Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That's one efficient pickle!

I'm doing double duty this week, mild-manneredly working the audio strike for Hair/Hamlet at the park for the Public by day, rocking out with Fela! at night. Since the strike at the park is 9-6 and our show call is 6-11:30ish, Reid and I have been grabbing a cab from the park, and Dave's been hustling to cover our asses, and as you can imagine, I'm not getting as much sleep as I'd like.

Which makes it a great week for me to train to mix the show, right?! Our show extended for two weeks past our anticipated closing date (originally this coming Sunday) and Dave had already accepted work for a few days next week that conflict with our show schedule, so we're training a sub for him this week. Reid, wisely, decided that it would also be a good chance to train his sub, which turns out to be me. I'm concerned that I don't possess sufficient ego to sub for the A1. Mixing a large off-Broadway musical seems to require a certain amount of unflagging faith in one's own infallibility, something I'm not sure I have, especially after being told that my strengths lie in electrics, not sound...

In all seriousness, I'm excited to get to mix the show, and the work is the park has been a lot of fun. The raccoon poo aside. (One of the joys of outdoor theatre is always the invasion of unwanted flora and fauna, in this case represented by the raccoons. They seem to like the warmth of the amps and power distros, so they make nests above them, and they poop. Everywhere. Raccoon feces look a lot like larger, sloppier rabbit pellets, but rabbits eat mostly clean stuff, whereas the raccoons that live in Central Park eat, well, anything, and it shows.) The people in that crew are great though, so it's still a lot of fun. Today we electrified a pickle.

A few years ago, when I was MEing and then ASMing for an opera festival in Virginia, I first encountered the electric pickle. I found a nasty old piece of cable with a male edison plug on it and two rusty drywall screws connected to the bare wires. It looked like an especially nasty method of committing suicide to me, but I was told that it was an important piece of gear for opening night. It was the pickle wire. The opening night tradition was to light up a pickle on opening night.

The audio head at the Public had never heard of this until yesterday and I have no idea who brought it up, but at first people didn't believe it. I lent my assurances that, in fact, the pickle does light up as advertised. So he decided that he needed to see it happen, and was all set to order some pickles from the deli from which we order our coffee break food, but we decided that they probably wouldn't deliver an order of two large pickles and nothing else! Today, after coffee break, we put the theory into action, and, sure enough, science still works, and the pickle still glows. (In case you were curious, the brine that the cucumber was pickled in is the source of the orange glow.) This was much more fun than doing it with a full cast and crew though - with just the audio geeks and a few carps wandering by, we took it all out. Lots of jokes about EQing the color (if you really want a different color, use a different kind of sodium, but don't eat that pickle) and someone decided to put a multi-meter on the pickle to see what the resistance of a pickle was.

Turns out, about 1 Ohm. That's one efficient pickle!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice...cooked pickle...heh. Wonder if my electronics prof. know about this.