April 2011

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April 2011

Conference & Stage Expo

USITT Conference & Stage Expo—2012: Good Vibrations in Long Beach

Brian Alan Reed Long Beach Promotions Coordinator

Warm breezes and long stretches of sand, and opportunities to enjoy them just steps from the 2012 Annual Conference site, are all part of what Long Beach, California will offer to USITT members and guests next March.

Photo/Courtesy Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

In case you thought USITT conference-goers might never see the blue Pacific again, do not despair! After an eight-year absence from the West Coast, USITT will return to Long Beach, California, on March 28-31, 2012, for the 2012 Annual Conference & Stage Expo. Situated in downtown Long Beach, adjacent to the Shoreline Marina and The Pike shopping and entertainment center, the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center will serve as the site of USITT's 52nd annual conference.

As with the past three Long Beach conferences (in 1998, 2001, and 2004), the proximity of southern California's entertainment industries, including film, television, live music, and themed entertainment, will give conference planners many excellent opportunities to develop a very special conference for USITT members. Currently under consideration are sessions, tours, and professional development workshops that would take advantage of what the Long Beach location has to offer. These could include presentations and tours on costume design for film, scenic and lighting design for themed entertainment, properties design for film and television, tours of local theatres and scenery studios, and sessions or exhibits tied to local designers for the entertainment industry.

In addition to Long Beach's International City Theatre, there are such southern California area theatres nearby as Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City (all three of which are part of the Center Theatre Group). There's a theatre company that specializes in producing "classical dramatic literature," A Noise Within, with a new theatre facility currently under construction in Pasadena. There are also such diverse theatre companies as the East West Players, who are celebrating their 45th year at the David Henry Hwang Theatre in Little Tokyo, and the 38-year-old Bi-lingual Foundation of the Arts near downtown Los Angeles.

Southern California also offers a wide variety of museums, from the Getty Center in Brentwood to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the mid-Wilshire District, to the Museum of Contemporary Art near the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Long Beach itself is home to the Long Beach Museum of Art and the Museum of Latin American Art.

As any veteran Long Beach conference attendee knows, 2012 conference goers won't have to worry about going hungry or thirsty for lack of places to eat and drink. Since the 2004, Long Beach has expanded its restaurant and bar scene, including a new Irish pub right across the street from the convention center. There are also the favorite old haunts like the original version of The Yard House, which boasts great food and more than 200 beers on tap, Tequila Jack's for Mexican fare, L'Opera for upscale Italian dining, and King's Fish House on Pine Street.

Get ready to "catch the wave" in Long Beach, 2012!