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Jim’s On the Way Home from NAB 2010

I am sitting in the Vegas airport waiting for my flight to board, thinking of all the absolutely awesome times I had over the last 72 hours.  The NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center was a HIT for me – lots of people, lots of interviews, and tons of fun.  A word to the wise though – Phil’s Steakhouse at Treasure Island gave me food poisoning, so I spent Monday afternoon and night holed up in my room puking my guts out.

<start Google Sarcasm tracking>Thanks a lot for the day of vomit, Phil’s Steakhouse.</sarcasm>

Tuesday was an unbelievable day – not only did I get to interview two of my favorite lighting designers (Jefferson Waful from Umphrey’s McGee and TJ Gerckens from – well, everywhere), but I also got to talk to Jeff Ravitz, John Gates, Jon Griffin from Saddleback Church, and many other great pros.  A major thanks to Tom Stanziano and Phil Buchsbaum from SeaChanger/Ocean Thin Films for flying me out and allowing me to have outstanding conversations with outstanding people on film.  What an amazing few days.  Amazing.

Videos coming soon – stay tuned!

Wybron’s “Backstage Las Vegas” at LDI

From Wybron’s PR department – I will soon be touring the Wybron color scroller factory not far from Denver in a few weeks.  You can be sure I’ll post pictures, as I have been all over the globe with Wybron scrollers and gear.  I’m pretty excited to see their facilities.

Ok, I digress.  The press release!

LDI’S ‘BACKSTAGE LAS VEGAS” BOOSTED BY WYBRON

An in-depth look behind the scenes of some the hottest venues in Sin City brought a crowd to Backstage Las Vegas at LDI 2008.

Nearly 100 industry pros toured several state-of-the-art theatres and a posh nightclub during the three-day event, which gave attendees the chance to quiz the technicians and designers who make the venues shine.

It’s a great opportunity to meet others in the industry and learn from its experts, said Ellen Lampert-Gréaux, head of Backstage Las Vegas and director of LDI.

“They really get to see how different problems are solved in these different theatres,” Lampert-Gréaux said of the event partially sponsored by Wybron.

Backstage Las Vegas kicked off Oct. 20 with a performance of “Jersey Boys” at The Palazzo followed by a question-and-answer session with production staff. Day two gave attendees a look inside theatres at Planet Hollywood, The Palms, and The Palazzo before heading to Luxor for a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s newest show, Criss Angel’s “Believe.”

Day three took the group to Cherry Nightclub, a luxurious hotspot located at Red Rock Resort and Casino, and The Venetian theatre housing the Vegas version of “Phantom of the Opera,” where the group caught the show and chatted with the staff afterward.

The Backstage entourage also grabbed a glimpse of a Blue Man Group sound check.

Backstage Las Vegas drew a global audience, with industry pros from Mexico, England, South America, Europe, and beyond.

“Backstage has always appealed to a wide variety of people,” Lampert-Gréaux said.

That even includes a Texas cattleman.

Joe Batson may be president of Coldwater Cattle Company, but he also helps produce and sponsor the nonprofit musical “Texas,” which hits the stage each summer in beautiful Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo.

Batson’s passion for the arts has brought him to LDI every year since 2000. Through Backstage, he’s been able to see inside the operations of some of the biggest productions around – and the steps they’ve taken to stay successful, even in the face of problems.

“They’ve been through it and done it and said, ‘Oh, that’s not going to work; why don’t you try this?'” Batson said.

The biggest part of Backstage, for Batson, is the networking opportunities it offers – getting to meet others in the industry and build relationships that last for years.

Batson sometimes brings some of his production’s donors along with him to Backstage so they can get a better idea of what kind of equipment a good show needs.

“They understand why we ask for the things we do,” Batson said.

LDI has held a Backstage event every year since 1994, Lampert-Gréaux said, and since next year’s trade show heads to Orlando, some tours at Disney and Universal Studios will likely be on tap.

Batson will be there.

“We get so much out of it, it’s unbelievable,” he said.

The Road to LDI

I’m boarding a plane at the ‘crack of dawn this morning, heading to LDI.  Exciting days are in my very near future – I’ll be blogging on and off during the day at the expo, and in whatever other opportunities I have to do so.  I’ll be posting some interviews I’m having as well in the coming week – including Mike Zinman, founder and developer of The Zinman Co.

Vegas, here I come.  Prepare.

LDI – 3 Days Till Expo

LDI 2008

LDI started yesterday – classes, worksops, meetings, and other kinds of schtuff is going on this week – and Friday at 10am the Expo floor opens.  Prepare yourself to be inundated with the wide net cast by the entertainment lighting industry, in all of its splendor and design.

Not signed up yet?  Go get signed up, dude!  I’ll see you there on Thursday!