Monday, March 30, 2015

Success Story from the 2015 World Floral Expo

We had the pleasure of creating floral branding and decor for a client at the 2015 World Floral Expo that took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center this year.
Our goal: to create a booth that made an impact at the expo.

We think we got it! Our client just updated their Facebook page with a cover shot of our job and raved on Facebook: "World Floral Expo booth, so beautiful!"

Thank you to our client for the compliment and the wonderful assignment!
We are sharing the details.

The Concept:

Working closely with the client, we decided to create a welcoming space by building a floral studio inside the hall, complete with furnishings and floral branding to set the booth apart from all the other vendors.
Director of Floral Design Kate Brack and Floral Designer Rebecca Motus conceptualized and created what our client and many visitors called the "best booth".

Also, visitors' reactions showed that this strategy worked!

Project Lead Floral Designer Rebecca Motus: "Originally, there were going to be four flower walls. Being the creative mind, I was oblivious to the amount of labor it would entail. Thankfully, the purchasing manager made me realize the logistical aspect of the project and we decided to do two walls. We had suggested to make the logo wall for them. The client loved the idea so the logo wall came into fruition. We decided to create the Mondrian inspired wall because of the interesting dimensions and depths. Creating these two walls took about 8000 stems and 40 hours of work!"

Rebecca recorded the process in time lapse videos.

"Kate Brack was our savior and hero --- down to the last hour, she was able to pull off the perfect furniture setting for the booth!"

We are happy to share this table top floral the client selected as his Facebook cover! 

Five production meetings, lots of emails, tons of phone calls and text messages and many hours in the floral studio is what it took.

This client flies all his flowers straight into Los Angeles instead of shipping from South America to Florida and trucking across the country to California. The freshness degree of the product was very helpful in creating floral that lasted through the whole 3-day duration of the expo.

It's just too sad that we cannot mail you the beautiful scents we all enjoyed at the expo! Thank you to Kate and Rebecca for an outstanding success!

Wishing you a week in full bloom!


Photo Credits:
All photos Marion Renk-Rosenthal/EventWorks
Except: Facebook Cover Flora / HFM

Monday, March 23, 2015

Site Report from The Fabulous Forum in Inglewood

We recently had a Fabulous Tour of the Fabulous Forum, courtesy of our friend Jill Przelenski,
Director, Special Events & Family Entertainment.

In a nutshell: the re-invented Forum deserves the media hype it received.
Eagles' Glenn Frey exclaimed: “The Forum is the best sounding large building anywhere in the world. Take my word for it, we’ve played them all.”

It also offers exquisite event space possibilities that allow us to create a VIP Experience of any size!

The legendary Forum Club serves as special entrance for private and corporate events. It's a VIP Experience from the first moment onward as this area has special parking privileges and street access. 

Painting and maintenance crews were hard at work inside and outside of  the new hall that reopened in January 2014. 
Jill Przelenski: "We don't allow any wear and tear. Paint, carpets, furnishings - everything gets lots of attention and is constantly updated." Forum Red, inspired by the California Sunset, a registered custom Pantone color, permeates every aspect of the hall.

We especially love the fact that The Madison Square Garden Company honors this iconic space in Los Angeles sports and music history. The mid-century modern exterior was beautifully restored and matched inside. This venue has history - and you feel it!
Jill: "I am an Inglewood native and have many wonderful memories at the Forum. And it dawned on me that almost every visitor has special memories attached to this sacred place. Whether it be a first concert ever, or a sporting event, someone has a special life moment here every night!"

Brynne Price was thrilled to get "this close" to JT!  "I have seen Justin Timberlake's tour here twice! It was amazing!"

We have seen many rock arenas but none so stylish! The Forum wants to make sure the stars feel at home. The green rooms have every amenity a five star hotel suite would offer. The Forum has its own workout gym and hi-speed wifi. Event production companies will be accommodated with work rooms and office space inside as well, thus eliminating the need for trailer rentals. Nikki Wilbur fancies the fluffy white pillows!

Event ideas abound! We first entered the Forum Club which can handle a large variety of event styles. Have your Cocktail Reception here, prior to a concert. The beverage concessionaire is in-house. However, food catering is usually handled by Levy Restaurant but could be contracted out. Levy offers a different menu every night on site. 
Jerry Buss's private suite - formerly used by the late Lakers owner to entertain his own VIPs - offers the possibility of setting up anything from photo ops to a media meet&greet suite to a VVIP space. 
"The Bull" - the arena itself has a built-in drapery system that allows MSG to use the space as an event floor for nearly any size event or conference. Capacities for events on the floor range from 500-1200. Events utilizing the entire venue bowl can range in size from 8,000-17,500. 

Jill: "I also love the ramp space that leads from the loading dock to the stage entrance. Every band that has played this hall has come down that walkway! All the names are written on the walls, including the number of times they have appeared here. It's a fabulous space with a real rock'n roll feel for a pre-event reception."

The Tech Sheet:
"Architecturally, the interior of the bowl is completely modernized to provide seating for 17,500 and can be converted to a half bowl to seat 8,000, enabling the venue to attract a wide variety of events. The arena has been updated with state-of-the-art, technically advanced support systems featuring a unique “sky deck” to facilitate rigging the largest touring concerts, productions and events. In addition to completely refurbished concourses, fans will enjoy approximately 8,000 square feet of new event level hospitality offerings, including food and beverage, merchandise and bathrooms. A tinted glass wall will separate this concession area from the arena floor; ensuring fans do not miss a moment of the performance. Two exclusive spaces for the Forum VIP customers will include the historic Forum Club and the new Chase Lounge.
Among the key features that have been restored in an effort to replicate the original design principle is the exterior color of the venue, which has been repainted to the 1960s “California sunset red.” The revitalization of the 40,000 square foot outdoor terrace surrounding the perimeter of the building offers upgraded food and beverage amenities to elevate the guest experience"

So Jill, what is your favorite memory?
"Oh, I love my job! I get to see so many great events. I am real Foo Fighters fan and just got to see them this past January. But the VMAs we held last year were really special. It was an amazing production we are truly proud of!"

Janet: "I have been in Los Angeles for over three decades and some of my best memories were made here. Furthermore I really love the fact that The Fabulous Forum has retained its iconic L.A. Rock'n Roll look and style. It's a special space that guests will remember! 
Jill signs her emails with a greeting that is so appropriate:
Cheers and Champagne!


Photo Credits:
Photo credit for the exterior / outside photos:  Paul Hebert / Forum Photos
Photo credit for the "Starry Night" photo:  Rebecca Taylor / MSG Photos
Photo credit for the Cal's Crowd-stage:  Cal Aurand / Forum Photos

All site visit photos:
Opening group shot: Anna-Lisa v. Heyking/EventWorks
Interior group shot, Brynne with JT shot and Red Wall backstage shot: Marion Renk-Rosenthal/EventWorks.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Saying it with Music: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As Bono from U2 put it: “The whole thing about Lent – as any Irishman will tell you – is that it stops on St Patrick’s Day.”

Bono, you speak, we listen!

Janet Elkins' hometown is famous for dying the Chicago River green.

Even here in Southern California we celebrate the Irish holiday although the California way may not be quite conforming with the original religious holiday tradition. We are in good company, though! While 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed daily around the world, on St Patrick's Day that number rises to 13 million!

Another great Irish tradition is music. We asked DJ Lee Dyson to compile

The Perfect Playlist!

Lee Dyson: "Since I’m more or less ½ Irish AND a DJ I figured it’s only my responsibility to provide everyone with some festive music from Irish bands to help celebrate the day.
P.S. I didn’t forget Enya…..I just didn’t want to put anyone to sleep!"

So we got you drinking Guinness and dancing. Let's add food!
Please do not make the mistake to call corned beef and cabbage Irish Stew!
Our Irish friend and caterer Richard Mooney corrected us on that issue three years ago and shared his personal recipe for an Irish-Californian dinner:

Nuevo Irish Lamb Stew!

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Janet's Husband Steve Elkins Making Worldwide Headlines

If you have known Janet for a while you probably heard that her husband of more than three decades has spent more than two decades searching for the fabled Lost City in the jungle of Honduras. HE FOUND TWO and visited ONE.

22 years ago Steve, who graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor Degree in Earth Science and Education and never lost his passion for archeological adventure, met an adventurer and explorer named Steve Morgan. The chance encounter resulted in a documentary film project about the fabled Ciudad Blanca, or Lost City, or City of The Monkey Gods. The documentary team did not find it in 1994 but Steve's interest and curiosity were peaked!
Thus started a 22-year long project, with the aim to finally find the famous Lost City.

You may have seen the worldwide headlines this past week!
Steve's dream has come true!

His painstaking work, commitment and dedication resulted in success!

22 years of research, making contacts, combing through archives in Central America and the USA, countless hours on the internet and more on the phone finally paid off!

Steve Elkins: "When we went into the Mosquitia in 1994 we still had to have carriers bring in heavy generators for camera batteries and we carried a 28-pound Betacam. All archeological research had to be done on the ground. The whole team hiked days through rivers and over mountains to get into remote parts of the jungle. Many parts of the Mosquitia however were essentially inaccessible to humans. Looking for a specific site given the vastness of the area and difficult terrain was more problematic than finding that proverbial needle in the haystack. Modern technology changed all that!

Furthermore, archeologists who work in Honduras have come to the conclusion that there are many "lost cities" under the jungle vegetation. It's very hard to know whether there is a "White City" or which site would actually correspond with the legend.

Forward to 2012. 18 years into the project, Steve had established the most likely area in Honduras. He had also found partners willing to finance the work of a team of scientists Steve had put together to explore the area with Lidar technology. Two years ago the Lidar expedition made headlines as it clearly established the presence of structures only humans could have created.

It took another two years to organize the ground expedition needed to substantiate the Lidar data in person, the so-called "ground-truthing".

Steve: "In 2012 we found evidence of two sites in this general area. We do not know whether they are related in age and civilization or not. This February we visited one site and did establish that this is a site of a larger human settlement. Team member Oscar Neil Cruz, head archaeologist at the Honduran Instituto de Antroplogia y Historia believes the artifacts date to A.D. 1000 to 1400

The team was comprised of scientists, film makers, Honduran Special Forces soldiers for protection, British former SAS jungle specialists and support staff.

The results have made worldwide headlines!        


Bestselling author Douglas Preston wrote the first story
for National Geographic.

Media around the globe picked up!
The Twitter stream went crazy!
And there is more to come!

Steve Elkins: "The artifacts we found are definitely pre-columbian. The site we visited must have been a public plaza. One can only wonder what types of events they organized here thousands of years ago. Obviously, human nature has not changed fundamentally in its social needs."

Steve hopes to organize a second expedition.
Janet plans to travel along!

I am tremendously proud and happy for Steve!
Thank you for reading!

Warm regards,

Monday, March 2, 2015

Please Do Not Hate Us Because Our Weather Is Beautiful

As we watch the morning news here in Southern California, we cannot help but feel compassion for our friends and colleagues in the rest of the country.

If we think "oy vey" as Al Roker announces another polar vortex, YOU are probably gritting your teeth as he announces another sunny day in Southern California!

But please keep in mind: we pay a price for the great weather!
For starters, today will be cloudy with showers early this week! Yes, we know. Cool means 62 degrees. Never mind!

But we may have to deal with any of these calamities during the year!

No further comment!


Traffic! A whopping 7 out of the 10 Most Congested Freeways in the nation are right here! Including the 110 Freeway that leads to our offices!

Rent! While our rents are not quite as bad as San Francisco's or Manhattan's, we still pay a steep price for the roof over our head. $2800 for a one-bedroom in Santa Monica is an average near the beach!

And we are totally missing out on all of this fun!

But despite it all the cliche is true: we hum Randy Newman's "We Love L.A." every morning in the shower.

Because the day after the latest storm looks like this:

If it all becomes unbearable, please consider following in Nikki Wilbur's footsteps! Bring your events out West! See handy directions here!

Or hang in there! Spring is coming!
We are switching to Daylight Savings Sunday coming!

We hope we made you laugh - a good belly laugh will warm you up!

Monday, February 23, 2015

新年好 / 新年好 - Happy New Year!

Don your red dresses! Southern California is hosting the biggest public events for the Lunar New Year in the U.S. We celebrate the Year of the Goat or Sheep, depending on how you interpret "yang". We consider ourselves lucky to have such easy access to so many exciting, public, global events right in our backyard! What an inspiration!

New Year Lion/©Caruso Affiliated

You can't miss it. Increasingly every year, Los Angeles is really getting into the mood! Our malls - here the beautiful Grove - feature lanterns, dragons and wishing trees. 

The Grove Central Street with Lantern/©Marion Renk-Rosenthal
The God of Wealth/©Caruso Affiliated - hank you to Caruso Affiliated for sharing the photos!

Get in the mood! Here some pointers:
Those born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1967, 1979, 1991 or 2003 are goats, who can count their lucky colors as brown, red and purple.
Their characters are supposedly kind and peaceable, Creative, thoughtful, frank and honest while their best months are supposedly August and November and their lucky flowers are primroses and carnations.
Children born this year have good chances of becoming pediatricians, actors, daycare teachers, interior designers, florists, hair stylists, musicians, editors, illustrators or art history teachers.

Seeing this list, we assume that many children born in the Year of the Goat may join the event industry!

If you want to get your kids involved in the celebration give them a little money in a red envelope. It's good luck! By the way: only unmarried people get lucky red envelopes and only married people give them out. 

Red clothing and fireworks are ubiquitous. The reason is the mythical monster at the center of New Year's, Nian. Nian is supposedly scared of the color red and of fireworks, so chasing the monster away is essential to a good start into the new year.

Chinatown in Downtown Los Angeles and Costa Mesa, Orange County are hosts to the two biggest official celebrations.
Chinatown shut the streets on Saturday, February 21st for the 116th Annual Golden Dragon Parade and Chinese New Year Festival.

Orange County's Vietnamese Community took over the OC Fairgrounds for a 3-day long celebration for Tết Nguyen Dan, organized by the non-profit Union of the Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California. 

It was an explosion of color, music, dance and parades - and a little global excursion just a few miles from our homes.

The celebrations last for 2 weeks so you still have plenty of time to join the festivities!

Happy Lunar New Year!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Update on New Orleans: Are Good Times Rolling Again?

One of the biggest parties in the world is happening right now, Mardi Gras, in one of our very favorite cities in the U.S.: New Orleans.
We decided to check how the city is doing almost 10 years after Katrina and 5 years after the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

We talked to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, ISES NOLA and Event Pros Take Action and their local partner, St. Bernard Project. We contacted The Data Center, an organization that tracks economic and population statistics in Louisiana and publishes The New Orleans Index.

New Orleans Population decrease. The population of New Orleans fell from 484,674 before Katrina (April 2000) to an estimated 230,172 after Katrina (July 2006) — a decrease of 254,502 people and a loss of over half of the city’s population. By July of 2012, the population was back up to 369,250 — 76% of what it was in 2000.
Source: The Data Center, August 28, 2014

The Data Center examined economic factors, population inclusion aspects across and inclusive of socioeconomic and racial spectra, quality of life and sustainability factors. In the latest available complete New Orleans Index (August 2013), they came to the following  
Despite all the shocks it has endured, New Orleans may be on a path toward long-term
success. {} The economy is a current strength of New Orleans. Diversification is happening with
traditional industries (such as shipping and tourism) and newer knowledge-based
industries (such as higher education, insurance agencies, and heavy construction and
engineering) expanding despite the Great Recession. Entrepreneurial activity is taking
off.  {} Improvements in quality of life are being enjoyed across the metro. The presence of
arts and culture organizations in the city has never been stronger. When coupled with
entrepreneurship trends, it is clear the metro is a creative place. There is no doubt that a commitment to improving amenities, such as recreational programs and education, is helping to solidify New Orleans’ identity as a unique place.

Good news, indeed! In fact, Forbes ranked New Orleans at the top of the list for Where Working-Age Americans Are Moving! (Source: New Orleans CVB).

Samantha Lister, VP of Communications for ISES NOLA concurs:
"New Orleans is a city with a strong sense of culture and community.  Not much is going to keep us down for any length of time.  While Katrina put a large dent in our population it didn’t do anything to deter the love and passion we have for the city and bring it back to its former glory.  We as a city and as a hospitality/tourism destination have been back and booming for years.  We have hosted the Super Bowl, NBA All-Stars,  WWF Ultimate Championship, the PGA Zurich Classic, thousands during Jazz Fest and millions every year during Carnival and Mardi Gras to name a few.  We are a convention city destination that can offer history, sights and most importantly flavors that no other city in the country has.  We have expanded our airport and street car lines.  Here hospitality is the local’s everyday personality.  Everyone is family and happy to see you.
It has been 10 years, are families all back and in their homes? No, we still have many community involvement organizations that are finishing resident’s houses even 10 years later due to lack of funds, governmental red tape, ownership paperwork for families who have lived in the same house for 4 generations, etc.  The difference is that tourists, conventions, guests don’t see those areas unless they are looking for them specifically.  The French Quarter, City Park, Audubon Zoo and Aquarium, St. Charles Avenue, the shopping district on Magazine Street, our amazing restaurants like Commander’s Palace, K-Paul’s, Restaurant August, Bayona are all here and have been open serving guests pouring in over the last 9 years.
The BP Spill affected our seafood market.  Our city thrives on seafood and we push to keep everything local.  While during that time we had to outsource product it didn’t close our restaurants or lesson the great flavors that our city is known for worldwide. Your article title should read:  Update on New Orleans: Good Times Continue to Roll!"

But as mentioned above, not everyone has recovered!
Our friends at Event Pros Take Action in partnership with St. Bernard Project are still rebuilding homes in New Orleans, nearly 10 years after the flood.

©St. Bernard Project - 2015: A street in the lower 9th Ward
 Chris Fehrenbach, Director - Community Outreach and Volunteer Department at St. Bernard Project:
"We are only 10 years into a recovery process that  is estimated to take 15 to 20 years. We work with marginalized communities; poor families with small children, the elderly, the disabled and veterans. Our organization has currently 120 families on the waiting list. After Katrina, 65% of affected families became victims of contractor fraud that occurred during the desperate post-flood situation. There were lots of scams. Families gave their FEMA money to fraudulent contractors who either did a very bad repair job or just stole the money outright. The victims have no recourse. The perpetrators are either bankrupt or in jail; or they simply vanished. The families are left with unrepaired homes. Others had to spend their FEMA money on more pressing medical bills. Many of our clients were sickly and elderly before the flood. They got worse after the storm. There are still thousands who have not returned home. Event Pros Take Action is instrumental in helping us! They work tirelessly to raise funds, through Crowdrise and fundraising events very year. You really understand the impact EPTA's work has at the Welcome Home Parties we hold to welcome families back. Present and past volunteers and the home owners celebrate together. Naturally, EPTA's parties are the best (He laughs). It's hard to heal without a home. EPTA brings peace and joy back to these families!"


Susie Perelman,  Co-Founder and President of EPTA and Owner of Mosaic, Inc. (with Larry Green, Co-Founder and Vice President of EPTA and CEO of Rentals Unlimited):
"This year will really be big for us in New Orleans.  In addition to rebuilding homes, our volunteers will  contribute to four events instead of two this summer. Led by Mark Wells of Hello-Florida  and Evan and Jordan Carbotti of Perfect Surroundings, we will furnish homes for two special families,  AFR Event Furnishings has already donated all the needed furnishings for them! This year, We are partnering with ISES Live with a " stay and work component" at their conference! In addition to repairing homes, David Merrell, of AOO Events,  will organize a special celebration with Covenant House, and David Price, of Rentals Unlimited, will work on a special project with Liberty's Kitchen, a Nonprofit organization training at-risk youth in culinary arts.”

Chris Fehrenbach: "It takes $25,000 per house to repair a home."

EPTA has a goal of $50,000 they need to raise to bring two marginalized families back home! 

You can participate and lend support by making an online donation towards their fundraising campaign,  Crowdrise! Sell tamales, pedal your wares or do whatever it takes  - but please help!

All EPTA events in New Orleans will take place August 22-25, 2015.

While there, check out all The Big Easy has to offer our industry!

Arielle Desse from the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
was so kind to share the latest Convention Bureau Report figures:

        The number of annual visitors has increased from 3.7 million in 2006 to 9.28 million in 2013, with the highest visitor spending in city history. This fact is further supported by the numerous travel awards the city has received, including ConventionSouth Magazine readers voted New Orleans the “Most Meetings Friendly” destination in December 2014. Readers selected for their favorite destinations on social media in October 2014.

·         New Orleans is a culinary capitol of the world. Despite declines in populations, the number of restaurants in the city has more than doubled with currently more than 1,400 restaurants in operation.

·         There have been billions of dollars in new investments including $336 million to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and $90 million to improve the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO). The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is embarking on an ambitious new venture that will revitalize the City’s riverfront. The Convention Center District Development Project, situated on 47 acres upriver from the Center,  calls for construction of a new “headquarters” hotel, a linear park along Convention Center Boulevard, outdoor entertainment, arts and cultural venues and new retail and housing options.

·         MCCNO is the sixth largest and one of the most technologically advanced convention facilities in the country, boasting 1.1 million-square-feet of contiguous event space, more than 140 different meetings rooms, two exquisite ballrooms and customizable auditorium space. A recent $52 million renovation added the 60,000-square-foot Great Hall, a large outdoor pedestrian plaza, interior and exterior balconies and energy efficient LED lighting system that can be customized to nearly any desired color combination. The Great Hall contains four divisible spaces and 25,000 square-feet of pre-function space. The grand entrance overlooks a high-definition, customizable video display board welcoming each guest.

·         New Orleans can overcome anything. The city is America’s comeback story. All eyes are looking forward to the city’s tricentennial in 2018, when we’ll be the best, brightest and most talented 300-year-old in history.

Good Times really continue to roll!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!