Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stage Design

There are many different aspects of putting together a great stage. A stellar line up, a great sound system/engineer, reliable source of power and a smoothly flowing crew are essential. That is kind of like party throwing 101.

What about deco? 
In my mind....deco should serve a specific purpose.

But really.....overall....there are three main ways that deco can be used. 
1) to camouflage or conceal. example "wow, this warehouse is really ugly. There are bullet holes in the walls. Lets cover them up with some tapestries" Note that you can throw a party in a really ugly warehouse, and turn it into the inside of a magical palace with enough time and energy. Sometimes you dont want to do that though. Sometimes you just want to have a party, without dealing with a particular eye sore. 
A really good example of this is our SF semi-weekly get together at Il Pirata, which is a two room bar. The smaller room which contains the bar is left as is. The other, slightly larger room is where the DJ plays and people dance. It looks like a bar/restaurant in there. Buuut....generally we still put up some tapestries, cover as many of the advertisements as we can, make it a little less fug. Really, we arent transforming the space, or fooling anyone. It still feels like  bar.....albeit a slightly more trance-y one. 

2)  to enhance, inspire, and make beautiful:  Someone once told me that a good make up artist can alter a persons face so much it looks like they went out and got plastic surgery. A little shadow here, a little highlight there, and voila! A new face! This is how I think about something that can transform. I can rant about this for a long time, but I will save it for another post. 

3) to tell a story: This is deco that conveys a very particular idea, or thought. "theme deco" if you will. While #2 enhances a space for the purpose of beauty or enlightenment, #3 conveys a specific idea. Boom you are underwater. Boom you are in a Victorian saloon. 

Our Goa Gil deco usually focuses on #2. In a nutshell, we try to make it more pretty. We try to create moments with how the deco is arranged. We try to have an interactive aspect to it, at least in some minimal way. 

How Weird, for us, is all about telling a story. So far, we have had mixed results with our efforts. Our previous Star Trek stage was really fun, but we severely underestimated the time it would take to put it together. In the end, I felt like there was more that I wanted to do. The extreme highlight was a platform that we built, giving the stage two levels. People could dance on the second level and take great pictures with the stage.
Last year we did like a time machine type of a theme....our concept went something like this : create a box with a false back, so a dj could go into the time machine, sneak out the back, put on a period costume, and come back out the front like they time traveled during their set. 
The time machine came out really awesome, with a spinning clock, and lights, and electronics sticking out of it. That was awesome. 
However.....logistically.....we didnt have a great place to put it. ended up kind of being background....and not all the DJs brought a second costume so...yeah. TOO COMPLICATED.

This year we are taking the best elements of both ideas and combining them. 
We are doing an intergalactic spaceship theme, heavily based off of Star Trek Enterprise (the original series) and Voyager. 

Please enjoy my sketch and some notes. 

So...on the ground we will have the DJ table (see bottom right of sketch), which will look like the Navigation station. In front of that will likely be an altar. The "ground stage area" will be framed by some triangle fabric pieces. 
Then we will rent some stage pieces (6, I am thinking). for the second level. The second level will have two painted 8x4 sheets of ply, that will have stations coming off of them. Probably.
Its either two stations facing the back of the stage, or two stations facing the front. Still deciding that one....
and of course, the captains chair will be in the middle. 
                                             (i stole this picture from the internet)

My last count on the wood it would take to construct this is (9) 8x4 sheets of ply, and (9) 12foot long 2x4's plus paint and fabric. 

As mentioned previously, we will do some sort of a fundraiser BUT in the meantime......
If you want to make our dream a reality please kindly and generously donate using paypal to

An of course....we will have stage crafting parties that will be more or less open to the public. I will blog the dates and anyone that wants an invite can message me! 

Til Then, 
in the words of a dear friend


  1. I am so embarrassed. I finally found the comments button.

    Anyway, I can get large sheets of foam core (usually white on one side, printing on the other) if I have someone help me transport them. This would not be a spurious, last minute decision, but would have to be planned out a bit. Pick up at The Moscone convention Center in downtown SF and they can be stored at my place in the Outer Sunset, SF. I'm not sure how well they take paint, but i have some at home already to experiment with.

    These could possible be used in place of plywood for facades. If the plywood is to be used for structural integrity of the stage then obviously these would not work in that regard.

    I can also get large tubes of cardboard and possibly other building materials from Moscone. They throw a lot of stuff away.

  2. Can we get the picture of Gil and the stage up on this page please?