One of the most coveted tickets at LDI is a seat at the Epic Production Technologies dinner, as hosted by Marc Raymond, Brian Konechny, and other folks from this new company, which is the recent merger of Q1 Production Technologies and Ed and Ted's Excellent Lighting. There is a lot of history here. Marc Raymond has been in the business a very long time, going back to his Westsun days in the late 70s (I'll bet he has some good stories from the old days...). And Epic hostess for the evening, Holly O'Hair, who does US marketing and handles designer relations for Epic, was once part of our "family" at Live Design, so we're all family, if you know what I mean. The funny thing is that Holly and I met Marc Raymond a few years ago at PLASA, in the Vari-Lite booth. And as we were walking around the show floor, it occurred to me that Q1 was the perfect sponsor for the Live Design award we were giving to the design team of The Lord Of The Rings at LDI that year. So Holly and I literally ambushed Marc at PLASA and explained the idea to him. I'm not sure he knew what he was agreeing to, but he said yes, and Q1 did indeed sponsor that award, which resulted in a lovely dinner at Aureole at Mandalay Bay with Marc, and lighting designers Paul Pyant, David Howe, Ken Billington, Christina Giannelli, and a tradition was born. A year or so later, Holly was working for Marc, and the rest is history.
A few dinners later, including two at The Palm in Los Angeles relating to the opening of the Nokia Theatre at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles, there we were at Vintner's Grill in Las Vegas circa LDI2008 (was that really just last Friday night?). I was lucky enough to sit at a small table for four with Marc Raymond, Tony Award-winning LD (for Inspector Calls) Rick Fisher (who is currently lighting the hit musical, Billy Elliot, on Broadway, and Vari-Lite's Bob Schacherl, who may very well be the person who introduced Holly and me to Marc in the first place.
It was a fun evening, with great food, and great company. It was fun watching Cirque du Soleil's LD Jeanette Farmer have a chance to relax, and catch up with Craig Redden of Epic Production Technologies, and to be able to introduce a lot of great designers to each other: Jeff Ravitz, who lights Bruce Springsteen, this is Paul Collison, who worked on the Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies. People made new friends and ran into old ones. It's exactly the kind of event that makes LDI more than just an opportunity to see exciting new products on the show floor. It's also the time and place for the industry to get together and share stories over a good meal and a glass of good wine!
From bottom left, counterclockwise, me (with my back to the camera), Marc Raymond, Bob Schacherl, and Rick Fisher, with Craig Redden standing.
Stan Green(back of head), Ben Kantorovich, from Epic, Wally Newcomer Ben Hagen, Epic's Holly O'Hair, and Live Design's David Johnson.
Left to right: Stan Green, Tracey Ploss from Epic, and Wally Newcomer Ben Hagen.