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If you don’t want to know the truth about something, don’t ask Benny Collins. Because he will tell you. That trait — at odds with the stereotype of those who get close to the stars — has taken him far in the live event business, a career that started with him hauling a Hammond B-3 in a truck as a teen to circling the world running Michael Jackson’s most audacious tours.
Patrick Stansfield, 70, tour manager for Neil Diamond, the Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, the Grateful Dead, Santana, Tina Turner and scores of others, died in the early morning hours on Oct. 28, 2014 from kidney failure. Along with his prominence in concert touring, Stansfield was the production mastermind behind the transformation of Dodgers and Yankee Stadiums for papal visits in 1987 and 2008 and was co-founder of the Parnelli Awards, named in memory of his good friend Rick "Parnelli" O'Brien. He was surrounded by family and friends at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center here in the days before his death.
The seventeenth annual Reventón Latin rock festival drew close to 18,000 to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on July 19, 2014. Organized by KSSE Super Estrella 107.1 FM, Reventón featured a lineup that included largely accessible, if fairly diverse, Spanish-language acts, such as Caifanes, La Ley, Fobia, Roco Pachukote de Maldita Vecindad, Enrique Bunbury, La Unión, Víctimas Del Doctor Cerebro and La Santa Cecilia.
PLSN recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ken Jones, a prominent lighting programmer and designer based in Las Vegas. Ken is probably one of the busiest and most talented programmers in the corporate theatre world that I’ve ever met, and his affection for media server technology is a passion we share. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a few events with him, and I always find myself challenging the boundaries of both my own knowledge and the limitations of the equipment when we work together.
Restaurateur and one-time Hollywood film producer Victor Drai has radically shifted the course of Sin City VIP nightlife entertainment multiple times over the last two decades. In a highly competitive market, Drai has proven himself to be both prolific and visionary, having established Drai’s After Hours at Barbary Coast/Bill’s Gambling Hall 15 years ago, XS at Encore Las Vegas back in 2008 and the exceedingly popular Tryst in Wynn Las Vegas, which opened in 2007.
With only about 681,000 residents — down from 1.86 million in 1950 — and about $18.5 billion in bills to pay (more than $27,000 per person), the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in mid-2013. It was, by far, the largest municipal default in U.S. history. The city’s financial conundrum is a puzzle that might even stump sculptor Auguste Rodin’s iconic Thinker, a casting of which is perched high on a pedestal outside the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) museum — and one of more than 60,000 artworks in the city-owned museum, now drawing more than just aesthetic interest from the city’s beleaguered creditors.
One of the hottest technologies in the current visual toolkit is one that has been around for a while in our business — lasers. Lasers make a huge impact on productions, with beams of light dancing over the audience that cannot be produced by any other sort of light source on the market. Lasers are available in a wide range of offerings, from simple DJ effects to elaborate systems that require their own programmer and/or operator. For years, lighting designers have been at the mercy of translating their vision of what they want lasers to do to the laser programmer. The LD handled the lighting rig while a separate controller operated the lasers.
ADJ has been stepping up their game in the professional grade segment of their business with the introduction of the 3 Sixty 2R split head moving light. The company’s goal: to offer a wide range of products for every segment of the market from entry level to professional and installation markets. The 3 Sixty 2R, first featured at LDI 2013, is aimed at lighting pros aiming for both affordability and an array of amazing looks.
In recent years, automated lighting fixtures utilizing LED technology have begun to evolve beyond wash fixtures into more dynamic visual effects. As many manufacturers continue to strive toward creating brighter and brighter LED profile fixtures, LED wash fixtures have tended to be pretty much the same. That is, until the Shapeshifter. I recently traveled to Austin, TX to spend some time with engineering innovator and Shapeshifter creator Richard Belliveau of High End Systems to learn more about this promising new fixture.
Three years ago, Avolites sent shockwaves through the industry with the launch of sister company Avolites Media. In that time the new company has delivered a host of award winning and industry milestone projects. We at PLSN feel the time is right to take a closer look at Avolites Media and the impact the company is having on the converging sectors of lighting and video control.
For the past three years, Steven Anschutz has lived a life built on fabrications. Ask him directly and he’ll admit, “I’m a fabricator.” So he made it his business. “In 16 years of working production on shows,” he recalls, “I noticed we always had to set up using the same gear that we’d used forever. We wanted to do things like mounting speakers directly onto trusses instead of having the separate up-lit truss and speakers on sticks. But there wasn’t a handy bracket out there to do that. There were many situations like that, where we’d be stuck using stock components. The standard manufacturers were not willing to create one-off custom pieces. So I decided to start making them myself.”
One of the bright lights in the bustling Chinese economy is Shenzhen Eastar Electronic Co., Ltd., maker of Esdlumen LED screen and lighting products. The 800-employee company is located in the mega-metropolis of Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong in southern China’s Guangdong province.
Who doesn’t appreciate the power of Art-Net? Art-Net gives us the ability to manage massive amounts of DMX over a single cable with one controller? In turn, we can control a ton of fixtures easily from one place which makes programming shows much easier. However, while Art-Net is an amazingly cool method of control, it adds another hat to the lighting designer — Information technology administrator. Now, we not only need to think about which gobos overlap best, but also how to make sure that our network of fixtures is running smoothly.
X Japan, billed as “the most successful rock band in the history of Japan,” performed a one-off at Madison Square Garden in New York City. LD Peter Morse designed the set and the lighting for the Oct. 11 show, working with production manager Phay MacMahon. “I designed a smaller show for their warm-up concerts in Yokohama, which took place one week prior to the show at the Garden,” said Morse. “The MSG show was shot for DVD, and consisted of 600-plus fixtures, ably programmed via ESP previz by Troy Eckerman and Craig Caserta. We only had one actual day — show day — with the entire rig! So previz was an absolute necessity.”