The birthplace of the modern LGBTQ+ movement and the epicenter of Pride month for the past 50 years, New York City marked this year’s civic expressions of Pride with rainbow illuminations near the Stonewall Inn, at Lincoln Center and at the Juilliard School. The lighting department of WorldStage provided technical support for these public projects, which took on extra significance this year as COVID-19 cancelled in-person celebrations, including the 50th anniversary Pride March.
WorldStage supported MediaGenics, which produced the rainbow light tribute near the Stonewall Inn, the site of the riot that launched the LGBTQ+ movement five decades ago. Snack brand Kind partnered with experiential marketing agency Bankrobber Projects on the West Village installation on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street near the Stonewall Inn.
“Kind was looking to do a huge rainbow in the sky,” said WorldStage Account Executive Ben DeFusco. “They wanted something similar to the 9/11 illumination, but 9/11’s white light in the sky is easier to do than colours, which dissipate much faster. You have to throw a lot of light at colours.”
WorldStage worked with Lighting Designer Fred Bock, from “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” to determine the number of lights required to achieve a throw which could be visible across Manhattan as well as from Brooklyn and New Jersey. They did five tests outside the WorldStage warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey using a 48-foot flatbed trailer as the platform for the lighting rig and additional truss. A drone measured the throw at 700 feet and provided views of the illumination from different angles.
Bock and WorldStage selected 160 Claypaky Mythos 2 powerful spot and beam lights, which DeFusco said “checked all the boxes” required to achieve the rainbow in the sky. They were powered by a generator van from TAJ Event and Power.
“We initially thought we’d use just half as many lights, then we doubled the quantity a few days before the event,” DeFusco recalled. “A lot was left up to the elements, and we got lucky: There were some clouds in the sky Saturday night (June 27) so the lights have something to cling to. The setup was seamless – our crew arrived about 6 pm and the truck about 7, and we were up and running by 9 pm.” The lights remained lit until 5 am Sunday.
At WorldStage J. Wiese and Drew Scott were the Project Managers. David Arnold produced for MediaGenics.
Client Lincoln Center partnered with WorldStage on the iconic Josie Robertson Plaza illumination – the first time that Lincoln Center has added accent lighting to its facades – and on the rainbow flag projected onto the façade of the Juilliard School performing arts conservatory.
“We were extremely proud to stand with Lincoln Center on this fantastic project and hope that it becomes an anticipated annual show of support for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Terry Jackson, WorldStage’s Vice President, Director of Lighting, who acted as Account Executive for the project.
The rainbow-coloured plaza illumination lit up the buildings housing the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic, all of which have been dark since programming was cancelled due to the coronavirus.
WorldStage teamed with Lincoln Center Lighting Designer Andrew Grant on the project using 50-plus Astera AX5 wireless LED PARs. The package was designed, approved and secured quickly, and the setup crew maintained New York City’s social distancing policy.
“The Astera AX5s were chosen for their bright and saturated colours and compact size and low profile,” noted Terry. “These are the newest generation of Astera fixtures, and their battery life is considerably better than in previous versions.”
For the Juilliard School WorldStage and Grant projected a large rainbow flag onto the building’s façade, uniting the conservatory and the adjacent Lincoln Center in their support of Pride 2020. Fourteen ETC Source Four Lustr 2 LED fixtures created the huge pride flag from a mounted rig constructed across the street on a challenging slanted patch of lawn.
“The Lustr 2s have low-power consumption, which was necessary for the outdoor setup where power is always limited,” Jackson reports.
Susanna Harris-Rea was the Senior Project Manager for both the Lincoln Center and Juilliard events.