‘Brain Candy Live’ Provides Some Serious Food for ThoughtNovember 26, 2017
This weekend I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Adam Savage & Michael Stevens live for their show Brain Candy Live at The Sony Centre. Going into the show, I was already expecting great things. As a huge fan of Adam, I’ve followed his work for as long as I can remember – from his days on MythBusters to his current work on Tested.com as well as his podcast Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – and it was through him that I found out about Michael Stevens of Vsauce. I had seen Adam and Jamie last time they were in Toronto for their Mythbusters Live show, and it had set a pretty high bar as far as entertainment value was concerned.
I arrived early to find that there was a pre-show hosted by the Ontario Science Centre. The hosts of the pre-show demonstration did a great job of entertaining the crowd and creating awareness around alternative sources of protein for our consumption (spoiler alert, it was bugs!). They had some samples to try (YUM!) and taught the audience about the pain of getting stung and how pain registers in people. What surprised me most, although in hindsight it shouldn’t have, was the sheer number of kids in attendance.
Adam & Michael started off the show with immediate engagement of the audience and captured the room’s attention without missing a beat. Not only did they execute some amazingly groan worthy puns and dad jokes throughout the show, they held the audience’s interest in such a way that their genuine passion for science and the spreading of knowledge was evident. While some of their lines felt a bit rehearsed, it was easily overlooked when you’re watching them assemble a giant airzooka generating giant vortex smoke rings.
I pride myself on being somewhat of a science geek, especially when it comes to physics. But despite knowing a good deal of the topics that they were covering, their delivery somehow managed to make me feel like I was learning again for the first time. They effortlessly took several principles of physics from all ranges of difficulty and simplified it in such a way that anyone would understand. For example, they demonstrated an airzooka to the audience and used it to knock over a bottle from several feet away. They had plenty of diagrams going off on their HD projectors to illustrate the resulting air vortex, but why settle for that? They proceeded to demonstrate and bring air vortices to life by pumping their airzookas full of smoke from their smoke machines, to show the actual currents and rotation of the vortex itself!
The awe of the audience was clearly audible, so much so that Adam pointed it out during the show. He claimed that hearing people awe about science as if it was the first time witnessing and understanding something was the most rewarding feeling ever. What’s more, I learned that the demonstration where you blow on a strip of paper – one of the most common experiments to explain Bernoulli’s Principle – was actually more of an experiment to demonstrate the Coanda Effect!
The only blunder of the show wasn’t even much of a blunder but a funny accident. While loading up a ping pong ball cannon that was powered by creating a vacuum, one of the seals burst prematurely. It startled the crowd but got Michael and Adam laughing as they took the opportunity to make some jokes about how they regretted lubing it up so much beforehand.
I’m sure many left wishing they had Michael or Adam as their science teachers. The two share a natural chemistry and when played off each other, it creates an explosive winning combination. Overall, this show was the perfect balance between education, humour and insight. For anyone that has a chance to attend, I highly recommend it and especially recommend it for kids. Not only does it have the right amount of entertainment value to keep anyone laughing and intrigued, it will undoubtedly inspire more interest in the sciences.
This article was written for publication on The GCE by Angel Song.