Monthly Archives: May 2012

Country Stars Stretch Conventions of Concert Stage Design

As anyone can attest after attending a major Country artist’s show, live stage production is phenomenally complex and sophisticated, a many-headed monster with lots of moving parts that take an army of personnel to control. Aesthetics, logistics and economics are the drivers of production design, so regardless of the visions any particular tour wants to explore, these key considerations apply to bringing those visions to life.


Carrie Underwood sings during her “The Play On Tour” in 2010.
Photo Credit: Matthew Baron

Production is a Team Effort

From concept to implementation, production design involves lots of skilled personnel from many disciplines, including the artist and artist’s management, production manager and stage manager and the production designer. Each participant, in turn, has a support crew, so coordination between all parties is critical.

At the head of the team is the production designer, who is ultimately responsible for coming up with a design that not only presents the artist and his or her music in the best possible light, but can also carry out that mandate from night to night, venue to venue, even country to country, for months at a time. It is vital to choose a production manager who is up to this task.

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Director Bennett Miller to Introduce

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” as part of its “Member Selects” series, on Monday, May 21, at 7 p.m. at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York City. Oscar®-nominated director Bennett Miller, who will introduce the film, chose “Barry Lyndon” for this “Member Selects” evening, where Academy members introduce one of their favorite films.

Kubrick followed his string of Academy Award® nominations (“Dr. Strangelove,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “A Clockwork Orange”) with the adaptation of The Luck of Barry Lyndon, an early novel by 19th century writer William Makepeace Thackeray. The story’s piercing examination of societal hypocrisy fit well within Kubrick’s oeuvre, however, and the lush period setting allowed the director’s obsession with detail to shine.

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Recording Academy Statement re: Donald “Duck” Dunn

GRAMMY® winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn was the consummate bass player and he helped define the Southern soul sound. As a member of Booker T. and the MGs, he and his bandmates enjoyed great success with a number of instrumental hits while also helping to put Stax Records on the map as the backing band for artists such as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, and the Staples Singers. Dunn later became a much sought after session player recording with Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and the late Levon Helm, among others. The music industry has lost a masterful legacy artist, and our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and all who had the pleasure of working and playing with him. His influential musical impact will continue to be felt for generations to come.

Neil Portnow

The Recording Academy® Statement Re: Adam Yauch

As a co-founding member of the three-time GRAMMY®-winning Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch was part of one of the most groundbreaking trios in hip-hop. The group’s music crossed genres and color lines, and helped bring rap to a wider audience. A rapper, musician and director, Yauch was an immense talent and creative visionary, and an instrumental force in the group’s career for more than three decades. In addition to his music and artistry, he was a philanthropist who devoted much of his energy to his passionate support for freedom of expression. The music world has lost a true trailblazer, and our deepest sympathies are with his family, friends and fans throughout the world.

Neil Portnow
The Recording Academy


Computer-generated motion picture animation from “Vertigo” to “Toy Story” to the 3D spectacles of today will be explored during “The Development of the Digital Animator,” the latest installment of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Marc Davis Celebration of Animation, on Monday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Several pioneers of digital animation will revisit the long path from laboratory to cineplex during a panel moderated by animator and historian Tom Sito.

When “Toy Story” burst onto the scene in 1995, computer-generated imagery was, for many, a bold new technique in animation. However, its lengthy and meticulous development can be traced back to its first public exposure with the mesmerizing title sequence for “Vertigo” (1958). Of equal importance to the technical developments were the influential animators and designers who devised artistic uses for engineering advances.

Scheduled panelists include:

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a two-night celebration of the life and career of legendary dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Film clips, personal remembrances and an exploration of the technology Kelly used to change the look of dance on film will be featured on consecutive evenings: Thursday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, and Friday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Both programs will be hosted by Kelly’s widow, film historian Patricia Ward Kelly.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and CIM Group announced today that the Academy Awards® will remain in Hollywood under a new 20-year deal. Concurrently, in a separate agreement, Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) and CIM announced a 20-year agreement to name the Dolby Theatre™ — the iconic theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center® and home of the Academy Awards since 2002– a showcase of technology innovation.

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