Pleasure Island revisited
On September 28, 2011, the 3-year anniversary of the closure of Pleasure Island occurred. For those of you who have never heard of Pleasure Island, it was a mega entertainment complex filled with 7 huge nightclubs located at Downtown Disney in Orlando, FL. All the nightclubs were 2 and 3 story tall mega clubs that had the latest equipment in regards to lighting, audio, video, and rigging. There was also some of the best talent for the Improv Comedy club called Comedy Warehouse and the character actors performing for the Adventures Club. The clubs were separated by genre’s of music, so there was a top 40 club-Motion, a Rock-Roll Beach Club, a techno/dance club named Mannequins Dance Palace, a disco club called 8-Trax, and a hip hop flagship of BET. There was also a Jazz club, but it got sold a few years earlier so I’m giving it a quick nod of remembrance. I have written a short blurb about Mannequins when I was introducing myself with the first blog I wrote for PLS. However I just found an external hard drive with pictures from all the nightclubs, and I thought it would be great to post them for techs to see some great rigs. Then I realized it was the 3-year closure anniversary and I wanted to post the pictures as a salute to such an amazing job I had at one time.
Each club had a strict script on how the decorations, architectural structure, and lighting would fit with the ‘brand’ of each club and comedy club. The best example I can give is he difference between the lighting gear from Mannequins and 8-Trax. In Mannequins we had a full Grand MA and a 2nd lighting op for the media-matrix wall, while 8-Trax had an Insight 2X. In Mannequins with had a full High-End rig with additional VL5’s in the number of over 60 fixtures, and we had over 200 non-intelligent fixtures throughout the club. 8-Trax had all the old disco toys including the huge mirror ball, and no moving head fixtures or anything that suggestion of being made after the 70’s. So as a lighting tech you had to be able to go between all the different consoles that the clubs had to offer, and work with different intelligent fixtures as well as ‘static’ fixtures. The constant challenge of changing genre’s of music, consoles, and fixtures was really good for a lighting tech to train and improve their skills. In Motion we had AVOlite Pearl 2000, R-N-R Beach club we had one of the 1st HOG III, which we beta tested, and in BET we had a HOG II. Grand MA, Hog II and III, Avo Pearl, and several different versions of Insight, Expression, and Jands consoles on one property. Are you foaming at the mouth yet? That’s what I thought. At the time when I worked there, I didn’t think anything about it because it was the norm of my environment. Now that there are no more entertainment complexes at Disney, I am now paging curtains for actors, and running spot for a scripted show. Visualize a small tear coming down my face as I say this.
I extended my reach to snag a job at a downtown club for ‘fun’, not really ever dealing with owners or lack of money for good gear. We are struggling, but little by little the room is trying very hard to be a small concert hall. I have the hardest time trying to convey what is needed to make the club look great because the club I work has never seen the ‘super’ club I used to work at. I know I can’t recreate such a monster rig, but when they are looking at price tags, it’s hard to try and make it work or look better than the club right next door. I figure that I’m doing everything in reverse. I get the greatest rig of all time my 1st time out of the gate, and now I have to deal with making due and making the best of what I have.
Has this happened to you? Do you have a story were you had a great rig and now you work with cheap foreign replicates’ that you are having a hard time building their profile because the paperwork is in a different language so you have to research how many channels it needs? Did that sound like I was bitter?
Happy Anniversary Pleasure Island, you are so missed that I remember when you closed and am writing a little blog to acknowledge you. Enjoy the pictures!