Rainbow Puddle Liquid Light




I suppose the first lightshow I did was when I was in the U.S. Army in 1968 in Germany. I was an "entertainment specialist," who had been one of the last American GI's to leave France (Paris actually) after President DeGaulle asked NATO to leave. Too bad. In Germany, I provided stage lighting for travelling USO shows and devised lighting plots for our own productions. Old parcams and two circuit dimmer boards were plentiful. So were the two wheeled generators and the duece and a half we hauled it with to USO clubs throughout our area because we were regularly blowing old circuits in those ancient buildings. A five - eight dimmer board show was usual.


While spending some solidary moments in a U.S. Army brig during and after Woodstock because of my participation in activities opposed to the Vietnam war, I steadily daydreamed of dancing upon lucite type flooring above many colored changing and moving lights that would be motivated by instruments, lines and amplification. However, getting out of the army just prior to Kent State and with Nixon pressing full ahead with an air war, I ignored my father's advice to continue in "entertainment" and opted instead for the front lines of GI and veterans organizing which turned into an almost 20
year stint driving taxis around San Francisco and founding and maintaining several veterans organizations.


I regurlarly attended local Dead shows and was always blown away by the lights and team work of the Grateful Dead's forever LD Candace Brightman and her assistants. The first "real psychedelic" lightshow I saw was likely the Joshua Lightshow. Their work, as well as the work of legendary artists Bill Ham and Glenn McKay and their teams also left indelible impressions.
I continue to be influenced by every good lightshow I see.
In the last year, I've "gone to school" at Candace's show, especially her New Years collaboration with Brotherhood of Light; The Who's lighting plan on last years tour was incredible - don't ask me what they played. I'm fortunate in that I've spent most of my "adult" years around San Francisco.


I did nothing with lights after the army until the night The Fillmore re-opened in the early 1990's when I was briefly allowed to touch some magical plates that contained colored solutions. I was hooked but would not get to play for a couple of years. Driving a cab slowly downshifted to baking and then festival foods for rock shows & a tour. I was getting closer.


I was hired to be the food concessionaire at San Francisco's new Maritime Hall. Almost from the start, the jouryman lighting guys there let me play and I had plate maniuplation down within several minutes. I know some folks never get it right, but I did take my first baby steps in water.


The food thing ended and I became a volunteer plate operator there for a couple of years until a falling out with the locals as I began to branch out on my own. Rainbow Puddle Liquid Light and Psychedelic Lightshows was born soon thereafter.

I have done lightshows for over a dozen productions of Bill Graham Presents, from Mountain Air to the Hog Farm to special events at The Fillmore. I've worked with Dawg Kingdom & Prankster kids in Eugene on several productions, and have done some minor tours with the David Nelson Band and Vince Welnick's Missing Man Formation. I've done shows at The Fillmore and many other Bay Area venues, in The Wetlands and Bowery
Ballrooms in New York City for The Zen Tricksters and at the Gathering Of The Vibes, also on the east coast of the U.S. There I worked with one of the East Coast's finest video freaks, Optical Delusion. With Brotherhood of Light on the West Coast I worked at the San Diego Street Fair and with Look See Lightshow from Portland on several Dawg shows. Through the wonders of the internet, I've hooked up with, via an Israeli lightartist, the Atomic Prism Lightshow http://www.lanset.com/1js/netscape/ who lives a mere 90 miles from me. We've collaborated several times and continue to find ways
to do so. (Atomic Rainbow?)


I first began with an old low powered overhead and borrowed plates.
I've since purchased over a half dozen projectors, from long throw auditorium overheads w/ magnifying lenses on top that are capable of 60' coverage from 100+'. My work horses are two Dukanes 7,800 lumen and I generally operate both sets of plates by myself - usually, but appreciate more hands. Plates are always hard to find and I'd appreciate any leads to glass blowers or glass collections. What's different about my work from when I began is closeness to projection surface. I've found this allows for the brightest possible colors.

I also create digital graphics on this G4. Sometimes I take texture off of specially shot video and go from there in PhotoShop and several other programs. Working into my liquid, a variety of other media, beginning with slides and eventually my own video, is my current project.

I love collaborating with other light artists. I think multi media is the way to go - creating chaos to the point that the participating artists are confused about whose imagery and color is where. I've written a proposal for a Festival of Light and Illumination that is available from my web page and actively seek sponsors and participants. I've not used too many add-ons, but since meeting up with Atomic Prisim, I've enjoyed working with a rotator that has variable speeds.


Camp Videogasm at Burning Man will be home for two weeks at the end of August. An open invitation is universally presented to any light artists wanting to participate with us.


I seek tours. . .I'm a road dog. . .and club dates and any other work from music video to commercials, and yes, raves. I'll do Bar Mitzvahs and High Mass! I've a bag packed & can leave within 48 hours. I'm currently playing around with some video concepts and will be producing some "experimental" psychedelic videos and work with several highly regarded video artists. I'd appreciate the opportunity to meet and perhaps work with anyone, any time and any place on the planet.


Glad this space is here.

Cheers & Peace,
Hal "Phoenix" Muskat
Chief Colorist
Rainbow Puddles



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Sunday, August 18, 2002