A Filthy Mouthed Article About Audience Douchebaggery

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Just an FYI, Planet Earth – I swear in this article. A lot. It’s 2015, and it’s the way I talk. Moving on.
Second FYI – do you have a story about an audience member being a dumbass douchebag? Post it in the comments for all of us to revel with you!

Audience Douchebaggery has been rampant this season in all facets of Entertainment.  I have noticed quite a few news stories lately of paying audience members at myriad events acting like a large sack of douchebags and destroying shit that doesn’t belong to them. Have you seen the videos of these assholes? This is amazing stuff; I am truly shocked at the balls on these people. If you don’t like my language right now, you’re not going to like it soon, so maybe this is a good time for you to piss off.

Exhibit A:
Douchebag Jumps Onto Stage While Zoogma is Playing at Camp Bisco and Smashes Over a Pile of Expensive Gear

Yep, that’s Ryan Null from the band Zoogma, and some asshole smashing into him and his rig after climbing past the barrier security.  I have no clue what came into this douchebag’s head as he started bee-lining past the guy with the camera and up onto the stage, but pal, you’re pretty lucky those guys didn’t beat the plain brown shit right out of you.  Seriously dude, you’re a lucky guy.  You also probably destroyed some gear in that little stunt, or at least damaged it pretty well, which the rest of the audience will be paying for next time there is a show we want tickets for, because someone is going to have to shoulder the extra security and new insurance the promoters and band will have to carry because of your stupid ass.  Did you see how Ryan tossed down his fucking bass in complete shock of what you had done to his rig?  You’re seriously lucky to still have teeth.  Next.

That was in the world of Concert Production, now let’s move on to Theatre —  where it seems nobody has a single fuck left to give about Theatre Etiquette.

Exhibit B:
Moron Plugs His Cell Phone Into the Outlet ON STAGE in a Theatre, Proving Twice He Could Give A Shit About Everyone Else’s Experience

That was 19-year old Nick Silvestri, climbing up onstage to charge his fucking cell phone. When the ushers and support staff rushed down to see what the ignorant douchebag was doing, he said “well, where can I charge it?”

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From an article at Variety Magazine:

“I downed a few drinks, and I think that clearly impaired my judgment,” said Nick Silvestri, a 19-year-old from Long Island. “I guess I wasn’t really thinking.”

Totally true, you were not thinking.  Even worse, you were thinking about charging your cell phone up so you could be on the fucking thing the entire show, posting photos to your friends of shit you shouldn’t be filming anyway because you don’t have the rights to do so and generally blowing the experience for everyone else around you.  This is why you leave your cell phone in your pocket and enjoy the show you just paid for.  I suppose you could argue that you paid for your ticket and you can do whatever you want, but you’d be wrong — not only did you pay for yours, but all of the people around you did too, and now they have to stare through your dumbass screen-lit head the whole show. That’s why we announce things like this at the top of the show. It’s not FOR you, it’s BECAUSE OF YOU.

From an article at New York Daily News:

“I would like to sincerely apologize,” he said. “I am on my college lacrosse team, and I know just how bad it feels when you are out there working your ass off, and it feels like the crowd isn’t on your side or isn’t paying attention. I feel terrible if any of the amazing actors in this show felt at all disrespected by my actions.”

Initially, Silvestri was unrepentant, telling Playbill on Thursday that he didn’t see the big deal.

“Hey, I’m sorry if I delayed your show five minutes. But you got a lot of attention from this, so maybe I made your show a little better (known),” Silvestri told Playbill.

He had said he only sought to charge the iPhone 6 because it was dying after a full day of fielding calls from “girls…calling all day.”

So when he saw the plug on the set of the Robert Askin comedy hit, he did what any self-respecting teenager would do: he climbed onstage to charge the device.

“I saw the outlet and ran for it,” he told Playbill. “That was the only outlet I saw, so I thought, ‘Why not?’ I was thinking that they were probably going to plug something in there on the set, and I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal if my phone was up there too.”

We appreciate the apology, but the best way to not have to give an apology is to remove your head from your ass and fit in with society.  Next.

The actual outlet on the set of Hand to God, courtesy of Broadway Adjacent http://broadwayadjacent.com/exclusive-the-handtogod-on-set-outlet/

The actual outlet on the set of Hand to God, courtesy of Broadway Adjacent
http://broadwayadjacent.com/exclusive-the-handtogod-on-set-outlet/

Exhibit C:
Patti LuPone Snatches Asshat’s Cellphone During Shows for Days at Lincoln Center

I think letting Patti LuPone tell it in her own words might be best here – to generalize, she grabbed the cell phone of a woman who was texting during the entire second act, and kept that mopho until after the show, when she gave it back to the House Manager and asked him to make the patron feel like an ass.

Patti?

“We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones. They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else – the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage. I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore. Now I’m putting battle gear on over my costume to marshall the audience as well as perform.”

Patti LuPone is Patti LuPone and when she does something, she’s Patti LuPone-ing the hell out of it, and when you go to see her do something, you’re seeing live, practiced, seasoned, tried and true art. Pay closer attention, you might be at a show staring at your phone and you may miss something that could change your life. That’s why you decided to go to the show in the first fucking place, right? That’s why we do this “Entertainment” stuff for you, it’s to try and change your life. Seriously. We do this as hard as any other dedicated people to their craft, and we don’t think it’s generally that funny to see you fuck up other people’s experiences.

People, there is a way to behave at shows that is different than your home. You can act like a rude pig trashball at home all you want, but when you have to interact with society at an event meant to celebrate a piece of art, even if that piece of art is happening in the middle of 15,000 people or more at an arena, you have to keep your inner sow in check. It’s serious, you’re ruining what is literally an investment for a large majority of people at these shows – have you seen concert ticket prices lately?! Let me just say that it’s the people who make the lowest comparative wages at these shows that you’re screwing over when you do stupid shit, it’s not the artists who suffer, it’s the stagehands, the designers, the people who have to clean up after your idiocy, and the security folk who have to try to secure everyone else FROM you while you’re doing stupid shit. Just keep that in mind next time you’re thinking it’d be cool to get yourself on Tosh.0 or World Star Hip Hop, some place where human ignorance is put on display like a zoo of idiots.

Here’s a couple of great fucking links to some excellent fucking blogs in the Theatre world, I highly, highly recommend making them daily stops.  I know I do!

Broadway Adjacent — this is an excellent blog and if you’re in Theatre, read that shit every day.

Playbill — seriously, who in Entertainment doesn’t read PLAYBILL?!

Variety Mag — surprisingly good coverage of Theatre and events.

The Theatre section of Entertainment Weekly

Broadway World — obviously it’s news about the Middle East

And a special treat — since you stuck in this long and put up with all my swearing, here’s a 2009 recording of Patti LuPone dealing with yet another douchebag taking photos of her during Gypsy, right in the theatre.  Ready?

No, no, you’re not ready.

I’m Going Home, Ten Years Later, WOODSTOCK

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Are you familiar with the band Ten Years Later?  Funny enough, it’s been about eleventy years since Woodstock, and this English blues band is still kicking your ass.

Since I’m wide the fuck awake and waiting to try to get some sleep, here’s one of my favorite tunes, I’m Going Home, as they played it live at Woodstock.  Get ready to get your ass kicked!

Carry On My Wayward Son, with ALL of the Cocaine

Wanna see some crazy shit this early on a Monday morning?  #COCAINE

I personally have never seen Carry On My Wayward Son played with this much enthusiasm, um, ever.  Not even at karaoke nights.  Maaaaybe not even ever at karaoke nights back when I used to drink a lot, and those were some crazy nights.

I found this on Dangerous Minds, and this is too awesome not to share (check out Dangerous Minds — one of my favorite blogs!):

A few online sources mention that years later, in the ‘90s, Walsh was supposedly arrested for possession and threatened with jail time. We also know from this 700 Club interview that guitarist Kerry Livgren and bassist Dave Hope were seriously addicted until they “found God.” In that particular interview, Hope admits to having spent $40,000 (in 1980 dollars!) on cocaine the year before his Christian rebirth. We can only guess what the differences would be between Dave Hope’s and Steve Walsh’s level of commitment to the white lady, but this performance seems to indicate Walsh was in imminent danger of flying off the stage and into the stratosphere at any second.

You see, as I have heard many times before…
Cocaine makes you a brand new man!  The problem then becomes that the brand new man then wants some cocaine.

kansas-piano

Holy Shit, Rockstar: Bruno Mars Does Billie Jean On Top of Smells Like Teen Spirit

The title is as suggestively great as the video you’re about to watch on full screen (it’s the only way for this one folks, this is awesome) — and what might be even better than the little piece of rocking the faces off of however many people were there that night is the Dirty Diana cover he transitions into towards the end.

Happy Thursday, you beautiful people.

This is the best freaking images blog I have EVER SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN

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Let’s Nominate Jefferson Waful, Umphrey’s McGee, and ECTO Productions for a 2013 Parnelli Award!

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We have about three methods out there in the entertainment lighting industry for lighting designers to be showcased.  One of those yearly methods is the PLSN Parnelli Awards — it’s like the Oscars for the production industry!

This year, I think we should nominate one of the best LDs for the best bands out there with the best set of production:  Jefferson Waful, Umphrey’s McGee, and ECTO Productions, who supplies UM’s tour kit.  This is my opinion, of course — but if you share this opinion, let’s get Jeff and UM on the bill for one of the best events in the industry to showcase some true talent in this business.

Here’s a look at the form you’ll want to fill out:

parnelli-awards-jimonlight

 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the Parnelli Awards nomination site:  http://www.parnelliawards.com/nominate.php
  2. Under “Lighting Designer of the Year,” type in JEFFERSON WAFUL — under “Show:” type in UMPHREY’S MCGEE
  3. Under “Lighting Company of the Year,” type in ECTO PRODUCTIONS — under “Show:” type in UMPHREY’S MCGEE

When you’re ready to submit, your form will look like this:

parnelli-awards-jefferson-umphreys

 

It’s that easy.  Let’s show our love for one of the TOP acts on the touring market with one of the top LDs out there in the business!

 

 

STUMP Tour Time-Lapse – Umphrey’s McGee and STS9’s Joint Tour! #UM #STS9

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This is excellent, and we’re keeping with the whole stop motion theme today.  This is a video uploaded by the UMVideo account on YouTube — the music you’re rocking out to during the video is Umphrey’s McGee’s Wizard Burial Ground.

Enjoy!

Here’s a bonus bit of rock and roll for you on this fine Thursday… Women, Wine, and Song at Alpharetta, GA! Why? Well, WHY THE HELL NOT?!

Nine Inch Nails’ New Tour Design Pretty Much Nine Inch Kicks Ass

Do you know who Roy Bennett is?  Are you in the lighting industry?  Let me help you out here — go check out Roy Bennett, then come back here.  I’ll wait.

NIN

I wouldn’t say that I’m a NIN fan; but then again, I wouldn’t say that if one of their tunes came on the radio I would turn it off.  Nine Inch Nails has their place for me in the world, but then again I’m one of those trippy dippy jamband people who love the groove.  Call it what you will.  One thing is certain — Roy Bennett’s kick ass production and lighting design work for NIN is definitely just that:  kick ass.

Check out some great video of the pre-production, with those excellent mobile video panels — video put together by The Moment Factory:

NIN Festival Tour – Teaser from Moment Factory on Vimeo.

Then watch this — an AWE-SOME pre-production video of the rehearsals and interviews with tour staff:

Then, Nine Inch Nails fans, a video of the entire performance at the Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands. Here’s the setlist, followed by the video!

00:00:00 — Copy of A
00:06:09 — Came Back Haunted
00:11:28 — 1,000,000
00:15:32 — March of the Pigs
00:19:45 — Piggy
00:24:24 — Terrible Lie
00:29:27 — Burn
00:34:16 — Closer
00:38:50 — Gave Up
00:43:55 — Help Me I Am in Hell
00:45:19 — The Warning
00:49:01 — What If We Could?
00:52:53 — The Way Out Is Through
00:56:33 — Wish
01:00:21 — Only
01:04:41 — The Hand That Feeds
01:08:17 — Head Like a Hole
01:13:58 — Hurt

Sweet.  Roy, you’re AWESOME.

Thanks to Pitchfork for the first video and The Auto Didactic in the Attic for the green smoke image!

MORE CONTRADICTION in the Shelby Stage Collapse – Weather, Equipment, NEGLIGENCE

from WCNC Charlotte - Shelby stage collapse photos

from WCNC Charlotte – Shelby stage collapse photos

I had to start an entirely new post for this information…  this all needs to be shared.  The original post is here, please share with your friends, family, and industry contacts.  Make SURE that you never go near a stage constructed like the ones you’ll see below, because your life depends on it.  Do the math here, folks — thousands of pounds of quickly moving metal and plastics versus your skin, bones, blood, and tissues.  Which do you think is going to win?  Your God will not protect you from faulty rigging, equipment installation, and malfeasant negligence.

Let’s take a look at some info from the contractor’s website, L&N Productions.  The proof of negligence is right there on the website, just thumb through the photos.  James and John Little, along with production manager Mark Doran, showcase several images on their website of past gigs they’ve done — and this interesting little blurb on their website homepage:

“L & N Productions has operated in it’s current form since 1992 and is fully covered by General Liability & Workman’s Compensation.  Our professional and personable staff prides itself in providing high quality sound and lighting, helping to make your event a success. We specialize in festival style events, focusing on smooth transactions and attention to detail. We keep your artists satisfied and your event on schedule. We are there for you!”

Do you think that they’d still be covered under General Liability and Workman’s Comp if the people who administer those coverages knew they were using equipment in this fashion, AGAINST the manufacturer’s recommendations?  Very fortunately for L&N Productions, they haven’t had a collapse in the past.  Take a look through these images, tell me what YOU think.

Yes, that roof is being held up with spansets, and the yellow strap looks suspiciously like truck ratchet strap.  Are those towers just sitting in the grass with NOTHING under the WHEELS?!  YES, yes they are.

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More Genie tower roofing OUTSIDE, with yellow truck strap guy wires.

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Another shot of the OUTDOOR Genie tower rig.  YOU ARE NOT TO USE GENIE TOWERS OUTDOORS!
Can they NOT read the safety guide?!

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 Please note the spansets holding up the sail – or roof, depending on your level of expertise.
WHERE ARE THE OUTRIGGERS???

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This one scares the shit out of me — triangle truss “propping up” the tarp roof, not at all secured to anything (take a look for yourself), with yellow truck strap guying, complete with the standard indoor Genie towers used outside.from-L-N-Productions-website-5

This shot should stop them from ever doing shows again — strap as guying on the front corners of the roof structure, cantilevered on four indoor Genie towers OUTSIDE, putting every person on that stage at risk.from-L-N-Productions-website-4

An indoor arena rig — straps on the PA.
WHERE ARE THE OUTRIGGERS???from-L-N-Productions-website-3

More outdoor usage of INDOOR GENIE TOWERS.  AND, just sitting in the grass on the field, nothing under the wheels, AGAIN.
WHERE ARE THE OUTRIGGERS???from-L-N-Productions-website-2

INDOOR Genie towers OUTSIDE again, and another INDOOR Genie tower holding up the OUTDOOR PA.from-L-N-productions-website-1

Something that is troubling the daylights out of me is the Genie towers used in these photos — they are not the SuperTower family of INDOOR Genie lifts, they are CONTRACTOR GENIE LIFTS with a working load limit of 650 pounds.  Check out the images below of CONTRACTOR TOWERS, and compare them with the crank towers you see in the photos above:

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contractor-genie

These images below here are Genie’s SuperTower (ST) brand of towers, which are the approved INDOOR TOWERS for entertainment:

Genie-Super-Tower

Genie-SuperTower

Notice anything different?  SuperTowers have heavier telescoping tracks, more sturdy outriggers, and ARE FOR ENTERTAINMENT.  The ones used by L&N Productions are CONTRACTOR TOWERS.

Here’s another thing that needs to be put out there… the promoter’s claim that the weather caused the accident are FALSE.  That means they are NOT TRUE.  Here’s why – fellow blogger, lighting expert, and storm chaser John Huntington posted an AWESOME contradiction to the claims that weather had anything to do with this collapse.  My guess is that the promoter and the production company are covering each other’s collective asses.  From John Huntington’s excellent blog Control Geek:

Annotated-mercyme-weather

According to Wikipedia, EHO is the Shelby-Cleveland County Regional Airport, and the Cleveland county fairgrounds are a couple miles away to the north east, about the position of my crude red arrow.   The light blue, bowing north-south line to the left of the purple arrow is a gust front or outflow boundary, generally caused by cool air descending from the storm and indicated on radar by reflections from bugs and dirt in front of the storm.  Crucially, this gust front arrives with high wind gusts before the rain arrives (this is exactly the same situation found at the Indiana State Fair tragedy; you can see my radar loop here).  So if you just watch the radar on a crude phone app and don’t know what to look for, you might miss this critical feature.  But it’s an indication of high winds in front of the storm (as a chaser I’m often surfing this area trying to get a photo, since sometimes an amazing looking shelf cloud forms is in that area, see here for photos from a similar event from earlier this summer).  Here’s the whole loop of the radar, and it’s pretty obvious that something’s coming for quite a long time.  The yellow arrow is the approximate location of the show site; with my mouse, I point out the gust front:

ClevelandCounty2013 from John Huntington on Vimeo.

While another part of the same storm system was under a severe thunderstorm warning (60 MPH+ wind) at the time of the collapse, the show site area apparently was not. Patrick Moore, of the National Weather Service saidthat winds at the site gusted to about 35-40MPH (well below the severe threshold), which should not cause any quality stage roof to collapse.  But, as I noted in the previous entry, it appears that the stage roof was supported with Genie-style towers.  Those are chronically mis-used pieces of gear, and one of the common failings in amateur outdoor usage of these lifts is not accommodating for the intensity of lateral loads caused by the winds, nor the vertical lift possibilities.  Joel Bench, MercyMe’s stage manager, reported “The wind just picked up, the roof lifted a little bit, Then it started tilting and just kind of eased down.”

Thank you for this insight, John.  Folks, make sure to check out John Huntington’s blog, he is a very intelligent dude.  Also, check out Erich Friend’s post on the accident for some excellent insight and video content — Erich runs the Theatre Safety Blog, which is an excellent source for all things event safety.

Please share this with your people.  Stay safe out there, everybody.  I think the Event Safety Alliance needs to be all over this guy’s company.

Another Structure Falls – Stage Roof Made from Genie Towers Collapses in North Carolina

from WCNC Charlotte - Shelby stage collapse photos

from WCNC Charlotte – Shelby stage collapse photos (click for larger view)

UPDATE, Tuesday, August 13, 2013:
I have received some information that directly contradicts what the promoters of the American Legion event have publicly stated, which was covered in the news yesterday.  What I think sucks is that no outlets of mainstream identity will pick up the other side of this story, which is that professionals in the field who have years of experience and training have contradictory information that negates their weather claims.  Here’s what the promoters have stated – from an article at the Charlotte Observer, posted Sunday, August 11, 2013 – bolding is mine for informational emphasis:

The weather, not faulty construction, caused a stage to collapse at the Cleveland County fairgrounds on Saturday, an official with the American Legion, which was sponsoring the event, said Sunday.

MercyMe, a popular Christian band, was expected to perform in front of more than 10,000 fans Saturday night as part of American Legion’s World Series concerts, which lead up to the tournament that runs Aug. 16-20 in Shelby.

But the temporary stage collapsed about 4 p.m. during the band’s sound check. The audience had not begun to arrive, and no one was injured, said Eddie Holbrook, co-chair of the local American Legion World Series committee.

“We knew we were going to get what looked like scattered showers and nothing real bad,” Holbrook said. “Then all of a sudden, within a five-minute span, the winds shifted and immediately there was a severe weather storm alert.”

He added that the company that built the stage, L&N Productions, is “extremely reputable” and has worked on concerts for national artists across the Southeast.

“We didn’t have any concern whether these people had taken any shortcuts,” he said. “We’re attributing it all to the weather.”

Fans were not inside the fairgrounds at the time of the collapse because the gate and ticket sales office weren’t scheduled to open for another 30 minutes.

from WCNC Charlotte - Shelby stage collapse photos

from WCNC Charlotte – Shelby stage collapse photos (click for larger view)

It should be painfully obvious in looking at those photos that weather was a minor (if not a negligable factor) in that stage coming down.

From an official who spoke with JimOnLight.com and was not authorized to speak publicly on the collapse, a touring professional involved with production and NOT associated with L&N Productions:

“The stage was down well before those alleged ’70 mph winds’ hit.  It didn’t take much to knock that thing over.  The roof was picked with spansets…not properly.  The up and down stage double hung was with what looked like truck straps.  The genies didn’t have outriggers – but just the stabilizers.  And the straps they had ‘holding it down’ didn’t make sense.  And, for the record, the seats they had set up were for about 2000-2500 tops. Not the 10,000 the news was reporting.”

The news will never tell you that the stage should never have been built outside with Genie towers.  The news will also never tell you that L&N Productions IS STILL DOING SHOWS, and has another one “just down the road from Shelby.”  Somehow I hope the entire production world learns to stay away from this company’s shows.  They have proven they have no respect for the safety of the crews, musical acts, and audience members.

Please, share the heck out of this, it’s important to get this contradicting information out there to counter the information being put out there.  The promoter may believe that L&N is “reputable,” but they are simply lucky that this hasn’t happened before if this is the rig they are using outside for events.  Genie towers should never be used like this.

I took some screenshots from the video posted from the local NBC affiliate, WCNC — watch the video, then look through the screenshots gallery below it.  Notice the spansets holding the roof structure onto the Genie towers, then ask yourself — WHERE are the outriggers on those towers?  Then maybe ask yourself — WHERE ARE THE OUTRIGGERS ON THOSE GENIE TOWERS?!!  Are those SPANSETS holding the roof to the towers?!  Are those ratchet straps holding the roof down?  If you’re inquisitive like me, ask yourself one more question — were those ratchet straps holding those audio cabinets down on top of the scaffolding?


UPDATE, Monday, August 12, 2013:
The production company who believed this rig was safe was L&N Productions out of Hickory, NC – their website, http://www.landninc.com/, does not work.  Here’s their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/landninc


theafters-stage-collapse

That’s right, sports fans, there’s news of another structure collapse in the JimOnLight headlines this morning. No one was hurt at this religious concert festival at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in North Carolina, but this just goes to show you that not even God can help your production company when you use genie towers and ratchet straps outside to support the rig. If anyone knows who the production company was for this event, please let us know so that I can make sure that people know of their work.

From an article at WSOCTV:

CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. —

A stage collapsed at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds on Saturday night.

No one was hurt in the collapse at the fairgrounds, but the accident is forcing organizers to make some big changes.

Just hours before a concert was set to start at the Cleveland County Fairground, a gust of wind ripped through, toppling a stage.

An organizer said it happened when the stands were still empty, and no one was hurt.

More than 10,000 people were expected to show up for the American Legion World Series concerts. Saturday’s lineup featured Christian artists, Mercy Me, Aaron Shust and the Afters. The show was cancelled Saturday.

Organizers said they did not want to take any chances with safety.

The wind ripped down part of the stage that held the overhead lighting and there was too much damage to fix before showtime.

The Afters tweeted a picture of the stage saying, “Scary moment today. The stage collapsed as we were sound checking. Thankful to God that we are all ok.”

Holy moly. From WISTV, a video of the newscast:

wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |

Looks like it’s painfully obvious that the production company (still unknown at this point) didn’t read the first frigging page of the Genie Tower Safety Manual, I underlined the key components for you:

Do not operate the machine in strong or gusty winds. Increasing the load surface area will decrease machine stability in windy conditions. Do not leave a load raised when windy conditions may occur unless the machine(s) are properly guy-wired.

genie-tower-wind-safety

WHY OH WHY do people not understand BASIC PHYSICS?! When you add A SAIL to an already not strong structure, said structure IS COMING DOWN. More reason why we need to strengthen the rules in this industry — if for no other reason than to STOP the shitty companies from doing things that make us all look bad. This looks bad.

stage-collapse-after

More on this if and when it develops. No one was hurt, THIS time. The event was the American Legion World Series, featuring a bunch of Christian acts. So much for that. I guess not even God can keep up improperly installed equipment.

cleveland-co-christian-concert-collapse

stage-collapse-north-carolina

Workplace Safety in Our Industry — An Awesome Primer from Sound Prospects

Another day, another reminder of how careful we all have to be when we’re out there defying the laws of reality:

indiana-state-fair-collapse-falling

It’s no secret in our business that there are people out doing shows RIGHT NOW that should not be doing work, and companies that are one disaster from screwing up our peace and serenity with their incompetence.  There are also a lot of people out there who have never had their hands on a piece of equipment but feel qualified to give the rest of us advice on how to do things.

The opposite of the two aforementioned groups are folks like the ones at Sound Prospects in Switzerland; Sound Prospects recently wrote a great piece on workplace safety, and I needed to cross-post that article so people hear the safety chant from people OTHER than myself, Erich Friend at Teqniqal Systems (and the awesome Theatre Safety Blog), Richard Cadena from PLASA and the Academy of Production Technology, among other people chanting the Gregorian chant of survival in our business.

Please check out the article at Sound Prospects, written by Alex Schoenknecht.  I recommend also checking out some of Alex’s other articles! — a few highlights from the Workplace Safety article:

Most Common Rigging Mistakes

1.) Unrated Hardware

It is essential that the Safe Working Load (SWL) of all components in a system is known and that the Safe Working Load for the weakest component is not exceeded. Hardware that does not have the SWL clearly forged into it is a “wild card”. Most industrial applications work on a SWL of 5:1. A component that will fail under a load of 5000 lbs. that is given a safety factor of 5:1 has an SWL of 1000 lbs. In the entertainment industry an SWL of 8:1 is the accepted standard.

2.) Incomplete Installation

Even though a component may have a sufficient SWL rating, it becomes a liability if it is not installed correctly. Installations should be neat and clean with hardware properly terminated. An installation that is neat and orderly allows for easier inspections and ensures that the forces on components, such as pulleys, are within the equipment’s design limits.

3.) Damaged Equipment

A piece of damaged equipment becomes the weak link and a liability to the system as a whole. Damaged components must be replaced immediately with ones that are of equal or greater rating. Replacing a broken part, even temporarily, with a substandard piece is putting the integrity of the system at risk.

4.) Wear and Tear

Even the best of systems wear out. This is why it is essential for maintenance to be an ongoing process. Most Countries require yearly inspections of all hoisting equipment. The owner must keep a maintenance and repair log. Since we are often lifting over head the operator must be aware of any changes in how the system is running and investigate the cause immediately to ensure that safe operation is not compromised.

5.) Improper Use

Using equipment for purposes that it was not designed for, or modifying equipment for other purposes, can easily result in overloading and failure. Many components also have strict guidelines as to how and where they should be used by the manufacturer. For example Spectrum 3 proof coil chain is suitable for suspending stationary loads, but if the load will be moving a Spectrum 8 chain is required. It is important to ensure that the components are appropriate for the application.

Thanks for the great article, Alex!