04 April 2010

An amazing USITT

The annual United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) conference was in Kansas City over the past five days or so. This was my third conference, and I had a terrific time. I flew in on Tuesday night, getting to the hotel shortly before midnight. On Wednesday morning, I had breakfast with Chris and Dianne, my in-laws. They took me to a great locavore restaurant, and we had a nice visit.

Then, the debauchery began.

USITT subdivides itself into smaller topical commissions. There is a lighting commission, a safety commission, a rigging commission, and naturally, a safety commission. Each commission programs a series of meeting sessions (panel discussions, roundtables, product demos, etc.), and conference attendees are free to go to any session at any time. There's also a large showroom floor, where companies and schools set up displays and talk to potential customers and students. Naturally, I spend most of my time with the sound session.

Days were spent in sessions. John Leonard, a sound designer from the UK, talked to us about his career. Students presented portfolios. Drew Dalzell out of LA chaired a whole day on live v. recorded sound effects. Brad Berridge from MA organized a session on sound for dance. Nights were spent eating well and drinking well. We spent a good bit of time in The Drum Room, a historic bar in the Hilton President. We also closed down a bar called Quaff a couple of nights in a row.

Brad and his pal Jeff (who was a classmate of mine in undergrad) maintained a blog for LiveDesign Magazine. There's video, photos, and not too much text. One of the highlights for Brad and I was the sound playback party, where sound designers can make a short presentation of a recent project, as a way to cross pollenate and show off a little bit. Brad and I had been playing with our iphones earlier in the session, and we decided to do a little impromptu iphone symphony. You can check it out here:

All in all, a tremendous trip! Next year: Charlotte! See you then!

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