LD Brandon Baruch Captures the Spirit of the Hollywood Fringe Festival

by Michael Eddy
Closing Night Awards show of  the Hollywood Fringe Festival at The Montalban Theatre
Closing Night Awards show of the Hollywood Fringe Festival at The Montalban Theatre

For three weeks every year, Hollywood Theatre Row, a 1.4 mile (2.3 km) stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, and its surrounding environs, become the home of The Hollywood Fringe Festival, an open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community. Brandon Baruch, Staff Lighting Designer for the Festival, designed and programmed the Closing Night Awards show at The Montalban Theatre.

The celebratory Closing Night Awards cap off the festival, which this year sold more than 65,000 individual tickets to 2,000+ performances. A current of emerging creative energy runs through Hollywood Theatre Row. Dotted with performance venues of varying sizes, the area has long served as a cauldron of budding talent. Setting the appropriately jubilant and freewheeling tone for the evening was a colorful, creative light and balloon design that featured 10 Chauvet Professional Maverick MK2 Spots and 22 COLORado 1-Quad Zoom Tours in Baruch’s rig.

“The Hollywood Fringe Festival prides itself on our commitment to our community, so we always try to keep our Awards Ceremony in the spirit of the festival itself,” said Baruch. “We aim for fun, festive, quirky, and home-grown. When we were planning the Closing Night Awards, our Cabaret Director Bella Luna suggested we commission an artist named Rob the Balloon Guy to design a giant balloon wall sculpture to be our scenic focal point. Knowing that The Montalban had recently upgraded their venue to an all-LED rig, I became excited about the possibilities of using high-quality LED moving lights on a new substrate.”

Adding visual pop to the balloon sculptures were the colorful gobo patterns that Baruch projected on to them with his Maverick fixtures. “I used three Mavericks as rear gobo projectors and another two as front texture for the balloon wall,” he said. “They transformed the structure and gave it a life of its own. This was my first time playing with Mavericks, and I was very impressed by their wide range of effects as well as the CMY + CTO + color wheel, and twin rotating gobo wheels, all of which increased my number of creative options.”

Baruch also appreciated the Maverick’s Auto-Edge feature, given the short amount of time he had to program the show. “We were given five hours from load-in to doors open,” he said. “In that time, we needed to build and tech the entire show.” In addition to the Maverick MK2 Spots that lit the balloon wall, Baruch used two other units as front gobo projectors and flew five more Mavericks on the first electric to serve as audience blinders and aerial effects to coincide with the announcement of the evening’s winners.

LD Brandon Baruch lit the massive balloon sculpture at the Closing Night Awards for the Hollywood Fringe FestivalThe 22 COLORado Quad-1 Zoom Tour fixtures were used for top and side lighting. “We had some of the COLORados on the second electric to give the balloon wall a beautiful color wash,” said Baruch. “The rich colors we got from the COLORados really brought out the fun side of the balloons. The design was a tribute to the love, joy, and creative spirit that make up this community.”

Further information from Chauvet: www.chauvetprofessional.com