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Monday, April 23, 2018

Alisa Walsh Reports from City National Grove of Anaheim's KitchenSync Networking Event

As Director of Business Development Alisa attends networking events each and every week. While Alisa loves to mingle and see colleagues and make new friends, one event especially stands out - and it takes place in a kitchen!
Most private affairs end up with friends and family gathering around the kitchen table. The same concept works in a networking setting. The casualness takes the stress out of the networking aspect. Alisa and City National Grove of Anaheim's Candi Lombard report.

Alisa Walsh: 
I love Kitchensync because it is an interactive event.
Many networking events are fantastic and they always offer really amazing food and beverage.
However, at Kitchensync we are mingling in an environment familiar to us professionally as we also share an experience.  We sell experiences to our clients after all. Having a networking experience adds extra value to this event.
You get to spend time working next to potential clients or industry partners. We laugh as we learn more about kitchen ware and how to cook together. The chef, Thomas Ramirez, is really creative and so passionate about education. He is always willing to answer questions and assist.
Candi Lombard conceived and organizes Kitchensync and provides wine and snacks. It really is a lot of fun. It is also less intimidating than the regular events where you have to walk around and introduce yourself.
Kitchensync events consist of fairly small groups, about 20 people at the most at a time.
Furthermore the communal aspect of working as a team in a familiar environment creates opportunities for more in-depth conversations. We share our kitchen and cooking related personal experiences and learn a lot more about each other as people.
Every time I mention to colleagues that I will attend they comment that they love Kitchensync as well.
We all look forward to. It is a win win. I have learned how to cook a few things and I have built not only professional relationships but made real friends.

Alisa Walsh (on the right) and Candi Lombard, Director of Special Event Sales and Marketing, City National Grove of Anaheim, Managed by Nederlander Concerts and Alisa.

To learn more about booking events at City National Grove Anaheim, please visit their WEBSITE and/or  email Candi at clombard@nederlander.com.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Interview with Pop Culture Pundit Roy Trakin - What Event Peeps Need To Know About Coachella 2018

Coachella, in its 19th year, still gets credit for being a culturally defining moment and a representation of iconic California lifestyle. Besides art, fashion, augmented reality immersive events, brand activations and ultra lux clamping VIP yurts by W Hotels however, it is still three days of music with 166 acts performing.

We asked pop culture pundit, rock critic veteran and Variety Contributor ROY TRAKIN what the event industry needs to know about Coachella 2018.

EW: Other well-known festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza have seen declining sales. Why does Coachella continue to be successful?

Roy Trakin: Coachella has become the benchmark for the modern festival era. It’s established a brand that engenders expectations and now certainly supersedes any of the acts on the bill, no matter how big. The show invariably sells out before the lineup is even announced, which speaks loudly to that name. It has become the one go-to destination on the spring-summer large-scale festival circuit.

EW: How would you define that brand?

Roy Trakin: It touches on several elements of the classic lifestyle music brands of the past  -- going back to that ultimate boomer emblem, Woodstock. Then, music was something you could hold in your hands in the form of an album. Now you listen to music that’s streaming from a computer. The whole emphasis of this virtual age is on palpable experiences –which are so much more important than possessions for this generation. Coachella’s whole philosophy is based on the experience – you have to be there – even if you can now experience Couchella by tuning your smart TV to YouTube, which covers all three days on three separate feeds brought to you by T-Mobile. Yet another example of how big corporations are taking over this experience, just as they eventually did for Woodstock Coachella ushered in the post-rock dominance of hip-hop, electronic, dance music, which now forms the pop mainstream. If Woodstock announced the commercial emergence of rock, Coachella has ridden the wave of a genre that has really flourished and become the soundtrack for at least two new generations. This year's lineup reflects that, though Coachella may well be at a turning point; it could well jump the shark.  For the moment, they have run out of the big rock reunions, and overall, there are very few real super stars that can bring people to the venue by name along.  But Coachella is still the measuring stick. The name alone sells it. The main trouble is all these major festivals are booking the same acts, so it is very hard to differentiate among them. Coachella’s magic has much to do with where it takes place. The allure of the desert, the whole mythos of Joshua Tree… Palm Springs has become a destination for some of the top music industry executives. A lot of heavy hitters have weekend getaway homes in the area. And look no further than Coachella’s influence over the last 19 years, shining the spotlight on this geographical area of California that had been the entertainment industry’s best kept secret for many years.

EW: Is Coachella still setting cultural trends at this point?

Roy Trakin: The brand of Coachella probably has more relevance than ever in the marketing world.  Madison Avenue is increasingly attached to the festival in terms of catering to that young market. I think the inflection point will take place when the influencers abandon it and the mainstream takes it over, which may have already happened -- the Las Vegas-ization of Coachella, if you will. Still, that doesn’t seem to be a worry at the moment. It's as strong as ever and certainly there are a lot of possibilities in terms of taking the brand name further as we saw in 2016 with the classic rock-oriented Desert Trip appealing to affluent boomers. Goldenvoice has done a tremendous job in marketing it. When that Coachella line-up is announced each year, the lineup, with all the different font sizes that indicate headliners, second-tier acts, etc., is read like the Holy Scriptures of who's hot, who's hip, who's up-and-coming, etc. So, as long as the powers-that-be curate Coachella with that sort of acumen and expertise, it will continue to be relevant.

EW: What bands should we be looking out for at this year’s Coachella?

Roy Trakin: Well, everyone’s calling it Bey-chella for a reason.  They’re looking forward to Beyonce’s performance on Saturday night, with chatter of a possible Destiny’s Child reunion.  The Weeknd’s the first headliner on Friday night, and he always puts on a spectacular show, and the same for Eminem, who will undoubtedly pull out some of his powerful anti-Trump ripostes for the occasion as the weekend’s Sunday night closer.  There is a lot of surprising buzz about the return of ‘90s British funk and jazz band Jamiroquai on Friday night, with a rumored cameo by Snoop Dogg. After her show-stopping Grammy performance Sza, will return, with talk of being joined by her Total Dawg Entertainment stablemate Kendrick Lamar.  The majestic, palm-tree setting should be the perfect place to see St. Vincent’s highly theatrical show, while my personal favorites, The War on Drugs, in my humble opinion, among the best rock bands in America right now, with my favorite album of last year, are set for a Friday dusk performance. In terms of new comers, Friday night there is a teenage, three-quarter female garage-punk band from Los Angeles called The Regrettes whom I’ve seen and are wonderful. Also, there’s chatter around Friday night's Greta Van Fleet performance.  I’ve seen them, too, and it’s no exaggeration – they’re a young version of Led Zeppelin and are nobly holding the torch for good old rock 'n’ roll. Other acts that I would tout: Japanese superstar X-Japan, the musical vehicle for drummer, pianist, songwriter Yoshiki, who is an amazing musician that must be seen to be believed. Los Angeles' own Haim, Tyler the Creator, old pal David Byrne is performing, but don’t hold your breath for the long-awaited Talking Heads reunion, which is something Coachella hasn’t been able to pull off, despite waving around wads of money. Chromeo is a great electro-funk duo from Canada that are playing on Saturday. For Sunday, art, prog-rockers A Perfect Circle return after an absence, ODESZA are great, and try to catch Portugal The Man who have been around for years but recently scored a big hit with “Feel It Still.” French Montana is riding a hot streak and everyone is looking forward to the moment’s “It Girl,” Cardi B.

EW: What can event professionals learn from Coachella?

Roy Trakin: Perhaps that’s the best thing about strolling around the Coachella grounds. It really is a great place for trend-spotting in fashion, accessories and, in general, the young demo’s current pop cultural obsessions. These days, the social media generation announce their preferences with the way they dress, the way they act and even the particular acts they choose to see. What they like and what they hate, you know it immediately. The most vital thing about Coachella is its communal aspect. The bands are really secondary to the experience of meeting new people, hanging out with your friends or just being able to say you were there. Destination experiences are all the rage right now among millennials and after.  Event professionals can learn a great deal from the way Coachella handles its crowds of 125,000, keeps them entertained and provides for their needs. Not many corporate events are that large, but Coachella’s example provides a nice template to follow.  After 20 years of attendance growth, Coachella’s future appears to be wherever its organizers want to take it.

Thank you, Roy!

Monday, April 9, 2018

A Little Help for Our Friends - Tax Day Cometh

Procrastinators, you know who you are. You have one week before your return is due. We are in the business of motivation. We are happy to share tips.
This could be the most stressful week of the year for some of us: 7 days until your tax return and possibly payment is due, We hear the sighing and complaining from our procrastinators over here. 
Take heart, this too shall pass. 
We are happy to share some motivational advice - and DJ Lee Dyson's Tax Day Playlist.
Read on and SMILE.

Janet Elkins:
"The will to persevere is often the difference between failure and success"
- Anyone who knows me has heard me speak about perseverance .. maybe even too often? But I do feel that life is filled with boulders that need to be removed and that to survive, one needs determination and tenacity.

Alisa Walsh: 
Always a good fallback for me is a good ol' fashioned sports motivational quote and none better than a comparison to my fave, America’s favorite pastime.
In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened. Tommy Lasorda

Elisabeth Brazil:
I saw the following on a sign in a store once (that is now a photo on my phone) and it really spoke to me: “Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” Gregson.
For me, this is my reminder to keep moving forward, keep pursuing my dreams and goals as well as the adventures that life brings that add to the quality and quantity of one’s world. I want to be one of those women that looks back, laughs and says, Yes I did it and oh what a blast!
Now, just in case you don't consider tax return preparation a blast: pump up your adrenaline, get the endorphins going, get up and dance to DJ Lee Dyson's "SONGS FOR TAX DAY" Playlist.

Thank you for reading!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Live from Houston: Our Creative Writer Elizabeth Brazil

A sign of the modern workplace times: our EventWorks family has become a lot more dispersed. We share our experience with remote working.
The number of telecommuting workers has increased 115% in a decade, according to a new report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs.

We have certainly taken notice here at EventWorks. Our old-fashioned phone numbers rarely ring anymore. Our L.A. offices seem empty. We have joined the Remote Workforce. 
Please meet our remote team
- from Houston, Texas: Creative Writer Elizabeth Brazil Dickson.

Please describe your role and history with EventWorks. 

I have been fortunate to have been a member of the EW team since 2010.  Originally my role was that of proposal writer but through the years that has expanded and, although I still write many of the proposals, I have been able to share my skills in pre-production, vendor relations and even some onsite event management when needed.  It has been wonderful to be able to call into action my diverse set of experiences and imagination to contribute to the success our team – I love that each day is a little bit different in what I get to accomplish.

What motivated you to move to Texas?

My Texas native husband retired and his dream has always been to move home closer to his family and daughter.  Fortunately, most of my work requires only a telephone, a computer and an internet connection so I can pretty much work from anywhere and LA is only a flight away.  Over the last 8 years I have had a number of opportunities to test that out so I knew that as much as I would miss being close enough to pop in when desired, much of what I provide can happen wherever I am.  I am very pleased that EventWorks management feels the same.

How has the move changed your work with EventWorks? 

The biggest change has been that we bought a house where I have an actual office rather than operating off of our coffee table - it is the best!   Quite a while ago we incorporated a file sharing system into our work strategy which helps efficiency, communication and productivity, especially when working from afar.  That and with the occasional incorporation of video conferencing, we are pretty much full steam ahead!

What work aspects are easier? 

I am actually enjoying the time difference (except when part of the gang is in Hawaii or overseas – a 2 hour difference is plenty), it gives me a chance to get my day in order before everyone else is up and running and although many nights I am operating on a California time clock, I generally work later anyway so it doesn’t change things that much.

What has become more difficult? 

I miss the opportunities to be there, around the table when all of the creativity is flowing.  This is an amazing group of people who each bring a different prospective to the table and build off of each other’s thoughts seamlessly.  Sometimes it feels like I am missing out on the thrill of that creative energy and how it can rejuvenate you and inspire even more valuable ideas when I am on the other end of a phone line instead of in one of the chairs.

Are there ancillary benefits for EventWorks, such as a larger geographic reach, new ideas, influences, contacts? 

I certainly hope that my introducing EventWorks to a new sphere of influence here in the Houston area will provide ancillary benefits.  We have done a number of meetings in Dallas over the years so I look forward to an opportunity to share the EW story here in Houston. I am excited to be joining the MPI Houston Chapter board this summer and I am hopeful that the new relationships and connections I build in my new community will provide opportunities for both EventWorks and myself both in new experiences and new opportunities for growth.

Many thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her experience and 

THANK YOU for reading!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Event Music Report from DJ Lee Dyson

We asked DJ Lee Dyson who we need to pay attention to in the music world right now. Here is his Hot-New-Names-To-Know playlist. 

Well as predicted (and even despite some controversy of musical cultural appropriation) Bruno Mars swept the 2018 Grammys.
But let’s shine a light on the underdogs…..the “Best New Artist” category.

She took the award of course since she’s been on hit makers' radar since 2015 when she was releasing Youtube videos (33 million views) and then released her debut Album.
Only 21 but with a vocal range equaling many of her idols she made waves with some strategic collaborations such as Zedd for “Stay” and Khalid & Logic for “1-800-273-8255” which called attention to suicide prevention. Not to mention touring with Taylor Swift and a guest spot on the Disney soundtrack for Moana!
 Expect big things and more #1 collaborations from this alternative pop star!

Speaking of Khalid, he also collaborated on Logic’s “1800-273-8255” but thanks to social media and Kylie Jenner he blew up as an overnight sensation with “Location” and “Silence”
Prior to that boost from Snapchat he was an 18 year old unsigned artists finishing High School in Texas with a musical theater & opera background.
There is a maturity, depth and emotion to his voice that demands attention on his tracks that came from loneliness he experienced after his move to El Paso.

Social media isn’t the only way to get on the grid.
Like many rap starts before, Lil Uzi Vert dropped a steady stream of successful mixtapes which got him featured on “Bad and Boujee” by Migos which helped his track
“XO Tour Llif3” get traction.  Since collaboration is trendy, he’s recently worked with A$AP Mob, Playboi Carti and Nicki Minaj.

“Issues” and collaboration with Maroon 5 and Clean Bandit put her on the charts but as a very talented songwriter, she also gained major industry street cred by co-writing songs for Fifth Harmony, Justin Bieber, Hailee Steinfeld, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, Tove Lo and Ed Sheeran. I love her story. “Issues’ began as a song for another artist's album but she ultimately decided it was too personal to share and it thus became the song that took her from being a behind-the-scenes songwriter to a hit artist with massive Top 40 radio play.

She may appear to have overnight success, but SZA has been slowly building momentum for almost 10 years.
In 2012 she self-released her Debut EP which eventually got her signed to Kendrick Lamar’s label.
From her sound you’d never guess her influences:  Mostest Mouse, Tame Impala, Brazilian Jazz and even Limp Bizkit!
Another great example of how co-writing and collaboration opens doors, she worked with Chance the Rapper, Travis Scott, Maroon 5, Beyonce, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.

My honorable mentions go to Dua Lipa, Halsey and Bebe Rexha who are all cranking out jams!

Here’s a Spotify list of the 2018 artists along with some other exciting talent that should be on your musical radar. ENJOY!

P.S. If you are a fan of Rap and Hip Hop….I mean REAL Hip Hop, then check out the new documentary  “Word is Bond” on Showtime. Really fascinating!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Event Floral: Going Green in Many Ways for a St. Patrick's Day Event

Our team worked hard over the past weekend. Floral Design Artist Rebecca Motus reports. 

While we were all feeling Irish this weekend our team was hard at work producing a St. Patrick's Day themed event.

Event Date: March 17, 2018
Event: a Closing Night Party
Event Location: Monarch Beach Resort, Monarch Beach, California.

The Challenge: the client wanted to use organic and eco-friendly materials. This requirement extended to all greenery.

Rebecca Motus: "We selected only plants that are California grown and water-wise and therefore eco-friendly.

We used Bells of Ireland, seeded eucalyptus, silver dollar eucalyptus, rosemary sprigs, Bupleurum, White ranunculus,, White Veronica, White Lisianthus, White Dahlias and Green Cymbidiums. The eucalyptus and rosemary took dual roles. Besides floral decor they acted as aromatherapy ingredients at the same time. Our team went to work in our floral studio to assemble it all.

We used a variation of mason jars for the centerpieces, cocktail tables and buffet tables.
I bought a variety of Irish beers in different sizes for the bar arrangements.

We made 4 Bar Arrangements (Florals in Irish beer bottles with fresh florals)
6 Buffet Arrangements
20 communal center pieces in mason jars
22 centerpieces for the round tables
and finally 10 cocktail table arrangements in small mason jars."

The client loved the result.
Rebecca chuckles: "Most wanted to know what happened to the content of the beer bottles."

Monday, March 12, 2018

Alisa Walsh reports from last week's MPI OC Panel on Food and Beverage Trends.

Alisa had the pleasure and honor of participating in MPI Orange County's panel discussion with FoodBeast's Geoff Kutnick, Chef Martin Salazar from Canyon Catering and Moderator Lisa Meller. The topic: Food and Beverage trends in the event industry.

The Conference Topic: On a scale of 1 – 10: How confident are you that you fully understand the role of food in our business?

We are seeing that there is significantly more pressure on us in our events industry to create experiences, not just “events”.   
Food has always been a cornerstone for human connecting –in our house growing up, the kitchen was the center of the house – cooking together, entertaining, and dining with family and friends.  When it comes to  “going out”  - can we even do it without food and drink?   
Now the role of food is taking center stage. We are seeing tours, trips, and travel experiences in our industry continue to grow and to even move into the general session. Food is no longer an afterthought but now needs to be at the forefront of the experience. People are craving to be wowed – new tastes, new visuals, new presentation.
Bye bye buffet chaffing dishes with big spatulas and a presentation that looks like a glorified cafeteria. 
However, budgets are only seeing slight upticks when the economy is confident, but never enough to meet the real cost and pressure for profitability.

Alisa is happy to share experiences and advice from a planner's point of view.

"What we are encountering is that food and beverage is the central focus of the event these days. It used to be headliner entertainment or an iconic venue or famous keynote speakers but food and beverage has moved to the top now. For us this means that our clients request a much more curated food experience. Consequently we work very closely with chefs these days and the collaboration starts much earlier in the event planning process.
For us as planners the design aspect of food has become very important - and we love it.

Social media has influenced people in recent years. There is a lot of information and inspiration out there about foods that many may not have been used to in the past. People are more willing to try unique foods. It helps our creativity and it allows us to be a bit bolder with our food and beverage presentation. It used to be buffets with chafing dishes provided by the hotels. That has changed completely. To give you an example, we had the opportunity to serve sushi from an industrial conveyer belt recently and desserts from a ferris wheel. We get to have a lot of fun with food and beverage displays these days.

However, overall event budgets have not really changed so we get creative to turn grandiose ideas into an event reality.
Food and Beverage is now the focus of the experience so we allocate more of the entertainment and decor budget portions to this. We also encourage the chefs to source foods locally and do the best they can within the budgets to deliver a top experience because that is what we are all about.

An important aspect for event venues is the attention our clients pay to food these days. Our clients want the quality of the food to match the overall quality of the event. And they do not want to be bound by catering contracts venues may have. They want the freedom to be able to bring in a chef of their choice.

I tell clients that there are a lot of creative ways to deliver a great food and beverage experience that allows the guests to interact with food in new ways. It doesn't have to break the bank either. Convention Bureaus are a great resource to get in touch with all the local vendors, such as craft beer breweries and local specialty food vendors that will enable the planners to deliver an outstanding experience within budget."

Bon App├ętit and Thank You for reading.