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Lighting Up for the Holidays and Lighting On the Road

by Debi Moen • in Designer Watch ArticlesDecember 2017 • Created: December 14, 2017
“Christmas On The Potomac” in Maryland. Photo by Chris Werner

Within the Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor, MD, LD Chris Werner and his Los Angeles-based design team installed a holiday light show for the venue’s “Christmas On The Potomac event. The team created a centerpiece using a 55-foot tall tree enhanced with 19 double-sided video stars, each measuring 12 feet.

‡A 10-minute tree lighting spectacular regularly entertains the crowds, along with a new 25-minute stage show called Joy. Mike Berger was associate LD and programmer for both shows, which eat up nearly 600 universes of streaming ACN (sACN).

‡New 8K projections for Radio City Music Hall in NYC. Photo courtesy Radio City Music Hall - MSG

         Radio City Kicks Up Production

An annual tradition since 1933, Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes has updated its production with new technology. LD Dan Walker says while the New York venue purchased new lighting fixtures last year, this year’s upgrade came from video. The 90-minute production features an immersive environment with a new 8K LED wall as the backdrop, and the digital projections are extended to all eight of the hall’s proscenium arches, making the audience — from the first row to the mezzanine — feel like they are part of the show. The show runs until Jan. 1, 2018. (See related feature, page 68.)

‡‡         Auckland Harbour Bridge Lights Up

The Auckland Harbour Bridge is lighting up, thanks to Richard Neville and his design firm, Mandylights. The company is installing more than 90,000 LED pixels, individually controllable, on both sides of the New Zealand structure as part of a new permanent design and installation commission. Light will shine from the bridge each night, while special light shows are planned for New Year’s Eve, Auckland Pride Festival and other special occasions. Meanwhile, over in Mandylights’ U.K. office, Tom Edwards is out with Joey Badass in his new All Amerikkkan Bada$$ tour, and Liam Tully is mid-run with U.K.-based band, The Pigeon Detectives.

‡‡         Quick Cues

LD Scott Cunningham of Cut2Black Designs just wrapped the year working with Florida Georgia Line and Nelly on the “Smooth Tour.” He’s now working with upcoming artist Russell Dickerson — a country music singer/songwriter from Nashville — and co-designing Granger Smith’s 2018 touring year alongside LD Sean Semler.

Paul Normandale has been working on the production design for Shakira’s El Dorado world tour,” which was set to start in November. After suffering a hemorrhage on her right vocal chord, Shakira rescheduled the tour’s start for January 2018 in Orlando.

Chris Smith recently programmed Kesha’s fall tour and was on the way to Sia’s Australia and New Zealand tour into early December.

LD Will Potts says that after having had a long break from the industry, he is back and going into rehearsals for British blues singer Rag’n’Bone Man’s “Overproof” tour as lighting, set and show designer. Potts is now touring Europe and rest of the world in 2018.

Jon Murphy of Lights on Tour resumes his role as lighting designer for the Timeless Communications’ Parnelli Awards, moving from LDI to its new home for first time at the NAMM Show in January 2018 in Anaheim, CA. He’s designed the awards show for the past three years. Murphy recently finished the 2017 SEMA Show, a trade event for the automotive specialty products industry in Las Vegas.

Neil Scrivener is wearing the production manager’s hat for Australian folk pop duo Angus & Julia Stone, on tour in Europe and headed back to Australia/New Zealand. LD is Tim Beeston, with George Doherty and Carl Boswell on the crew, and Al Wright on video.

LD Cormac Jackson is still out with Franz Ferdinand, having finished six months of shows around the U.S., Canada and Europe. They’re about to do a quick promo run around the U.S. and Canada in December, while the “proper start” of the Always Ascending tour starts January 2018 in Japan. While Jackson looks to focus more on design work, less on touring, his recent calendar included The Cranberries’ summer tour of Europe, an Irish DJ/orchestra show of Jenny Greene & 2FM Orchestra at festivals and arenas, and the 2FM Xmas Ball festive charity show in Dublin.

LD Sarah Landau plans to undergo a January of Ayahuasca ceremonies (involving medicinal plants to invoke healing experiences) in Ecuador and cave diving in Mexico before working on her next project: designing the lighting for Swedish electronic pop artist Fever Ray in 2018.

‡‡         What’s Up with Fuji and Apple?

David “Fuji” Convertino, coming up on his seventh year as Noel Gallagher’s lighting designer, is putting together the 2018 tour with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, which kicks off Feb. 8 in Detroit. To promote Gallagher’s new album, Who Built the Moon, Fuji did the design for the band’s Apple Music Special at York Hall in London (Nov. 1). In other projects, he’s been programming for TV as well, including 2017 BET Soul Train Awards (aired Nov. 26) and Taraji’s White Hot Holidays (airing Dec. 14 on Fox), among others.

Meanwhile, Fuji is forming his independent company called Floaty Robot, focusing on lighting design and programming, with some production design services. “The name comes from my horrible attempt at bird calls, and my friend Dan Lewis would say that it sounds more like a floaty robot booting up,” Fuji explains.

Don’t forget to share your new 2018 news with Debi. Reach her at dmoen@plsn.com.

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