The setting is dark and mysterious, Mayan
statues and artwork adorn the walls and ceiling around you.
Over the chatter of the crowd flowing past, you hear a low
murmur of music, a murmur that grows louder as you move further
into the heart of the action, reaching its apex as you enter
the well-populated impressive main room. Welcome to the 2004
ACM SIGGRAPH Chapters party, held at the befittingly named
club, The Mayan.
There are only so many certainties in life. Among them: another
year, another SIGGRAPH, another happening Chapters Party.
Open to all attendees (your conference badge acting as your
entry pass), this annual event never ceases to impress. Attracting
all walks of SIGGRAPH life, from the programming, multimedia,
educational, and 3D and VFX crowd, it is the place to be,
and to be seen.
Dancers in motion (can you spot Alyn Rockwood?)
This year's party held on Monday, August 9th, from 9 pm into
the wee hours of the morning, was the perfect unofficial kick-off
to the week ahead. Held in downtown Los Angeles, at a venue
conveniently close to the convention centre, attendees had
easy access to the party. Watching the eager flow of people
streaming in after having seen the Electronic Theatre showing,
you knew this was the hotspot of choice of the evening.
Looking up at the balcony (left) Dancers showing off their
With music to suit all tastes, dance floors catering to
the rhythm in all of us, and spaces to stand or sit and chat,
there was something for everyone. If liquid happiness was
a concern, four easily accessible bars were ready to serve.
If the main techno floor was not your idea of a good time,
simply move down to the R&B/Hip Hop room, drift upwards
and take in a musical blast from the past, or sit in the balcony
and watch fellow attendees dance the night away below. For
added pleasure and distraction, video displays ran sponsor
demo reels and SIGGRAPH trivia, streaming lights played over
the crowd, and the world's largest disco ball twirled overhead.
Sponsor demo reels on display
This year's impressive list of corporate sponsors included
veteran sponsors Auto.des.sys, Electronic Arts, Sony Pictures
Imageworks, Tippett Studios, Xbox and Walt Disney Feature
Animation, as well as new sponsors Alias, Charlex, and Softimage.
When asked what makes SIGGRAPH and the Chapters party so special,
Chris Byrnes, President of Charlex, was quick to respond:
We attend SIGGRAPH because of the strong educational component
of the conference - the opportunity to preview new products
and projects, to get an up-close look at the creative applications
of new technologies, to gain knowledge and insight from
others in the industry. SIGGRAPH, although not exactly the
new kid on the block anymore, still feels fresh and remains
connected to the core users. It's also a chance to network
and showcase our own work, and sponsoring the Chapters Party
was a high-profile opportunity to raise the visibility of
our company in the industry. This was our first year as
a sponsor but gauging the feedback to our participation,
we'd certainly be interested in doing so again.
A testament to the reach and importance of this event, such
support and enthusiasm is widespread, with Veronica Naughton
of Xbox adding how positive feedback and past successful experiences
prompted Xbox's return as a sponsor again this year.
Attendees mingling in the lobby of The Mayan
Whether you're a newbie SIGGRAPHer or a veteran, this is
the place to mingle with fellow attendees. The idea behind
the event is to encourage people to let loose and have fun
and give attendees an opportunity to finally meet, interact,
and unwind with others in a relaxed, non-commercial event.
Besides, where else can you see last year's SIGGRAPH chair
breaking out the dance moves, meet industry 'celebrities'
as they wander through the crowd, and have a legitimate reason
for being in a room with male and female go-go dancers.
From the positive attendee responses I heard that night,
the smiles, laughter, and camaraderie on the dance floor,
and positive infectious vibe pervading the event, I would
say the party was quite a success. If anything, the happy-but-weary
post party crowd, constituting the large majority of late-goers
to courses the next morning, was enough to justify the assumption.