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Subject: Octopus Flying recommended for all
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2004 09:03:43 -0500
From: Bruce Walden <walden(at)>

Flying an Octopus DVD
$29.95 from

A review...

Saying "it's the next best thing to being there" is really an understatement
in the case of Larry Moss' new DVD. Sure you'll miss the personal exhaustion
from long hours of hard work, the pressure of having 18,000 balloons to
inflate, and the anxiety of wondering if you'll pull it all off on time...
but those are small sacrifices to make. What you get is a video experience
unlike any other.

The first thing you notice when you pop the disc in your DVD player is
that... IT'S ON DVD! With menus to skip to and from favorite sections. Bonus
features. And multiple language tracks. Yes, balloon instruction has entered
the future. And not only that, but the quality of the video and editing
surpasses everything else available in the balloon industry. I mean, there
are aerial shots of the sculpture in flight taken from powered parachutes.
Short of having the space shuttle fly in for a peak, this is about as high
tech as it gets. Just amazing!

Once you get past the initial production quality shock and awe, you soon see
there are really two different products on the disc.

"Product #1" is a well-made and very entertaining documentary on the
creation of the large scale project. If you've never attempted your own
flying Octopus, you have something to learn here. Personally I liked seeing
the steps of the process, how various sections were suspended from the
ceiling using water balloon counter weights, and how numerous location lions
were tamed. The involvement of the public to help transport the Octopus
sections to the launch site (and to strike it after flight) was fun to see,
as was the free fall of the Octopus after it was cut loose. One can only
imagine the look on the face of the boathouse owner as a gigantic Octopus
fell from the sky.

From a pure entertainment perspective, anyone, balloon person or not, will
enjoy the documentary. I laughed out loud several times and think Don
Caldwell would kill on Last Comic Standing.

"Product #2" is the education portion. Here Larry and Todd Neufeld (with
additional sections by Patty Sorell and Connie Iden-Monds) walk the viewer
step-by-step through the various twisting, weaving, packing and repair
techniques used to create the Octopus and assorted accent pieces. I
especially liked Larry's pros/cons comparison between the brick wall
technique he designed and the simpler version Royal Sorell eventually
implemented. Truly a great learning tool, and the attentive student could
apply these techniques to build almost any large sculpture.

So, hat's off first to all those who worked on this grand spectacle. Thanks
for pushing the world of balloon artistry in yet another new direction.

A great big congratulations (heck, even a huge hug) to Larry for producing
such a phenomenal record of the event... and making a great educational tool
to boot. Hope every single person reading this buys copies for their friends
and relatives.

Bruce Walden
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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