Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Event Report: California Dreaming! We Went Beach Glam

Every now and then in life, all elements come together perfectly - and that moment is pure magic!
May 14 was our lucky night.
Our event took place at Crystal Cove State Park, just North of Laguna Beach, CA.
May on the California Coast tends to be cool and foggy - but we experienced an unusual, early heat wave and perfect beach evening weather.

We are thankful to our crew members who had to set up for 2 days in temperatures peaking at 102 degrees!
Everyone did an amazing job to bring "Glam" to the beach.

We are always very sensitive to nature and here especially we had to make an impression on the guests - without leaving a footprint!

Before we started the installation in a state park, on the beaches of a protected underwater park, we really took care to educate ourselves about the environmental issues. Our great work relationships with our trusted vendors and frequent communication with our client and state park officials were crucial to the success of this event!

We also had some negotiating to do with nature! Changing tides and shifting sands forced us to adjust our plans repeatedly.
We brought in electricity, bathrooms, all refrigeration and our very own boardwalk. It looked so natural that beach goers assumed it to be a permanent fixture!

In the end, all elements fell into place. Guests thoroughly enjoyed the night. Our entertainers created a great ambiance and even the moon cooperated - Full Moon Night on Crystal Cove Beach. Pure Magic!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Still the King: Michael Jackson is Back!

We saw the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson resurrected last week! His well-reviewed, new album "Xscape" ascended to the No 1 Spot of iTunes charts in 52 - yes! FIFTY TWO! - different countries, including in the U.K. and France, in it's first week of release. Xscape is running neck to neck with Black Keys for No 1 on the Billboard charts and MJ "starred" on last night's Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.
In the nearly five years since his passing, he has earned 700 million dollars according to Forbes estimates. That sum puts the top living pop stars to shame!

DJ Lee Dyson:
"While living a sometimes controversial life, Michael Jackson was undoubtedly a musical genius and truly the “King of Pop”. As a DJ he gave me more artillery for the dance floor than almost any other artists in the 80’s, 90’s through today. Maybe matched only by Prince and Madonna.
He really didn’t play instruments, so he wrote every song by singing all the parts to tape.
It’s impressive how Jackson wrote and arranged so many hit songs on his own even though he was not particularly proficient at playing instruments.
 Rob Hoffmann, a sound engineer who worked with Jackson, describing the singer’s process:
“One morning Michael came in with a new song he had written overnight. We called in a guitar player, and Michael sang every note of every chord to him. ‘Here’s the first chord first note, second note, third note. Here’s the second chord first note, second note, third note,’ etc., etc. We then witnessed him giving the most heartfelt and profound vocal performance, live in the control room through an SM57.
He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Steve Porcaro once told me he witnessed Michael doing that with the string section in the room. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything. Not just little eight bar loop ideas. he would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills.”

To get a feel for his raw talent check out this Acapella video of “Man in the Mirror”

"For this playlist I wanted to skip the obvious songs that are always played for the dance floor and focus on some of his arguably better but less played material along with a few of my personal favorites."

Such a sad, strange life - but as a singer and composer he touched all of us.
We are grateful for the music!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Little APP That Could: 95% Adoption Rate and Engagement!

We recently had a client who asked us to create a custom event app for their national sales meeting. Kristen Rensch happily adopted the task and supervised the development of this app that really could do everything but serve the food!

Of course, it provided instant access to all the session content and the meeting schedules from any mobile device.
But we took this app a lot further by integrating features that entertained and motivated the attendees and facilitated operations for the client.

We made it entertaining for the attendees. We added some fun through gamification and contest creation. Guests were invited to upload photos that we displayed on screens throughout the venue. The app was interactive and allowed team creation. We invited guests to load "status updates".
Participants could earn further game points by filling out in-app surveys. Yes, we installed an anti-cheat feature! 
We loaded three daily updates of the contest results onto the kiosk and the leader board.

Attendees also received credit for scanning the QR codes at each session - 
And that's where we get to the client's benefits!

Through the QR codes we could track session attendance and compliance instantly. 
The app had push notification capability to send updates to groups. 
Much like Facebook and Twitter, the app provided space for scheduled, promoted posts.
The client played their incentive trip video trailer via a secure in-app feed.
Three different master agendas were available, some user specific, some for overall attendees. Content management made easy - and environmentally friendly as printing was reduced to a minimum!
The app allowed metrics output, enabling the client to figure out whether the guests were understanding the message. Instant results were provided.

Kristen Rensch: "This app was an extremely valuable event tool. The social and game features made it fun. The guests stayed stimulated and very engaged. They placed over 8000 status updates and photos! Thanks to the app we achieved a 95% adoption rate. The event engagement was off the charts."

If you have any questions how this works, please ask your teenager! You know we do!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fiesta Time! Cinco de Mayo Secret Familia Recipes from Our Crew and Music!

Our best office parties usually involve a quick setup of cooking and grilling equipment right here in front of our warehouse - and our very own Production Department crew prepares the best feast based on their families' recipes.

We are celebrating Cinco de Mayo and we are happy to share!
Mario from Mexico, Edwin from Guatemala and Wilber from Guatemala cooked this great meal!
On the menu: a Pan-Latin American mix consisting of marinated steak, chicken, & Peruvian chicken sausage with corn tortillas, black beans, fresh-made guacamole, cucumbers, queso fresco, cilantro, & chips & salsa.  Edwin notes that the preparation of the dishes reflect flavors of El Salvador, Mexico & Guatamala.

Carolyn Vasi was so kind to get us the recipe for our favorite black beans!

Black Beans with Chicharrón

2 pounds of black beans
2 to 3 pounds of Chicharrón with meat
1 Onion, chopped
6 Garlic Gloves, crushed
no salt

 Put 3 quarts of water in a pot to boil, 
once its boiling drop in beans.
add the onion and garlic, bring back to a boil 
then add 1 quart more of water, let it come to a boil.
after second boil add the Chicharrón. let boil, check to taste and if needed, add salt.

As you can see, everyone gets in line!

Needed next, the right kind of music. Whip out your Jambox! Lee Dyson created a special Spotify Playlist!

Lee: So even though I’m a white boy from Minnesota I enjoy celebrating Cinco de Mayo and decided to whip up a playlist for everyone. It’s a pretty good “starter kit” for your May 5th party with a bit of Traditional Mexican music, Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, Ranchera, Rock en Espanol and Latin Dance."

Happy Cinco de Mayo!