Vibrant Design's Christopher Landy created the innovative lighting design for the 2009 NewNowNext Awards, an awards show unlike any other on the broadcast calendar. Celebrating "fresh, freaky and up-and-coming pop culture and celebrities," the event was hosted by the inimitable RuPaul at the Hiro Ballroom at Manhattan's Maritime Hotel. Guest stars included Vanessa Williams, Britney Spears, Cheyenne Jackson and Morningwood. The show will air June 13 on cable's LOGO network.
"The show was a challenge since its budget was not very high," notes Executive Producer Frank Garritano, at Line by Line Productions. "I love working with Chris Landy. He's able to work with a limited budget and still give a great look. He was honest about what we could have within the budget parameters and delivered a terrific show."
Landy likens providing the lighting design for the awards program to "doing an Off-Broadway show." He says, "Sometimes its good to have budget restrictions and make design decisions based on the amount of gear you can afford. It forces you to make strong design decisions that will work for the entire show. We put together an economical lighting package that gave us a wide range of options. As a designer it's my job to deliver a high quality product no matter what the budget. I think everyone was quite happy in the end."
Landy used numerous LEDs to transform the dark venue. "The budget was tight all around, so the venue became the set. We had to embrace the space, lighting the walls and the bars, which acted as our backdrops. Tom Lenz did a fantastic job dressing the space and creating two stages in a very tight space." The presenter stage consisted of a geomentric wall that tied into the motif of the venue and the performance stage was set in front of one of the clubs bars, with the bottles illuminated as the backdrop. "RuPaul is amazing, but she is a diva in every sense of the word, and I mean that in a good way. She knows what it takes to make her look good. She knows lighting and I really respect that," says Landy. "It was imperative that we created a stage that she felt comfortable and confident on. Her close up had to look 'Fabulous'".
Landy tapped Scharff Weisberg Inc. (SWI) for lighting equipment rentals. SWI's rig, specified by Landy, included a dozen VARI*LITE VL-2500 washes and nine VL-3500 spots, 18 Coemar LED PARs, 32 Color Kinetics Colorblast 12s, 26 Source Four 750w Lekos, 20 Source Four 750w PARS, four Cir four-foot and three six-foot Ministrip LEDs and a pair of Robert Juliat Manon followspots.
A grandMA supplied lighting control and a grandMA Lite was on hand for backup.
Matthew Peircy serves as Landy's Associate Designer, Michael Grimes was the gaffer and Michael Appel the grandMA programmer. Tom Lenz designed the show's set. Line by Line's Jesse Craine served as line producer.
About Vibrant Design
Vibrant Design, LLC is an entertainment design firm providing a full range of set and lighting design services to broadcast and cable TV, live productions, corporate events and theater as well as architecture and interior design. For more information, www.vibrantdesign.tv