Stage design for Undercover Presents. A production that covers famous albums and a different band covers each song.
Set and setting2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love in 1969. San Francisco, and the greater Bay Area, were put on the map for the huge impact of hippy culture, numerous musicians and concerts put on Bill Graham, and Berkeley protests. This was the same year as the seminal album by The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Set and Setting,
is a grassroots collective that gathers musicians from every corner of the Bay Area music community to celebrate the influence of classic albums.
The concept is simple: bands are invited based on their enthusiasm for the album from a range of musical genres that reflect the diverse styles and cultures that make bay area music unique. Each band picks a different song from the album and infuses it with their distictive sound and personality.
The main inspiration for the design came from the iconic album cover art. At first I thought about attempting to re-create the cut-outs of famous celebrities that stood with The Beatles. However, I figured that the many musicians that would be performing on the stage would make better stand ins. Instead I zoomed in on the florals and greanery that surrounded the group.
The main inspiration
of the design became a heart made out of fake flowers with LED lights that flashed to the beat of the music. A heart to represent the sentiment of free love and peace that blanketed the summer of 69'. An extra cool aspect of the heart was that it changed colors with the theater lights.
The center piece
was a recreation of the Bay Bridge and the clock tower, or Campanile, at UC Berkeley. Because the concert was being held at the newly renovated UC Theater, in Berkeley, I wanted to represent symbols that connected iconic Haight & Ashbury with the important political protests of UC Berkeley.
Flanking the heart
recorded on the album is Mina Momeni, an Iranian woman musician who could not perform her song live on stage. The solution was to project a video of her performance and have a string quartet perform the song with her.
I took an old curtain and sewed the Bart logo onto it with enough white space to project her image on it, as well as project the name of each band and title of hte song they're performing. The idea is that you are being taking on a musical journey and the Bart train is your conductor / navigator.
One of the musicians
was cutting palm leaves from a tree near my art studio and tying them to the massive speakers on either side of the stage. This was a nod to the palm trees that flanked either side of the Sgt. Pepper's album cover.
The last piece
to the incredible team at the UC Theater for helping me complete the installation and de-installation. Also for their creative support.
A special thanks
Undercover team, the musicians, and the UC Theater was an unforgettable experience. Not to mention making huge sculptures that were hung on a huge stage and seen by hundreds of people.