The Pooterland Interviews:
Michel Polizzi - Quasar Lights

27th May 2001


pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: How did you get started doing lightshows?

First was "H Lights" in Paris, 1969-1970. I was in high school and my friends and I wanted so bad to be San Francisco acid rockers!! It was easier to do lights than learning how to play guitar! ;-))

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Who would you say were your biggest influences?

Spiritually, Glenn McKay's Headlights and The Joshua Lightshow. I say spiritually, because I never saw them but heard plenty about them. In Paris there was Mandala and Open Light whom I saw live a couple of times. In London it was Jimmy Doody and Krishna Lights, whom I met and who gave me a private show at his place once (1970) and who sold me some gear.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What bands have you worked with over the years?

H Lights (Paris) 1969-1970: Patrick Vian's Red Noise, and some bands from my high school.

NuclearVue/Northlight (Boston) 1971-1973: Hot Tuna and Commander Cody (Orpheum Theatre) in 1972. Some shows in art galleries. Then the people I was with switched to video, which was pretty "avant garde" in 1973!!

Quasar Lights (Philadelphia):

(1979) Sun Ra
(1982) Psychedelic nights at the Ritz in New York, Jorma Kaukonen (two tours, Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ, Northstage in Glen Cove, LI, The Ritz in NY, Ripley's in Philly, Jorma and Bob Weir, Dr. John (Capital Theatre in Passaic); Hot Tuna/Bobby & the Midnights, Nassau Coliseum, (Uniondale, LI), The Spectrum (Philadelphia)...
(1983) Blue Cheer (Lone Star Cafe, NY, and Brandywine Club near Philly)
(1984) Sounds of San Francisco Trips Tour (Zero, John Cippolina, Joey Covington,...) in Providence, RI, Norfolk, VA, Hartford, CN, Phila.,PA
(1985) WBAI Benefit at the Saint (old Fillmore East) in New York: Jorma, Bob Weir and Country Joe
(1986) Electric Factory Concerts 20th Anniversary show at the Spectrum in Philly: Chambers Bros, Iron Butterfly
(1987) Then quasi-weekly shows with Philly bands, and in discotheques and raves and club parties....

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Where did the different names come from?

H Lights: self-explanatory
NuclearVue: Not my choice of name (but I liked it!)
Quasar: because Quasars are very bright and very far out....!!!

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What equipment did you start out using?

With H Lights we used cheapo slide projectors (Rank Tutor 2's) I bought in London at Pluto's on Tottenham Court Road. As you must know, a lot of this gear is now used as standard nightclub lighting equipment.
NuclearVue: Kodak Carousels, overheads, Rank Tutor 2s, small lasers from Bob Beck’s Edmund Scientific.
Quasar: Kodak carousels, Tutor 2s, overheads, 8 and 16mm film projectors...

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Why was this gear used ?

Gear had to be sturdy and cheap!!!! That was pretty much the only criteria. The overheads were old, and I mean old!!!, Besselers and another brand I forget.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What ‘non standard’ items were used?

Lots of mylar and bendable plastic mirrors. I made my own slides from art nouveau/art deco patterns in Dover design books, copyright-free. I also made my own oils from weird chemicals I hunted around the US for. Home-made color wheels... Hexidoscopes, involvement wheels (with the Tutor 2s)

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: How many projectors/slide machines you started out with? How many did you finish up with?

The biggest shows (Jorma Kaukonen, Hot Tuna) used about 6-8 slide projectors, 3 overheads, 2 film projectors, lots of mylar and mirrors for distorted reflections. For these we used a crew of four.
With H Lights we had only 3 slide projectors and we were boiling slides, no overheads back then!!!!

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