Demfys Fyssicopulos, You Left Us Too Soon

demfys

The industry is mourning the passing of Demfys Fyssicopulos, favorite programmer/LD to many high profile acts, from Prince to Black Eyed Peas, Tupac’s hologram at Coachella, and Maroon 5, just to name a few.  Demfys was a hilarious guy, very friendly, always had time for me at trade shows, and was one hell of a lighting artist.

The news from Facebook is that Demfys passed away in a surfing accident.  We’re so sorry to hear of this, you will certainly be missed.

Maroon5-honda-civic-tour

Photos courtesy of Demfys’ company page.  Feel free to leave a comment here in memory of Demfys, or check out his Facebook page — the sympathy is swelling, this is a major loss for our industry.  You’ll be missed, good sir.

Tragedy at KA in Las Vegas — Sarah Guyard-Guillot Falls to Her Death During Final Fight Scene

sarah-guyard-guillot-headshot

Update, Wednesday, July 3, 2013:
Clark County Nevada Coroner’s Office releases a statement in the investigation of Sarah Guyard Guillot’s death. From the press release, bolding is mine:

The Clark County Office of Coroner/Medical Examiner has determined that Sarah Guillot-Guyard, a performer in KA by Cirque du Soleil, died on Saturday, June 29, from multiple blunt force trauma suffered when she fell approximately 90 feet.

Guillot-Guyard, 31, was a citizen of France and resident of Las Vegas.

The manner of her death was accidental. The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is continuing the investigation into how this accident occurred. The OSHA investigation could take up to six months to complete.

We extend our sincere condolences to Sarah Guillot-Guyard’s family, as well as to her extended Cirque du Soleil family.

Sarah Guyard-Guillot, left, and Sami Tiaumassi perform as Forest People during Cirque du Soleil's 'Ka' in 2008 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Guyard-Guillot, mother of two young children, was pronounced dead at a hospital late Saturday night after falling about 50 feet from the show's stage during a performance of the show.

Sarah Guyard-Guillot, left, and Sami Tiaumassi perform as Forest People during Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Ka’ in 2008 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Guyard-Guillot, mother of two young children, was pronounced dead at a hospital late Saturday night after falling about 50 feet from the show’s stage during a performance of the show.

sarah-ka-and-her-kids

I’m so sorry to report that Sarah Guyard-Guillot, otherwise affectionately known as “Sasoun,” fell to her death at Cirque du Soleil’s KA at the Saturday night show on 30 June 2013.  Sarah was a mother of two beautiful little kids (an 8 and a 5 year old) and had been working for Cirque since 2004 at the MGM Grand.  She was also a part of the Cirque family — and if you’ve ever known someone who worked for Cirque, it is truly a family and they are truly devastated at the loss of such an amazing performer.  Furthermore, KA has one of the most scrutinized safety and performance systems of all of the Las Vegas shows, and something must have drastically failed in order for Sarah to have fallen.  Her passing breaks the hearts of the entire Cirque family.

This was the first death accident in Cirque’s 30+ year history, which leaves the production closed until further notice and leaves the cast, crew, and Cirque family hurting today as they mourn the loss of such an amazing person and performer.

cirque-ka-death-sarah

From a press release at KA regarding Sarah Guyard-Guillot’s tragic death:

Las Vegas (June 30, 2013) – The entire Cirque du Soleil family is deeply saddened by the accidental death of Sarah (Sasoun) Guyard-Guillot, artist on the production KÀ, that happened on Saturday, June 29th, in Las Vegas. The artist’s immediate family has been informed of the accident.

Our thoughts are with her family and the entire Cirque du Soleil family.

“I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news. Sassoon was an artist with the original cast of KÀ since 2006 and has been an integral part of our Cirque du Soleil tight family. We are reminded, with great humility and respect, how extraordinary our artists are each and every night. Our focus now is to support each other as a family. “ said Cirque du Soleil Founder, Guy Laliberté.

We have been working with the appropriate authorities and have offered our full cooperation.

Performances of KÀ will be cancelled until further notice.

There aren’t a lot of details surrounding the accident and subsequent death of Sarah Guyard-Guillot, but from comments posted at Sasoun’s memorial page are heartbreaking — each and every one.  Sarah will most certainly be missed, and her talent will go unchecked after being so shortly and accidentally taken from Earth.

Sasoun and her final fight outfit

Sasoun and her final fight outfit

The stories on Sarah’s accidental fall are numerous, but there are a few things that have ringed repeatedly regarding the accident — from the Las Vegas Sun:

According to reports from audience members, the incident occurred Saturday night during the latter stages of the production at MGM Grand. Guyard-Guillot was one of the artists suspended by a wire from the show’s vertical stage in the show-closing Final Battle scene. As she ascended to the top of the stage, she slipped free of her safety wire and dropped to the open, unseen pit below the performers.

After the incident, one eyewitness seated in the middle of the audience and just a few rows from the lip of the stage said Guyard-Guillot dropped from the left side of the set (or on the right side, as audience members face the production) over a distance of at least 50 feet. In the act, performers wear harnesses that are clipped to cables, and that apparatus is designed to keep them in position onstage. Guyard-Guillot was reportedly still in her harness when she fell from the stage.

The show momentarily continued, but then the music halted, and the performer’s screams and groans could be heard from below the stage.

“(The artist) was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down,” said Dan Mosqueda, visiting with his wife and 10-year-old son from Colorado Springs, Colo. “Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the choreographed fight. But you could hear screaming, then groaning, and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage.” Mosqueda’s wife, Annie, has a background in theater and tweeted about the incident soon after it occurred.

Minutes after the artist’s fall, a recorded announcement was played on the theater’s sound system informing ticket-buyers that refunds or vouchers to future shows would be offered to those in the audience, and the crowd was dismissed.

From Fox News in Las Vegas, which has quite a bit of information for Fox News:

KCTV5

From a post at the Examiner:

The accident happened just before the show’s finale Saturday. The scene where the Cirque du Soleil performer was killed is one where the artists are on lines controlled by remotes, hanging 50 feet up in the air…

Witnesses indicate that the incident happened during the battle scene with the vertical stage near the end of the show. Sarah Guyard-Guillot, 31, was suspended by a wire and she slipped free of her safety wire. She dropped into a pit below the performers, and it seems she fell about 50 feet.

The show continued for a moment, but was then halted and attendees were told they could get refunds or vouchers for another show. Sadly the Cirque du Soleil performer died on the way to the hospital, reports indicate.

Authorities are investigating Sarah Guyard-Guillot’s death, and for now further “Ka” shows have been canceled. Despite the risky maneuvers the performers do throughout the various Cirque du Soleil shows, this is the first death that has happened in the thirty years of the troupe’s acts.

Sasoun doing what she loved

Sasoun doing what she loved

A video commentary from Sealight Films:

Please visit Sarah Guyard-Guillot’s memorial page, send the Cirque family a nice message.  Sasoun was taken before her time.  My thoughts are with her children, the Cirque family, and anyone affected by this horrible tragedy.  I’m so sorry to have to report on another entertainment death. I will do my best to get any facts I can to pass on. Stay tuned to JimOnLight.com for more information.

sasoun-cirquefit

Sarah-Guyard-Guillot

 

Links:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/jul/02/ka-performer-fell-90-feet-her-death-coroner-report/#axzz2Y0pUD9rw

 

ELS and the Family of Danilo Morales Need Our Thoughts Today.

The good folks at Entertainment Lighting Services in Sun Valley, California need our thoughts today – actually yesterday when they tweeted about it was the start, and even before that.  If you’ve worked in the industry, you know or have worked with ELS.  Unfortunately they’re suffering the loss of one of their warehouse team, Danilo Estuerdo Morales.  Dilo, as they called him, was shot Monday evening, January 9, trying to help his grandfather, who was being mugged and assaulted by three men.  They shot him while they were running away.  Dilo was 25.  These three scumbags are still at large.  If you’re out there and you know something, give the Los Angeles Police Department a call, please.  From the LAPD Blog, who already has a post up about Dilo’s murder (EXCELLENT work, LAPD BLOG):

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the suspect vehicle or the location of the suspects is being asked to notify either Detective Castro or Detective O’Donnell, North Hollywood Homicide Detectives at 818-623-4075. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

We’re really sorry to hear of Dilo’s passing.  If you read this, take a second and send some good vibes to Dilo’s family and the ELS family out there on the West Coast and across America.

Jovanotti Concert Truss Collapse. 1 Dead, 8 Injured.

These types of stories are so hard to read, and even more difficult to write.  I’m not sure if you’ve seen the images on this one, but there’s been another trussing collapse, this time in Trieste, Italy:

Unfortunately, a 20 year old hand was killed in this accident as he helped assemble the rig – Francesco Pinna was pronounced at the scene, and eight others were taken to a hospital.  Theatre Safety Guru and general ridiculously intelligent engineer Erich Friend posted the initial article on this horrible tragedy, his article is posted on his safety blog, The Theatre Safety Blog.  From Erich’s blog post on the Trieste collapse:

The concert has been cancelled and the remainder of the Ora Tour has been suspended pending investigation.  The sports complex in the San Sabba district, next to the Nereo Rocco football stadium, was seized by the authorities and cordoned-off. “All concerts have been suspended”, announced Maurizio Salvadori, owner of the Trident agency that manages the artist. “We’ll decide what to do tomorrow but at the moment no one wants to go on stage.  It is not known why the structure collapsed.  As always, everything was certified by an engineer. The structure was used all summer with no problems.”  Mr Salvadori explained that the “ground support”, scaffolding that carries speakers and reflectors, had given way.  The mayor of Trieste, Roberto Cosolini, hurried to the site of the accident and underlined the urgent need for “the investigations and expert reports to ascertain responsibility for this incident to be carried out with maximum rigour”.

Ugh.  What horrible news.  There’s not a lot of information flying around about this accident, but there are several videos posted on Youtube about the aftermath and how horrible it looks.  Here are a few videos, all post event, of the aftermath of the Jovanotti concert truss collapse:

…and another video showing some collapse aftermath:

I’m so sorry to Francesco Pinna and his family and friends. This is for certain a horrible tragedy.

Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Claims A Seventh Victim

I want to make sure that no one ever forgets these two images:

Unfortunately, this horrible accident has claimed its seventh life, and now Meagan Toothman’s family is donating her organs, perhaps later today.  Here’s another image not to forget:

Rest in peace, Meagan.  Thanks for donating your organs so that others may improve their quality of life.  We’re really sorry that you had to have this decision made for you.  If you would like to know more about Meagan, check out Meagan’s family’s website on Meagan’s process.  Unfortunately, you know how the story turned out already.

Just a quick recap of some stories you should be reading about this disaster in Indiana:

Boo’s thoughts on the Indiana Stage Collapse

 

Indiana’s Self Policing Raises Questions – this one is kinda great, just because it calls into question the procedures and practices being used by Indiana Fair Investigators.  From the article:

Other states in similar positions have formed special commissions with outside experts to handle investigations, including of a bonfire collapse at Texas A&M University and the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels so far hasn’t mentioned the idea, and instead has repeatedly referred to the wind gust that toppled the stage but spared other nearby structures as a freak occurrence that couldn’t have been anticipated.

“The fair has an interest in protecting itself,” attorney Jerry Miniard of Erlanger, Ky., who is representing an injured girl, said Thursday. “Why in the world would you let someone who may be responsible investigate themselves?”

Miniard said he is a friend of the father of 10-year-old Jade Walcott, whose skull was crushed by the falling stage. He questioned how thorough the probe will be given that it’s nearly all being done in-house.

“The state of Indiana is basically investigating itself,” he said.

Judy Nadler, a former mayor of Santa Clara, Calif., who is a senior fellow in government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, said that could be a mistake.

“There’s this sort of automatic default to say, we have people here internally who can take a look at this … but for something so closely affiliated with the state, it would be wise to call upon someone who doesn’t have any even perceived conflict of interest,” Nadler said. She suggested bringing in someone from outside the state, perhaps even an outside regulator.

“I think it really is such a significant event … it requires a level of independence to fully discern the facts and to fully convey to the public that this was a fair and thorough and impartial and nonpolitical look at what happened,” she said.

State fair officials did announce this week that they had hired New York engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti Inc. to review the stage’s design and construction, but Miniard questioned how far-ranging that probe might be since the state will determine the scope of the investigation.

“The state of Indiana is in complete control over the investigation,” Miniard said. “And the state’s interests are possibly different than those people who were injured or killed.

Fair spokesman Andy Klotz said the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other agencies conducting their own investigations will all report to the fair commission. “I am quite sure that everybody is going to be satisfied with the thoroughness of this investigation,” he said. “And nobody wants the answers more than us.”

You know what, I’m not touching that one today.

Also, see the article Indiana State Fair’s Disaster Preparedness Plan is One Page Long.

You still think this is a fluke, Governor Daniels?

Help A Killed and An Injured Brother in the Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse #hoosierstatecollapse PLEASE RT

UPDATE:  I have received information on how to make donations to Nate Byrd’s family.  Send donations to:

IATSE LOCAL 30
ATTN:NATHAN BYRD FAMILY (you MUST SPECIFY)
1407 EAST RIVERSIDE DRIVE
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46202-2037

Right now we have a task to do for our fallen brother’s family in Indiana, everybody.  Nathan Byrd was up in the truss when it fell to the ground in a storm.  He was working to support his two kids, who are now in need of support because their father died in the tragedy at the Indiana State Fair Hoosier Lottery Grandstand stage on Saturday, August 14, 2011.  You’ve read the articles I’ve written about the disaster, and undoubtedly seen the video.

Nathan Byrd’s obituary:

Nathan Lee Byrd
51, of Indianapolis, passed away August 14, 2011. He was born September 24, 1959 to Alvin Lee and Loretta J. (Wilkerson) Byrd.

A lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Nathan was a graduate of Manual High School. He was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #30, where he was instrumental in the erection and lighting of stages for various venues in the Indianapolis area. He was a member of Calvary Tabernacle.  Visitation will be Wednesday, August 17, 2011 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Shirley Brothers Thompson Road Chapel , 3333 E. Thompson Rd., with funeral services Thursday at 1:00 p.m. at Calvary Tabernacle, 902 Fletcher Ave.  Nathan is survived by his parents, Alvin and Loretta Byrd; children, Trevor and Natalie Byrd; siblings, Randy Byrd, Kim Byrd, Marilyn Barfield (Joe), Scott Byrd and Bryan Byrd. http://www.shirleybrothers.com

This is a rough time for the families of all involved.  If you can do anything to help Nathan Byrd’s family, I know that they would be so grateful.  The brothers and sisters of IATSE Local 30 have started a fund for Nathan Byrd’s family at http://www.cicf.org/.  I’m so sorry I don’t have many details on the fund yet, but perhaps CIC will.  Shirley Brothers located above in Nathan’s obit might also know of ways to help the family.  If you have a few bucks, please help them out.  This is, as you can imagine, is not a good time for them.  If you can’t afford to help, then help yourself as we all have to do.  JimOnLight.com is making a donation.  If you have the means to help, skip a month of lattes, that’s what I’m doing to help this family.

Luck shone on Steve Stover, a stagehand from IATSE Local 30 who was also in the truss when it fell, but managed to not be killed in the fall.  From the last I heard about this after checking in on it, Steve is still in ICU in critical condition, is expected to make a recovery, but he’s apparently in for a long-winded recovery.  Lighting Designer Cosmo Wilson is asking that we send Steve a card for when he comes to in the ICU.  I just filled one out, slapped a stamp on it, and it is on its way.  If you wanna send Steve a little note, please do so by sending it to his hospital room:

Indiana University Health
Steve Stover / Room A5216
PO Box 1367
Indianapolis, IN 46206

Thanks for everything you do, everybody.  Help if you can, and send good thoughts if you can’t help out right now.

We need to have industry professionals involved with this investigation.  Somebody like Bill Sapsis, Erich Friend, somebody with the engineering background and the knowledge of our systems.  Perhaps they’re already involved, I personally do not know, but no one is doing or saying anything outwardly to put any comfort into this situation.  Our voice is the loudest when we speak as one people, one industry.  If you feel that you want this investigation made by people who are industrial professionals, please make your voice heard, leave a comment here.

Oklahoma City National Memorial at Night – A Photo Tour

This has to be said – if you want to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the best time to get the best experience is after the Sun sets.

For almost 1.25 years now I have lived directly across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial – the site of the Murrah Building bombing by now dead bad guy Timothy McVeigh.  I have watched people go in and out of this site, at all times of day or night (I myself have been there at 3:45am and 1am, as I don’t sleep much), in all kinds of weather.  The memorial is incredible pretty much any time I set my eyes on it.

During the day, the sun plays on the shapes and structures made by the memorial chairs, and the trees take care of giving the entire site a nice textured light to soften the reality of why the site is there.  At night though, the Memorial grounds are transformed; there is no longer a need to see everything.  The soft light and the directional path on which your eye is taken leads to the most pertinent areas of the memorial, from the field of empty chairs at night, each with an illuminated lower section, to the Survivor Tree, where you are given yet another view of the field of chairs.  To me, I feel the most solemn when visiting the memorial at night.  Obviously though, I’m a lighting designer, and I could find the emotion in a stray beam of light that came from some intergalactic star burp.

Just as a quick spatial guide, as you are at the memorial, if you enter and are standing looking with the chairs on the left or right, you are looking down Fifth Street.  FIfth used to run continuously between Classen and I-235, but the Memorial now sits at the spot of the bombing.  The chairs you will see are located where the building used to sit, and the chairs represent people killed in the explosion.  To be quite honest, I don’t know if you’re supposed to go onto the grassy area where the chairs are, but I just had to be close enough to pay my respects to the victims.  I also went at night though, I didn’t want to cause a bother.

Here are the chairs and the grounds from the building directly across the street from where the Murrah Building once stood:

You’ll notice in the image above that there are two arches that stop Fifth Street – one that says 9:01, and the other that says 9:03.  These are the Gates of Time.  At the eastern most side of the Memorial is 9:01 – the minute before the bombing, where life as we knew it was one way.  The bombing occurred at 9:02am, which is represented by the large reflecting pool and I believe the Memorial itself.  9:03, at the western most end of the Memorial, is where we now know life to be – after the bombing, after the death, after the bomber’s death.

Here’s the same view from my apartment, but in the evening:

What a beautiful memorial – you must commend the designers of this memorial, Hans and Torrey Butzer and Sven Berg, for their wonderful use of the night and the light in their design.

Below is a Gallery View of the photos – if you click on any one thumbnail, it will open the series in Gallery format for your enjoyment!  I have given each titles and some descriptions to give you bearing as you navigate through the set.

Thank you so much to the Oklahoma City National Memorial website and Wikipedia.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Horrifying Statistics About Our United States Classroom Experiences

This is barely lighting related, but in my current state of mind, I had to share this with you.  Please join me in making this horrifying group of statistics go away.  Does it surprise you that American students rank among the lowest in the world?

This makes me want to f%$#ing puke.  If you imagine this is the case for general education, can you imagine what these stats must be for lighting education?  Holy crap.

Ugh.  Make it better.

RIP Rutherford the Brave, Super Lumen Kitty

one of the three patented "leia looks"

No one but me probably cares about this, but since it’s my website and all…

Today in 2007, my favorite cat passed away.  His name was Rutherford the Brave, and he was a total lighting designer’s kitty.  We went through a lot of rough and awesome times together. Somewhere I have video of Rutherford actually moving a fader up on a Hog 1000, but I can’t find it!

Thanks for being my pal, buddy boy. I miss you so much.

the cutest picture of Ruthman and his daddy

me and the ruthman:  an intimate portrait

rutherford sleeping

ruthman spills out of his bed

secret tool bag hiding spot with lazer eyes

lolmofo

sleepy little man

RIP Jody Hanson from ETC

Oh wow.  What a bummer of a thing to read.

ETC‘s long time Promo and Ad Manager, Jody Hanson, passed away this last weekend.  I just found out about it.  That lady was awesome – a hard driving deal maker with a respect and knowledge of the lighting industry that we all call home.  Jody understood how important the world of blogging and Social Media was to the industry, and she was supportive of people like myself in the beginning of our careers.

We’ll miss you, Jody.

From ETC’s press release about Jody’s passing:

Middleton, WI (2 June 2010) — A mainstay of ETC’s Marketing department for over 13 years as the company’s Promotions and Advertising Manager, Jody Hanson passed away on Sunday, May 30, 2010. The global family of ETC grieves the loss.

From January 1997, when Jody started at ETC, she brought her passion for professionalism to the ETC Marketing team, locally and globally. Entrusted with ETC’s representation to the promotional media, Jody was well known and respected in the industry. She led countless successful promotional campaigns and projects for ETC — on every new product since the introduction of the Obsession® II lighting control console.

As Electronic Theatre Controls’ Chief Executive Officer Fred Foster reflects, “Jody gathered together a truly creative team of people who produced more than 100 trade shows, hundreds of media placements, and uncountable hits on our website. They all followed her professional lead to produce a precise and complete image for ETC. We all miss Jody, but her impact on our lives will never fade.”

ETC Vice President of Marketing Bill Gallinghouse concurs: “Jody had a unique ability to break down the largest and most complex objectives into manageable parts and guide them perfectly to fruition.”

Born on January 10th, 1954, Jody was a Wisconsinite who made the Madison area her home for the last 14 years. She is survived by her husband John, and her daughter Emily.

A memorial will take place for Jody on Saturday, June 5th, 2010, in her hometown of Columbus, Wisconsin, at St. Jerome’s Church, 1550 Farnham St., starting at 8:30 a.m., followed by a memorial mass of burial at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people make donations to or volunteer time with their favorite charity.

Please use Cornerstone Funeral Services’ online guestbook to express condolences to the family:
www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/tribute.cfm?o_id=626959&fh_id=11053&s_id=B7DF14561337816249238C23C057EAAB