These appearances and events are listed in reverse chronological order. Some may be upcoming events.
October 21-23, 2016 – Austin performs Dr. MegaVolt at Boo at the Zoo, an annual Halloween event at the Santa Barbara Zoo. There were 8000 attendees over three nights. Austin used the medium Tesla Coil and Tesla Coil backpack to entertain the audiences of mostly very young children.
February 27, 2016 – Austin and Victoria perform together as Doctor and Mistress MegaVolt at the opening party for SBCAST, a fantastic new artist live/work/performance space in Santa Barbara created by Alan and Mark Macy.
December 12, 2015 – Austin gives a presentation about Tesla Coils, and a mini Tesla Coil and suit show to a group of 32 people at the Sacred Space in Summerland, CA.
November 6-8, 2015 – Doctor MegaVolt performs at the STEAM Carnival in San Francisco at Pier 48 over three days. The event was produced by Two Bit Circus.
May 21, 2015 – The Doctor is hired by Mt. Melvil to tape a snippet for a commercial for the Google Android 5.0 Lollipop phone in Hollywood. The commercial is for Japan only. A link to the commercial is here. Go to the Projects page and click on the thumbnail six rows down from the top that says “Google Android 5.0 Lollipop” to see the video!
May 9, 2014 – Doctor MegaVolt goes to Las Vegas with his trusty assistant Tool and tapes a segment for the Nat Geo show None of the Above, featuring exploding inflatable mannequins.
October 2013 – The Tesla coil is used as an effect at a haunted house in Los Angeles.
May 2013 – Dr. MegaVolt tapes a segment for the Weather Channel show Masters of Nature. The MegaVolt suit is blasted with a discharge from a 2.2 Megavolt Marx Generator in Fullerton at DNB Engineering.
December 2012 – The Doctor performs at a private party in the Bay Area.
October 2012 – Doctor MegaVolt performs for four nights in Abu Dhabi at the Abu Dhabi Science Festival.
July 2012 – The Doctor performs at Comic-Con at a party called Dawn of the Con, sponsored by VH1 Classic and hosted by Rob Zombie.
January 2012 – Doctor MegaVolt goes to CES in Las Vegas, where he performs two days of product demos for ioSafe, a company that manufactures ruggedized external hard drives. The drives are subjected to streamers from the Tesla Coil. The event is covered extensively by the media. Look on bbc.com for the video.
December 2011 – Doctor MegaVolt and Mistress MegaVolt return to Taiwan and perform in four performances of the 2 hour musical about the Life of Michael Faraday. The shows were in Tai-Chung and Kaohsiung.
Aug. 29, 2011 – Doctor MegaVolt performed three nights of shows at Burning Man 2011 on the main stage at a theme camp called Area 51 at 5 and Esplanade.
Apr. 16, 2011 – Doctor and Mistress MegaVolt perform in Taipei, Taiwan in front of Chang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall as part of a 2 hour musical about the life of Michael Faraday. The show was hosted by Delta Electronics to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The highlight of the show was when Mr. Cheng, the CEO and founder of Delta went into a cage positioned next to the Tesla Coil. Then we turned on the Tesla Coil.
Apr. 1, 2011 – Dr. MegaVolt and Mistress MegaVolt appear on the Italian show Lo Show Dei Record, which is affiliated with the Guinness World Record media organization. No record was broken, alas, since the category was new and the attempt was not well-rehearsed.
Jan. 31, 2011 – Dr. MegaVolt is the special guest star for the recording of an episode of Germany’s Next Topmodel, hosted by Heidi Klum. 20 young models each have to stand in a cage that is struck by streamers from the Tesla Coil. The doctor pounds on the outside of the cage trying to scare each model, with varying results.
Aug. 30, 2010 – Dr. MegaVolt will be at the Burning Man festival for the 8th year. The project received funding from Burning Man LLC. We will be camping at Skinny Kitty Teahouse.
Aug. 3, 2010 – Austin and Victoria go to Colorado to tape a segment for the DIY Network’s show Disaster House.
Aug. 2, 2010 – Victoria’s Kickstarter fundraiser campaign is successful, with over $10,000 raised! We will tape interviews and HD footage for it at Burning Man 2010.
Nov. 5, 2009 – Dr. MegaVolt performs at the Exploratorium in San Francisco as part of their After Dark program. The space is the Rotunda just west of the museum. No one has run a big coil in that space since 1991.
Oct. 25, 2009 – Victoria Charters performs as Mistress MegaVolt for the French TV show Soiree de l’Etrange. We sent the coil system to Paris via airfreight.
May 22, 2009 – The new series All Jacked Up on the Country Music Channel will have an appearance by Dr. MegaVolt. The segment was shot in a giant factory space in south LA on May 22. The host is the actor C. Thomas Howell.
April 14, 2009 – Time Warp airs an episode called Blades and Volts, featuring Dr. MegaVolt in slow motion. Tricks include detonating thermite with the Tesla Coil.
February 9, 2009 – Time Warp shoots a segment on Dr. MegaVolt at Glendale Studios.
Dec. 30, 2008 – Fishbon, an art salon in Santa Barbara, hosts a New Year’s party. We set the Tesla Coil up in the parking lot and it runs very well. The show is canceled due to conflicts with the neighbors.
August 13, 2008 – The new series Time Warp on the Discovery Channel films a performance by Dr. Megavolt in Boston. The shoot featured a very high frame rate video camera to see the arcs develop in slow motion.
February 19, 2008 – Dr. MegaVolt appears at a private publicity event called Chevy Rocks the Future at the Disney Studios in Burbank. Children hold a fluorescent tube in their hands which lights up when held in the vicinity of the Tesla Coil. The Jonas Brothers perform.
Oct. 31, 2007 – Dr. MegaVolt appeared on Wired Science at 8pm on PBS. Check this link
The appearance consists of an interview and a demonstration of Dr. MegaVolt’s suit using a small Tesla Coil that makes a 24 inch arc. The Doctor also demonstrated his backpack Tesla Coil.
August 28-Sept. 5, 2006 – Dr. MegaVolt returned to the playa for Burning Man 2006 and had a very good year! We had the two 9 foot Tesla Coils running on the roof of a large box truck. There is quite a bit of footage of the shows on www.youtube.com. Keywords are Dr. MegaVolt and Burning Man. Here is a particularly good one:
July 14th and 15th, 2006 – Dr. Megavolt, the Bride of MegaVolt and Mistress MegaVolt performed at the Crucible’s “Fire Arts Festival” in Oakland. This is the link to the event’s website
We performed with twin 9-foot Tesla Coils. The show was a test of our equipment for the Burning Man festival.
August 12-14, 2005 – Austin performed at the Telluride Tech Festival in Telluride, CO. The coil was provided by Bill Wysock, who has demonstrated his excellent coil at the festival several times before. Tech Festival
June, 2005 – Burning Flipside was fun. We brought the medium sized Tesla Coil and performed a show. Rain prevented more appearances.
March 2005 – We have been getting a lot of inquires about shows in the last few months. Dr. MegaVolt is planning an appearance at the Burning Flipside festival in Austin, Texas. We need a break from the dust and the overwhelming law enforcement and drunken frat boy presence at Burning Man, thus we are taking a year off from the event and going to this much smaller regional event, which has a size cap of 1200 people. So are lots of other artists. There are two kinds of people that go to Burning Man: Producers and Consumers. When the output of the producers is exceeded by the consumption rate of the consumers, the event quality diminishes. I think this has been the case since 2001 or so.
2004 – We all went to Burning Man, but chose to spend our time goofing off instead of working. Austin set up his solar power gear on the roof of his big truck and made electricity to run the camp.
August/Sept. 2003 – Dr. MegaVolt brings a large Tesla Coil to Burning Man and sets up an art installation called the Cult of St. Elmo. The cult is dedicated to St. Elmo and his fire, Elmo from Sesame Street and the movie St. Elmo’s Fire starring the faux brat pack led by Jud Nelson. Participants enter a metal cage which is then zapped by the Tesla Coil. The event is operated by austin, John, Will and Victoria, with terrific help by JD Petras and his friend Billy. We run about 200 people through the event, including my mother.
April 12, 2003 – The Clan Destino hosts the Fur Ball at Muddy Waters Cafe in Santa Barbara. Dr. MegaVolt again performs with his medium-sized Tesla Coil, yet this time he wears his suit minus the helmet!
March 21, 2003 – Dr. MegaVolt performs with the mutaytor at Xara Dulzura: Rite of Spring, a small Burningman-style event held in a monastery near the Mexican border. Dr. MegaVolt performs with his medium-sized Tesla Coil, which can send sparks about 24 inches. For some strange reason, he performs without a suit. This is quite painful, although the pain is mitigated by standing on an insulating plastic milk crate and holding a metal rod that takes the brunt of the electron bombardment!
January 2003 – Dr. MegaVolt is filmed by Granada Television for a Discovery Channel show called Extraordinary People. He appears in the program, which is still airing on Discovery in 2005.
October 2002 – Dr. MegaVolt goes to Munich to film a segment for the “Grosse Knopf-Hopf” show for the network ZDF Germany. Now we know that Teslatrafo is the german name for Tesla coils! Great pictures and description of the filming process at William Keller’s website.
August 2002 – Dr. MegaVolt returns to Burning Man and performs with the Mutaytor. Two Doctors, one real, the other an impostor, battle it out on Saturday night after the Burn.
July 2002 – Dr. MegaVolt plays a party called Metropolis in the parking lot of 3Com park in San Francisco with the Mutaytor and Christian Ristow’s robot show.
8/25/2001 – 9/3/2001 – Dr. MegaVolt rocks the playa for the fourth year in a row! The SINdicate hosts us at Burning Man 2001. We perform on three different nights in conjunction with Matty the Mutaytor and topless go-go dancers in wire fence cages! Matty, a solo drummer from LA who later founded the Mutaytor, controls the Tesla Coil with an air tube in his mouth. Like a one-man band, he pulses the coil in time to his drumming. The Doctor jumps on a trampoline while drawing arcs to a burning piece of lumber. The constant dust causes some short-circuiting in the secondary winding which we are able to repair with relative ease.
8/11/2001 – The Dr. MegaVolt team takes the coil and suit out to El Mirage with the SINdicate folks for a shakedown test. Extensive repair and modification of the spark gap on the Berkeley 8.5 foot coil results in much more robust operation. We also gain a much better understanding of grounding issues and how they affect the coil in a desert environment.
9/21/2000 – 9/25/2000 – John Behrens and Will Keller take Dr. MegaVolt to Paris for the taping of a segment of Le Web Fait Son, a show featuring the most interesting things on the Web. The new Tesla Coil debuts on television, featuring a commercial 56″ diameter toroid. Great pictures and description of the filming process at William Keller’s website.
8/28/2000 – 9/4/2000 – Dr. MegaVolt returns to Burning Man with TWO 25 kW Tesla coils. One is brand new, the other is Austin’s old coil upgraded to 25 kW. Both are equipped with matching purple secondary windings and 56″ diameter toroids from O.W. Landergren. The coils are mounted on a 24-foot box truck and powered by a 125 kW generator towed behind. In spite of severe weather, the crew manages to perform on three nights, culminating in a Sunday performance with both coils working perfectly.
1/8/2000 – Dr. MegaVolt goes to St. Augustine, Florida to shoot a segment for Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a revival of the original television show narrated by Jack Palance. The suspension trick tested in Oakland is tried again, this time from an 80-foot boom crane. A replica of the Empire State Building loaded with pyro effects is destroyed as it is zapped with arcs streaming from the doctor’s hands. We now own a special harness for hanging safely while wearing the suit.
12/29/99 – Dr. MegaVolt is filmed standing on the top of his Tesla Coil, with 9 foot arcs streaming out from his hands and head. He is suspended from the ceiling by ropes in his Oakland, CA studio/workshop. The harness we use is designed for rock climbing, and anyone in the suit tends to hang horizontally because of the weight of the helmet and shoulder armor!
12/23/99 – Dr. MegaVolt blows a current-limiting resistor that is realized to be a legacy of the early Berkeley days, when we were very conservative in our engineering. The replacement of this resistive current limiter with an inductive device results in an increase in power consumption from 15 kW to 35 kW and much longer arcs. We now routinely measure point-to-point discharges that are 13 feet long. The coil also becomes much louder and brighter. Richard Cossel debuts his three-phase Jacob’s Ladder, which produces a strange Y-shaped arc.
11/23/99 – MegaVolt returns to the United States and takes up residency in Oakland, California.
11/7/1999 – Dr. MegaVolt flies to London to appear on “Don’t Try This at home”, a television show that is reminiscent of That’s Incredible.
11/1/99 – Dr. MegaVolt officially moves into his new Digs at www.DrMegaVolt.com.
10/15/99 – Television Campaign for Sizzler Steak House featuring Dr. MegaVolt premiers. The commercial plays in New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area for about 6 months.
9/26/99 – The German television show Explosiv films a Dr. MegaVolt performance in Santa Barbara, CA. The program airs in western Europe a month later.
9/6/99 – NPR story on Burning Man mentions Dr. MegaVolt.
9/6/99 – San Francisco Chronicle Datebook cover story on Burning Man features a color photograph of Dr. MegaVolt.
9/2/99-9/6/99 – Dr. Megavolt electrifies Burning Man with a mobile Tesla Coil and stage raised 11 feet off the desert floor. Over 20,000 people see Dr. Megavolt ignite pyro powder, burn wood, Barbie Dolls and other offerings. The Cult of MegaVolt emerges as thousands of pilgrims follow the shining beacon across the Playa.
8/1999 – Ray Gun magazine interviews Dr. Austin Richards, AKA Dr. MegaVolt. The magazine features picture of his portable Tesla Coil backpack.
8/22/99 – Dr. MegaVolt is the centerfold in the National Examiner.
8/15/99 – Dr. MegaVolt’s National Television debut on NBC’s “You Asked for it”.
8/8/99 – Sizzler Steakhouse hires ad agency Evans, Hardy and Young to film a commercial. Dr. MegaVolt to appear as “The Sizzler” in a major national advertising campaign beginning in October.
7/3/99 – The Dr. MegaVolt Tesla Coil appears in a machine performance put on by Christian Ristow’s machines at the Brewery in Los Angeles.
4/18/99 – Dr. MegaVolt pictures and interview appear on Page A1 of the Santa Barbara News-Press.
3/1999 – New Series produced by Nash Entertainment: “You Asked For It” films Dr. MegaVolt for NBC in Burbank. Another contractor supplies a second Tesla Coil. Dr. MegaVolt is struck simultaneously with two 10-foot arcs!
12/1998 – Carpenteria, CA photo shoot for Stern magazine and Robot book by lightning photographer Peter Menzel.
8/1998 – Dr. MegaVolt performs at Burning Man for the first time, thanks to Chris Campbell.
12/1997 – RealTV quick clip of Dr. MegaVolt airs on national TV. This is the first paid TV appearance.
7/1997 – Dr. MegaVolt’s picture appears in National Geographic in cover story on robots.
4/1997 – Christian Ristow’s big party south of market to mark the migration of the Subjugator and its companions to Los Angeles. Hundreds jam into a small warehouse to witness Dr. MegaVolt do battle with a 2.5 ton war machine…
3/1997 – Austin tests his new metal suit in Orinda, CA with a large Tesla Coil. It works!
6/1996 – Austin has the idea to put a cage next to a Tesla Coil to protect him from the high voltage discharges. He figures it will work the same as it did at the Boston Museum of Science where the operator of a large Van De Graaff generator is protected inside a metal cage. He asks his friends at SLR to build him a cage out of chainlink fence and lumber. At a party at Christian Ristow’s SOMA warehouse, the cage with Austin in it is zapped by a Tesla Coil owned by Greg Leyh, the creator of the world’s largest Tesla Coil and the world’s expert on Tesla Coils. Check out Greg’s terrific site at www.lod.org