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SIGGRAPH 98 History Project

Vol.32 No.3 August 1998

Best Parties

Carl Machover
SIGGRAPH 98 History Chair

Editor’s Note: The quotes below are from transcribed interviews with conference chairs, and from the notice board for the SIGGRAPH 98 celebration located at last year’s conference.

Part of the planning for the 25th conference celebration involved trying hard to ensure that we reflected the significant technical, artistic and social flavor that SIGGRAPH has represented over the past two and one-half decades. However, in addition to our serious side, SIGGRAPH has been a lot of fun! SIGGRAPH parties are legion. At the SIGGRAPH 97 conference and at various SIGGRAPH 97 and SIGGRAPH 98 meetings, we asked folks to talk about what they considered the “best parties.” Here are some of the comments we received. Note these are very personal recollections, and that some dates may be faulty!

“Best party was the New York/L.A. party in 1987. Oh yeah — that was THE best party. It was the first chapters party that really invited everybody. It was the first one that was really open to everybody, it was a lot of fun—— …”

“Probably Digital Domain’s party in L.A. in 1993, when Dweezil and Ahmet (Frank Zappa’s kids) opened for Billy Idol. It was one of the wildest times. It was at Prince’s new club; it was the glam slam; it was just opened…”

“I was partial to the Typhoon Lagoon party at SIGGRAPH in Orlando the last time we were there — so it would have been 1993 or 94? Typhoon was the water park, and when you walked into the park they handed you a shopping bag with a bathing suit and your camera and a beach ball and all sorts of goodies — so you could go swimming and there was snorkeling, and there was free food, and dancing and it was great!…”

“SIGGRAPH 1985 — San Francisco. Both parties were great — one in the aquarium and one at the Exploratorium. Those were definitely the best that year. Those two receptions. It was great walking through the aquarium which is a little hallway with fish all around you and eating sushi. Boston was a good one also…”

“No specific one, but the early parties were the best. Before they starting going to the ticket system and all that kind of stuff, where you just ran around the conference to find out where they were and that was it. Some of the impromptu parties in the hotel rooms, etc. Those days I think are lost and those were the “meet days” where you could go to a party and meet all the big names…”

“The Pixar PDI pool party in Atlanta in 1988. I actually still have two beach balls from that. I remember them holding up a piece of the chandelier at one end of the room and saying, ‘if anymore of these come down, we have to leave’ because they were throwing beach balls around a banquet hall and knocking pieces off the chandelier!..”

“The best party/celebration was in 1996 — after the show and the exhibition was closed, we walked to the back of the exhibition and there was a tremendous crowd in one of the booths (I won’t say who) that had the scanning systems that used the lasers to digitize 3D — and this group was standing around and from behind this door over here a young woman came running out completely nude on the exhibition floor, up on to the stage where she was scanned — disappeared back in, got dressed and went out the door — just like that. A few moments later a young man did the same thing. Apparently both those body data sets are now on the net and you can download them…”

“The best parties were the Truevision dessert extravaganzas. They don’t do them anymore much to many, many people’s dismay. The RGB bowls were delectable. They were with AT&T when they were doing these parties and they were elegant — waiters and waitresses all in tuxes and formal attire. Those were the best and they were just these wonderful dessert parties with open liquor dessert drink bars and espresso and tables with tiers of silver trays of French pastries and a make your own sundae bar buried in a corner somewhere because it wasn’t quite so elegant — but it was there nevertheless. And cookies and everything —and the parties usually started about ten o’clock at night and everybody managed to find it. Back in those good old days, you didn’t have to have a ticket to go to a party…”

“The best party was New Orleans in 1996...”

“Any professional chapters party...”

“Triple Lot party in 1979 in Chicago. The booze was free!..”

“The one we had at the Piazza Italia — a spontaneous party we had in New Orleans where we danced barefoot in the fountain and gave Scotch to the caretaker so he would turn the fountain on for us, but it wasn’t part of the regular party. Last year I had a small, quiet party at my house which everyone described as a breath of fresh air from the crazy hubbub…”

“A long time ago when Alvy Ray Smith and all of that gang was together — you know when the first paint package and the first paint system — it must have been a long time ago — Boston would have been good. Seattle would have been good — those early ones. I remember the early show at Boston, but I can’t remember where they had it…”

“The best party I can remember is when we raided Dick Mueller’s suite up in Minneapolis — 1984 I guess. We’re standing in Dick’s suite for SIGGRAPH and one of the other co-chairs and the guy standing next to me says ‘how are you guys connecting to all this?’. He said, ‘We just come and raid Dick Mueller’s suite for some free beer and stuff.’ So, we had a good time with that and SIGGRAPH in general…”

“Chapter party in ‘97 at the zoo. The ‘94 SGI party in Orlando…”

“1994 Typhoon Lagoon, Disney party. 1989 Museum of Science in Boston. 1990 in Dallas at South Fork Ranch. Local group’s party in Chicago in 1992, Club Caboom (absolutely horrifying). Club Caboom is a club where the bartenders all had priest’s outfits and shaved heads and they wore bowlers on their heads. And the club was open until 6 a.m. and there were people dancing in the rafters and on the catwalks and I saw things I’ll never forget!..”

“I haven’t really been to too many. I thought the Disney party in New Orleans was pretty good. That was probably the best party I’ve been to. I heard rumors that Peter Gabriel played at Digital Domain and I wish I’d gone there…”

“The herb party in 1993 on the herb farm. We had herbs in our hair and we made wreaths…”

“Las Vegas water park. 1991. It was fun. Boston in 1982 with the receptions where there were absolutely no people and tons of seafood. It was in the aquarium. We had so much seafood and no one was there!..”

“With a bit of bias, I would have to say that SIGGRAPH 96 was one of the most successful SIGGRAPH parties ever. More specifically, I’m not aware of any time we’ve ever had a SIGGRAPH parade (then Courses Reception)…”

“Party wine? The parties of yesteryear when all companies held them in suites. The Symbolics party at S8? with unending plates of shrimp and cases of Jordan Cab 7…”

“How about John Hart et al and SIGBAND in Chicago 90...”

“1982-Boston: Tech reception at Science Museum. Alvy Ray Smith turns the corner on the stairway and sees the math section, dominated by a large ball and peg display of the normal distribution....and he shouts ‘JAGGIES!’ and points...”

“The food riot at the Dallas reception…”

“Disney Typhoon Lagoon party at SIGGRAPH ‘93 or ‘94…”