TSA Detained Chewbacca Because They Thought His Light Saber Cane was Dangerous

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As Peter Mayhew put it, the guy who made Chewbacca all that he is in its hairy presence, “Giant man need giant cane.. small cane snap like toothpick…. besides.. my light saber cane is just cool.. I would miss it.

Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew was detained at Denver International Airport on June 3 because TSA thought his light saber cane was dangerous.  So, his oversized acrylic light saber cane was dangerous.  You guys at the TSA do know that light sabers don’t quite exist yet, right?  You have several of my 8″ crescent wrenches, and definitely a handful of Gerber tools you’ve taken from me over the years.  I still will never understand why you tell me I can have a 7″ crescent wrench but not an 8″ crescent wrench every single time you take one from me.  If I had a 7″ crescent would you tell me I could only have a 6″ crescent?

From an article at CNET:

Mayhew’s explanation for this cane possession was very simple: “Giant man need giant cane.. small cane snap like toothpick…. besides.. my light saber cane is just cool.. I would miss it.”

Who could possibly argue with that? Well, the TSA folks wanted to.

However, quite extraordinarily, American Airlines intervened. Mayhew is an extremely frequent flyer and it seems that someone from the airline may have whispered to the TSA: “Do you really think a famous actor is going to hijack a plane with a lightsaber cane?”

Or words with that same ultimate meaning.

This was not before some of Mayhew’s Twitter followers made merry with this terrestrial nonsense.

One, Shane Moore, offered: “@TheWookieeRoars Chewie hijacks plane with light saber… takes passengers to Kashyyyk. Story tonight at 10!”

Mr. Mayhew, who goes by TheWookieeRoars on Twitter, took to Twitter to let the world know what was up.  Chewbacca was just flying home from the Denver Comi-con, and TSA decided to snag his cane because it “looked dangerous.”  After a little bit, some magic happened — TSA released a statement because Mayhew sent out a tweet to 20,000+ followers.  As you’ll notice in the picture above, it took three TSA agents to detain Mr. Mayhew, and I’m sure an entire communications department to decide what they should do that someone called them out on being ridiculous.  Oh, I love paying tax money for these people.  I have no job, and they have eleventy jobs.

Ah, bureaucracy.

Here’s a better shot of that awesome cane:

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A Grim Reminder of the Latest Deaths in Our Beloved Industry Before Summer Work Kicks Off

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HEY!  YOU! 

You there, with the rigging bag.

You there, with the crescent wrench and fearless attitude.

You there, sporting the “supervisor” face but looking at your cell phone when motors are moving.

You there, new guy and new girl, who are googly-eyed at the awesomeness but should be watching their own backs and paying attention to the work.

The summer season of outdoor music and theatre has started, and no matter if you’re doing corporate shows, theatre, music, or art production, this post needs to serve as a reminder.  Along with orgs like PLASA and the Event Safety Alliance, JimOnLight.com is doing everything they can to NOT have a summer like the last few we’ve had – and what I can do is provide a reminder of the hell that we as an industry have seen, not to mention the families of those killed in these accidents and disasters lately.  If I might reiterate, what we do is entertainment; it may pay the bills, but if you see something less than safe happening or took place in putting something together that you might not feel 100% about once it was finished, SPEAK UP NOW!

YOUR DUTY:  It is your duty to the safety of others and your own personal safety to keep your head in the game once you are onsite.  This includes WEATHER concerns, Safety concerns,

To address an email I got from a guy out there who prefers to remain anonymous out there, who asked me what would happen if a person got fired for refusing to do something unsafe.  My response was something along the lines of:

  1. You are probably working for a company that is a time bomb of fail waiting to happen — don’t be the fuse, and don’t feel bad about not wanting to die at work.
  2. Regardless of Fact #1, you should probably consult an attorney before you go thermonuclear.  Most attorneys do so for free.
  3. Call people like OSHA, PLASA, USITT, anyone you can think of if something shady is going on.  So you lose your job – don’t for a second think that the industry won’t be behind you for saving lives.
  4. You can file unemployment in a case like that – a company doing shady safety work will sooner than later be discovered, it would not be in their interest to fight your claim.  But, your mileage may vary, and frankly, some people have better luck than others in life at these things.
  5. Feel good that you aren’t in that situation anymore, and get right back out there and find another gig if you lose yours.  Do the right thing.  Having deaths on your conscience is good for no human, no matter how little of a part you played in the process.

That’s my opinion, anyway.  That’s what I’d do.  An industry that won’t take care of people who keep it safe is not an industry anyone should participate in, regardless of the possible profits.  Money is less valuable than lives.

Here’s a reminder of sacrifices have been made to further the standardization of safety in our business – please forgive me if I overlooked one close to you, all you have to do is email me and I will append this post.

APRIL 5, 2013: 
RIGGERS, TAKE HEED:  Houston Dean Williams slipped and fell to the stage floor while moving around a beam in San Antonio at the AT&T Center.

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MAY 6, 2013:
A man was killed when a PA stack fell on him
at a protest rally in Moscow.

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APRIL 17, 2013:
Boston Marathon Bombings claim the lives of three marathongoers, wounding several dozens.  Let’s not forget, this was at an entertainment function.

Boston Marathon Explosions TOPIX

March 15, 2013:
A video wall came apart and fell on stage hands
in Miami for Ultra Music Festival.  No one killed, fortunately, but several people were hurt.

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June 16, 2012:
1 dead, 3 wounded at a Radiohead concert in Toronto, Ontario
.

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December 15, 2011:
1 person was killed and 8 people injured when truss collapsed
in Trieste, Italy at a Jovanotti concert.

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August 19, 2011:
5 people killed and 70+ injured when a storm blew over a stage
at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium.

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Perhaps the worst of them all lately…  August 15, 2011:
At the Sugarland show at the Indiana State Fair, a storm blew over an outdoor stage loaded with audio and lighting truss, killing 7 people and injuring 58.

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May 13, 2010:
A young lighting tech in West Palm Beach fell to his death from a catwalk while working on a show.

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July 27, 2009:
A Pepsi Battle of the Bands in Guangzhou, China experiences a huge, sudden storm that tips over LED screens and injures several dozen.  Reports of people killed were removed from the web, so I think it’s fair that we can assume several people died in this accident.

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July 16, 2009:
At a Marseilles, France tour stop for Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet tour, a stage roof collapsed, killing 2 stage hands involved in the load-in.

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Let’s also never forget the Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake truss collapse in August 2003:

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Just don’t forget.  Also, don’t forget that you are responsible for yourself out there, and when you’re putting equipment together, keep in mind that your diligence will mean the difference between you and others going home on the bus and going home in the ambulance – or even worse, getting a ride home with the coroner.

Be safe out there, Road Warriors!

 

My Random Traveling Life Lately

I just sorted through eleven thousand photos from the last few months.  I’m finally getting time to plow through the enormous backlog of content I have to share with you!

I noticed that I had so many photos of traveling — nothing really terribly focused, but just so much traveling.

SO.  MUCH.  TRAVELING.

I was going to try and put some rhyme or reason to this collection, but I think you’ll enjoy it if you don’t travel — and you’ll commiserate if you travel like me or more.  Some people travel about ten times what I do…

and then there’s the road warriors…

Check out the whole gallery!  There are 112 photos from random locations…  see if you recognize them!

(Click on a photo icon and you’ll open the JimOnLight Photo Gallery!)

 

Come See Jim at PLASA Focus Stamford, November 11-12, 2012

Hey, are you in Stamford, Connecticut – or anywhere near?

Are you a fan of light and lighting?

Do you love going around to trade shows seeing what’s new and hip in the world of light?

Then hop the albatross and get to PLASA Focus Stamford!!!  It’s today and tomorrow, November 11-12, 2012.  I’ll be in the CAST Group booth for this show, come get a free hug while you can!  I’ll be in Booth 121 — or as soon as you come into the conference room, just look for the big CAST stand!

I’m also going to be giving my presentation called The Birth, The Childhood, and The Apparent Adolescence of Lighting Design Technology at 1:30pm Monday and 12:30pm Tuesday.  Come check it out, it’s free!  It’s also not a sales pitch, I really hate that at these shows.  PLASA Focus shows are all about the manufacturer and maker NOT hiding behind their huge Vegas-sized booths and have to actually answer questions and talk to people.  The room is tiny, and it is 10000% worth it.  Come check it out!

I also HIGHLY recommend checking out the following seminars, all available at PLASA Focus Stamford’s Seminar Schedule site:

MONDAY:

  • John Huntington’s What Is A Network, and Why Should I Care? — 1pm Monday
  •  Richard Pilbrow’s Architecture and the Art of TheatreDesign — 5pm Monday
     PS, he’s also signing his book then too — and that book is AWE-SOME.
  • Wendall Harrington’s Is Video Killing Theatre? 9am Monday
  • Don Holder’s Lighting Design:  The Past, Present, and Future — 10am Monday
  • Bill Sapsis‘ Heads Up!1pm Monday

TUESDAY:

  • TMB’s The Art of Wireless Control by Lumen Radio — 1030am Tuesday
  • The Tribe’s Visual Design for Live Performance — 11am Tuesday
  • Steve Shelley’s A Practical Guide to Starting A Career in Technical Theatre — 1pm Tuesday

This is going to be a great show!

Philips, Strand, and Vari*Lite at LDI 2012

Philips/Strand/Vari*Lite (so many names!) always has some serious presence over the last five or six trade shows I’ve done, from LDI to ProLight + Sound in Frankfurt. Their booth always looks wicked cool, and I’m always happy to post pictures of what my buddy Brad Schiller is coming up with nowadays. It’s amazing to see where the industry is heading, and it’s always formatted by the guys out there like Brad.

Check out some awesome shots from Philips at LDI 2012!

You can also check out all of the images via the Gallery Method!

Which Trade Shows Have You Done This Season?

I do a hell of a lot of trade shows, as you all know already because mostly I see a lot of you there, and I’m curious as to what the readers of JimOnLight.com do in your respective individual trade show seasons.  I’d love to know, so if’n you don’t mind, would you leave a comment on this post and let me know?  I’ll love you fo sho!

So far this year for me:

The Special Event 2012, Tampa
ProLight and Sound 2012, Frankfurt
the National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB) 2012, Las Vegas
PLASA Focus 2012, Austin
PLASA Focus 2012, Nashville
PLASA 2012, London

Shows coming up for me:
LDI 2012, Las Vegas
EIBTM 2012, Barcelona
PLASA Focus 2012, Stamford

Howzabout you?  Leave a comment below!

 

ProLight+Sound 2012 – Eine Kleine Schweineschnitzel

Hiya, everybody!

I’m back in the land of the horse-riding 5-0, at the hotel for one more week.  I have an apartment that is available April 1, and I’ll be moving in April 2.  I never thought I would be so happy to see a king-sized bed and my little fan blowing air on me so I can sleep.  I’ll also be flying back to Oklahoma pretty soon to load-out of my apartment there and drive that stuff up to Toronto.  I’ll also be able to pick up my sweetheart!

I just spent the last nine days in Frankfurt, Germany working the CAST Software booth for ProLight+Sound 2012.  What an awesome show!  The Messe Frankfurt is huge;  there are about eleven buildings full of lighting, audio, lasers, pyro, musiccal instruments, thumping bass, people from all over the world, atmospheric haze, video screens, LEDs, and currywurst.  Holy moly, do I love currywurst.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the little chopping machine they stick the wurst in to chop it into bite-sized pieces — it would make every man who reads this blog cringe with pain and every woman laugh their asses off at the sympathetic pain response.  Yeah.

I took a few handfuls of pics from my iPhone, and I have some awesome video from the show, which I’ll be putting together soon.  I hope you enjoy the show!

Gallery – click on a thumbnail, and a window opens up to show you the glory!

JimOnLight.com in San Francisco – the Non-Work Photos – at Photonics West 2011

I did have a hell of a time in San Francisco, that much has to be said.  Between working our butts off to make the booth look great, not getting some of the gear we needed shipped for our booth, and stumbling around looking for a Starbucks, I had a BLAST!

(Come on.  I kid – there’s a fu%$ing Starbucks every five feet in San Francisco, don’tcha know?)

Check out some photos I took on my trip – fun was had by all!

The lovely ladies of marketing from DiCon Fiber-Optics and DiCon Lighting – get ready, I’m posting something about a new DiCon product VERY, very soon.  Absolutely exciting!

Two industry veterans talking about touring – Rick Hutton from InLight Gobos on the left, Mark Hetrick from a billion road miles on the right.  Mark, Rick, and I walked the Photonics West tradeshow floor for a while, then Rick and I did some geeking out on the South floor.  What a great conference!

Here’s the image gallery of my trip – if you click on a thumbnail, a magic image gallery opens up!

LDI 2009: Elation Lighting’s Booth

One of my favorite booths this year, as in several previous years, has been the Elation Lighting booth.  It’s always ridiculously energetic, and it’s always in prime real estate at each show.  How did you guys get that spot?  Right up front?  I mean, you could not physically not see your booth if you were walking onto the show floor.  Crazy!

I love Elation’s work on their LDI booths.  Good work, folks.  Also, I loved the Impression and Impression XL – I saw them in use on Chris Kuroda’s rig for Phish in Hamptop, VA back in March 2009.  They’re a pretty cool set of fixtures.

Check out Elation’s booth pics:

The Impression – pretty cool.

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Love it!  It’s like WE ARE ELATION LIGHTING WELCOME TO LDI ENJOY YOUR STAY YEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!

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LDI 2009: SeaChanger’s Booth

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One of my favorite booths this year was SeaChanger’s booth.  Besides the fact that they have a great product and are using the LIFI lamp like rockstars, SeaChanger had their standard setup – Eileen Morris (gourmet chef and wife of Tom Morris at SeaChanger) cooked those of us at the conference some of the finest food I’ve ever eaten.  Most definitely the best omelet I’ve ever eaten.

The entire booth was lit by plasma sources – I have completely forgotten the percentage that Tom Stanziano gave me about how much less power the SeaChanger booth was using by having plasma lamps in their fixtures – but at least 30% less comes to mind.  The light from these LIFI sources and the SeaChanger optics is pretty stunning.  The booth itself is set up like a kitchen show – broadcast camera feeds to plasma screens, showing how nice the light appears on camera.

Quite frankly, it is a damned beautiful light.

Okay – omelets, Grand Marinier whipped creme on crepes, the SeaChanger color engine, and the LIFI lamp.  This was a good combination for LDI 2009 for me!

I have some really interesting stuff coming up about SeaChanger this week – you have to stay tuned, especially if you like glass color filters…

Check out some images of SeaChanger’s LDI 2009 exhibit:

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That’s my hand, and it’s resting on the cooling fins of the SeaChanger below using a LIFI lamp.  Awesome.

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SeaChanger Wash:

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Look!  It’s a Nautilus, a Profile, and a Wash!

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Thanks for the omelet, Eileen!