The helicopter hangs in the air over downtown L.A. for what seems like a very long time, its whirring blades adding the slight chill of potential alarm over the otherwise quiet Sunday night streets. The airship hovers at around a hundred fifty feet, it's powerful bluish spotlight illuminating the roof of a building near the intersection of 7th and Broadway.
Urban Air's Kickstarter page, showing a mockup of the billboards Stephen Glassman intends to make
Bystanders below might think a fugitive is up on the roof, or perhaps criminal activity is going on inside one of the top floor windows. Closer inspection -- gained by an elevator ride up to the penthouse level thirteen floors up and then a walk up a grand, modern staircase -- reveals a crowd of well over a hundred on the roof, mesmerized by the floating copter, as well as an ethereal woman dancer, clothed in a gauzy white dress, who does a slow, mysterious movement piece on a blue-illuminated rooftop structure, opposite acclaimed guitarist Nels Cline, who accompanies her with abstract, interpretive musical accompaniment.
The helicopter's stillness in the air is impressive, its spotlight casting down an eerily powerful, modulating light that falls on the dancer and quite a bit of the roof and crowd, nearly turning night into day.
The smartly dressed crowd is a mix of creative cognoscenti from around L.A., and a smattering of tall, model-thin women in their best dresses. The Haas Building -- the setting of this event -- is equally impressive. The party rental space in the penthouse level is all sleek, modern, stylish grandiosity, with high-ceilinged, wide-open spaces and large windows giving fantastic views of the L.A. skyline. This party feels like it could be celebrating a hot indie film or edgy Internet startup. In fact, it marks the successful $100,000 Kickstarter campaign of L.A. artist Stephen Glassman for his project Urban Air, a quest to create small "urban forests" of bamboo trees on billboards in Los Angeles and other cities.More »