Monday, November 24, 2014

Thank You - Gracias - 谢谢 - Dankeschön - Merci!

This is our favorite holiday! Thanksgiving is truly a win-win. No stressful gift shopping, no greeting cards, lots of wonderful food and drinks with friends and family. And time to reflect.
We have a lot to be grateful for this year and we are so aware of how lucky we are!

Lee Dyson feels the same way. He called a few days ago and shared his new Thanksgiving Song List.
It's the perfect soundtrack for your Turkey Day.

DJ Lee Dyson: "Gratitude is always a good place to go to keep perspective on your life and the world around you. Sometimes we get spun up in daily life and forget to take a pause and think about that. Of course Turkey Day is the perfect day to focus on this so I’ve put together a soundtrack to help. Gobble Gobble!"

We hope you catch planes, trains and automobiles to join your favorite group of people for a wonderful holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Event Entertainment Report: Jewel Really Dazzled!

It's all about motivation, motivation, motivation - and Jewel gave 150%!

We recently produced a large fundraising event in Orange County. Our client had secured Jewel for a 60-minute set and we had included her in our overall decor in many details. Crystals adorned the floral - and we had Jewel perform in front of beaded stage backdrop to add some sparkle.

We were ready for the multiple Grammy winning artist.
The contract stipulated a 60-minute set - but Jewel delivered so much more!

Ted Bowers: "She is known for her social engagement and her real work for philanthropic causes. Our client could not have made a better choice. Jewel and her production crew were truly appreciative and committed to the purpose of the evening!

 Jewel donated a signed guitar for the silent auction and she gave her all on stage.

Ted Bowers: "Jewel was fantastic! She was contracted for a 60 minute set and performed for almost 90 minutes. She had the audience mesmerized.
Jewel relayed key moments of her life story and tied each chapter of her life to inspiration for a song."

What a gift to the audience and the cause!

This was one of those nights we will always remember as a Major Highlight and Wonderful Experience!

Please enjoy her Jimmy Kimmel Live performance of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".

Monday, November 10, 2014

Event Report from Kate Brack: Design with a Message

Rebecca, Manuel, Ella, Kate and furry Beatrice, Melissa, Kory, Marguerite and Gayane.
We have been waiting for a chance to let you have a look behind the scenes with our Director of Floral and Event Design Kate Brack. A couple of weeks agothe whole team was hard at work in our studio for a local fundraising event we love.

The Event: a large, annual Fundraising Dinner Gala and Concert in Southern California.
Location: a Hotel Ballroom.
The Challenge: the client changes the theme and the message every year. It is our task to integrate these and create a comprehensive look and feel by tying the invitation's design into every aspect of the night.

Kate Brack: "The invitation featured a color palette of deep amethyst accented by tangerine.  Furthermore, the featured entertainer of the night was singer Jewel. We took these colors and added sparkle throughout the design. We integrated this theme in everything: the centerpieces, votives, stage backdrop and bars. The centerpieces contained crystals, as did the large display arrangements, the stage was back dropped with a bejeweled material. The votives were selected because of their sparkling glass cut design. Every space in the room was enveloped in the client's theme and message."

For Kate the process starts with the client's vision.
"I integrate the branding and event message into all event designs. Color is really the key to everything. Color affects our senses at every level. And then it's all about attention to details."

Kate works hand-in-hand with the client from initial meeting through planning and execution to ensure that expectations are met. From concept to completion, she has proven that a successful event begins with design but affirms its value with the use of symmetry and attention to detail throughout the entire process. 

Kate: "We love a challenge. Every event has a message, a mood, a specific purpose and therefor its own look. Guests should always remember it."

Here are a few florals we remember fondly:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Entertainment Report: Hot in Cleveland.

What did it take to create "The Perfect Storm" in Cleveland? We got lucky: Wonderful Client + Great Cause + Beautiful Location + the COMPANY MEN  #throwbackPOP

As one band member from the COMPANY MEN put it: "It felt like Summer Camp".

Our client is a Cleveland native and after she graciously gave us her personal city tour a while back, we fell in love with it, too. There is so much to do and see in this re-energized city that we expanded our horizons beyond the Rock'n Roll Hall of Fame and LeBron. And yes, those two are pretty fabulous, too!
So we were looking forward to returning here a few weeks ago to produce a very worthwhile event.

Event Producer Kristen Rensch: "Our client is very involved in local philanthropic endeavors, and this particular event was organized to thank the supporters of a unique local playground, that is equipped for special need families, for their participation. We hired
the COMPANY MEN to provide the entertainment. The band was tasked to perform an intimate show for a small group of guests – and the setting could not have been more lovely. Guests were engaged, and quickly fell under the spell of their music and choreography, from the start of the custom event set."

We had been impressed by
the COMPANY MEN during a showcase and we were not disappointed! Stuart, Brian, Daniel and Shawn came ready and prepared with their signature #throwbackPOP and mash-up medleys - they can seamlessly weave 16 tunes into one song. They engaged the distinguished audience throughout the performance. Due to the intimate setting, guests also had an opportunity to mingle with the group afterwards.

Kristen: "Due to flight schedules, we arrived Saturday evening and left Monday morning so we got to explore a bit more than just the airport and the event location. We even had a chance to visit the playground our event was benefiting. The guys are all talented, consummate professionals - and also just really nice guys! So, yes, it felt more like summer camp than a job. We were lucky to partner with them."

Daniel from the COMPANY MEN: "We love playing for a good cause.  EventWorks had supplied us with a lot of information about this organization and Kristen was very supportive of our work.  That allowed us to form a personal connection with the event. The playground serves families and we are all family men so we could truly relate to the audience and the foundation on that level. It really motivated us to make it even more personal and engaging. It was a great experience for us to play for this group and a pleasure to work with Kristen and everyone at EventWorks."

A few days ago some of our EventWorks' staff had the chance to experience the COMPANY MEN's record release and tour launch party. They had their full band on stage at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. The show was amazing and we wish them luck on their current tour.

TCM invited us to share their brand new video of their own material:

Janet: "I love the way they re-invent classic R&B songs, funk and pop in their mash-ups. The audience recognizes the songs but the COMPANY MEN give them such a new, very personal twist that the show is totally fresh.
We are happy to bring them to your event!"

Monday, October 27, 2014

Grand Opening: EventWorks' New Warehouse and Workshop Now Up and Running

We love to re-purpose. It makes environmental and economic sense and it allows us to offer great rates to our clients. But our extensive collection of decor elements and furniture and our fabrication studio outgrew our old warehouse space.
Repurposing in Action!
Production Manager Carolyn Vasi and her great crew needed more room. Fortunately for us, a next door neighbor moved - and we jumped on the space! We added 7500 square feet of warehouse space, now happily spreading out over 30 000 square feet total.
Carolyn Vasi: "We got the keys on Labor Day weekend and went right to work to remodel the adjacent building for our purposes. Our amazing crew did it all in just over 6 weeks. They built and installed new ceilings above the office space to create more storage, built new floor-to-ceiling shelving and re-organized it all! We doubled the work shop space! Manuel and his crew can spread out. We have better, more accessible storage. It speeds up the work process."

We can also offer better amenities. Enter the doors to Carolyn's Queendom and get greeted in the well-lit (Thank you, Larry!) arrival lounge. Take a seat on the couch! (Thank you, Selena!)
Carolyn now works out of a new office where the force is definitely with her! The warehouse expansion features a new shower for our warehouse workers, a "man cave" for off-time with a fuss ball table and a blue couch group (Thank you, Ted!)with a wall-hanging TV set for video games.

We did it all on a shoestring budget.
Carolyn: "In the process we cleaned out the old storage and found items we had not used in 20 years. We held a garage sale and used the income for the construction. The couches for the lounge and the recreation room were donated by co-workers and the chic lamps had been used in an event and were a gift from the client."

We celebrated our warehouse opening a few days ago -  with our favorite food for a lunchtime fiesta! Edwin's and Mario's families' recipes: carne asada, pollo asado, the best black beans in L.A., marinated cucumber wedges, salsa, freshly made tortillas and great guacamole!

If you would like to get the black bean recipe, please revisit our Cinco de Mayo Post:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Janet and Ted's Excellent Shanghai Adventure

Janet and Ted returned red-faced from Shanghai on Friday! Yep, our intrepid world travelers got themselves into trouble in this beautiful city - but they were saved by the incredible kindness and outstanding helpfulness of local law enforcement and hotel staff!

So what happened?
Janet: "We had some free time to explore this fascinating, cosmopolitan city. Ted and I were walking along one of the busy streets of Shanghai when four "20-something" students approached us, wanting to practice their English. They were quite friendly and charming.  So we chatted away.

They told us about a tea festival down the street. Always up for a new experience, we went along.  We entered a small tea shop and learned a lot about tea and these 20-year-olds.

We had a great time and felt, when the bill came, that we should offer to pay. That evening, over dinner, Ted and I thought about the bill and could not help but wonder whether we had been overcharged as it was somewhat confusing at the time.  Anyhow, how much could some cups of tea cost? The next morning I checked my VISA card online, and sure enough: the bill was an outrageous $1694!!!! Ted and I were duped!"

Yes, we know: DUH!

Now, this would have meant a painful financial loss and lesson in many places in the world and here in the U.S. where local authorities would consider this a price to pay for touristic gullibility - but Janet and Ted were in Shanghai, China, where hospitality and helpfulness reign.

Janet: "I informed our hotel about the incident, thinking it may help warn other guests. To our surprise, they immediately called the police. The nearest station sent a policeman within minutes! Wow, what an incredible response to assist some dumb tourists - yes, we have to admit it, we fell hook, line and sinker for one of the oldest, international scams in the world. Maybe we should read guide books! The policeman, Ted, a concierge and a hotel security staffer ventured out to try to find this obscure tea shop. Ted had a photo of us near a building that provided a landmark. We were invited to drive in a paddy wagon around the first possible police district.

No luck. We struck out in our precinct. But our policeman did not give up. He referred us to his colleagues in the neighboring precinct.

So we visited the second police station    — and now two policemen, our hotel concierge and security guard,  Ted and I walked the streets to find this obscure tea shop.

And we did!
In fact, we walked  into the same room and found the scam artists with two New Yorkers! Yes, even those hard core New Yorkers fell for the scam!

It was me living my dream - just like on Law and Order. I busted the “thieves” while shouting to the grateful New Yorkers "They stole from us! Get out!"
Yes, fabulous memories for a life time!

We then got into another paddy wagon with the crooks and we all went to the police station. After some time the tea shop owner came in and the police made him go to the ATM and return our $$$.

Moral of the Story: Even Veteran Travelers and New Yorkers can be duped - but in Shanghai the Police and hotel management went above and beyond to save us from our own mistakes.

谢谢 - Thank You for your assistance and incredible support!

Thank you to Ted Bowers for capturing our (mis)adventures with his camera!

What a week it was!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Pay Up or Face The Music! What You Need To Know About Copyrights!

If found guilty of copyright infringement, under the criminal portion of the law, or liable, under the civil portion, you may face a penalty of five years imprisonment and up to $250,000 in damages.

Did we get your attention?

What we are talking about is a specific niche in overall copyright law: the soundtrack of your event sizzle reel. You produce a gorgeous affair, Your video team is taping hours of footage. You edit an exciting few minutes,  showing decor, costumes, location, catering and entertainment to promote and demonstrate your work and place the video on your YouTube or Vimeo channel. More often than not we use the native sound, i.e. the band's stage performance audio on the reel. In some cases, we use another song on the soundtrack.

So what rights do we have to worry about?

Record companies and copyright companies have developed software that allows them to find the most obscure video and its soundtrack. And they will come after you if you violate any copyrights.
And there are different rights to worry about: Master Rights, Synchronization Rights, Publishing Rights.

A number of notions are floating around, such as "fair use", "public domain"  and "promotional use" and alike. It's confusing and possibly costly in consequences. 

So we decided to investigate the situation and bring you a comprehensive fact sheet.

We contacted the United States Copyright Office ( by telephone.
Botttomline: "fair use" is a legal argument that does not even come into play until you are standing in front of a judge!
If you use any copyrighted material, you have to figure out which copyrights apply, who owns them and negotiate the right to use it.
The fact that you paid the copyrights for the night of the performance does not include the right to copy the work on video and distribute it.

Next we contacted ASCAP and the Recording Industry Association of America to see whether the argument that we are just promoting our own work and not making money off these recordings or performances with these videos make any difference.
The answer is a resounding "No".
ASCAP published a very useful tip sheet to help everyone obtain necessary rights:
How You Can Clear Cover Songs, Samples, and Handle Public Domain Works

So what about public domain and what is an event producer to do to show off their work without landing behind bars?

We checked in with our Picture Editor Garth Grinde.

Garth: "Even with music in the public domain, published before 1923, you still have to figure out whether the recording is newer. Any public domain song recorded after 1923 is still protected by Master Rights. And if the original piece is updated and altered, it may no longer fall under public domain at all!

I suggest to my clients to compose and create! It is really easy these days to get your very own music. You can find independent composers online or find unique pieces on SoundCloud that you can obtain easily. It is your safest bet.
If you are using the event sound,  keep your video postings private and password protected. This way it is clear that you have no intention of gaining profits off the recording. Should anyone come after you, you can prove that the video is only a demonstration and you did not make money with the music.
And most importantly: when you negotiate the contract with your talent, negotiate the demonstration rights upfront so you have it in the contract that you can use their performance for any promotional purposes!"

Yes, a simple sizzle reel can cause a lot of trouble.
We recently received a warning from Vimeo - and we are now dotting "i"s and crossing "t"s.
We hope this information is helpful to you!