Current Issue - September 2014
Editor's Note

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Written by: Justin Lang

PLSN editor Justin LangThis summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge created a sensation on the Internet and social media. The ALS Association, which works to spread awareness of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease, and raise funds for research in hopes of reducing its impact, perhaps even finding a cure, launched the campaign. By late August, the association noted that total donations had topped the $100 million mark.

On the Road

LD Joe Paradise and 311

Written by: Debi Moen

311 in 2014 photo by Joe ParadiseTour Dates: June 26-Aug. 16, 2014

Describe your approach: "For this run, the majority of the gear is provided locally. Because of 311’s large, diverse song catalog there is quite a bit of punting or busking going on. One of the most important tasks was to make sure that every cue and palette would translate properly and could be “cloned” easily from day to day without a lot of extra programming."


Calzone Cases vs. Garbage Truck Compactor on TV's "Unbeatables"

Written by: Justin Lang

For TV's In a recent episode of National Geographic’s reality show, Showdown of the Unbeatables, the producers put one of Calzone Cases’ road cases to the ultimate torture test: the crushing pressure of a state-of-the-art garbage truck’s compacter.Hosted by Brian Unger and Zane Lamprey, the series pits opposing companies who square off and do battle. 

Inside Theatre

Designing the Hurt for "Hedwig"

Written by: Bryan Reesman

Hedwig and the Angry Inch photo by Joan MarcusThe acclaimed, Tony Award-winning revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which originally debuted off-Broadway in 1998 and then became a cult film in 2001, has been fueled by the punk-ish charisma of its star Neil Patrick Harris. (The show now stars Book of Mormon's Andrew Rannells.) A story that was too controversial for the Great White Way 16 years ago — a rocker flees East Berlin by becoming transgender and marrying a U.S. military officer, comes to America, and falls for future rock star Tommy Gnosis, who eventually takes their songs and abandons her for a life of fame and fortune — is very timely now.

Production Profile

Motley Crue: The Final tour

Written by: Tim Bradley

Motley Crue Final Tour photo by Todd MoffsesCleverly named The Final Tour, Mötley Crüe’s final tour began July 2 in Grand Rapids, MI. And final it is. In January, under a banner proclaiming “All Bad Things Must Come to an End,” the iconic band’s members held a press conference in Hollywood, complete with a New Orleans-style funeral marching band, at which they publicly signed a legally binding “cessation of touring” agreement. It prohibits them from going on the road together or individually under the Mötley moniker after their current 18-month worldwide victory lap ends. No biennial reunion tours, no country fair oldies circuit, no package cruises.


Sarah McLachlan Shines On

Written by: Debi Moen

Sarah McLachlan Shine On tour photo by Steve JenningsReady to launch into the next song, Sarah McLachlan suddenly stops and squints into the spotlight. A fan has come to the footlights with an ill-timed request. Lifting up her T-shirt, the fan asks: Would McLachlan autograph her bra? McLachlan repeats the request into the microphone with surprise and a laugh, while the audience collectively groans at the fan’s faux pas. McLachlan calls for a pen and signs. Now the fan lifts up her boot. She has another request. At this point, security guards grab the gal and guide her away.

Designer Insights

Lady Gaga ArtRave: The Artpop Ball Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Lady Gaga Artpop Ball tour photo by Steve JenningsLeRoy Bennett’s resume of clients is any designer’s dream. In just the last few years alone, his work as production and lighting designer has included the likes of Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars, Nine Inch Nails, Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson, and that’s not even the full list. Returning to the stage on her Artpop Ball Tour of 2014 is Lady Gaga. Bennett’s first venture with her was back in 2010 on her Monster Ball Tour and, since then, handled visuals for her DVD and iTunes Festival shows. Along with a few words with Bennett, PLSN touched base with touring lighting director Whitney Hoversten about the latest Gaga extravaganza.


KCON K-Pop Music Festival

Written by: PLSN Staff

KCON K-Pop Music FestivalLighting Co
Visions Lighting

Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Los Angeles, CA


Feed Me

Written by: PLSN Staff

Feed Me 2014 tour photo by James CollettaLighting Co

Various (Tour)


Steely Dan

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Steely Dan 2014 tour photo by Steve JenningsLighting Co
Upstaging Inc.

Various (Tour)


Matt Nathanson 2014 Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Matt Nathanson 2014 Tour photo by Steve JenningsLighting Co
LMG Touring

Various (Tour)


Broken Bells

Written by: PLSN Staff

Broken Bells 2014 tourLighting Co.
Upstaging (U.S.)/Neg Earth (Europe)

Various (Tour)


Internal Team Summit

Written by: PLSN Staff

Internal Team Summit corporate meeting lit by AVT ProductionsLighting Co
AVT Productions

Santa Clara Convention Center
Santa Clara, CA

Safety Factor

Event Safety Alliance Moves Into Next Phase

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

ESA president Jim DigbyIn what began as a conversation involving concerned live event professionals the month after the Indiana State Fair stage collapse in August 2011, the Event Safety Alliance (ESA) is expanding its influence over event safety in North America. As it celebrates its unofficial third year this month (it incorporated in February of 2012), the ESA has made solid progress in their quest to align the industry with best practices in live event safety guidelines. A four-day training session, a new strategic partnership, a new headquarters, and The Event Safety Guide are some of their recent accomplishments.

PLSN Interview

LD Jamie Burnett on "Terra Tractus: The Earth Moves"

Written by: Gary Fails

Terra Tractus: The Earth Moves. Photos by Judy Barbosa and Charles EricksonSince environmental artist Joy Wulke founded Projects for a New Millenium in 1993, the nonprofit organization, now called Projects2K (, has been raising awareness of ecology and the natural world through a fusion of art and science. The group has staged a variety of site-specific shows, turning to the Stony Creek Quarry near its home base in Branford, CT for a number of productions over the years. They include Visualization of Time (1995), Terra Continuum (1999), Terra Lumina (2001), Terra Alchemica (2002) and Terra Mirabila: If Rocks Could Dream (2005).

Buyer's Guide

LED Luminaires

Written by: Justin Lang

PLSN Sept 2014 Buyers Guide LED LuminairesIn this months Buyer's Guide, we take a look at LED Luminaires.  Specifically, PAR-like fixtures that provide us with a seemingly infinite array of colors, made possible by the additive color mixing system that LEDs have to offer.

To download a PDF of the Sept. 2014 PLSN Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE

Road Tests

Clay Paky A.leda B-Eye K20

Written by: Brandon Creel

Clay Paky A.leda B-Eye K20A wasp, hornet, yellow jacket, or honeybee? Which of these have anything to do with a moving light? All the buzz is because Clay Paky, Italian based lighting manufacturer and maker of the popular Sharpy, has taken the beautiful naturally occurring honeycomb pattern and applied it as a front lens to its latest wash light, the A.leda B-Eye K20.


Ayrton MagicBlade R

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Ayrton MagicBlade R fixture distributed by Morpheus LightsI have to start out by saying what a pleasure it is to toy around with a new original light fixture. One that does not copy or emulate any other lighting fixture on the market, but is unique. French lighting manufacturer Ayrton has once again raised the bar with the release of their MagicBlade. I am sitting in the Morpheus Lights showroom in Las Vegas as I run this beauty through its paces. Morpheus Lights distributes Ayrton in America. 

Company 411

The History of Martin Professional

Written by: Tim Bradley

Moscow's Space Club is lit with Martin fixtures. In Martin Professional’s early days, it was all smoke and mirrors. Literally. Entrepreneur Peter Johansen founded the company in 1987 in Aarhus, Denmark with the main factory located in the city of Frederikshavn, about 115 miles north of Aarhus. It all started with smoke machines, based on experiments using dry ice in a coffee machine. The Martin name was acquired through cooperation with a French smoke machine company. It soon added lighting products for discotheques but quickly diversified into lighting for the professional markets, particularly lights with moving mirrors such as the PAL 1200 and fixtures with moving heads.


The Design Oasis

Written by: Thomas J. Freeman

The Design OasisLuccas Oliveira and Abbas Ritscher, co-founders of The Design Oasis in Davie, FL, both have a background in lighting design. As such, they became aware of a distinct market need – for 24/7 rental service and support. They embraced that “client-centric” vision from the start.

Video Digerati

Masking vs. Mapping

Written by: Vickie Claiborne

3D projection mapping precisely matches projections with multi-faceted surfaces. Credit: Kelly McKeon.As projection mapping continues to grow in popularity for outdoor events as well as indoor applications like retail displays, trade show booths, stage shows, etc., an important discussion has begun to take shape among professional projectionists and content creators: when clients ask for video projection, do they want true 3D mapping projection, or are they merely visualizing 2D projection with masking? It’s important to know the difference and the workload associated with delivering each of these so that you can meet (and often exceed) their expectations.

Feeding the Machines

The Magical Layout

Written by: Brad Schiller

One of the newest automated lighting features that is getting talked about often is the Layout View, or Magic Sheet. While this feature has been around on consoles for many years, only recently has it really taken off. The great adoption of multi-touch applications on tablets, phones, and computers has allowed manufacturers and programmers to expand the abilities of this wonderful tool and really make the best use of it. Now lighting programmers are jumping all over it and finding it an extremely useful instrument in their arsenal of programming utilities.

Designer Watch

Designing Ryan Adams; Creative Emmys Awarded; Rolden Receives Raves; More

Written by: Debi Moen

Ryan Adams on the Tonight Show. Photo by Douglas Gorenstein/NBCRyan Adams has returned to the road to support his new self-titled album. LD Brett Lorins is working with the artist, starting with a few one-off shows with his band, The Shining. The fall tour kicks off Sept. 8 in Washington, DC, taking in U.K. and Canadian dates along with U.S. tour stops until Nov. 19. Among Adams’ one-offs was a performance Aug. 13 on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

LD at Large

Accent Lights

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Illustration by Andy AuThe majority of my work is lighting live entertainment. In the process of lighting design for these gigs, I have always thought that the main tools I needed were a bunch of wash lights and a few hard-edged profiles to make some pretty scenes. This would run true whether I was using strictly conventional or moving light rigs. But nowadays the daily advancements made in technology have brought us what I like to call “Accent Lights.”