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New DJ Luminal mixes for YOU!   
04:23pm 11/08/2009
 

Guilty Pleasures (2009 Summer Electro-House Mix)

40 minutes of filthy, stompin' electro-house, laced with innuendo and shot through with tongue-in-cheek references to classic 90's dance! A surefire summer party soundtrack.


One Bad Trip (2009 Summer Trance Mix)

50 minutes of hard, fast and dark dance music, spanning from full-on psytrance to UK hard-house and German hard-trance, all of which are sure to make you go 'DAAAMN!'. A great accompaniment for long drives, hi-impact aerobics, and hostile takeovers of small republics alike!


All mixes were recorded LIVE on two turntables in a single take. No editing, overdubs or other obfuscation of imperfections (and there are a few) have been performed. Enjoy!!!

-ian
AKA DJ Luminal
 
     

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Not dead...   
04:01am 28/05/2009
  ...just spending most of my time on Facebook.

Anybody listening?
 
     

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The Inaugural Adventure: A lighting crew chief's tale   
05:01pm 23/01/2009
 
mood: exhausted
Howdy! What a whirlwind these last 5 days have been.

Sunday: arrived at the Warner Theater in DC at 6pm with two 24' trucks loaded with gear. Spent five hours getting the majority of it rigged, cabled, and flown... we used 44 Vari*Lite VL3000 and VL3500 moving-lights, 13 Martin Atomic3000 3000-watt strobes, and 8 Molefay "audience abuse" 8-light blinders. Here's a picture of a Vari*Lite VL3000, with a 20oz. water bottle included to indicate scale.

On Monday we returned to the theater at 6am to set the rest of the gear (all the lights that sat on the stage could not be set until all the musicians' equipment was in place). A few hours later, we were ready to go, and the artists scheduled for Monday night's performance (Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Mary J. Blige) began their soundchecks. Here are some pictures I snapped during Mary's soundcheck:



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The show wasn't until around 8pm, so in the intervening hours I departed the theater and set up the event lighting for a private party the concert promoters were holding in the atrium of the adjacent office building... nowhere near as complex a setup, but it was still pretty sexy. Sadly, I took no pictures of this as I was in a bit of a rush to get it up and running.

At about 1am the show was over and we departed for our "crash space" via the Metro: a friend of ours lent us the use of her house in Hyattsville, MD for the evening.

The next morning was a spectacle. The train into town was PACKED (I believe the best colloquial term is "assholes and elbows"), and the station at our destination was a giant bottleneck. Miraculously, EVERYONE was being well-behaved, and there were no incidents whatsoever (ZERO arrests, man.). We got to the theater and basically sat around for a few hours watching the Inauguration ceremony on a TV backstage... and thanking any available deity that we weren't on that Mall with the other 1.4 MILLION people. That's some history, folks: 1,400,000 humans, of all ages, colors, faiths, ALL GETTING ALONG. It can happen, cynics... It can happen.

The interesting thing about the gig that night is that NO ONE, including the promoters, knew exactly who the any of the acts (including the headliner) was going to be. The event was a charity ball to benefit TAPS and the USO, and the event itself had reportedly been a "go" then a "no-go", then at the last minute it was a "go" again, so there was a lot of "make it up as we go along, guys... this is what we get paid to do" happening.

For a few hours in the late afternoon, I set about tweaking the setup in the office-building atrium (the USO/TAPS folks were having a dinner party in there that night), then returned to the theater to discover that the headliner had been confirmed: George Clinton And The P-Funk All-Stars! The afternoon progressed with more soundchecks, and as I was backstage I heard a familiar set of voices from my youth, singing lines that still move me: "How many years must a mountain exist, before it is washed to the sea? How many years must some people exist, before they're allowed to be free?"... Peter, Paul and Mary?

Well, Mary was unable to make it (complications from her leukemia, apparently), so they had Ben Vereen (!) singing in her place. Here's a shot I snapped during their soundcheck/rehearsal (performing "Blowin' In The Wind"):



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The evening's festivites kicked off with an introduction from Larry King (yeah, the guy with the bowtie from CNN), and wrapped up with an INSANE performance by the P-Funk... talk about going through the spectrum from one polar opposite to the other :)

As we prepared to start pulling down the rig to haul it over to the next gig (a private event for the Obama campaign staff at the DC National Guard Armory), we received news of an unexpected complication: one of our two trucks had been impounded! We had parked it in a location given to us by the event's organizers as a known "good" lot, but apparently that wasn't the case this week. $400 and several hours later, our truck was back (a good thing too, considering the truck contained half of our empty road-cases and we couldn't pack anything up).

Hours later, at 5:30am, we were ready to roll out to the next gig (an 8am load-in at the Armory). Notice there was no mention of sleep -- because we didn't.

After a 4-hour load-in of the rig for Jay-Z's performance, everyone had to clear the building for 3 hours to allow Secret Service to sweep the premises. We were invited by Jay's manager to catch some rack time aboard Jay's bus (with the caveat that we were not to make a mess, which we were more than agreeable to). Check out this shot of me on the bus:



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I've been on buses before, but this thing was SLICK. That's a wine rack over my left shoulder. Jay has a recording studio complete with a vocal booth set up in the back (where the bed suite usually lives). I guess that's what you get when you're the president of a record label like Def Jam.

After our nap, we headed back in to do tweaks to the setup and get everything finalized. Here's a shot of the interior of the Armory before doors opened:



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You can't see it in that shot, but our stage was just out-of-frame on the left of the image. You can see it in this photo, however (and hey, there's the Vice President in the picture as well):



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And finally, after Vice President Biden... #44 himself, President Barack Obama.



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He gave a great speech (didn't sound very rehearsed -- as this was a private function attended by his campaign staff, i think he was more "himself" and off-the-cuff, and his charisma definitely showed) , and it was absolutely one of those moments you will never forget in a lifetime: I was here, on this day. I was part of this. I watched this happen. Not on TV, not in photographs. There he is.

Wow.

We packed up after Jay's performance capped off the evening, and enjoyed some Patron Silver and a beer with Patrick Dierson and Drew Findley (the lighting and video console ops, respectively) before getting on the road home at about 1:30am on Thursday.

We got back to Philly at around 5am, dropped the trucks at the shop, and went home to sleep for a few hours before returning to the shop to empty the trucks and put all the gear away. As of 9pm Thursday everything was back in its proper place: I left, locked up behind me, and drove home to work on the designs for the show i have coming up this next weekend (OhayoCon, in Columbus, OH), as well as two shows in February (one in DC, and one in northern NJ).

No rest for the wicked!!! :)

-ian
 
     

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[work-related] Vari*Lite overload   
09:09pm 14/01/2009
 


Vari*Lite VL3000 (20oz. water bottle included in shot to indicate scale)


Spent the day un-casing, configuring, and re-casing 48 of these 95-pound monsters. My back is flipping me the bird right now.

Off to go mark up a few thousand feet of cable next...
 
     

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[work-related] - upcoming gigs   
01:58am 14/01/2009
  This should be an INSANE next few weeks. Check this out:

Jan 16th - Contempt @ MI5, NYC (club lighting gig)
Jan 18th - Drive down to DC and begin hanging the rig for the (sold-out, $1000-a-seat) Jay-Z show @ the Warner Theater.
Jan 19th - Starting at 6am, put the finishing touches on the Jay-Z rig and get ready for the bedlam that will inevitably ensue.
Jan 20th - Warner Theater gig part two: Stevie Wonder and guests, for a special Inaugural Eve celebration (rumor has it that President-elect Obama will be in attendance for at least a portion of the evening).
Jan 21st - Move the rig from the Warner Theater to the DC Armory for a second Jay-Z show, added to accommodate those who can't make it to the one on the 19th.
Jan 22nd - lug all that shit back to the shop and take a deep breath, because...

Feb 11th - Arrive at Katsucon @ Hyatt Crystal City, VA
Feb 12th - Begin "hanging" the lighting rig for Katsucon (Feb 13-15)
Feb 13th - Katsucon! Where I'll be running the lights this year (I usually run sound at this event, but kraftwink has a prior commitment with the Pennsylvania Ballet, so I am filling in).
Feb 14th - my alter ego DJ Luminal takes to the turntables for another adrenaline filled evening of awesome!
Feb 15th - tear down the Katsu setup
Feb 16th - lug all that shit back to the shop and take a DEEPER breath, because...

Feb 20th - Arrive at WickedFaire @ Hanover Marriott, Whippany NJ and hang the lighting rig
Feb 21st - Wicked Faire!
Feb 22nd - more Wicked Faire, then tear down the rig and lug all that shit back to the shop.

Feb 23rd - Maybe finally get a good night's sleep :)
 
     

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WTF?!   
02:21am 08/01/2009
  Kraftwerk co-founder leaves German group

BERLIN — Florian Schneider, a co-founder of Kraftwerk, the German band that built the foundation for electro-pop and scored a chart-topping global hit with "Autobahn" in 1974, has left the group, its label said Tuesday.

News of the departure was first reported on the Web site Kraftwerk in November but gained prominence when the Kraftwerk Official Fan Web Site posted a short statement on Monday.

"Florian Schneider leaves Kraftwerk after a 40 years (sic) partnership with Ralf Huetter," the statement said, adding that the partnership between the pair generated "incredible music and huge advances in music technology."

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, EMI Germany confirmed the move but did not elaborate.

Despite Schneider's exit, Kraftwerk is planning a 10-stop tour this year, with appearances in Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Germany in March and April.

Schneider co-founded the band with Ralf Huetter in 1970 after the two met while studying in Duesseldorf a couple years earlier.

Since then, Kraftwerk has released 12 albums, including "Autobahn," "Radio-Activity" and "The Man Machine."
___

January 6, 2009 - 1:01 p.m. EST

Copyright 2009, The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP Online news report may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
 
     

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[work-related] - Upcoming gigs   
02:48pm 18/12/2008
  I was under a Non-Disclosure Agreement regarding this show for a while, but now that the band themselves have announced the shows, I guess I can talk about it.

Seminal Danish EBM band Leaether Strip are performing a pair of exclusive shows in North America this July. This will be the first time they have ever played the US in their 15+ year career. Both shows will be at the Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia, and take a wild guess as to who will be designing and running their lightshow?

This guy.

Out-of-state friends (CO, DC, FL, CA, NY, GA, SC, etc.): I expect to see your asses there. Crash space is available on a first-come, first-served basis: let me know, and I will do my best to accommodate you.

Also, kraftwink and I just got the nod from our friends at Live Nation to do a very special pair of concerts in Washington DC for the Presidential Inauguration... Jay-Z/Beyonce and Stevie Wonder (plus many others, I'm sure) at the Warner Theater, January 19th and 20th. Our friend Patrick "BlingMA" Dierson will be there as well, it should be an amazingly good time -- with the caveat that security will be tighter than a nun's nasty bits, which should make show logistics a royal pain in the ass. Wish us luck!
 
     

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[work-related] - What I did this weekend:   
05:27pm 15/12/2008
 

Brandy David Archuleta Kevin Rudolph Lady Gaga



Jingle Ball 2008 @ Susquehanna Bank Center, featuring Metro Station, Pussycat Dolls, Katy Perry, Jesse McCartney, David Archuleta, Brandy, Kevin Rudolph, Lady Gaga, and Shontelle

Downstage: 8 MAC700 Wash, 3 8-light Molefay blinders.
Upstage: 8 MAC700 Profile, 8 MAC300 Wash, 4 Atomic3000 strobe
Control: Avolites Pearl 2008

HUGE sold-out 7000-seat amphitheater gig! I supervised the hang, programmed the console, and was console operator for the show (with the exception of Katy Perry and the Pussycat Dolls, who brought their own console ops... and kraftwink ran the board for Metro Station because he wanted console time and I was exhausted by that point, hehe). Long weekend, but the gig was fun.
 
     

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[work-related] - Tonight at the Tower Theatre...   
06:50pm 07/11/2008
 


Gov't Mule


72K of PAR, 6 MAC550, 6 MAC2000 Profile, 2 MAC250 Entour, 2 ACL bars, 3 8-light Molefays. Avolites Pearl.

Tomorrow: David Byrne. Same venue, but we'll be making changes to the rig tonight.
 
     

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[work-related] - What have I been up to?   
08:18pm 24/10/2008
  Tonight: kraftwink and I are down at the Wachovia Center in Philly providing some Mac2000's for the Jay-Z show, and hanging with our friend Patrick Dierson, who is LD'ing. Four GrandMA's, including Patrick's "blinged-out" console (oh, the things one can do with white gaff-tape and rhinestones).




The view from console-world before the show... this GrandMA runs the video content.




Patrick "Sexasaurus" Dierson at the "BlingMA"
 
     

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[work-related] - New official Katsucon promo video featuring... me!   
04:32pm 13/10/2008
 


Me and a few thousand close friends (and some random hot cyber-girls, for whom I allowed an exception to the 'no unauthorized persons on the stage' rule) at last year's Katsucon rave!


 
     

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For my tech brothers and sisters, especially the Anime USA '08 crew:   
08:00pm 12/10/2008
  "Listen to the stage manager and get on stage when they tell you to. No one has time for the rock star act. None of the techs backstage care if you're David Bowie or the milkman. When you act like a jerk, they are completely unimpressed with the infantile display that you might think comes with your dubious status. They were there hours before you building the stage, and they will be there hours after you leave tearing it down. They should get your salary, and you should get theirs."

Henry Rollins, Black Coffee Blues
 
     

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[work-related] - Today and tomorrow   
10:35am 10/10/2008
  I am doing lights for the Good Faeries' Ball and Bad Faeries' Ball at The Trocadero this weekend, featuring some very good medieval/goth bands you might want to come see (because they are very good, and because they don't play the US often -- if at all).

Today (Friday): Omnia
Tomorrow (Sat): Qntal

Come check it out!

Also, next weekend I will be reprising my recent role as dancefloor-lighting provider/operator at Contempt in NYC... if you are local to that area, or within reasonable driving/subway distance, you should come to the party!
 
     

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[work-related] - Zombie Prom pics are up!   
07:14pm 01/10/2008
 

Philadelphia Zombie Prom '08 - Trocadero Theater 09.28.08
Live Not On Evil The Young Werewolves
Lighting design by Ian Staer. Photos courtesy PhillyZombieCrawl.com

 
     

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[work-related] - Well, whaddaya know?   
03:57am 01/10/2008
  Check out this Philadelphia Weekly coverage of Zombie Prom 2008, held at the Trocadero Theater this past Sunday (and lit, of course, by me)!

You can see my handiwork in the dancefloor shots. Hooray for L139 and L181... The whole club was a sea of green and deep-blue/ultraviolet. Spoooooky.

(thanks to southstman for originally posting a link to this footage in his own LJ!)
 
     

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[work-related] - My house has gotten 3000% Shinier this weekend.   
05:17pm 29/09/2008
 




What am I looking at here?
Bad cameraphone video of my apartment windows, transformed into 3 video screens. I used the windows' Venetian blinds as the projection surface... what you are seeing is the image AFTER it has passed through the thick white plastic of the blinds!

What is on the screens?
The music video for "Only" by Nine Inch Nails, from the Extra Features of the "Beside You In Time" DVD.

How the hell did you do that?
S-Video external-monitor output of my Powerbook connected to a five-way composite/S-Video distribution amplifier (splitter), then split out to three 3000-Lumen projectors. The 50' cable run from the distribution amp to each projector is via RJ45 Cat5 Ethernet cable, with S-Video baluns (transformers) at each end.

But WHY?
Mainly, because I could. But also to test the setup for a few upcoming gigs (notably the Good and Bad Faeries' Ball events in October).

What's wrong with you?
I wish I knew.
 
     

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[work-related] - Newly-available pro-shot InSoc footage!   
11:00pm 23/09/2008
  From their show / DVD shoot at the Trocadero in January for which I was the lighting and set designer.


Peace And Love, Incorporated

2 more under the cutCollapse )
 
     

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[work-related] - The weekend's festivities   
03:59pm 22/09/2008
  Friday: Outdoor gig at Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ with beta58. 16 moving lights (8 MAC300, 6 MAC250 Entour, 2 MAC250 Krypton), 2 Atomic 3000 strobes, and 8 LED fixtures, for lighting a DJ rig onstage and providing some downstage dance-area flash. Here's a picture from early in the night, right after soundcheck:



Saturday: Contempt at MI-5 in NYC. 4 moving lights (SCX500s, for the dancefloor) and a half-dozen PAR38s on booms (lighting an art show). It was a super-fun time, got to hang with darkhorse, anathemadevice, hifihillary, and dratomic. Good music, good company, and good Martinis!

Next up: Zombie Prom at the Trocadero this weekend, and a fashion show at Susquehanna Bank Center on the 4th.
 
     

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[work-related] - What I've been doing, and what I have planned:   
01:51pm 20/08/2008
  Two weekends ago kraftwink and I provided the lighting rig for the Download Festival's main stage at the Susquehanna Bank Center, featuring The Killers and Iggy And The Stooges (for the technically-inclined: we brought 12 Mac2000 Performance, 120K of PAR, 4 ACL's, 3 Molefay blinders, and 4 Atomic3000 strobes). The show also featured an enjoyable performance by Ghostland Observatory: check them out (especially the song Dancing On My Grave... it's hot)!

Here's a cameraphone shot of the rig at Susquehanna Bank Center after we finished hanging it:



And here's a photo of Iggy, taken from onstage (just downstage of dimmer-land) during the show:



Upcoming noteworthy gigs:

- Zombie Prom 2008, Sunday September 28 @ The Trocadero

- FaerieCon 2008, October 10-11 @ The Trocadero (featuring QNTAL and Omnia)

I had a blast doing both these events last year, and I am pleased and honored to have been invited back by both organizations.

There had been tentative plans on the table for a guest-DJ appearance at this year's Anime USA in Washington, DC -- unfortunately it looks like I'll be at FaerieCon instead.
 
     

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[personal] - The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.   
12:28pm 11/07/2008
  It's been a while since my last post, for good reason. My iBook, my faithful electronic companion since 2003, finally died. It still boots up, but there is a short somewhere in the logic board (motherboard) which causes it to freeze if the laptop is picked up or moved.

So, I am typing this entry from my shiny new MacBook. Roughly four times as fast as the old laptop, and with four times the RAM. This thing is even faster than my PowerBook, which I use to run ProTools and Serato Scratch Live.

The universe is, of course, a place of infinite complexity and extraordinary simplicity -- so on the very same day I had committed to plunking down $1500 for a new laptop, I received a call from an old co-worker informing me that I had $1500 coming to me in the form of a Visa gift card... prize money from a past contest that they had just NOW gotten around to paying. Hooray for perfect timing!

Also: last week I got the opportunity to work a show as Peter Murphy's lighting designer. Peter fucking Murphy! It was gorgeous. You really had to have been there, and many of you weren't (which surprised me). His voice was amazing, the band was tight, and they played a ton of beloved songs: Cuts You Up, Marlene Dietrich's Favorite Poem, Deep Ocean Vast Sea, The Line Between The Devil's Teeth, A Strange Kind Of Love (which segued into Bela Lugosi's Dead, no less), She's In Parties, and a cover of Joy Division's "Transmission". It was magical, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to work with him.
 
     

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