DJ Jesus (Wicky Wicky, Untz Untz)

That’s right.  Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadooloop, baby.

WINNER of the 2010 Gaff Dress Challenge IS…

Have I kept you in suspense enough about the winner of the 2010 Gaff Dress Challenge, sponsored by BMI Supply and

This was a ridiculously amazing challenge.  When we first started this challenge between Daphne Mir (we like to call her Gaffne) and everyone’s favorite Amanda Lynne Ballard, I half expected there to be one good dress and one awesome dress, but I had no idea who would do what.  What ended up happening is that two intelligent, beautiful, amazing people brought two beautiful, sophisticated, amazing dresses to USITT 2010 and rocked our socks off, and rocked them hard.

After three days of trying to decide if it was possible to decide a winner, we unanimously decided that there was no way to actually decide a winner between these two wonderful acts of gaff dress brilliance.  Both Daphne and Amanda Lynne made such beautiful works that were so durable and creative that I declare them both the winner!

I approached the ladies about this decision, and they were both so thrilled about both being declared winner that they helped me come up with ways to distribute the prizes accordingly so that they made the highest benefit overall.  What we’ve decided is that the prize of the SeaChanger ColorBug will go to CalArts on behalf of Daphne, and the people who have emailed with monetary donations will go to a worthwhile charity that Amanda Lynne has chosen – The Famous People Players, the internationally reknowned blacklight theatre that works with developmentally disabled people.  Can you think of a better way to honor the Gaff Dress Challenge winners than THIS?!  So selfless!

I made a video for the challenge – one of the most fun times of USITT was having an impromptu photoshoot with Miss Daphne and Miss Amanda Lynne.  It was all my pleasure.  Check it out:

Gaff Dress Challenge 2010, Sponsored by BMI Supply and from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Some images:

Daphne, Amanda Lynne, thank you for being so awesome.

Five Decades of Lighting – USITT 2010 Lighting Commission Special Exhibit – Fixtures Edition

In the post yesterday about USITT’s Lighting Commission Special Exhibit, “Five Decades of Lighting,” I posted images of the consoles exhibited at the show.  I have some images and a video of the luminaires that were at the show – an awesome mash that ranged from the Source Four to the Century 6″ fresnel.  I loved this exhibit, thank you guys.

Remember the old Kliegl Bros 6X8 ellipsoidals?  The ones with the “K” sculpted into the lamp base?  What a clean light – hell, I had a few of those in the inventory at Circa’21 back in June – they made great specials!  I think I ended up using five or six of them.

What was almost more awesome than seeing the old fixtures was remembering all of the shows I’ve used these fixtures on, and how excellent it must feel to have a product you’ve designed and manufactured become a mainstay of the industry.

Pardon the Spaz Cam:

USITT’s 2010 Lighting Commission Special Exhibit – 5 Decades of Lighting – Fixtures from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

A few 6″ fresnels and an 8″ Century fresnel – I still love those big old 8″ fresnels:

an old Times Square Lighting effects projector and some step and fresnel lenses:

Heck yes – old beam projectors!  The BP ROCKS!  (I mean, nowadays if you can’t find a PAR)

a beam projector, mini-ERS, and some various base-ups:


An old 12K touring rack:

Very cool exhibit.  Great work, Todd, Tracy, and Josh!

What? Unpaid Internships Could Be Illegal? Ya Think?

I just read an awesome article at the New York Times about unpaid internships, and how it’s looking like this kind of thing is illegal.  The first time I read the headline, I thought to myself:

“Self, well DUH unpaid internships should be illegal.  Free work for “credit?”  Come on.  I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t LAST night.”

Then I read the article and saw that the unpaid internship positions that exist in the USA are being investigated.  I think that this is a good thing.

I have disagreed with colleagues over the years for HOURS about this very thing – exchanging “credit” and “experience” for what can sometimes be a 23-hour-a-day slave labor experience, day in and day out.  I think that it is absolute horse hockey (that’s poop, kids) that this still goes on.  I know that there are unpaid internships in the lighting industries, which is why this is relevant material.  I also know that people get taken advantage of in these situations.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.

From the article:

No one keeps official count of how many paid and unpaid internships there are, but Lance Choy, director of the Career Development Center at Stanford University, sees definitive evidence that the number of unpaid internships is mushrooming — fueled by employers’ desire to hold down costs and students’ eagerness to gain experience for their résumés. Employers posted 643 unpaid internships on Stanford’s job board this academic year, more than triple the 174 posted two years ago.

In 2008, the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 83 percent of graduating students had held internships, up from 9 percent in 1992. This means hundreds of thousands of students hold internships each year; some experts estimate that one-fourth to one-half are unpaid.

Come on.  A quarter to a HALF of internships are unpaid?  I think that this has a lot to do with the things that people tell students that they need to do when they’re trying to get a degree.  It was no different for me when I was in school – I was told on several occasions that an unpaid internship helps you have a better chance of getting a job.  I’m here to call BS on this, people.  I wasn’t having that crap when I was in school – I looked for a summer gig to do in place of an internship for credit in undergrad, where an internship was a requirement for graduation in my program.  So instead of getting abused, I went out as a master electrician on an opera tour and learned something new every day, AND got enough money to buy myself food (and cigarettes at that time, bad bad habit).

More from the NYT article – notice that the examples noted are all entertainment industry internships:

In California, officials have issued guidance letters advising employers whether they are breaking the law, while Oregon regulators have unearthed numerous abuses.

“We’ve had cases where unpaid interns really were displacing workers and where they weren’t being supervised in an educational capacity,” said Bob Estabrook, spokesman for Oregon’s labor department. His department recently handled complaints involving two individuals at a solar panel company who received $3,350 in back pay after claiming that they were wrongly treated as unpaid interns.

Many students said they had held internships that involved noneducational menial work. To be sure, many internships involve some unskilled work, but when the jobs are mostly drudgery, regulators say, it is clearly illegal not to pay interns.

One Ivy League student said she spent an unpaid three-month internship at a magazine packaging and shipping 20 or 40 apparel samples a day back to fashion houses that had provided them for photo shoots.

At Little Airplane, a Manhattan children’s film company, an N.Y.U. student who hoped to work in animation during her unpaid internship said she was instead assigned to the facilities department and ordered to wipe the door handles each day to minimize the spread of swine flu.

People, you have to use your brains nowadays.  Try your hardest not to let people take advantage of you just because you’re a student.  It’s true, sometimes internships pay, and a LOT of time an internship is something that you’ll get to learn a ton while you’re doing it – if the organization providing the internship has their stuff together to make sure you’re being taught.  Also, you can plan on doing some scut work while you’re an internship, this is totally true.  In the lighting industries, for example, if you’re working in entertainment lighting doing an internship, you could expect, for example, to be hosing the body fluids and mud off of feeder cable coming back into the shop from an outdoor music festival.  We’ve all been there.  You do it and you learn about that skill.  You might also get to run a Hog or a grandMA or something else cool during your internship.

Just remember, you gotta take care of yourself too.  So if you decide to take an unpaid internship for whatever reason, research it.  Then research it again, and again, and then sleep, and do it one more time.  Make sure that your time is worth what you’ll be getting.

Check out the NYT article here – great read.  Read both pages, the whole article is a bit shocking.  Also, thanks to for the hilarious image!

Something Illuminated to Start Your Day – Good Morning!

One of everybody’s favorite ladies of light and art (Amanda Lynne Ballard) sent me this great video – it’s actually a Tropicana OJ commercial, but it is absolutely excellent nonetheless.  Tropicana took some OJ and some illumination to Inuvik in Canada during the dark months period of no sunlight.  You know, like Ice Road Truckers Inuvik, the one in the Northwest Territories?

Check it out, and happy Tuesday!

Travis Bedard and Will Hollis Storm Kansas City and USITT (Changing Color Temperatures Where They Go)

Two of my favorite Twits (wait, that’s not right) are @travisbedard and @willhollis.  They drove all the way from Austin to hang out with everybody, and we all had an awesome time.  I’m only sad because I had to leave a day early.  This just solidifies the fact that we now have to make it a priority to get everybody altogether at the same time.

Will and Travis, thanks for making the effort.  You guys rock.

Five Decades of Lighting – USITT 2010 Lighting Commission Special Exhibit – Consoles Edition

One of the more awesome things I saw this year at USITT was the Lighting Commission’s exhibit on lighting equipment history – “Five Decades of Lighting.”  Todd Proffitt (@tm204) and Josh Williamson (@joshwilliamson) were involved with this exhibit, and I think they did an outstanding freaking job of putting it together.  I’m sure I’m not including many people who worked to make the thing happen, but nice exhibit!  I broke this up into two posts:  one on consoles, and another post tomorrow on fixtures and other equipment.

You might notice that these images of lighting control surfaces is not in any kind of chronological order – this is actually intentional.  Take a look and see if you can identify some of the characteristics of the various consoles over the course of the years.

The “Five Decades of Lighting” exhibit had fixtures, dimming, and consoles from the last five decades.  It was pretty great to actually get my hands on an old Light Palette Two – what nice wood detail work!  Can I order a Hog III with the cherry and maple inlay?

Also, it was awesome meeting Fred Foster from ETC and hearing him tell stories about the first consoles he designed, and the funny little tidbits he was sharing.  You’re pretty cool, Fred Foster!

Check out a quick video I made of the console section, followed by a ton of images.  Literally.

USITT’s 2010 Lighting Commission Special Exhibit – 5 Decades of Lighting – Consoles from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

The Strand 300 Series lighting console (I’m a big fan of the Strand 520i from back in the day):

the Obsession I (before it became the Obsession II):

a Luxtrol autotransformer unit.  Come on, you’ve seen these, yeah?  We always had one in undergrad powering the tech table lighting:

“That’s not a lighting desk.  THIS is a lighting desk!”  (the Light Palette Two).  I mean, literally a desk.  You can also fly the Starship Enterprise with that console:

Light Palette Two built-in keyboard:

The Light Palette Two, front side:

Lighting Methods, Inc’s little two-scene preset:

The Kliegl Performer – yes, that’s a cassette tape:

an old Kliegl Bros 2-scene preset, and a Century Lighting Edkotron controller:

Everybody knows the Express series – here’s a 250:

The ETC Vision – also see the Microvision FX, which wasn’t at the show, but you could hear the jubilant cries of “MICROVISION FX!” from the conventiongoers:

The ETC Idea – another of the early ETC desks that people came to know and love:

The ETC Eos – so sleek!

This thing – this is amazing.  This is the ETC ELC (Entertainment Lighting Control)

Cree Uses Incandescent Light TO MAKE EASTER BUNNY SAUCE!

Ok, first – Ginny from Cree is my favorite Cree employee, and I know a few.  Cree, you’re lucky to have Ginny kicking incandescent tail for you!

Ginny from Cree posted an excellent Easter bunny video over at – a Cree LED R lamp against an incandescent R lamp.  Get ready for EASTER BUNNY GORE!

USITT 2010 – Kansas City Pics from the Show Floor

The view from the hotel room in Kansas City – as far as midwest hotel scenes goes, not too bad!

I’m back from USITT 2010.  I had a very huge fun time, most of it with the great readers of  I’m constantly saying that readers ROCK, and this last week I was reminded just how much you all rock.  I met so many people that I have only known digitally, and got to see people that I haven’t seen in a while.  An awesome week, to be sure.

Oh yeah, and I took a mega-ultra-super-metric-ton of photos and video.  Get ready.  Here’s a taste:

The illustrious @a_mandolin holding one of Luxim‘s wonderful LIFI sources at the excellent SeaChanger booth.  I love my Toms!

Electronic Theatre Controls‘ CEO Fred (Foster) and Bobblehead Fred:

The line for the Mag Lite giveaway – holy cow were those things popular!

Evening Kansas City from my hotel room window:

Amanda Lynne playing in City Theatrical‘s fake snow:

More of the Mag Lite line – wow, indeed, again:

Everybody’s favorite @LekoGirl with Bobblehead Fred:

This guy, @aronaltmark, is rapidly becoming one of my favorite guys:

People flocking to Amanda Lynne:

Jim (OnLight) trying to look thug next to @NoahCraft looking thug next to @JimOnLight:

Stay tuned.  More to come!