The sun shone brightly on the 41st annual USITT Conference & Stage Expo, which took place March 21 through 24, 2001, in Long Beach, CA. The show itself had a rather sunny disposition as well, with 155 companies and schools on the exhibit floor, and more than 3,500 attendees* representing an interesting mix of industry professionals and students and faculty from colleges and universities across the country and from around the world. The convention center in Long Beach is a lovely facility for a show the size of USITT; the show and the hall seem a very good fit.
This year’s awards banquet was slightly shorter than last year (to the relief of everybody in the room), yet the list of awards and their distinguished winners was quite impressive. A special citation was presented to theatre historian-scholar Oscar Brockett (do you know anyone who didn’t use his theatre history book in college?) for his long career in the service of education. The Harold Burris-Meyer Distinguished Career in Sound Design Award went to John Bracewell, sound designer, educator, and author of Sound Design in the Theatre. Other awards presented this year include: the Distinguished Achievement Award in Property Design, which was presented to Thurston James; the 2001 Thomas DeGaetani Award, which was given to Sheldon Epps for his efforts in revitalizing the Pasadena Playhouse; the USITT Award 2001 was given to Theatre Communication Group (TCG), for its visionary role as an advocate of regional theatre. German lighting designer Max Keller was the winner of two awards: the Golden Pen Award for his beautiful book, Light Fantastic: The Art and Design of Stage Lighting, and the Distinguished Award in Lighting Design.
USITT’s active architecture commission, headed by commissioner Paul E. Westlake of van Dijk Pace Westlake architects in Cleveland, OH, presented seven awards at the banquet as well. These included three Honor Awards: Severence Hall in Cleveland, designed by David Schwarz/Architectural Services and G.S.I. Architects; Theatre and Congress Hall in Weimar, Germany, designed by Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner; and The Lowry in Salford, England, designed by Michael Wilford and Partners. The four Merit Awards went to: Royal Court Theatre in London, England, designed by Haworth Tompkins Architects; the Ann and Richard Barshinger Center for Musical Arts in Hensel Hall at Franklin Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, designed by Ann Beha Associates; and Robert Schonhorn Arts Center at Matheny School & Hospital in Seoul, Korea, designed by Chang-Jo Architects.
Next year, USITT plans to "let the good times roll," as its 42nd conference and stage expo takes place in New Orleans from February 13-16, 2002, immediately following Mardi Gras. This should be quite a show!
*preliminary numbers as issued by USITT
AC Lighting provided the US launch of the Fat Frog™ control desk from Zero 88. The Frog range builds on the foundations of Zero 88’s Sirius and XL families. The Fat Frog allows the ability to control up to 12 moving lights. I
ACT launched the new T-Slot I-Beam bracket, which allows rigging directly on I-Beams. This comes in 6" and 8" versions and represents Alan Crawshaw’s growing range of user-friendly products. Another launch was the Safer Sidearm ™ III, which allows the installation of extra lighting instruments once a pipe has been put into place.
David L. Adams Associates
Consultants in acoustics and performing arts technologies with offices in Hawaii and Denver. Recent projects include the Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Hall, scheduled to open in 2002.
Mutual, a supplier of theatrical hardware, showed tri-way swivel casters, flash effects, and wagon brakes for speed rail fittings; Alcone, a makeup supplier, showed Flopaint cassein, makeup products, and a telephone ringer for stage use.
The company showcased its Versa Ultralight Stage and Platforming System, which is being used on the current Eagles tour.
The AlterYears booth was crowded with USITT attendees poring through its extensive collection of costume source books. AlterYears also stocks over 2,000 period costume patterns, hard-to-find costuming supplies, including corset stays, busks, coutil, hoop skirts, bustles, and grommets, and how-to videos (sample titles: "The Renaissance Bodice"' and "The Elizabethan Corset").
Harlequin displayed its flooring for the entertainment industry, including Cascade, a heavy-duty stage floor ideal for dance, and vinyl floors in various patterns, including faux stone, as well as Velcro™ Rollstraps for easy flooring transport.
The company also sponsors a dance scholarship program, which premiered in 1999. This year, American Harlequin will award $16,500 to 14 individuals.
Apollo Design Technology
First time at USITT: Apollo's line of gels, which was first seen last summer.
Announced its new catalog and website. The company's product line includes curved and straight curtain tracks as well as UL- and ETL-listed machines to operate them. Exclusive North American distributor for Triple-E tracks and machines.
This theatrical fabric supplier offers fabrics, trims, hard-to-find notions and tailoring supplies, dress forms, and period patterns.
Bandit showcased a lesser-known aspect of its business–its systems design department, which is involved in several projects, including the Tucker Theater at Middle Tennessee State University, the First Baptist Church of Jackson, MS, and the club Billboard Live, in Miami. FL.
New lighting system projects include the Manhattan Bowl-Mor bowling alley, a new Hugo Boss retail store in Manhattan, and new studios for National Geographic in Washington, DC, as well as a major upgrade at the Huntington Theatre in Boston and the El Dorado furniture store with themed environments in Miami, FL.
Barbizon also now offers 24-hour shopping online at its website.
Ben Nye Company
New at USITT: New Lip Gloss and Lip Colors, including Vixen, a brownish-red developed for Cirque du Soleil; the pots of gloss and color can be conveniently stacked. The company has also developed new custom colors for Blue Man Group and Disney in its Magicake Aqua Face and Body Paints and a special Taupe hair color, recently designed for Frazier's John. Mahoney. Also featured were pressed color eye shadow kits and Bond Off! prosthetic and adhesive remover in a new 320z/946ml container.
Big Apple Lights
This New York—based supply house was on hand to showcase its services; the company has had great success recently with a series of product seminars. Look for an expanded schedule to come this fall, with a wider variety of topics.
BMI had several new items from Meteor Lighting, including the ElipScan™, a DMX412 pant-and-tilt mirror attachment for ellipsoidal spotlights; the USC-4™ universal strobe controller, the PM-4™ beam-positioning module, and PMD-6™ dual beam-positioning module.
New to USITT: The LWD-2400 Litescape ™ dimmer, which brings theatrical dimming to architectural installations, using a control console or remote wall panels to create dynamic environments at the push of a button. Acts as a standalone unit or interfacing with a console.
www.caeinc.com, www.leprecon.com, www.littlite.com
Launch: Plastic Wrap, a clear, very strong "tape" that sticks to itself and leaves no residue. It is also re-usable and can be used for securing scenery, costumes, and cables.
Also, keep an eye on City Theatrical for new developments with Lightwright™ software.
JR Clancy was there to talk about some of its top new projects, including the Regional Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia. In addition, representatives from the English company Stage Technologies were at the Clancy booth, to show the Juggler, an entry-level system of stage automation, designed for those on a budget.
Clear-Com Intercom Systems
Clear-Com provided the USITT debut of the RCS-2000 programmable source-assignment panel, the first system available to offer the remote-controlled switching of party line assignments for medium to large systems. In other news, Clear-Com has been awarded a patent for the intra-frame communications technology used in the Matrix Plus 3 digital intercom systems, known as distributed digital signal processing, or DDSP™. Also, Stanley Bryer has joined the company as Northeast regional sales manager, as has Patrick Woolcocks, in the position of director of sales for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
This scenery painting studio not only works on such prestigious projects as Harvard's Hasty Pudding Awards, the Disney Wonder and Magic cruise ships, and Berkeley Rep, but also has various training programs. Courses range from a two—year, fulltime curriculum to summer and one—month programs to specialty seminars lasting from three to five days.
US Launch: Rigging accessories--shackles, wire clips, fall protection equipment--first seen at SIEL in Europe. The company also showed its ProStar chain hoist lifts.
Colortran/NSI–a Leviton Company
New to USITT: D-2400 and D-8000 architectural control panels, first seen at Lightfair 2000. An interesting feature of these control panels is that they come in colors that match the colors of Dupont Corian for attractive installation.
Featured products: the Lodestar and Prostar electric chain hoists and chain and forged hardware.
Costume Computer Software Consortium
This group of costume software developers and designers was showing pattern-making software and CAD programs, costume movie/TV episode script breakdown programs for costume designers, and highlighting various seminars and training sessions.
Creative Industry Handbook
Free copies of the Creative Industry Handbook, the hefty 657—page resource guide for the entertainment and live-event industry, were handed out to "qualified professionals."
The Crosby Group
Featured in this manufacturer's booth were the Sling Saver Web to Chain connector, the Web Choker Hook, fittings for synthetic (heavier) lifts, and the company's new CD-ROM catalog.
CRS Technologies is the new name for Custom Rigging Systems; the newest product is the WinchMaster Olaf Soot Design™, a motorized fly winch system for any theatre application. In other news, the company just moved into a new, custom-built 40,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing and development facility in Greensboro, NC.
Theatrical fabrics manufacturer debuted its 2001 Trend Collection, which includes Animal Instincts, animal prints on velvets, georgettes, and metallics; Where the Wild Things Are, "skin" patterns in ostrich, alligator, and elephant, available on velours and velvets; and Origami, crushed and pleated fabrics available in satins, georgettes, silks, velvets, and metallics.
The company recently moved to a much larger space, at 328 N. Albany, Chicago, IL 60612. You can reach them at (773) 265-1100 or via fax at (773) 265-0800.
A wide range of dimming and control, including the StarPort PC Memory lighting control, and the Dimmermaster line. Other consoles include the Control Master, Techmaster, and Sublime.
Edinburgh Imports, Inc.
This was Edinburgh's first time at USITT; on display were synthetic furs, original German mohair fabrics, samples of over 1,000 fabrics with woven cotton backing, and videos, kits, and books on teddy bear assembly.
This was the first time at USITT for Eide; featured were gobos, fabrics and custom truss, and tension structures.
Entertainment Lighting Systems (ELS)
ELS showed some new items in its product lineup, including the I-Cue intelligent mirror from Rosco and the Mini-Mac Profile from Martin Professional.
The Entertainment Services and Technology Association was a large presence at the show; the news from the organization is the ANSI approval of two new standards: E1.3-2201, Entertainment Technology/Lighting Control Systems/0-10V Analog Control, and E1.9-2001, Entertainment Lighting Luminaires/Presentation of Photometric Performance Data.
ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls)
Launch: WYG-IT, a plug-and-play USB interface device (in a bright red box) that connects PCs running WYSIWYG software with any DMX console.
New to USITT: ETC’s Wireless Remote Focus Unit, which provides wireless communication to the ETC Obsession console and will soon be available for the Expression as well.
Farthingales provides costume and corset builders with hard-to-find specialty items, such as steel underpinnings, hoop steel, bones, busks, and period fabrics.
Flying by Foy
The Flying by Foy booth featured a "museum" of autographed flying harnesses and rigs used by such luminaries as Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, and Chris Farley, and video highlights of Flying by Foy performances. The company provided flying and related services for the Academy Awards broadcast, recent Janet Jackson and Christina Aguillera concerts, six angels in the Crystal Cathedral Easter pageant, and Peter Pan on Broadway.
USITT debuts: Control Systems for Live Entertainment (Second Volume), by John Huntington; Designer Drafting for the Entertainment World, by Patricia Woodbridge; and Stage Manager: The Professional Experience, by Larry Fazio.
FOSS Manufacturing Co.
FOSS highlighted Wonderflex™ TMR thermoformable composite, a moldable material for producing head pieces, substructures, masks, and scenic materials, and Fosshape™, a safe and easy-to-use pliable fabric buckram replacement.
Gala Theatrical Equipment
Gala showed its Matrixx Table Lift, a compact, self-contained lift powered by two or four Spiralift actuators with an integrated motor, drive, and brake. Also, check out the company’s new website, www.galainfo.com, which includes a special section that allows you to register for instant access to detailed product specification guides and lift-design considerations.
New at USITT: Film FX (seen at LDI2000), a film loop on a drop-in iris for Source Fours or Strand SLs, to create effects such as clouds that can scroll horizontally.
Launch: Solo Spin, like a Twin Spin, but for just one gobo, good for a simple effect or retail installations at the low cost of $295.
GAM also has a new color book with sleeves for fluroescents in new small sizes for T8 and T5, which come with a one—year warranty.
Graftobian Theatrical Makeup Co.
New at USITT: Luster™ makeup, with mica flakes, and Glitter dusts, with Mylar aluminum flakes. Also featured were student makeup kits and Stage Makeup Ninth Edition, by Richard Corson & James Glavine.
Handloomed Textiles of Nepal
As the company name suggests, hand-woven fabrics from Nepal (and India) were on display, including reversible double-woven jacquards, ethnic cloths, and traditional Old World weaves.
Heatshrink.com showed the Iroda Solderpro™, a wireless soldering kit, which operates in cigarette lighter butane, and the A4(3X) cable identification shrink system.
H & H Specialties Inc.
On display were stage drapery tracks and rigging, standard and custom hardware, and counterweight systems.
High End Systems
New to USITT: The X-Spot, a prototype of which was seen at LDI; and the Handshake, a palm-based controller with DMX link to all High End fixtures from the Studio Color and beyond. Provides remote control of all menu functions on the luminaire and seems perfect for hard-to-reach fixtures in architectural installations.
High Output sells virtually any kind of equipment but costumes and props. Gloves from Setwear Products have recently been added to the product lineup.
Hy-Safe showcased its fall-protection systems, which are featured in the United Center, Miller Stadium, and the Wiltern Theatre on Wilshire Blvd.
Intelligent Control Devices
New to USITT: The Motovator (a two-year-old product), DMX-controlled automation that links the movement of scenery and moving lights. Designed for smaller and regional theatres.
Irwin showed its wheelchair-accessible theatre seats, which feature a piano hinge for easy transfer between wheelchair and theatre seat; the Elink power- and data-linked assembly hall seat; and the company's many retro-replicating models.
Launch: PT-Pack and CD-Pack, direct DMX replacement control modules for CD80 dimmers. The PT-Pack is the professional touring version, while the CD-Pack provides a simple, low-cost DMX solution.
New at USITT: an upgraded version of the Kinetrol KD-348 dimmer rack electronics module used to interface new digital control consoles with existing SCR- and SSR-type dimmers.
New at USITT: The Big Kit, a "perfect starter kit" for schools and community theatre groups, with cream foundation, Aquacolor Wet Makeup, and cake makeup, along with a makeup manual and brushes, in a four—tier aluminum case; many new hair-color sprays, including realistic and glitter colors; Dansproof water-resistant Body Makeup; and Supracolor cream liner, available in a new flat-base container with a large see-through window.
Kryolan also showed its extensive line of makeup and makeup supplies, epoxy moldmaking supplies, and glitter and metallic powders, lip gloss, and makeup.
In other Kryolan news, the firm recently expanded its warehouse space outside Berlin.
Lambda Platforms LLC
Lambda showcased its moveable floors, lifts, and seats, which are installed in the Yokohama Arena, Japan, the Bercy Sports Center in Paris, and American Airlines Arena in Miami.
New to USITT: Le Flame, LeMaitre’s popular fabric flame effect.
Launch: The Maxi-Fogger, a prototype of which was seen at LDI2000, aimed at the school and church market, as well as long-end rentals. This is a cost-effective way to create a thick, dense, white fog.
Lee Filters now has the Designer’s Edition of its swatch book; with its numerical index, looking up Lee colors is now much simpler than before.
Lightronics showed the AS-40M dimmer pack, a 4 x 600W dimmer with DMX control.
Limelight showed a new swatchbook for its stage curtain velours, which come in over three dozen colors.
LVH Entertainment Systems
Based in Southern California, LVH specializes in the design and installation of lighting and rigging systems for television, film, and theatrical venues. Projects include the El Capitan Theatre, Ben Kitay Studios, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Dodger Stadium in LA.
New at USITT: volume three of the Mann Brothers catalog, featuring over 3,000 scenic products, mostly paint-related. Also featured was scenic paint, available in over 1,000 custom colors.
MDG Fog Generators
MDG showed its Atmosphere hazer and Ice Fogger; the latter is a low fog generator that uses refrigerated liquid CO2 as a coolant and CO2 gas as a propellant. The company is also pleased to announce its equipment is featured in the new show Storm, at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay.
In prototype: 12 new lipstick colors in the already-established Celebré cream makeup line. Also featured: CoveRing makeup, for tattoos, birthmarks, and other skin discolorations, and Barrier Spray™, which can be used under makeup to stop sweat or over makeup to set it.
Great place to watch concert footage with sound via Meyer’s loudspeakers. Meyer's newest line is the M3D self-powered, line-array system for high-power critical quality sound reinforcement. These have been selected by the new theatre for the Vienna Festival in Austria and will be installed this spring for the May opening of the venue.
The company has introduced new, lightweight versions of its fall protection systems
Musson Theatrical, Inc.
This theatrical/TV/film/themed venue supplier had a "Tiki lounge"-themed booth featuring dimming, rigging, and drapery equipment. Musson was a recent recipient of ESTA's Mid-Size Dealer's Award.
Click here for booths N-Z.