Tony Shembish, Avolites' long standing salesman has left the Park Royal-based company to set up as an independent distributor - Avolites Middle East. The move was prompted by the rapidly expanding potential of the Middle East territories, and to take full advantage of the relations Shembish has developed with Avolites buyers, specifiers and users in this area. Shembish will have offices in Luton, UK and Beirut in The Lebanon and will be in charge of 20 countries.
Overt Light to Sound - a new distribution company, handling both lighting and sound equipment - has been launched by Malcolm Burlow. Burlow has been in the industry for more than 15 years, most recently working with Electrovision, but prior to that with DJ2000 which had the sole UK distributor rights to Numark. The company will distribute a wide range of products from major manufacturers worldwide.
The Mezzanine Group has announced the closure and re-branding of its Fulham-based venue The Kings Club. The eponymous private members club closed its doors in late February for a full refurbishment and will re-open shortly to launch the private members club and bar - The Mezz Room. The plan to change identity has been well received by members, who felt that the current image of the club was in need of a makeover to bring it in line with today's trends and fashion. One of the unique attractions of the Mezz room is the Mezzanine@, an internet-based entertainment concept devised by the Group. This effectively means that the venue can receive live audio visual broadcasts of music-based events from DJs and artists around the UK from other Mezzanine venues.
Vari-Lite Inc is expanding its new direct-sales product line into the amusement park industry. Feedback from theme park owners and operators has led to the introduction of the new Vari-Lite VL2400 Series luminaires and the VL2201 spot luminaire. Vari-Lite's Rusty Brutsche told L&SI: "Unlike our traditional clients, theme parks have entertainment production needs centred around the long-term use of equipment. The purchase and installation of Vari-Lite's new automated lighting products will provide all the features and capabilities of our specialised proprietary products."
The arrival of Aida in London's West End, originally scheduled for transfer from Broadway next year, seems likely to be delayed until 2002 following the off-stage performance of Sir Elton John, who walked out of the New York opening after only 15 minutes. The singer is not happy with the way his score for the reworking of Verdi's opera has been interpreted, particularly the techno-pop backing to two of his songs - Another Pyramid and My Strongest Suit. Disney has already dug deep into its coffers for the production, spending £10million on the show, including revamping it two years ago after Sir Elton saw the production in Atlanta and complained that the set was 'shoddy'.
An authentic Chinese tea room of the 19th century, a spectacular laser show from the 21st and a live transmission from China Central Television were part of China in Britain Day held on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Companies, community groups and artists from across the UK participated in the event which took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. The Display ran in tandem with the annual Chinese New Year Lunch of London Export Ltd, supported by the 48 Group Club, whose long-standing ties to China date from 1952. The Display, organised by Chinese Marketing and Communications in conjunction with the Cultural Office of the Chinese Embassy, was taken from concept to reality in little more than a month thanks to key input from Clarion Events (organisers of the PLASA Show and PLASA Shanghai), LCI (Laser Creations International), LSI Projects - ADB (creative lighting) and China Gateway North West. Pulsar Lighting and DHA also lent their support to the project.
On the weekend of February 11-13, nearly 80 people from the international world of lighting descended on the Selsdon Park Hotel, Croydon, for 48 hours of hard work - and some hard play as well! ETC Europe was hosting a sales and marketing training weekend, attended by over 50 dealers from 19 countries. ETC staff from both the UK and the United States had arranged an intense schedule of seminars, covering not just product, but also system integration and the fundamentals of networking for theatrical and entertainment control systems.
The Victorian Arts Centre has recently completed Australia's largest permanent theatre system installation in its Melbourne Concert Hall. Totalling more than 35 self-powered loudspeakers systems, provided by Meyer Sound Australia, the system design was no small feat.The new pro-audio system in the 2,600-seat hall comprises a central cluster of three Meyer MSL-4s over two CQ-1s with a UPA-IP and UPA-2P on either side. The balcony downfills include a left/centre/right configuration of CQ-2s over DS-4Ps for the left and right and a CQ-1 over a DS-4P for the centre down fill. 24 UPM-1P making up the under balcony fills. In addition, a PSW-6 per side is located above the stage and a left and right array of two DS-4Ps, 4 MSL-4s and a CQ-1 flown over 2 PSW-6s.
The plans for Millennium Square, Leeds, destined to become Europe's most innovative city centre events space was recently unveiled. The £12m project, funded by the Millennium Commission and Leeds City Council, is due to open in October 2000 and has been designed and built with the event promoter and manager in mind, with services and infrastructure incorporated into the design. Set to become one of Europe's most impressive civic spaces, the Square has a capacity of 2,000 seated, 5,000 standing and up to 20,000 for free events. Millennium Square will play host to a year- round programme of events and festivals commencing with the UK premiere performance of a major piece of outdoor theatre in October 2000. Other events likely to feature include an outdoor ice rink, Christmas markets and a summer concert season.
Electrovision, the Merseyside distribution company, has bought another well known name in the industry - Altai Group Ltd. This take-over further strengthens the group's position within the market giving it such famous house brands as Sound Lab, Eagle, Vision, ELV and of course NJD, as well as distribution for many other industry names. The take-over also includes branches in France, Holland, Germany and Belgium, as well as representation in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Mark Benyon now of Altai told PLASA News: "This move will provide greater penetration of the European market and will provide a better and more comprehensive service to all our customers. It gives us even stronger buying power to offer the best possible value to our customers." Richard Fox of Electrovision added: "I am very pleased with the successful outcome of this project and look forward to hearing from our customers old and new who should all benefit substantially, with even better service, from this new arrangement."
Production Resources Group is to hold an auction for the Lighting Group and the Audio Group which will see a range of automated lights, dimmers, scrollers, speakers, processing equipment audio and lighting consoles go under the hammer. The auction will be held at 3026 Airport Avenue in Santa Monica, CA on Wednesday 15 March beginning at 11.00am. A preview of the equipment to be auctioned will take place on Tuesday 14 March at the same location, from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Auction catalogues (available 7 March onwards) can be downloaded from the PRG website whilst LA-411 will also be accepting pre-auction bids on equipment via their web site at www.la411.com. The proceedings will be transmitted live via the LA411 web site the day of the event.
Ideal Entertainment, Imax Corporation and CERTS are working on the production of a concert film for IMAX Theatres featuring live performances by Carlos Santana, BB King, Sting, Sheryl Crow and others. All Access is set to premiere in February 2001 and in addition to a front row seat and spectacular larger-than-life performances, will provide exactly what its title suggests - a rare All Access pass to the rehearsals, sound checks, casual conversations and general backstage madness that lies behind the scenes of every concert. Initial sequences for the film were shot at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles in February and additional sequences will be filmed with other live performances in the coming months.
Celestion has announced a key addition to its international sales network: Greater Union Entertainment Technology (GUET) has been awarded exclusive distribution rights for Celestion loudspeakers in Australia. With expertise ranging across sound, projection and lighting, the company now maintains offices throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe, distributing brands such as Hafler, Studiomaster, Mogami, Klipsch, and Monster Cable. GUET has a specialist division dedicated to sound, video and lighting (SVL) contracting work, which will be particularly applicable to Celestion's expanding range of installation systems. Celestion and GUET make their first joint appearance at the Entech 2000 trade show.
Stage One has just completed one of its most complex logistical challenges with the staging of a series of sales presentations throughout Japan for Amway. Working on behalf of London-based Maritz Communications, Stage One designed and built the sets including a wedge-shaped catwalk, auditorium and 12 modular exhibition units which were transported to Japan for the presentations as part of a major Amway recruitment drive.
The new Soho Theatre and Writers Centre is the West End's first ever purpose-built theatre for new works. Following a £10.6 million National Lottery-funded development, Soho Theatre Company will be launching its first season of plays in its permanent new home on March 14. The main 200-seat auditorium features Strand lantern, control and dimming systems provided by London-based trading partners White Light. The Theatre is also the first English home for Strand's newly-launched 300 Series control desk, the company's fully-featured control surface, supporting Genius Pro operating software. The lighting specification was prepared by Jason Taylor, the consultant who designed the system.
TMB Associates has been appointed as exclusive North American distributors of DHA Lighting's Digital Light Curtain luminaires. TMB's Tommy Stephenson told PLASA Publishing: "We're very excited to be involved in the marketing of these unique fixtures. We plan to sell them through our dealers around the country and believe they have a great future in the American market. In addition to developing new sales, we intend to fully support the existing US inventory with a comprehensive stock of spare parts." The Digital Light Curtain's credits to date include Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Cats, Oliver, Tommy, EFX and others.
Dubai-based Production Technology LLC, has increased its rental stock of Strong International followspots, with purchases of two Super Trouper II 2kW Xenon units and two Truss Trouper 1.2kW HMI units from High Wycombe-based AC Lighting. The company already owns a number of Strong International Gladiator 3kW Xenon followspots and this latest order reinforces its belief in the Strong International product range. Adrian Bell, general manager of production Technology, said: "Our decision to continue with Strong was underlined by a virtually faultless performance with the Gladiators. The Gulf is one of the harshest environments these products can be exposed to, and our Strong products have come through with impeccable reliability."
London-based Decibel Audio has been working on a series of audio upgrades for Regent Inns plc. In Bar Logic, next to the London Palladium, Decibel has installed 20 JBL enclosures across the bar's two floors, with amplification from C Audio GB402s. Three GB402s drive the 12 loudspeakers in the upstairs bar, while the remainder downstairs are powered by a further two 402s. At Gordon Bennett's in Tooting, Decibel has again used three GB402s to drive JBL wall-mounted cabinets, along with a GB602 for Decibel's own bass bins.
For the prestigious Grammy Awards, which took place last night at The Staples Center, Los Angeles, lighting designer Bob Dickinson and console programmer Andy O'Reilly used a Vari-Lite Virtuoso lighting control console to 'mix on the fly' - literally creating the lighting looks for each performer just minutes before they took to the stage. As it was impossible for the pair to know the colour and style of each artist's wardrobe, O'Reilly received cues from backstage as each artist appeared, and then used the Virtuoso's facility for instant creation and editing of cues to create the right colour scheme.
For the fourth successive year, Britannia Row Productions has been engaged to carry out the audio production for the BRIT Awards, which moves to Earls Court 2 next week. Brit Row is continuing its association with sound designer Derek Zieba for the event. Chris Coxhead and Bob Lopez will be looking after the front-of-house sound, with Vince Sharpe and Andy Ray on monitors. Sound reinforcement will be drawn exclusively from Brit Row's Turbosound Flashlight inventory - the main system will consist of TFS-780 and 760 L-C-R clusters, with L-C-R delays and various audience and pit fills.
Michael Grade has purchased the famous Pinewood Studios for £62m. The former head of Channel 4 and BBC1 led a consortium of investors backed by investment trust 3i, which is buying the film studio from Rank, the leisure and entertainment group. The consortium is paying £55.5m in cash and £6.5m in a loan note. Rank had been seeking a buyer for Pinewood for some years, and on Monday it also sold its cinema chain, Odeon, for £280m. Rank is using some of the money to buy a DVD processing plant in Los Angeles for £11m.
A free on-line legal check-up for companies in the music trade using the web to sell their services or products has been launched by e-commerce experts, Laytons solicitors. To use the service, businesses simply e-mail their website address to Laytons. who will then carry out an on-line legal diagnostic and advise on what steps that business could be taking to ensure the website is legally watertight. Jonathan Oddy, head of Laytons' e-commerce unit, says: "Businesses must be careful not to infringe the copyright and trademarks belonging to other organisations, as well as the law relating to data protection and privacy, both in the UK and other jurisdictions."In addition, the government is planning to make it unlawful for the website of any UK business not to quote prices inclusive of VAT and any other custom duties before customers agree to buy. This, and many other issues, should be addressed as soon as possible.
Following the announcement at the end of 1999 that Trantec's UHF and VHF radio microphones are available to the export market for the first time, the company has announced the appointment of two European distributors. JBK Audio Pro will be representing the company exclusively in France, and Audio International, trading with its sister company Audium SRL, will be responsible for distribution in Italy. The two companies will begin trading immediately, and will be exhibiting at the AES Show in Paris and SIB in Rimini respectively.
In a move that marks an increased focus on professional commercial audio markets, Yamaha-Kemble Music UK has formed a separate department, headed up by Alan Johnson as sales and marketing manager. The new department, as part of Yamaha's pro-Music Division, will be separate from the current pro audio department and will concentrate on the areas of live sound, outside broadcast, installed sound systems, touring sound, professional recording, audio post production and broadcast applications. A number of initiatives are already in place, such as a dedicated dealer hotline which will resolve any technical and system enquiries. Also, to coincide with the UK launch of the PM1D digital live mixing console, a PM series support helpline has also been established, active from 9am to 11pm seven days a week.