Sunday, January 31, 2021

Fortress Party 2019 Retrospective, Part 8B - Broadway in the Shire Songs

The highlight of Broadway in the Shire, of course, was Frodo Baggins singing hit musical showstoppers.

When guests pushed the button, one of Frodo's songs would play randomly. 

And just to mess with people, this video would come up every once in a great while.

Fortress Party 2019 Retrospective, Part 8A - Broadway in the Shire Show Posters

Broadway in the Shire first needed a convincing Hobbit Hole. While it was hard to find realistic-looking grass, we had a pretty good round door. 

And while Frodo sang Broadway hits (more on that later) the room was decorated with Lord of the Rings-themed musical show posters. 

For those of you who are curious about the process, here is the spreadsheet that had all the ideas for musicals and songs, including some that we never ended up recording. You can also see a long list of Lord of the Rings terms that I tried to find puns for, but failed. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Fortress Party 2019 Retrospective, Part 7 - TSA Precheck and United Clotheslines

The entrance to Fortress Party 2019 was TSA Precheck, an elaborate maze of functioning airport security apparatuses.

Fortress Security Administration (FSA) agents wearing nitrile gloves would wave a metal detector over each guest to make sure they weren't packing heat. 

At the top left of this picture, you can see clocks showing the time in different parts of the world. The cities included Ann Arbor New York, Havana, Toronto, Panama City, Kingston, Bogota, and Quito. These cities are all in the same time zone, so the idea is that the clocks would show the exact same time. Unfortunately, the batteries fell out of a couple of them, so by time the party started, most of them were out of sync, and the joke was lost. 

Guests would then make their way down the gangplank onto their United Clotheslines plane ("United Fort 2019") where they could review the safety cards in seat in front of them, and enjoy a complimentary copy of HemisForts magazine.

Fortress Party 2019 came closer to a unifying theme than any of its recent predecessors, but I'm not sure if anyone noticed it. The theme was cryptozoology. The Loch Ness monster was in the Scotland Room, there were aliens in Area '51, the Yeti was in the Tibet Town Hall, and here we had Bigfoot ("Captain Squatch") piloting the plane. 

These seemingly diverse imaginary creatures were tied together by the in-flight entertainment, a music video for the Hard Taco song "Sightings." We also hinted at it by having the Captain announce that the flight would be making stops in each of the cryptids'... Lhasa (Yeti), Seattle (Bigfoot), Edinburgh (Nessie), and Roswell (little green men.) 

Here is a clip that just includes the entire loop that played in the room, including the safety video, words from the captain and flight attendants, the in-flight entertainment ("Sightings"), and the crash-landing into the side of a mountain. 


Above is a passengers' view of the safety video.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Fortress Party 2019 Retrospective, Part 6 - Area '51

Welcome to Area '51.  It was a weak pun, and I'm not sure everyone noticed the apostrophe, but it was supposed to indicate a mashup between the early 1950s and space aliens who have been carefully hidden by the government. 

Of course, every 50s party needs a diner and root beer floats.

The ice cream for the aforementioned floats was served out of the disemboweled abdomen of the alien we found at the crash site. Obviously. The ice cream was kept in a bed of dry ice, so there was always some smoke coming out around it.

And in the neighboring room, we had live music all night. 

Performers were encouraged to play 1950s music. In this case, we had Buddy Holly himself, captured by aliens, probed thoroughly, and returned to Earth in 2019. 

I see several phones in the air, so I suspect this is not the only surviving picture of our alien-themed 50's band, but this is the only one I've seen so far.