in Designer Watch
Metallica in Movie Rehearsals
Longtime Metallica LD John Broderick is in San Francisco with the band, building the show for a film to be shot “sometime” next year, he said. The 3D show is apparently too big to take on the road. Rehearsals are going for a few months, said to be a composite of all the best show gags in Metallica’s history of touring. Apart from that, the band plays upcoming shows in San Francisco, New York’s Yankee Stadium, Brazil’s Rock in Rio and India. “Nothing new about the designs there, just a continuation of their international stadium dates they do every year lately,” Broderick said.
Broderick’s busy with other projects, most recently the lighting design and show direction of Josh Groban’s Straight to You world tour, which runs until Nov. 14.
In Heaven on Hell on Earth
LD Bryan Hartley and LD Sonny Satterfield are touring together on the Rob Zombie/Slayer package, Hell on Earth. Hartley is keeping it simple for White Zombie’s solo frontman with three straight trusses of spots and washes, augmented with video and pyro. “In simple cases like this, the design comes from programming,” he said. “I was familiar with the Rob Zombie’s vibe. I love his music, and the music is the main factor in my enjoyment these days. Slayer is a band I’ve worked with for years, and my good friend Sonny Satterfield is their LD, so... simple design, but great people to work with — and it gets me out of the Vegas heat!”
Mild Emmys, Wild Backstage
Lighting the stage is the usual priority. However, for a live awards show, audience lighting is just as important. LD Lee Rose designed his first Daytime Emmy Awards Show, broadcast live from Las Vegas in June. “I wanted to keep it more sedate and elegant than, say, an MTV show,” Rose said. Although the focus was on the hosts, presenters and winners onstage, audience lighting was another priority as cameras zoomed in on seated nominees. Venue lighting was another issue, as there were quite a few reverse shots of the audience. While the awards show was mild with the Cirque Elvis show, Gladys Knight and Marie Osmond, the wild stuff was backstage at the Las Vegas Hilton. There, Rose and crew maneuvered around a helicopter, half of a corporate jet and a five-bladed Saw of Death on hand for the venue’s new magic show with Steve Wyrick.
Primetime Emmy Noms
LD Roy Bennett is up for his third Primetime Emmy Award, nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design with Lighting Director Tom Beck for Lady Gaga Presents the Monsters Ball at Madison Square Garden. Competing in the same category is LD Robert Dickinson, who was nominated for two shows: the 83rd Annual Academy Awards (with Lighting Directors Robert Barnhart, Andy O’Reilly and Jon Kusner) and the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards (with Lighting Directors Kusner, O’Reilly and Travis Hagenbush). See who wins when the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony airs Sept. 18...
Meanwhile, Bennett continues with Paul McCartney’s dates in the fall. He is also redesigning the tour in October for heavy metal German rockers Rammstein, and Tim McGraw & Faith Hill’s upcoming run. At the same time, he’s designing his own company. Bennett says it will allow him to do more design work for more clients because of the way he sets it up. Details to come.
Garner and the Game Show
In August, Steve Garner starts programming season 10 of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for LD Chuck Noble. The TV game show’s new format is color-driven, Garner said. In the first 10 questions, contestants’ correct answers are the cue to trigger all the LEDs to go green, wrong answers cue red. After that mark, programming reverts to the classic format with the room darkening and the swooping ascends and descends of light that have become the hallmark of the show’s production. “The fun part for me is never knowing where I’m going until the host (Meredith Viera) announces the result, especially when she’s toying with the contestant,” Garner said.
“Chopper’s” Latin Tour Solutions
Steve “Chopper” Borges is starting a new company that essentially began in 1997. While production managing Lollapalooza, Chopper was asked to help Luis Miguel upgrade his production. Chopper spoke fluent Spanish, so he jumped into the unknown Latin American touring market feet first. “We took all our equipment in 747s, and then I started to pare it down. I got it lean and mean by 2007,” he said. Over the past 14 years, he has come to know where to get equipment and how to transport it as one would tour in North America. The quantity and quality of sound, lighting and now video equipment has become more available just as concert venues have become more prevalent.
So, while currently production managing Juanes’ world tour, Chopper is creating Latin Tour Solutions. “I’ve been actively doing this for the last 14 years with Luis Miguel, Shakira, Celine Dion, Hilary Duff, Ricky Martin, Aerosmith, Guns ‘N Roses, and many more,” he explained. “The timing is correct. Production has come a long way in the 25 years since I first went to South America.”
Over his 37-year career, Chopper has gathered a network of production professionals and vendors he can call on in the U.S. as well as in Mexico City, Central and South America and the Caribbean, with a database of vendors in nearly every geographical area, he said.
“I can offer everything from full service soup to nuts production to filling in the blanks on the details that acts don’t feel they have to airfreight or even bring down into Mexico for short jaunts. I also can help in a consulting capacity with routing and deal structures, which are two areas that can really make or break the margins realized in an extensive tour of Latin America.”
“Roadie”…Say It With a Smile
DJ John Schaefer on NPR’s flagship station WNYC interviewed retired roadie Karl Keunning (owner of Roadie.net) and Libby Gray, longtime lighting director for Styx, about life on tour. The half-hour interview addressed the realities of life on the road from the perspective of 20-plus year veterans. Asked by Schaefer if the term “roadie” was considered derogative, Gray told him, “Not as long as you use a capital R, and smile when you say it.” Hear the interview at www.wnyc.org/shows/soundcheck/2011/may/05/rock-road-crews.
LD Peter Morse chilled out for a few weeks in July after his European Glee tour and 3-D shoot. Then he will literally chill out in August with Disney on Ice projects...LD Dan “Malibu” Krygowski designed the O.A.R. tour, which started July 6. Lighting Director Tyler Littman is running the show while Malibu is off in Europe on John Mellencamp’s run...LD Chris Werner returns to his alma mater Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to teach the fall semester of lighting design in the School of Drama. The course will venture beyond the craft, touching on responsible design practices and interpersonal skills. The school’s LED fixtures, media servers, moving lights and consoles will help Werner focus on the use of modern technology for architectural, concert and television lighting...