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Virtual pop idol Hatsune Miku beaming into theaters

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miku.jpgNovelist William Gibson's "bridge trilogy" -- Virtual Light (1993), Idoru (1996) and All Tomorrow's Parties (1999) -- features a recurring "character" of new interest to music fans -- especially this week.

Named Rei Toei, Gibson's creation is an artificial intelligence -- a virtual, computer-generated character who becomes a huge pop star. But now, someone in real life finally caught up to the fiction and created her.

Her name is Hatsune Miku (the name means "first sound of the future"). Created by software company Crypton Future Media, she's a Vocaloid -- a virtual pop singer with machine-driven vocals and a digital female avatar.

On Thursday, she's doing something flesh-and-blood pop stars can't do: She'll be performing a concert in nine U.S. cities (including Chicago) -- at the same time.

That's a video of a Hatsune Miku performance last year in Tokyo -- and, yes, those people are singing along with a computer projection.

The character of Hatsune Miku is allegedly 16 years old and has already had hit songs, albums and Blu-Ray DVDs in her native Japan. She's even appeared as a backing vocalist on other albums and as a character in video games. She already has fan sites.

She's possessed with the requisite perkiness of a young Japanese anime star, complete with long electric-blue locks.

Her voice is sampled from a Japanese actress, Saki Fujita -- and then heavily processed.

This "alternative concert" -- Hatsune Miku Live Party 2011 39's LIVE in SAPPORO -- will be presented at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at the AMC River East 21 movie theater, 322 E. Illinois. Tickets are $20, available here.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on November 8, 2011 12:00 PM.

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