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Monday, May 22, 2017

Event Report: Uncorking a Fresh Idea for a Wine Event

Brynne, Alisa, our friend Paul, Janet and Ted.

The Event: Taste of California Food & Wine Tour

The Location: JW Marriott Hotel at L.A. Live, Los Angeles

The Challenge: Giving a California Wine Tasting a Fresh, New Feel.

We conceptualized the event by looking at wine in a very different way.

From the connoisseur who lives and breathes for the finer things in life to the novice looking for an introduction to the world of food and spirits, this evening had to deliver a grand experience that was sure to please every palette. 1,800 guests swirled, sniffed and sipped their way through an impressive array of wines and inventive dishes as they traveled from space to space in the JW Marriott.

Alisa Walsh: "We decided to give the theme a fresh spin. Instead of organizing wine and food by region - you know, Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles - we organized and conceptualized space, food and wine by character."

Our six spaces: Vineyard, Smoky, Bold, Spicy, Vibrant and Smooth each offered a selection of outstanding wines and spirits paired with culinary offerings. 

Each space had its own, unique look.

We made use of the tall, open space by going high.

The VIBRANT room: sleek, modern, colorful and energized.

Live from Above the Vineyard.

We filled the very tall hotel lobby with a raised stage and gave the custom rigging the green treatment. 

The Elevated Lobby Platform was transformed into BOLD. We enhanced existing furnishings with bold and gold accents. Using the existing furnishings as a base allowed us to deliver a new look within budget.

Ford’s Filling Station received a SPICY makeover!
By turning existing banquettes into lounge areas, swapping out dining chairs and adding floral, lantern, and pillow styling, the lobby restaurant took on a whole new vibe. 

Again, we made use of the height.
We built a tower at the center of the bar and staffed it with Wine Angels, giving the illusion that they were flying up and down the central tower while “selecting” bottles of wine to be served. The Wine Angel feature required extra rigging within the space. 

SMOKY: not everyone loves wine. We catered to the hookah and whiskey lovers by creating this patio lounge space.

SMOOTH allowed us to create a second, relaxing outdoor space, inspired by the California wine country and traditional settings for conversation around wine. 

The complicated logistics required long overnight hours.

Event Producer Brynne Peña chuckles: "I think we may have broken our own coffee consumption record given that we had to pull this event off in a fully operationally hotel lobby, which meant overnight installs and carefully calculated logistics. For that, and the wonderful feedback from our client afterwards, I am extremely proud of the EW team."

Thank you for reading!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Aloha from Lanai - Event Report from Paradise

Our lucky team members are still swooning to the sounds of ukulele music. We had the wonderful opportunity to work with a cherished client on a series of events in Paradise:

Location: The incredible Four Seasons Resort Lānaʻi

The Event: a multiple-days incentive event for 300 guests. 

We still feel Aloha in our hearts. 

Our work allows us to spend time in many beautiful locations but judging by our team members' Facebook postings, the Four Seasons Resort Lānaʻi cast a special kind of magic over our crew. We keep hearing "Paradise" and "Fantasy Island". 

Producing a series of Welcome Events, business meetings and a Grand Banquet Night for our client, who had bought out the resort for this event, allowed us to customize and brand with abandon. The island of Lānaʻi is the most undisturbed, unspoiled and remote of the inhabited Hawaiian islands. Working here was an incredible experience.

We were allowed to brand more than ever before, starting with the airport arrival area signage to our rental vehicles to the resort pool bottom. The event logo was applied to every possible aspect, from wrapping vehicles to embroidering cushions, to printing logos onto golf balls and water balls, and even applying logos to helicopters!

Our Honolulu-born Executive Producer Kristen Rensch took over the island office ahead of time to coordinate the production. Working in Paradise posed some challenges:
" Lana’i – also known as the pineapple island – is the smallest publicly accessible island in the Hawaiian island chain with a population of about 3,000 people concentrated in one small city center, Lana’I City. It is 18mi in the longest direction. Despite its small size, it contains several microclimates and diverse terrain. Since it is so small and untouched, resources on the island are very limited – one gas station, one small hardware & supply store with limited open hours. No traffic lights on the island, and most of the attractions are accessible only by dirt roads that require a four-wheel drive vehicle. No shopping malls, limited public transportation through the hotel and one privately owned company. There are only a few restaurants on the island.
The number of rental cars is very limited– we used a private agency that utilized some personal vehicles on the island. Methods are unconventional – cars are parked in overnight stalls at the airport, unlocked, keys in the ignition. Clients drop off by leaving cars unlocked with keys in cars at the airport. 
Our event location is the only large hotel on island – the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i. Another hotel under renovation – the Lodge at Koele (also a Four Seasons property) housed some of our production crew, as did the only other very small hotel on the island – Hotel Lanai, originally built by James Dole of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company in the early 1920s.
Lana'i is accessible via small aircraft from Honolulu ONLY, or ferry from nearby Maui. There are no direct flights."

"Consequently all show materials were transferred to the island inside a shipping container originating in Southern California, passing through Honolulu via an ocean container ship, and then transferred to a barge that is towed by a tugboat at a maximum speed of 8 knots to Lana’i.
The barge arrives one day a week, and departs one day a week, assuming the conditions are good. Shipping schedules are subject to change without notice. The commercial freight port on Lana’i is located on the southwestern coast of the island and access is subject to conditions of the sea. If the weather is too rough freight might be delayed up to a week or longer. Easter weekend also affected when our container could unload, so we planned movement around this holiday.
All other event materials were drop shipped via expedited carrier to the central handling facility on the island, and deliveries or return shipments had to be coordinated.
We rented linens and two 72” round tables from neighboring Maui, that were brought over on a ferry by the vendor, and returned by our crew via ferry to Maui. Special coordination for this extra cargo had to be arranged with the ferry master. Another shipment of décor was flown in from Honolulu and returned via a small air carrier.

Florals posed another challenge. All fresh floral was drop shipped directly to Lana'i, where movements had to be closely monitored and florals had to be kept in air conditioning, with limited storage space available on the resort as most was in use by the client for their event.

It’s a sleepy piece of authentic Hawaiian paradise, even though much of the island is desert-like where the hustle and bustle of the real world feels far, far away.
It was the ultimate luxury to feel transported back to a more genteel time.
The challenges were all overcome through planning - and most importantly - through the wonderful cooperation we received from all our new friends on the island."

Our client honored the history and culture of the islands throughout the event. We hired Hawaiian-born entertainers for all shows. 

Ted Bowers is equally enraptured:
"When you arrive to Lana’i the small plane touches down in a landscape of rusty earth that looks like the middle of nowhere. 
However, after spending time to explore and becoming familiar with the island, meeting some of the local residents and discovering hidden gems, including the best poke I’ve ever had, the deserted island becomes charming untouched tranquility.

The very tiny Lana’i City doesn’t have a single traffic light and that’s exactly how the people of Lanai like it. People wave to every car, residents stop to talk with their friends, fishing is considered a priority in life, and leaving the keys in your car's ignition is standard practice.

Lanai is a special place where you find serenity and adventure.

We are now certainly spoiled by the luxury of the Four Seasons Resort. You almost expect to hear "da plane, da plane" upon arrival but this fantasy island is real."
Mahalo to our wonderful client, our friends on Lana'i and Brad Kasselman for providing us with photos of this event!

Photo Credits: 
Images 2-5: Event photography by brad@coastphoto.com
Image 1: an EventWorks mobile phone snapshot.

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Mother's Day Story from EventWorks

As we all get ready to honor our moms this coming Sunday, we would like to take a moment to honor one of the hardest working moms of three amazing children we know, our floral assistant Aracely.

On her own, and as sole provider, with her three children (pictured here above with her children and nephew, EventWorks in-house artist Frankie) for over a decade, Aracely has succeeded in raising her two daughters and her son to be amazing achievers and goal-oriented, hard working young people we love. Asked what her secret is, she smiles and explains, that it was at times difficult, but that her kids all did their part. This is one tight, supportive family!

The EventWorks team is close knit and we have watched the children grow and thrive. We recently became aware how much these young people have already achieved when oldest daughter Alexxia, 22, discussed her college application progress with us.

Alexxia, 22:

Alexxia is bi-lingual English/Spanish and proficient in French. She is about to graduate from Cerritos Community College with an Associate Certificate in Business Administration this month, to go on to University this fall.

Described by her teachers and work managers as a "brilliant learner", this straight A student prepared her university admission applications last winter and sent off her letters in February to continue her education in accounting and business management in hopes of pursuing a career as CFO with a national accounting firm in the future.
The acceptance letters started to pour in quickly enough! So far, Alexxia has been accepted by California State Polytechnic Pomona, CSU Los Angeles, UC Irvine, CSU Long Beach. CSU Bakersfield,  Humboldt State, CSU Channel Islands and San Francisco State. She hopes to get accepted at her dream University: USC, which issues acceptances in June.

Alexxia pays for her education by working several jobs at the same time! She is a part time In-N-Out Burger Associate and she is also the part time accountant clerk for a roofing company while in school. During her vacation from school, she works as a full time accountant clerk at the roofing company.

Alexxia: "I hope to be financially healthy and in a career position to help my Mom retire in seven years."

Itzayana and Marco are well on their way to follow in their sister's footsteps.

Itzayana, 19,  is working a part time job at In-N-Out Burger while attending college to receive her AA in Administrative Justice. Her goal is to transfer and work as a DEA officer or as a gang unit officer.

Marco, 16, is in his junior year in High School, working to maintain his As and Bs to go to a four year college right after high school.

"Our Mom has taught us the importance of hard work. We appreciate everything our mother does for us, from working full time, to coming home to make dinner for us, and finding the energy to talk to us about our day. We thank her everyday for being such an involved mother and for always finding the time to talk to us about our goals and ambitions. Everyone who has ever meet our mother knows, that not only is she a great, loving person, but also a strong woman who always has a positive attitude, even when the day isn't going so well."

Janet: "We all know how hard it is to raise a family, but doing it so successfully, when you hail from an immigrant background and had no opportunity to access higher education, and are left to be the sole provider for three young children, really shows what an extraordinary woman and mother Aracely truly is. We have nothing but admiration for her. 

Fingers crossed for an acceptance letter from USC to Alexxia. They will be lucky to have her among their students."

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms this Sunday.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Alisa Walsh is Honored to Serve on 2017 SITE Young Leaders Committe

We are happy to announce that Alisa Walsh, our Director of Business Development, is honored to chair the 2017 SITE Young Leaders Committee.

Alisa continues a long EventWorks tradition of supporting the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence.
She is looking forward to her year of serving on the committee, in hopes of achieving several specific goals.

Alisa: "I became involved with SITE Young Leaders in January 2016 when I joined EventWorks. We, as a company, have been involved with SITE for many, many years. I am on the Young Leaders Southern California Committee as well as the Global Young Leaders Committee. The Young Leaders offer a fantastic opportunity to network and learn.
My predecessor in the role of Chair has done a great job growing membership in Southern California from nearly nothing to about 50 active members now.
My goal is to continue that growth, and also develop education and networking opportunities that are exciting and relevant and can help further engage the Young Leaders.
Furthermore I hope to get Young Leaders more involved with the Board of SITE, the mentors and elders of the organization, so that we continue to grow and learn to lead the future of the Southern California SITE Chapter.
Our local chapter is one of the largest of the 29 global chapters and as such we have the pleasure of pushing the envelope a bit to move forward in exciting trends in incentive travel. It is very motivating to be at the forefront of learning and experiencing new trends and ideas in incentive travel."

The above-mentioned predecessor who started the Young Leaders Committee is no other than 
Jamie Lee Tiffany, Senior Sales Manager at L’Auberge Del Mar,
2017 SITE Southern California, VP Young Leaders and
2017 Co-Chair Global Young Leaders Committee

"I feel so honored to have Alisa Walsh partnering with SITE Southern California Young Leaders and SITE Global Young Leaders.  Alisa stepped into her role and has quickly become active with our Young Leaders, Board of Directors and members not only in Southern California, but globally.  I look forward to seeing Alisa continue the momentum, and growing the footprint of our Young Leaders within the incentive industry."

Group Photo: ©SITE. To learn more about SITE and find a local chapter, please visit www.siteglobal.com.

Wishing everyone a great May Day - a celebration and holiday in many countries.

Monday, April 24, 2017

We Loved This Industry Retreat! #FTLOY2017

Can you imagine Janet in a dawn yoga class, relaxed and mellow at 7am?
We could not, either.
But it happened a few weeks ago when Ted and Janet attended TPG's Luxury Lifestyle Reboot in Napa Valley, For the Love of YOU 2017. Janet and Ted came back happy, relaxed and glowing. 

We were excited about TPG's invitation to attend the 3 day weekend at the luxurious Meadowood Napa Valley. A weekend of great wine and great food in the company of great industry colleagues sounded enticing enough. However, it turned out that the experience left us much more inspired than we anticipated. TPG allowed us to share details.

Source: http://www.tpgfortheloveofyou.com/

There's a sea change happening in today's uber-connected world.
Employees, colleagues, partners, and friends want more purpose, more daringness, less of the scarcity caused by our 24/7 bombardment of BS.
Together we'll become Life Ninjas, our phrase for rad folks who live authentically and with clear direction. 
(Miss) Stuart Patton, Communications Manager for The Performance Group Northern California,  was so kind to share this information with us.
FTLOY2017 was a full success, starting with guest reaction.

Attendees (without a hint of schmaltz) said things like “the weekend was life-changing!” and “I’ve been on a journey I don’t want to leave.”

Many carefully curated aspects made this weekend magical.

For starters, the location. Meadowood Napa Valley, with its oak trees and tucked-away cottages, offered a totally immersive “getting away from it all” vibe.  And get away from it all one had to; iPhones displaying “No Service” caused initial panic then lasting relief. And the conference rooms aren’t very conference-y. They’re more residential retreat, complete with crackling fire, than boxed in boardrooms.

The speakers were the A-List we have come to expect from TPG, known for curating amazing talent for its clients. This retreat was no exception.

Deb Parsons, President of TPG, opened the weekend by sharing exactly what motivated her to create this gorgeous and special event. She talked about the fact that 'For the Love of YOU' was years in the making. She was driven by an internal knowing that it was time to take all of TPG’s worldly event experience and create something of their own.  It was an opportunity to connect the dots and use all the levers that TPG has in their tool box to really move, change and inspire people. Deb explained how this event was conceived as a platform to help themselves, their clients and their partners slow down and listen to their souls.

We kicked off the event with Ayelet Baron, a former tech executive who’s committed to making an impact on business, as we currently know it. Her book, Our Journey to Corporate Sanity, argues that purpose and profit must combine to bolster our next generation of corporate leaders.
During lunch, we listened to Grammy-nominated songwriter and performer Ciaran Gribbin talk about his background in war-torn Ireland, and his belief that music has the power to bring people together. When he sang Brown Eyed Girl … well, let’s just say … few eyes were dry.

David Howitt, author of Heed Your Call and CEO of the Meriwether Group, discussed the merits of a personal hero’s journey — leaving what’s comfortable and tapping into the heart to manifest what you really want in life. Drawing upon the power of “and,” we learned we can be managers and artists, techies and yogis.

Laura Munson, author of This Is Not the Story You Think It Is … A Season of Unlikely Happiness and creator of Haven Writing Retreats, closed by giving us the time and guidance needed to sort out the weekend’s common themes. She began by describing her let-down after reaching her life’s dream — becoming a New York Times Best Selling Author. The experience taught her that success is a myth. And if success is a myth, failure is a myth. Laura realized that happiness cannot come from outside circumstances; contentment comes from following one’s heart (seeing the weekend’s BIG theme yet?). She then led the group through a personally moving writing exercise, helping new and experienced writers mine their own hearts. The session ended with guests checking their calendars (iPhone service restored) in hopes of attending one of Laura’s upcoming Haven Writing Retreats in Montana.

The Yoga instructor who impressed Janet and Ted to take up yoga - and stick with the practice ever since - was one of lululemon's carefully selected yoga ambassadors.

Jessica Micheletti, yogi extraordinaire, lead the group through a journey comprised of fragrant oils, crystals, and live music. A fire was lighted in the fireplace while she helped the group climb into an alternate head-space. Yes, live music and glowing fires during our yoga sessions.

We have been to many retreats but FTLOY really delivered: it was truly inspiring and the takeaway is of lasting value.

Happy to be Ninjas and looking forward to 2018.


All photos courtesy of The Performance Group. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

How We Can Learn from Coachella

It is "Coachella Time".

This festival strives to add new bells and whistles each and every year, that set the bar higher for us in the event industry.

In 2017 everyone is talking about "festivalization" of meetings and events.

Here is our round-up of top trends and inspiring aspects.

“All experiences are morphing together into the festivalization of events. Concerts add conferences, meetings add new styles of collaboration, trade shows add consumer elements. Training conferences are like going to Lollapalooza. In a competition for our attention, event organizers are engaging all the senses."

- David Adler/BizBash Medium

"The meetings industry is evolving beyond its preoccupation with event technology and the impact of Millennials over the last five years. The new focus for 2017 revolves around developing more multidisciplinary business events, integrating education and entertainment, to engage attendees in new ways on different levels."

— Greg Oates/Skift

How can we learn from Coachella after 18 years? 

Does the Music and Arts Festival still remain fresh and new?
It certainly remains relevant.There is a lot more going on than arts and music. After all, the festival itself has become the catalyst for hundreds of smaller branding, marketing and pure party events surrounding it. 
Maybe due to its proximity to Los Angeles, Coachella attracts more celebrities and influencers than any other festival.Young show business A-listers park their private jets on the tarmac at Palm Springs.Every model-of-the-moment, Instagramer and YouTuber is heading into the desert. 
Los Angeles Times tallied the revenue generated by three festival weekends, Coachella and StageCoach, for the Greater Palm Springs area last year: ticket sales and tourism alone brought in $770 million! 
We are paying attention!


Kate Brack, Director of Floral and Event Design:

"I am truly inspired by the inventiveness and ingenuity of the fashion pop up shops created using shipping containers and airstream trailers. They are forward thinking, green builds that not only lend an eye to design but hit the mark as an experiential marketing piece. As events move further away from the hotel ballroom and into unexpected settings, Coachella, like Burning Man, is at the forefront of creativity in the field of live events."

We asked DJ Matt Cornwall, who is always at the forefront of trends in music.

"Coachella is offering an impressive VR/AR experience. See the  description in VR Scout":

In their never-ending attempt to continually top themselves, the marketing team introduced a slew of new augmented reality features activated by the welcome box itself. By simply downloading the Coachella VR app, available for free on IOS & Android, users can now activate an augmented reality mode and view a colorful spectacle right on the cover of the box containing all your festival necessities. Pointing your camera at the design reveals a circling group of neon sharks, a bright hot air balloon, tangled roller coasters, the infamous ferris wheel and more enchanting sights all colorfully illuminated by a spectacular light show.

The app doesn’t stop there however, as the Coachella team has actually hidden several augmented reality ‘easter eggs’ that festival-attendees can hunt for while on the official grounds. Combine this with the stellar catalog of Coachella VR content continuously being uploaded and you have a powerful VR/AR mobile app that should just about cover all your festival needs.

Coachella continues to be a game-changer.
However, the biggest draw has been and still is: MUSIC.
Matt is happy to share his recommendations.

DJ Matt Cornwall’s
Top 20 Coachella Acts Not To Be Missed! 

1. Los Angeles natives and local favorites, Classixx - Sat April 15th and 22nd.
2. Devendra Banhart - Sun April 16th and 23rd. 
3. Bonobo - Fri April 14th and 21rst. 
4. DJ Shadow - Fri April 14th and 21st. 
5. FKJ (French Kiwi Juice) Sat, April 15th. 
6. Gaslamp Killer -Fri April 14th and 21st. 
7. GBV (Guided By Voices ) -Fri April 14th and 21st. 
8. Little Dragon- Fri April 14th and 21st. 
9. Thundercat - Sat April 15th and 22nd. 
10. Tove Lo -Sun April 16th and 23rd.
11. Real Estate - Sun April 16th and 23rd.
12. Porter Robinson & Madeon - Sun April 16th and 23rd.
13. New Order! - Sun April 16th and 23rd. 
14. Tycho - Sat April 15th and 22nd. 
15. Nicholas Jaar - Sat April 15th and 22nd. 
16. Sampha - Fri April 14th and 21st. 
17. T.S.O.L - Sun April 16th and 23rd. 
18. Preservation Hall Jazz Band  - Fri April 14th and 21st. 
19. Kaytranada - Sun April 16th and 22nd. 
20. Kendrick Lamar - Sun April 16th and 23rd. 
Lighters Up! ~ DJMC

Don't feel bad if you don't know many of the bands by name! 
By bringing new music, new bands and new trends Coachella inspires us to look for the next big thing, in every regard.

Have a great week!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Event Report: Brynne Peña Took Over Petco Park

The Event: a 3-day Conference in San Diego
Event Dates: March 19-21, 2017
Guest Count: 1400+
Our Tasks: we provided full production services for a series of events surrounding a conference, culminating in the Closing Night Extravaganza at Petco Park.

We had spent 2 years on planning this event, especially the Closing Night Extravaganza in Petco Park, in great detail.
And then Murphy's Law applied.
The weather forecast changed, TV announcers were aflutter, RAIN was in the Southern California forecast for event time. Our event was planned as an outdoor event.

Brynne Peña explains: "After two years of discussing, planning, drawing and sourcing the event we literally had to do a 180 with 48 hours to go. We went back to the drawing board, created new diagrams and put the whole event under cover.

The entire Field portion of the event had to be moved up off the field because of the impending rain.
We moved the bars into the locker room to create a sort of secret, "hidden" Speakeasy kind of bar, giving exclusive access to this area that normally the public would not be allowed entrance into.
We placed the interactive activities inside the stadium and set up the concert stage in a weather proof area. We did dress our band in baseball uniforms!
By the end of the night, the skies were dry. Our closing fireworks went off without a hitch! Yes, I drank even more coffee than usual!"

"Part of the fun was the unusual access to the stadium. Not many of us get to enter the field in our lifetime. Did I mention that this event took place two weeks before the season opening? A lot of diplomacy was involved in making the client's dream come true without damage to the Padres' lawn.

"Ron Burgundy" proved irresistible to all of us.
Lauren, Brynne and Debbie.

"We checked Twitter. Some commented on the unexpected 8-minute custom fireworks and guests shared their excitement.
We love to see great reaction!

We also got to stretch our creative muscles for a
beach-themed, indoors Welcome Reception.
We had the opportunity to fulfill our design
wish list, a lot of updated, modern,
fun beach decor.
Kate Brack designed, Carolyn Vasi sourced.
Manuel built and Frankie painted.
We delivered new customized pieces."

Wishing you a fabulous week now that the boys of summer are back!