Monday, January 17, 2011

Ice Chess and a Sousaphone - 1/11/11

A chess set sculpted out of ice sounded too interesting to miss. Local ice sculptors, Randy Finch and Derek Maxfield, are starring in a new television series on the Food Network, called “Ice Brigade.” This event is to be one in that series.
A chess board was painted on the ice rink at Rosa Parks Circle and the huge chess pieces stood on the board. One set was milky white and the other was crystal clear. They were beautiful and quite impressive.
The chess game was to begin at noon and the film makers wanted around 1000 people there as onlookers/extras.  When I arrived shortly before noon, there were just a handful of people present. A few more showed up as time went on but it couldn’t have been many more than 100. It was cold, in the twenties, windy, and snowing. 
A short while later, the ice staff (brigade) started moving all of the chess pieces around. Apparently they weren’t set up on the proper sides. Time continued to tick away with movie cameras and official photographers intermittently shooting on the ice rink. When moving the pieces again to prevent them from being stuck to the ice, one member of the brigade pushed a little too hard and a piece tipped over with a loud crash. Oops!
More shenanigans by the ice brigade were all we had to watch. That included dragging one of them across the chess board to clear the snow, and polling the audience to find someone who actually knew how to play chess. At one point Finch was being filmed carving a block of ice. Immediately the film crew, official photographers, and the brigade circled around him, pretty much blocking the view from everyone else (I did manage to get one picture).
About 45 minutes later the game finally began, and lasted about 5 minutes. Ah well. By that time I was freezing and ready to go. The funniest thing I saw, however, was this sousaphone player who would occasionally blow a few notes. She certainly gets into the spirit of things! But I don't think she liked having her picture taken.