Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Event Report: Honored To Produce the Ring Dance for the U.S. Air Force Academy

We could not have imagined a better way to spend Memorial Day Weekend!

We are proud and grateful for the opportunity to produce the 2016 Ring Dance for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

This year, the event had even more personal significance for us as the daughter of a good friend is among the graduates,

Our event producer Max Blum had the pleasure of supervising this event.

The Event:
The 2016 Ring Dance
Guests: 1,800
Theme: A Black Tie Affair
Date: May 27th, 2016,
Time: 20:00 - 23:00
Location: U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO.

We transformed the Arnold Hall lobby into a glamorous event space for this young crowd of outstanding guests.
The DJ stage was placed in the center, allowing for a large dance floor. We added an LED wall for the DJ's custom video work.
LED zoom washes splashed texture and color onto the walls and ceiling.

Event Producer Max Blum:
"It was such an honor to have the opportunity to do something special for the future leaders of the United States Air Force, especially over Memorial Day weekend. It was very inspiring to talk with cadets about their future plans for their military careers - and a pleasure to witness them dancing all night long to DJ Rage!"

Here images of Arnold Hall -
Before and After:

Our friends, the Valentin family from California, have very special reason to be very proud this year!
Their daughter is among the graduates!
Congratulations to Squadron Commander Melaine Loren Valentin on receiving her Bachelor of Science degree!

We are truly grateful to have had the honor of producing a celebration for some of our country's most outstanding young people.

Melaine's father, Bernie Valentin, gave us more background on how incredibly difficult it is to succeed in the U.S. Air Force Academy.
"Melaine has always been somewhat different growing up. She excelled at both athletics and academics early on and she always set very high goals for herself. She was a straight A student except for one B one year in math. So it did not come as a great surprise that she became interested in the Academy in her early teen years. She joined the Explorer Scouts in preparation for her application to the Air Force Academy.
Each year about 25,000 apply, 3000 of the applicants get nominated by congress for the second round of selections, and 1035 actually are accepted by the Air Force into the 4-year course. Only 800 survived all four years. Melaine never wavered on her decision to join the Air Force but nevertheless, the first year was extremely difficult. At 21 units per semester, the academic work load is nearly double that of a normal college. At the same time all students have to fulfill the physical requirements of all recruits. We are very proud of her achievement. She will continue her education with 18 months in flight school in Texas to become a pilot. You can see here in the photo that she can barely wait. A pilot friend of ours took her on a flight a few months ago. It is her calling."


It was an honor to produce this gala evening for guests who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Be safe, always!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Event Report: Brand New Beach Location in Surf City USA, Huntington Beach

We had the honor of contributing to the Opening Event of SeaLegs at the Beach at Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington Beach, CA.

The Event:
The Final Evening of a cross-country MegaFAM with international travel experts celebrated the California Life Style at its finest in a great new location that we are excited about for many reasons!

Huntington Beach, long known as Surf City USA, has turned itself into an internationally appealing beach resort destination!
Starting this June, very attractive new beach event possibilities are opening for business!

Alisa Walsh:
"SeaLegs Wine Bar in Huntington Beach has very deservedly won numerous restaurant and gourmet industry awards and accolades in its 4 years of existence.
Locals, ourselves included, were excited to hear that owner Alicia Whitney was taking over four older concession stands along Bolsa Chica State Beach.
Gone are the stale nachos and hot dogs, starting this Memorial Day weekend, following a million dollar renovation, the four beach bistros will offer upscale fare! Tri-tip, charbroiled burgers, baguette sandwiches, crab cakes and specialty coffee, wine and beer will be on the menu, and one stand will be designed for sunset wedding receptions and festivals.
We had the pleasure of working with SeaLegs and Visit Huntington Beach for the very first pre-opening event at SeaLegs on the Beach.
The event, spearheaded by SeaLeg's Ali Falbo, was a great success with guests."

Ted Bowers' Classic Woodie with surfboards provides the perfect souvenir group photo backdrop. 

Huntington Beach has a lot to offer: endless, clean beaches, shopping, gourmet restaurants and several resorts.
The new Pacific City Shopping Center on Coast Highway opened recently. It is walking distance from beachfront resorts that offer full meeting and event amenities.

Please enjoy this Surf City USA sizzle reel.

We have seen a number of successful revivals in Southern California in the last two decades. Downtown Los Angeles, DTLA, is one of the major success stories. Similar developments took place in a number of cities: Santa Monica, Pasadena, Anaheim.

However, the California Dream really is all about palm trees and sunny beaches. Due to our very strict environmental and coastal regulations development along the beaches is a slow, laborious process.
We are very excited to see new beach event locations opening up.
Our climate allows for year round use. This will be a great addition to our event site directory.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Inspiration: The Red Line and Elements - Art Projects by Doron Gazit

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art - wrapped in The Red Line by Doron Gazit.
Since we last checked in with Doron Gazit, the artist and industrial designer has lined multiple locations in California with The Red Line and his art work is currently on exhibit at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art as well as The Loft at Liz's in Los Angeles. He is being mentioned in one breath with Cristo!

We look forward to working with Doron to wrap an environmentally themed event.

We were happy to report on The Red Line at the Dead Sea in September 2015. In the 8 months since, Doron has installed his environmental awareness art project in several locations in drought ravaged California. As always The Red Line concept highlights the impact of Global Warming on the environment.

In December of 2015, The Red Line snaked through the Pyramid Lake burn area, just North of Los Angeles.

Doron Gazit:
"After my Red Line installation in the sinkholes of the Dead Sea, I continued to draw the line north of Los Angeles among the burnt trees close to Lake Pyramid.  This is a continuation of my planned installations in locations around the world affected by global warming.  The black surface of the environment was a striking contrast to the Red Line. It was very sad to work in this devastation knowing that just a short time ago it was green and full of life. I did this installation together with my friend Jordan Dawes, who is an excellent photographer and videographer. I also received great help from CalArts Professor Michael Darling, who lives close by and helped me find a couple of sites containing burnt forests."

Next came an installation in Laguna Lake, CA.

"I brought the Red Line Project to the dried out Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo. Between the drought and constant silt build-up over the past 40 years, a huge portion of the lake has unfortunately dried up. The water-less land in the lake was extremely cracked and broken. I’ve seen many landscapes afflicted by the drought; this one seemed to symbolize dryness. It was very unpleasant to walk on this hard soil, there were no soft spots to be found.  Additionally, there were very strong winds – We had to change the placement of the Red Line so that the wind would carry it where it needed to end."

He followed up with an installation at the Salton Sea, an environmental disaster in progress in California's Coachella and Imperial Valleys as part of the Deborah Martin Exhibition "The Salton Sea- Lost in Paradise" at the Marks Art Center in Palm Desert, CA.

The Red Line Project art work is currently on exhibit at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art until the end of May.

Video: San Luis Obispo Museum of Art documented the California projects.

"Elements" - a group show in Los Angeles, opened this past Saturday and continues until June 20th.
Doron's work represents wind and air.

An outdoor installation of the Red Line in a Los Angeles area park is in the works - keep your eyes open this summer!        

"The fast success of Doron's work in the art world is very indicative of the timely relevance of his message. Furthermore Doron's dimensional inflatables give us a lot of creative freedom in event design. We have used them for many looks, such as these "ice flowers" for a winter event. I'd love to wrap a building and really get the communities' attention drawn to Doron's environmental art. 90% of California are still in a state of drought, even after the El NiƱo winter. We are not out of the woods and water use restrictions remain in place. It would be wonderful to blend art-with-a-message and event design."

Monday, May 9, 2016

Music Report: The Enduring Power Of Classic Rock

"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I'm sixty-four?"
The answer is obviously a resounding "Yes".

Should we book Classic Rock for our events?

Tickets for the October Classic Rock Extravaganza in Coachella - the Desert Trip Festival - go on sale this morning.
The event is touted globally as the biggest Classic Rock weekend of a lifetime and is expected to sell out the rumored available 70,000 tickets immediately.
This may come as a surprise to many of us. We have become accustomed to living in a youth obsessed culture. Chart topping acts start their career ascent long before they can legally order a beer in the USA.

It is the age of streaming music and social media self promotion.
Surprisingly, it seems, the oldies but goodies continue to succeed without much attention to their social media followers.
Mick Jagger has a million and a half followers on Twitter. Not bad, you think, until you see Taylor Swift. She has almost 77 million followers.
Taylor has the same amount of fans on Instagram.
Mick Jagger? Less than a paltry 700 000 followers!

However, in the touring business Old is Gold!
The Stones hold a whopping 8 top spots in the Top 50 Grossing Tours Of All Time (source: Pollstar).
A surprising 34 of the 50 Top Grossing acts are baby boomers - and they end up in the Top 20 Tours any year they go out.

Our collective emotional response to the passing of Glenn Frey, David Bowie and Prince this year underlines the general sentimental attachment to these stars whose fame endured much passed their chart topping and headline making days.

(Getty Images)

No wonder Taylor invited Mick to join her to get some "Satisfaction" during her tour stop in Nashville, TN, on September 26, 2015).

What explains this astounding longevity?

We asked Gary Bongiovanni, Pollstar's CEO and Editor-in-Chief, for his expert insights.

“These classic bands endure because of the baby boomer generation. They are the cream of the crop, the baby boomer heroes. That generation grew up on that music and it is still their music of choice.
Their tastes haven’t changed. They may go to less concerts nowadays but this music is still the soundtrack of their life.
What has changed is the way concert tickets are sold.
Concert tickets used to be all one price and quite affordable. Starting in the 90s, the industry introduced tiered ticket pricing, charging much more for better seats. Many boomers can afford those tickets while young fans for the most part cannot pay $200 for a ticket. So we see a lot of boomer parents bringing their children along to concerts to share that experience with them. Consequently, the fan base grows among the younger generation.
These acts are not dependent on hit records. The audience comes to hear Paul McCartney’s hits, not the songs from his latest album.”

Bongiovanni expects The Desert Trip to be a success.

“The organizers are very smart about tiered pricing and seating. The general audience prices are quite affordable but they sell a lot more assigned seating than at the Spring festival, at higher prices geared at boomers. They won’t want to stand in the pit under the sun for 12 hours. They want their seats."

It also helps that Desert Trip will feature only two full length concerts each night, with a start time right after sunset to adapt to the boomers' taste and endurance level for loud music.

The Old is Gold mantra does apply to the event entertainment world.

Sam Trego, Owner of Imagination Entertainment, offers several completely produced shows featuring classic rock, including the highly successful corporate event version of Beatles LOVE - IE's "Beatles by iL CiRCo", launched in the summer of 2014 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion.

The Beatle's in San Diego! from Imagination Entertainment on Vimeo.

Sam Trego:
"The Beatles aren't just a pop music favorite. The band changed the face of music. Their music is timeless. It triggers as much of an emotion now than it did on the 60s.
Classic Rock is like a time machine. It triggers an emotional response in each listener. Oftentimes it takes you back to a time that was more stress-free, or you were in love, or it reminds you of other significant moments in your own story.
This music crosses borders and generations and it succeeds at entertaining any group. We love working on this show and it is a big success at any event. It just works."

The strong link between music and emotion sometimes catches us by surprise. I personally was surprised at my own sadness over Prince's untimely death.
However, judging by guests' reaction to Classic Rock entertainment, it makes perfect sense. Timeless hits work for a very large group of guests, across ages and cultures.
The appeal is universal.

See you in Coachella in October!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Event Challenge: Our Crew Beat Santa Ana Wind Storm

It was not just another sunny day in California as we were setting up for Bruin Day.
The forecast had mentioned gusty winds. They turned into a full blown Santa Ana windstorm that caused such damages that it made national headlines.

Carolyn Vasi and her crew went into rescue mode to get the job done.

Production Manager Carolyn Vasi: "We are used to these wind events in Southern California but this one turned out to be a lot more severe than forecast. The wind force turned over full trucks on the freeways and oak trees broke like matches. Santa Anas have a way of starting abruptly and ending abruptly. We were in the midst of the setup when it started to blow. Our tents were tossed around like tumble weeds."

Thankfully the event location was not too far from our warehouse. Carolyn dispatched the truck to get the storm gear and the setup for the outdoor event proceeded with only a slight delay.

Carolyn: "We had to make some adjustments to ensure the safety of all attendees. We used extra heavy blocks to tie down the tents and re-enforced the bracing around all tenting. Furthermore we lowered all tent heights a bit, placed desks and chairs inside instead of in front of the tents. Usually the signage is installed above the tents. We lowered all signage to below the tent tops to secure them better. The extra heavy sandbag blocks worked wonders."

Our storm-proof setup worked! Tents, furniture, signage - everything was rock solid
By next morning the winds had diminished and all attendees enjoyed the outdoor event.

This was not the first time that unexpected weather disrupted our work. It seems to be a safe bet to plan an outdoor event in Southern California but we still have to have Plan B.

Wishing you - especially our friends in the tornado and flooding plagued Mid West - a sunny week!