Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Thursday, February 02, 2006


Gonna be pop-oooo-oooo-laaarr

Sorry, Wicked on the iPod. Jeez, a 32-year-old heterosexual hillbilly playing show tunes at his desk in the middle of the work day. And I work, tangentially, in the construction business. They kill people for less in North Carolina. Thank God everybody else is out of the office for the afternoon.

But anyway, it's that crazy time of the year that actually only comes along every couple of years when I find my self very much in demand as a lighting designer. There aren't many lighting guys in Charlotte, and I'm one of them. I can go a couple years with only doing my work for the Philharmonic, and then all of a sudden the planets align, everybody else is booked, and suddenly I'm busy.

So this month in addition to the Philharmonic concert on the 18th (which I love because it's a one-day gig and they have a check waiting for me at the end of the night), I've managed to pick up Lighting Director duties for the NC Dance Festival at UNC-Charlotte because their lighting designer is on sabbatical this semester, and a production of 42nd Street for the local performing arts high school. Not a bad month, plus UNCC has added me on to their payroll as Master Electrician for two other shows this semester. Which essentially covers my trips to Austin in March and most of Vegas in July, so that's pretty cool.

It just gets to be a difficult balancing act with the whole real job thing. Especially since Westover Church is getting into high gear, and that's the single largest lighting project I've ever worked on. Yes, a church. 2800 seats, $750,000 worth of lighting equipment (in the sanctuary alone) in a church. The church has a stage lift that is large enough to move a 15-passenger van from underneath the building to onto the stage. And a full motorized rigging system. And the most technically advanced lighting console I've ever sold. And, and, and. It boggles the mind. But with that project taking up a bunch of time, I've got to be a little careful of taking on too many side projects.

So I'm in a little bit of a dilemma here. UNCC has asked me to design their spring dance concert. For a fee that would cover all the non-poker expenses of the Dear and Patient and I going to Vegas this summer and getting tickets to Avenue Q while we're there. But I don't know if I really have the time. And I don't know if I can pull it off. I've lit dance before, in an odd theatre with mediocre instrumentation and choreographers with limited expectations. But never in a really state-of-the-art facility with plenty of fixtures and real choreographers who are used to good lighting. On the one hand, it's kinda like stepping up in limits - dance is where lighting designers get to be real artists. There's no set, no dialogue, just the lighting and the movement and music to create art. That's really appealing. On the other hand, I don't even know how to cue a dance show that I'm not going to run, since I've never done it. Anything I've everlit dance-wise, I was the board op and I kinda made it up as I went along - rock n' roll style. That works when you're putting in half a week's work for a few hundred bucks, but when somebody's laying out $2k for your work they deserve a little more focus.

Then there's the real job bit. Barbizon has been really good about letting me off work for various & sundry side gigs and other engagements, but we're pretty damned busy right now, and it could screw up some things for me to take off the time this gig is going to require. I'm venting, but I'm welcoming advice too, so leave me a blurb in the comments if you've got an opinion one way or the other on what I should do.

Also looking for good Valentine's Day suggestions from any of my girl-type readers. Metrosexuals count, too.

Go read Pauly, he's busting ass at the Borgata Winter Open, and BG has decided to shift to fiction to deflect his mind from his upcoming medical issues. I just hope they amputate the correct leg, buddy:). These are two of my favorite writers, and to hit the hat trick, the third just came back from his hiatus! It's a good week for blogging! Stop reading my shit and go find these guys.

Oh, and sign up for Full Tilt using the big silly banner down the side. Can't play Razz with donkeys anywhere else!


Human Head said...

It doesn't seem like your livelihood depends on it, so take the step up and go for it.

You might suprise yourself, be the most incredible lighting guy they've ever worked with, and find that your smack dab in the middle of "sought after" status.

If you take the job, best of luck.

April said...

The wife works outside the house?

Falstaff said...

April -

Nope, she doesn't work outside the house right now except for some freelance stuff for me at work and some costume rental work that she's doing.

Head -

Thanks for the encouragement!

April said...

Hmmmm....ok then.

Well, a nice meal is pretty much a requirement. If you're gone during the day, go for the delivery. If possible, go a little different - not the standard roses bit - something a bit more exotic, like orchids. Maybe a potted one, if she's so inclined to attempt the upkeep.

I highly recommend you learn how to make a special dessert. Go out for a nice dinner, and then come home, send her to a bubble bath with a glass of champagne, while you whip up some chocolatey goodness. Serve in whatever room you deem most appropriate. ;)

And of course, given that you are a writer, something suitably sappy, tender, etc. would be highly appreciated, I'm sure. Flowers die and dinners get eaten, but words can be kept forever.