This issue is packed with theatre - corporate theatre, to be exact. This is one of the hottest sectors in lighting, but one of the hardest for us to track. We've had good luck with the car makers (always among the first to use the newest gear on their events); other market segments, however, have proved elusive. Trade secrecy abounds (some companies don't want anything, including their light plots, detailed in the press) and the quick turnaround times mean the events are often poorly documented as the crews scramble to finish their work. (A reminder, folks: by and large, we can't use low-res JPEGs or dank Polaroids in the magazine.)
Our Herbalife piece in the April issue, "Beauty treatment," was a step in the right direction. "Cirque du Microsoft," which begins on page 26 in this issue, is another. I also propose John Calhoun's riveting piece on the behind-the-scenes drama at the Reform Party convention, a harrowing event for LD Jeff Ravitz, as covering a subset of the industrials market.
The title show in our corporate theatre roster comes to us from LD Greg Scott, who followed all our basic rules of publication, providing usable photos, a plot, an equipment list, and text to go along with it. The text was good enough for us to publish, and I give a lot of credit to Greg, who pushed his client hard for permission to run this piece. I think you, and I trust Microsoft, will agree it was worth the effort.
Greg, who hails from the Seattle area, got involved in this market when, as a touring concert LD, he decided to leave the road and settle down with his family. His years with bands like Queensryche proved useful practice for his current gigs with computer and pharmaceutical giants. "Slowly but surely, I'm seeing more of the conventions of concert touring coming into this market, like the use of moving lights, which helps to turn things around rapidly. Starting out in this market in the early 90s, the designs were all straight gray flats or black pipe and drape with very basic key fill lighting for video projection. But now I see a lot more color, patterns, and custom gobos. I'd love to see more, to streamline the setup, as with a concert tour - where it's laid out in the shop, and sets up very easily. The one thing I can't stand about corporate shows is that if you've got five days to load in, it takes all five to do it," he laughs.
You'll be hearing more from Greg in future issues. I leave you with a final observation from him: "Corporations today have CEOs who grew up in the 70s and get excited by circular truss and moving lights. They tell me, `It's so cool - I saw something like that on KISS!' " You, and they, can share a final KISS with the band on page 70; more industrials are indeed welcome, as I don't know how LD will ever recover from the loss of one of its mainstays.