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News from Celine, Meagan, Tony, Anne, Benoit, Nico and More

Debi Moen • Designer WatchMay 2019 • May 3, 2019

Janelle Monae at Coachella. Photo by Celine Royer

After LD Celine Royer finished Mike Shinoda’s European tour, she jumped in to pump up the performances of Janelle Monáe as lighting director, “mostly for her Coachella show,” she says, adding that the artist wanted to take it up a level in her lighting design.

LD Meagan Metcalf programmed for Sofi Tukker’s new show launching at Coachella (designed by Sarah Landau, content by Deborah Johnson of Candy Stations, directed by Alyssa Milione), and will head back to Metric to program and direct the Canadian arena run through the beginning of May. Then sleep! (See related story on page 46).

LD Tony Caporale wrapped rehearsals for Billie Eilish with programmer Dominic Smith and Comix Multimedia supported by the combination of Cour Design and Fireplay design firms. Her When We All Fall Asleep… world tour included her performance at Coachella and will visit New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., Europe and the U.K. again by late September.

LD Anne Militello is designing and running the new tour for Neil Young and his backup band, Promise of the Real. (That’s Willie Nelson’s son Lukas and his band). The group goes out in May in the U.S. with headlining gigs at BottleRock Napa Valley Fest, followed by Europe.

LD Benoit Richard is the production and lighting designer for Rob Thomas’ new Chip Tooth Smile tour, promoting the album of the same name. Dates start at the end of May until early August in the U.S. and Canada, with subsequent shows in Australia and the U.K.

LD Nico Riot spent springtime programming with LD Pierre Claude for the upcoming sprint with The Strokes, who strike out on the road in May.

Ultra Music Festival 2019 in Miami

‡‡         Ultra Music Festival Returns

Designers at The Activity have juggled a mix of corporate projects and festivals including Ultra Music Festival’s flagship event in Miami, an industrial for Staples in Orlando, corporate town hall meetings with IBM in India, and the Navy SEAL Foundation’s annual gala dinner event in New York City. Patrick Dierson says, “Our luxury pre-visualization studios on the Las Vegas Strip have also had guest appearances of teams for St. Vincent, Skrillex, Kaos Nightclub, and several others.”

LD Carl Burnett is out with Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul in Australia at the moment, doing a show in Los Angeles May 4 and Asbury Park, NJ on May 8 to promote the new album release, Summer of Sorcery. Then it’s on to Europe, with the tour going to November. “I am passing it on in Europe,” Burnett says, “as I have other commitments including Robert Plant, and I’m currently designing the system for the Heart tour July to October.”

LD Steven Douglas finished his co-design with Nick Whitehouse on the Aerosmith Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas residency, taken care of by Cosmo Wilson. Douglas now has U.S. festival dates on the calendar with The Killers, as well as Australian and U.S. dates with Hozier.

LD Mike Berger of Mike Berger Design designed a new production of For the Record: The Brat Pack in Los Angeles at Break Room 86. He also designed a new project called Encore! for Disney+ that comes out in November. For Easter, he lit the global broadcast at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, and wore his lighting director hat on the ACM awards alongside LDs Bob Dickinson and Travis Hagenbuch with lighting directors Will Gossett, Andy O’Reilly and Patrick Boozer.

LD Myles Mangino is prepping his new design for Dead Can Dance’s tour across Europe, followed by a new design for Pixies’ Fall European tour.

LD Rachel Mullen has a lot going on. “I worked on the 50th NAACP Image Awards with lead LD Matt Firestone, who is a huge influence in my career, a dear friend and a very talented designer. The second week of April, I programmed and operated the Augusta Music Festival (Augusta at Night) with Sheryl Crow and Hootie & the Blowfish. In May, I have a Meghan Trainor show booked in Las Vegas, a festival with Miguel in El Paso and a corporate show in Seattle.”

LD Joel Reiff is out with Godsmack, taking the reins from Breck Haggerty, who is returning to Tool alongside LD Mark “Junior” Jacobson. Junior has handed Brit Floyd over to Tom Denney for now, while he tools up for the May (U.S.) and June (Europe) runs. Toolmates are Haggerty on video and Scott Wilson on lasers, with Fred Jacques on automation. “I’ll be back to the Brit Floyd in July and August,” Jacobson says.

LD/production designer Jeremy Roth heads to Australia with Ray LaMontagne while gearing up to debut a new design for Wilco this summer.

LD Craig Gaff goes back out with a fresh run of dates with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo on “A Very Intimate Acoustic Evening.” The couple kick-off their 40th Anniversary tour in June.

LD Andy Cass traded in his freelancing status for “security, benefits and structure” as production design manager with Clearwing Productions in Denver, where he will continue to design a spectrum of projects. “I’ve already done some churches, corporate and a lot of Red Rocks designs,” he explains. “I still get to do all my old jobs, just in an office now from 9 to 5. I’ve always wanted to do this, I was just looking for the right opportunity.”

LD Tom Beck has racked up his seventh Emmy Award nomination for lighting The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The Television Academy awards ceremony takes place May 3. Good luck, Tom!

Production designer Butch Allen reports in on the fruits of his labors. He tells us, “The spring/summer garden is in the ground: tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, assorted herbs, NKOTB, habanero peppers, jalapeño peppers, and much more. Josh Koffman is tending the ‘showiest’ part of the garden this summer. Cat West will keep the pests at bay. FUSE Technical Group, Screenworks, SGPS, and StrictlyFX are some of the plants we are cloning together in hope of making something not only delicious, but beautiful. Haha! Have a great summer everyone, and stay safe out there.” [

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