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!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Music for Your Brain's Neurochemical Systems

Get out your boom box, the Week of Love is here!
We are bringing you the best music for Valentine's!

As if we did not know it: according to a recent study "background music gives young Japanese adults a more favorable impression of conversation partners of the opposite sex for the first meeting during conversation for konkatsu". (Source: Psychology of Music)

But seriously, the study reveals the changes in the neurochemical system in the brain. We fall in love a lot more easily when the right tune is playing in the background.

DJ Lee Dyson has noticed the impact on the dance floor - and just in time for the Week of Love he has compiled a list of love songs that will make you swoon!

However, we all have been in that bad spot in life where love songs are just unbearable! If you recently have noticed that no amount of kissing will change your frog into anything else, keep on reading!

Lee Dyson: "I want to make sure we don’t forget about all those poor jilted & jaded lovers out there so I also compiled a pretty significant list of Anti-Valentines day songs!"

Either way, we think that Love is Universal to All, no matter what part of the planet one resides- and we hope you celebrate this week!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy to Introduce Our New Director of Business Development: Nikki Wilbur

photo by
We have finally found the perfect woman!
Happy to introduce our new Director of Business Development: Nikki Wilbur

Contact Information:

Phone: (323) 321.1793

Connect with Nikki on LinkedIn!

As Director of Business Development, Nikki will be attending many industry functions on our behalf. As part of the EventWorks Family, she will also assume Event Producer duties.

We "clicked" right away when Nikki walked in the door.
She comes with serious credentials. She is a Certified Meeting Planner with a degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, and 8+ years of experience working in our industry.

As you can see, she is also fearless! This is Nikki, dangling over the rim of the Grand Canyon! - and yes, we did get all maternal and told her not to repeat that type of adventure!

Photo provided courtesy of Nikki Wilbur

Things you should know about Nikki:

*In her 8 years in Boston, she managed every aspect and type of event, ranging from executive level meetings to national symposiums.
*She is equally comfortable in Sales and Event Production.
*She volunteered as an organizer of many of  her college's alumni events - and continued on for 10 years!
*She attended a Performing Arts High School before deciding not to pursue a professional dance career.
*She studied economics and dance in college and discovered her true calling - event production! - after a short stint in the financial world.
*She loves to travel and does not miss a chance to visit art events, anything from photography to ballet.
*She moved to California just last summer and turned into a beach girl instantly.

Nikki is looking forward to her new challenges and meeting all of you!

We are happy to welcome her to our team!

Please feel free to call her or drop her a line to connect.
Thank you!