumption that every single human being currently on this planet is in my way.  (3.)To commute - When our urge to arrive at our destination becomes more alive than ourselves.

The Midtown Rush Hour Tour is an elixir designed to heal hatred of rush hour. Of course, hatred of rush hour is an all-too-common ailment, easily relieved with an active verb called cruising, a.k.a. the appreciation of the beauty of one's immediate surroundings. Our ability to microscopically-appreciate the beauty of our surroundings is a natural anti-depressant that saves lives, and, while in the act of it, depression is put in its proper place and can be clearly seen for what it truly is -- what depression really is, you see, is...for those of us who never get an opportunity to go to outer space, depression is the only black hole we'll ever get a chance to explore.

The Midtown Rush Hour Tour is a tour of the great living landmark, rush hour. Along the way, we appreciate the architecture of Grand Central Terminal and re-tell the history of the birth of midtown Manhattan, a truly epic tale in which today's rush hour is the current living climax. 

On The Midtown Rush Hour Tour, history is a vehicle we ride to go further into the now.

The Politics of the Thing...

To the entities currently endeavoring to de-urbanize New York City's public spaces: "This might be your rush hour, but this is my commute!"

Often, while participating in rush hour, I will feel stirred to compliment certain people on their style of commute. "I like your style of commute," I'll tell them, in passing.

Well, it turns out that complimenting people on their commute and viewing our own commuting as a practice that we can improve in is something we need to start doing for the sake of city dwelling as a form of life-art and the city dweller's right to decorate the reality.

While it's true that New York City is constantly changing, some of the recent changes seem to be a direct threat to the average city-dweller's ability to self-express. As Sassia Sassen writes, "The huge post-credit crunch buying up of urban buildings by corporations...is a systematic transformation in the pattern of land ownership in cities...the public spaces of the city, where the powerless have always gone to make their own history and culture, are now privately controlled spaces where low-wage-workers can work but not make."

Sassen maintains that there are moments in our city-dwelling routines when we, "...become urban subjects," and that, "rush hour is one such mix of time and space."

And so, the Midtown Rush Hour Tour, aside from being a comedic-interactive soliloquy, is also a proclamation being sent out to the entities who are currently endeavoring to de-urbanize New York City's public spaces: "This might be your rush hour, but this is my commute!

Why Virtual Reality

This new technology is so great at inflicting empathy and as the Midtown Rush Hour Tour's theme of human interconnectedness is being expounded the VR will be living it. 

By using virtual reality technology people from all over the globe will be able to drop right into the controlled chaos of rush hour in midtown Manhattan. They will feel the overwhelming energy of standing in the middle of Grand Central Terminal as 50,000 people zip past them. This is the best, and in our opinion, the only way to document this monumental spoken word performance which has been 15 years in the making.

This new VR technology is also a young art form that is currently being born and with our attempt at making this "love-action documentary," we hope to create a fresh example of how this visually-astonishing technology can also be used to entertain through thought-provocation and language.

Risks and challenges

There are many challenges when it comes to shooting an epic virtual reality experience like this. Once the money is in place, we will need to secure top of the line virtual reality video equipment, which is expensive and temperamental. On top of that we would need to have professional VR camera operators and technicians in order to ensure we capture this video to its fullest effect. Wandering through the streets of midtown Manhattan during rush hour is hard enough, let alone with several VR rigs and audio equipment!

After the video is shot, the footage goes through a complicated 'stitching' process where each of the frames from the separate VR cameras are meticulously placed together to give it a 360 degrees look when viewed in the Occulus Rift, or Google Cardboard. Once stitched a team of editors will edit the video into a masterpiece and it will then be color corrected and mixed in a professional studio.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Everyone who donates $5.00 or more will be sent a downloadable link to the brand spanking new virtual reality experience before it gets released publicly. Make your co-workers jealous! Impress your friends at parties!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    27 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    If you donate $25.00 or more you will get a copy of Speed Levitch's newest work, "Red Double Decker Cavalry." A collection of short stories ensconced in the world of the early double-decker tour buses that took over New York tourism in the early 1990's. Starring the great cast of characters & trolls who worked the buses and waged the early battles of the double-decker wars, the young Speed Levitch is an awkward, bespectacled observer of it all as he tries to figure out his role in the new tourism-revolution happening around him.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    27 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    You will receive an autographed DVD of 'The Cruise' starring Speed Levitch! A good ole DVD copy of "The Cruise" plays like an old, vinyl record, at this point! Comes in handy on romantic dates and as background at parties.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Host your own private performance of The Midtown Rush Hour Tour! Host your own moving soiree, you and a group of your peeps, will meet Speed in the middle of Grand Central on a weekday and enjoy a private performance of the Midtown Rush Hour Tour, which is a piece of living theater, collaborated between us life-artists. As Speed performs the 70 minute, interactive soliloquy, may we endeavor to savor rush hour together and decorate the unfolding reality!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    Anyone pledging $450.00 will be given a workshop of Virtual Reality technology at the offices of ProMedia in the heart of Manhattan. During the 10 hours you will be walked through the process from shooting, to stitching, to coloring, to output. You'll be on the cutting edge of video technology!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    For any $500.00 donation, you will receive a downloadable copy of the VR tour, a copy of Speed's new audio book, and most exciting of all... you will get to be in the VR world with Speed! You will be invited to be his walking audience when we shoot this one of a kind experience. Or as Speed says: Join our private Greek Chorus in the world of VR as we waltz around rush hour, this unfolding Greek drama, unfolding all around us, as we participate & observe rush hour without committing to the rush. We begin the tour by standing still, together, as we meet and celebrate the city-teacher's great platitude, "Gregariousness is great" while standing in the throes of the great rush!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Host your own private event for you and a group of 15 people! We'll begin with a live performance of the Midtown Rush Hour Tour for you and your guests and then we head to the after-party premiere of The Midtown Rush Hour Tour VR Video, plus an open bar for two hours at Bar 13 in the heart of Manhattan. The party will include a few surprise guests and, in general, will be imbued with "What a brave new world with such characters in't" kind-of-a-feeling!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (45 days)