An Unnecessary, Stupid, Irresponsible Death in the Theatre

Another bit of pretty stupid news — another death in our industry to report. You’ve probably already heard, but a fan was crawling around the catwalks at the Aragon Ballroom for the Chevelle show happening there on Friday, May 25, and fell.  As you would assume, that fan was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.  He fell through the ceiling and landed on two metal rods which impaled the concertgoer.

Said dead concertgoer: Kyle Kirchhoff, a defensive line coach for the College of DuPage, up in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.


The general gist:
Kirchoff and some of his pals were at the Chevelle show at the Aragon. They all slipped through an unlocked balcony door, found their way to a catwalk, and watched the show from there. They all noticed their buddy Kyle wasn’t with them, then they found his body — 6 to 8 feet below the catwalk, impaled on two metal pipes or rods or something to that effect. It’s not hard to imagine rebar sticking out from a place no one is supposed to ever go, especially in a theatre.

From Ultimate Classic Rock:

Apparently, Kirchhoff and two other friends slipped through an unlocked side door in the second-floor balcony of the Aragon in order to watch a Friday (May 22) appearance by the band Chevelle from atop a catwalk. Kirchhoff tumbled some 6-8 feet before landing on two metal rods around 10:20 p.m., suffering fatal chest wounds.

There’s a lot to be said about this tragedy… but not here on JimOnLight.  Sorry folks, this is a stupid, unnecessary death, caused by people who wanted to go somewhere dangerous in the theatre to get what they thought would be a better view. The same of it all is that this guy was apparently really well liked among his friends and his community.

This guy’s surviving buddies should be downright fucking disgusted with themselves for deciding to climb up some shit in a theatre that obviously meant for its patrons to be sitting on the seating sections of the venue and not in the catwalk areas. That was really dumb, guys. Now, not only is a person with a lot of potential nothing but a newspaper article and memories, but you’ve now caused what I can assure you will be an even nastier backlash in the Chicagoland area at the least, if not nationwide.

Reading the comments on the various news stories across the nation this evening absolutely fucking made me want to vomit:

“What backlash, man? The guy just wanted to see the show better.”
“Poor guy just wanted to see a show and he fell to his death.  Hope the family sues.”
“Theaters need to make sure ALL places are safe for people, everyone walks through unlocked doors.”

Really? Well, there are places in the theatre that even we, the masses of entertainment professionals across the world, try not to go without the lights on in that location. The reasons for this kind of safe behavior? Falling 6-8 feet below the catwalk and landing on metal spikes in the dark might be at least a deterrent, right?

Lots of people went to see the Chevelle show at the Aragon that night to see the show better. One of them is dead. The one that passed away slipped from a place he didn’t belong and impaled himself on some metal rods of some sort. It doesn’t matter how he died, just that he is dead because he made a bad decision.

Let’s take a look at the potential ramifications of Kyle Kirchoff and his buddies’ fateful decision to “get a better view” at the show:

  • More restrictive access in venues because the venue and producing organizations will now need to legally and more intensively protect themselves from the audience
  • More expensive ticket prices for venues because of associated insurance costs to protect the venue from the audience
  • More expensive ticket prices for bands because of rising insurance costs when shit like this happens
  • More expensive ticket prices for most of us consumers because now we will have to bear the brunt of the idiotic decisions of the few
  • Kirchoff’s family will now wonder what the hell their son was doing up there in the first place, and his friends are going to feel really terrible for a long, long time.

Generally, dear audience members, those of us who work to put on the shows you pay so much for really hate reading about times when something happens at a show that causes harm to one of you. One of you being harmed at a show is too many. We really hate it, for example, when we have to read about someone dying because they were someplace they definitely should not have been.

From the Chevelle Facebook page:

To our fans, as you may or may not have heard, an extremely unfortunate event occurred at our show in Chicago Friday…

Posted by Chevelle on Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stage Collapse in China with Full Choir, 8 Injured

I was hoping we’d have more information by now, but something to remember with this story is that it happened in one of the most media-controlled countries on Earth…

A full choir was rehearsing on Saturday when that full choir free-fell into the space under the stage in a gruesome-looking stage collapse.  Honestly, we’ll probably not know the source of this accident, the investigation of this accident, or the condition of the people in this accident.  Furthermore, another reality to keep in mind is that there’s nothing we can do about any of that.  Here’s hoping that we hear something regarding the condition of the people injured in this pretty scary event:

Another view of the incident:

One has to wonder about how that went down. At once, the entire Policeman’s choir plunged into the deck:

The Police Choir, rehearsing for their upcoming event...

The Police Choir, rehearsing for their upcoming event…

Second frame -- the Police choir all at once descending into the floor

Second frame — the Police choir all at once descending into the floor

AFTERMATH -- the choir has disappeared from the stage view in a two seconds, leaving screams and patrons hurrying to their aid

AFTERMATH — the choir has disappeared from the stage view in a two seconds, leaving screams and patrons hurrying to their aid

We sincerely do hope everyone is ok…  but I have very little hopes of getting much more true information out of this situation.  Stay tuned.

From China Insider:

A video of the accident, which was widely circulated on social media on Monday, shows the heavily loaded stage collapsing suddenly and sending choir members tumbling amid screams from the audience and choir.

In the video, three choir members were seen rushing to the stage after singing had already started. Seconds later, after one of the three latecomers had taken their place, the stage collapsed. A crash was heard when the stage hit the ground.

All 80 choir members were from a local police force, state media said.

The choir was rehearsing for a singing contest to mark Labour Day under the theme of “Chinese Dream” – a phrase coined by President Xi Jinping and later promoted by governments of all levels around China.

In October last year, 16 music fans plunged to their deaths when a ventilation grate they were standing on collapsed during an outdoor pop concert in South Korea.

The victims fell 20 metres into an underground parking area when the grate gave way while they were watching girl band 4Minute. At least a dozen others were injured.

In the United States late last month dozens of people were injured when a stage collapsed during a high school rock performance in the state of Indiana, US media reported.

From the CCTV+ news site:

Eight singers were injured when a lifting stage of a theater in southwest China’s Guizhou province suddenly dropped to the ground level on Saturday afternoon.

The accident occurred when some 80 singers were rehearsing on the lifting stage in the grand theater of Bijie city around 15:00. All the singers were seen suddenly descending with the falling stage and disappearing from sight except for the conductor.

Medical workers rushed to help, and the accident caused eight injuries, two of them seriously.

The cause of the stage failure is being investigated.

Stay tuned, anything we find we will update at the top.

Butch Allen, International Man of Lighting-ry, Lighting Insights


Those of you who know Butch Allen are always glad to see that big ass smile he carries around, and it’s always a great thing to see him around the trade show circuit when he’s not busy out there spraying some lighting sauce on something or other.

Butch is interviewed in this month’s Lighting Insights newsletter from CHAUVET Professional.  Check it.


800 Bucks in Lego Star Wars Shit Smashed to Bits from A Lift

I wonder if that title is clear enough?  Here’a a great video of one of those $800 Lego Star Wars destroyer things dropped from a lift by some great nerds who had a circular camera dolly rig set up just to film that said $800 worth of Lego destruction.

(I looked and could only find one of those bad puppies for $1500.  FUCK.  That’s a lot of Legos.)

There’s enough Star Wars nerds out there, right Greg?

JOL Sunday Flickr #29

Another week passes:

  • Another week of awakes and sleeps
  • Another week of real light and darkness
  • Another week of human light and darkness
  • Another week of living the dream

Every time I look through the photos on the JOL Flickr Group, I live other peoples’ dreams across the world.  I feel I could write a novel on what a photograph gives me in content and ideas.

Check out some of my favorite photos from the group…  and if you’re not subscribed to the group, please do, we’d love to have you.

I love photos.