The Conversation by Tiffany Manning

The Conversation: Richard Borders

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The Conversation: Richard Borders

Richard Borders Gemini Light Show Conversation with Jim Alabiso • Photograph by laird For over fifty years, Richard Borders has been the creative force of the Gemini Light Show. He created the first concert touring light shows for The Who, Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few. He invented the first live video projection and laser systems for entertainment, including lasers that could draw pictures on clouds. Five years ago, he landed on Jacksonville’s music scene. When I met you for the first time, it was at the Amrit Yoga Institute ashram in Salt Springs, Florida. What brought you there? I had been on tour with the country band JT Curtis when I first moved to Florida. I was asked by a friend to get in touch with Malay Desai, Yogi Amrit Desai’s son, about building TV broadcast systems there. Having done yoga in 1967 and meeting Amrit at the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1970, where I did lights, I thought it to be an exciting idea.  I got off the tour bus in Ocala, was picked up by Malay and started my journey. Once I arrived, it was another world. I spent over a year there on a technical and spiritual path. It was quite a change from the loud concert music past midnight. Now it was quiet mornings, shooting TV broadcasts, and silent meditation. At night in the forest without light pollution, the stars were so bright it added to the enlightenment of these times. One of the best things was I got to become friends with yoga teachers and students from around the world. An insightful cultural exchange. All the meals were vegan and healthy, with so much variety compared to a restaurant meal along the highway on tour.  I also got to go through every significant yoga training program, as well. The wisdom I soaked in there spun a creative wave that I swam through to take me away to Jacksonville.  How did the idea of mixing laser light, projection, and music come to you? Tell us about your first light show apparatus.  I was blending light to music at nine years old. I cut out photos of UFOs and aliens from Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines. I glued them to a wall with blinking colored Christmas lights under each one. I would put on headphones and listen to music from Spike Jones to Vivaldi to go with the lights.  I began doing stage lighting for concerts and thought about using the back curtain area to project the images. The touring light show included slide, overhead, movie, and film loop projectors. I also brought in strobe lights. While doing the light show for Tommy on The Who tour, I got a video projection system. During Listening To You, I had a photo of Mount Shasta, and the audience’s faces appearing on the mountain as they sang the lyrics, “I climb the mountain; I get excitement at your feet.” That’s what seeing the music was about to me.  I got a red laser from the Edmund Scientific Company. I glued a mirror to a speaker and watched the beam dance to the music. That beam began another path for me. It gave the light show a depth that had not been...

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The Conversation: Nancy Hogshead-Makar

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The Conversation: Nancy Hogshead-Makar

Nancy Hogshead-Makar
Olympic swimmer, legal expert, athletic equity champion

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The Conversation: Sabeen Perwaiz

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The Conversation: Sabeen Perwaiz

Sabeen Perwaiz
Executive Director, Florida Nonprofit Alliance

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The Conversation: Anthony Anurca

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The Conversation: Anthony Anurca

Anthony Anurca
Second Chair Bassoon, Jacksonville Symphony Orhcestra

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The Conversation: Kate Rouh

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The Conversation: Kate Rouh

Kate Rouh, Owner, Roux Art

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The Conversation: Gabrielle Magid

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The Conversation: Gabrielle Magid

Gabrielle Magid, Founder and CEO, Stronger Than Stigma, Inc. 

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The Conversation: Barbara Colaciello

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The Conversation: Barbara Colaciello

Founder and Artist Director of Babs’lab

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The Conversation: Adam Levine

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The Conversation: Adam Levine

Adam Levine

George W. and Kathleen I. Gibbs Director and CEO,
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

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The Conversation: Sarah Boone

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The Conversation: Sarah Boone

Sarah Boone
Executive Director, Theatre Jacksonville

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The Conversation: Shawana Brooks

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The Conversation: Shawana Brooks

Shawana Brooks, Arts and Culture Developer, Jax Makerspace at the Main Library

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