Advertising Manitoba in the 1950s

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Travel Manitoba’s current ad campaign is based on the negative prefix “Un-” (UNforgettable, UNearthed, UNleashed, UNreal, UNPlugged, UNrivalled)

Every year  Travel Manitoba puts out a magazine, which hasn’t been altered much in the last years. There are a lot of pictures of people’s backs, because they haven’t secured the rights or permission to people’s faces.

I found this promotional brochure from the early 1950s, which (with the exception of the catchphrase “Inside the Rim of Adventure”) actually has better style and content than most of the province’s current promo materials, while advertising many of the same sights and attractions – including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Symphony.

It also features streetcars, a downtown stadium next to the Legislature, and a positive depiction of an aboriginal person. Well done, 1950s Manitoba.

There are also a lot more images of women in bathing suits lounging on boardwalks, fishing, or embracing baby deer than you would ever see in a tourism brochure today – 1950s pin-up-style, to be precise. To excess, I would  say, though I would prefer a young fresh face, male or female, to the  wrinkled face of a man in his 50s currently in use on one of Travel Manitoba’s billboards in North Dakota.

Here is the link to the document in pdf – (WARNING 11 Megs!)

Manitoba-Inside the Rim of Adventure

or browse the pictures below.

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“The Pugilist” Keyboard

I’ve come up with an idea for a giant computer keyboard that users would operate by punching the keys as if they were boxing. The idea is to have a keyboard that only uses large muscle movements, instead of the small muscle movements characteristic of keyboards and mice.

It would be used almost exclusively for word processing. To replace the use of a mouse, I am planning a huge joystick along the same principles (large muscles only), which will be called “The Elephant.”

The keyboard would be set in a semi-spherical backing approximately 2ft high and 3ft wide, supported on a sturdy mount held up by an adjustable arm so users could lower or raise the keyboard to the appropriate level for their height.

The keyboard’s base would be a half-sphere, weighted at the bottom to provide stability.

The top half of the sphere would provide ventilated space for the user’s computer, as well as cords to attach the computer by USB to the keyboard, and a shelf for a projector that would project with the user’s desktop onto a wall or screen.

The interior would also include a power bar for the computer or projector.

The keyboard, keys and support arm would all have to be heavy-duty in order to withstand multiple blows. Heavy duty switches would be used but would still have to be light enough to allow for keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl-S, etc.)

Interested? E-mail us at jetpackmedia@me.com

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Highlands of Durham Games

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The Highlands of Durham Games is an annual festival held the last weekend of July in Elgin Park, Uxbridge, Ontario. It is in its fifteenth year. It is a not-for-profit event, with proceeds going to charity.

For several years, Jetpack Media has provided web and marketing services, including:

  • Designing and redesigning the website,
  • Setting the Games up on Facebook
  • Developing marketing campaigns and online ticket purchase through PayPal
  • Creating radio and TV spots

You can listen to the 2009 radio spot here:

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You can see the TV spot here:

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Fire Flower

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There are few things nicer than sitting around a campfire, watching the sparks rise into the sky and staring into the incandescent red and yellow heart of the fire.

There are two things that can take away from it – a breeze, and the fact that while your front may be toasty warm, your back gets cold.

The Fire Flower is a proposed installation with sheets of curving reflective metal installed around a campfire. The sheets curve over towards a point to create a parabolic reflector that, like a lens, would reflect heat and light back towards the centre of the fire. The vanes would be staggered and overlap in order to provide shelter from the wind while still allowing for easy entrance to and from the campfire area.

The fire grate would be surrounded by a round stone bench.

The Fire Flower could be installed either in public parks or on private property, creating a sheltered space that appeals to the primal satisfaction derived from gathering together for warmth and light in a natural setting. Made from durable materials, it is beautiful both day and night.

If you are interested in such an installation, e-mail us at jetpackmedia@me.com

This is an idea I’ve had for a while to create a space around a campfire. The “petals” would be sheets of a reflective metal.

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Dragon Teeter-Totter

Above: an Autodesk Mudbox 3d rendering of the Dragon’s Head.

Seen above: exploded view

The Dragon Teeter Totter is a combination of a ride for kids (or adults), a puppet and a dynamic sculpture.

As the riders tip themselves back and forth, the dragon will flex and bend its neck and tail and flap its wings in response. The riders can also pull levers that open the dragon’s mouth and spin a wheel in its head that throws off sparks.

The basic teeter totter, which seats two, pivots on a central post.

Neck, Tail, and wings are attached to the “body”, which has two saddle-shaped seats.

Dragon Scale Segment– Video (Quicktime mov)

Or click here to see it on Youtube

The head and tip of the tail are supported by posts, which allow the tail and neck to slide back and forth with the rocking motion of the ride. The wings are hinged to the body at the shoulder and supported at mid point by posts, which allows them to rock up and down with the movement of the riders.

The segments of the neck and tail are relatively simple: a single sheet of metal folded into an inverted U shape, wider at one end and narrower at the other. with a large thorn-shaped spine at one end to form the ridges along the dragon’s back.

The dragon’s head in the “exploded model” is very spiky, due to limitations in the way Sketchup handles curves. The model of the head would be more like this:

Because the head and tail would be moved back and forth with the rocking motion, they need to be secured to a post with a “slide” at the bottom, that would guide and stabilize the head.

The segments fit together, inserting the narrower end into the wider like stacking cups, and are held together and pivot on a simple pin.

For kids or adults riding the dragon, they should get the experience of “flying” the dragon, with neck and tail arching and wings flapping as using their own power.

I have contacted a local blacksmith to make a mock-up and build a working prototype.

If you’re interested in updates – or your own dragon, contact me at jetpackmedia@me.com.

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Pop Diva – A Movie Musical

Pop Diva is a movie musical I have written. Lots of people I know hate musicals.This isn’t High School Musical or Hannah Montana. It’s not Les Miz or Broadway. People don’t bust out singing and dancing in the street. It’s more like Purple Rain, in that the music is there because people are really playing it.

It is less like Purple Rain in that Prince is a musical genius.

It’s about a groupie’s daughter turned pop star who struggles her way to the top, only to have her career nearly flame out under the pressure of tabloid fame and excess. She is redeemed by … well, you have to read it to find out.

You can download and read Pop Diva – the first Ten Pages HERE.

If you want to read the whole thing, e-mail me at jetpackmedia@me.com

I also wrote and recorded demos for the Pop Diva soundtrack.

The songs are in different styles – pop rock, dance, ballads, hip-hop and rock – to be performed by different characters and bands throughout the story.

Each song was written so its lyrics and music serve the story, while also sounding like a pop-rock single. The result is a soundtrack that is (I hope) more like a mix-tape, providing a lot of musical variety, rather than a bunch of songs that sound the same.

1. Could Have Beens

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This song opens the story. It is played by a pop-rock band in a bar, about 20 years ago.

2. Who You Gonna Be?

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This is the song the main character plays with her indie band in the present day.

3. Don’t Keep Me Hanging On

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This is a song sung by an ensemble during an audition scene.

4. I Don’t Need Nobody to Save Me

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This is the “Seduction Song” sung by the lead character, Lily, in the studio, when her manager and producer convince her to accept their advice and go pop.

5. That’ll Teach You to Love Me

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This song is sung as a duet between Lily and her arch-rival, Jade. Lily’s record company takes the song and hands it to Jade, thinking she’ll do better with it.

6. Tru 2 Urself

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This is a song sung by a hip-hop group at a big awards show.

7. Speed My Love

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This is a song sung by a pop-punk group at the same big awards show. During the guitar break, the lead singer jumps off stage, surfs the crowd and kisses Lily, the main character, on the mouth, before getting back on stage.

8. Who You Gonna Be? (Reprise)

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Lily performs this reprise of her earlier song as a ballad at the awards show, just minutes after she learns of her mother’s death.

9. The Earthly Ones

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This song, and the next, play in the aftermath of a funeral.

10. Never Been so Cold

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This song plays accompanied by hallucinatory images during an overdose.

11. I Can’t Believe How Much I Love You

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Played by Lily when she is reunited with her father.

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