Thursday, February 08, 2001

An alt.sho-wy night

Come out from behind your safe websites and ho-hum reruns of South Park. There's a whole new crop of alternative media for you to sink your browsers into. At MTV's Lodge on Thursday, February 8th, Showtime Networks presented their Alternative Media Festival, where content creators could submit their work to SHO-off new entertainment using the latest in Web technology. In fact, the Best SHO award went to a piece created entirely using Quake's engine.

"Whose Line is it Anyway" comedian Greg Proops opened up the show and attempted to entertain the tough NY crowd with his LA humor. There were a few laughs, but Showtime Networks Inc. Chairman and CEO Matthew Blank got more when he told us that his team phonetically spelled alt-dot-sho-dot-com for him, to emphasize the branding for the night. He went on to convey his enthusiasm for the awards and the winners. More than 200 pieces were judged by an illustrious panel, including Electronic Hollywood's Jaime Levy, actor Michael Rappaport, Wassup Budweiser/Superfriends Co-creators Graham Robertson and Philip Stark, writer Aliza Sherman, ChickClick Founder Heidi Swanson, ICONOCAST CEO and Founder Michael Tchong and Comedy Central Director of Talent and Development Chris Young. Yours truly was the lucky presenter of the awards. I was assisted by the very dashing Showtime Digital Media Group SVP Gene Falk, who handed out the awards to the lucky winners. Not only did they get the nice Lucite-carved award, but they each walked off with $10,000! The Best SHO grand prizewinner also received $20,000. Not bad for using a Quake engine, eh?

Of course, the party was a blast, situated at MTV's Lodge on Broadway. The Time Square lights and screens added color and movement to the already hopping night. I chatted with some of the judges - Aliza, Heidi and Chris -- and met a few new people too, like Showtime's New Media Business Development Manager Loiett Gore and Medium Blend's Frank Dellario.