Monday, March 26, 2018

Event Music Report from DJ Lee Dyson

We asked DJ Lee Dyson who we need to pay attention to in the music world right now. Here is his Hot-New-Names-To-Know playlist. 

Well as predicted (and even despite some controversy of musical cultural appropriation) Bruno Mars swept the 2018 Grammys.
But let’s shine a light on the underdogs…..the “Best New Artist” category.

She took the award of course since she’s been on hit makers' radar since 2015 when she was releasing Youtube videos (33 million views) and then released her debut Album.
Only 21 but with a vocal range equaling many of her idols she made waves with some strategic collaborations such as Zedd for “Stay” and Khalid & Logic for “1-800-273-8255” which called attention to suicide prevention. Not to mention touring with Taylor Swift and a guest spot on the Disney soundtrack for Moana!
 Expect big things and more #1 collaborations from this alternative pop star!

Speaking of Khalid, he also collaborated on Logic’s “1800-273-8255” but thanks to social media and Kylie Jenner he blew up as an overnight sensation with “Location” and “Silence”
Prior to that boost from Snapchat he was an 18 year old unsigned artists finishing High School in Texas with a musical theater & opera background.
There is a maturity, depth and emotion to his voice that demands attention on his tracks that came from loneliness he experienced after his move to El Paso.

Social media isn’t the only way to get on the grid.
Like many rap starts before, Lil Uzi Vert dropped a steady stream of successful mixtapes which got him featured on “Bad and Boujee” by Migos which helped his track
“XO Tour Llif3” get traction.  Since collaboration is trendy, he’s recently worked with A$AP Mob, Playboi Carti and Nicki Minaj.

“Issues” and collaboration with Maroon 5 and Clean Bandit put her on the charts but as a very talented songwriter, she also gained major industry street cred by co-writing songs for Fifth Harmony, Justin Bieber, Hailee Steinfeld, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, Tove Lo and Ed Sheeran. I love her story. “Issues’ began as a song for another artist's album but she ultimately decided it was too personal to share and it thus became the song that took her from being a behind-the-scenes songwriter to a hit artist with massive Top 40 radio play.

She may appear to have overnight success, but SZA has been slowly building momentum for almost 10 years.
In 2012 she self-released her Debut EP which eventually got her signed to Kendrick Lamar’s label.
From her sound you’d never guess her influences:  Mostest Mouse, Tame Impala, Brazilian Jazz and even Limp Bizkit!
Another great example of how co-writing and collaboration opens doors, she worked with Chance the Rapper, Travis Scott, Maroon 5, Beyonce, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.

My honorable mentions go to Dua Lipa, Halsey and Bebe Rexha who are all cranking out jams!

Here’s a Spotify list of the 2018 artists along with some other exciting talent that should be on your musical radar. ENJOY!

P.S. If you are a fan of Rap and Hip Hop….I mean REAL Hip Hop, then check out the new documentary  “Word is Bond” on Showtime. Really fascinating!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Event Floral: Going Green in Many Ways for a St. Patrick's Day Event

Our team worked hard over the past weekend. Floral Design Artist Rebecca Motus reports. 

While we were all feeling Irish this weekend our team was hard at work producing a St. Patrick's Day themed event.

Event Date: March 17, 2018
Event: a Closing Night Party
Event Location: Monarch Beach Resort, Monarch Beach, California.

The Challenge: the client wanted to use organic and eco-friendly materials. This requirement extended to all greenery.

Rebecca Motus: "We selected only plants that are California grown and water-wise and therefore eco-friendly.

We used Bells of Ireland, seeded eucalyptus, silver dollar eucalyptus, rosemary sprigs, Bupleurum, White ranunculus,, White Veronica, White Lisianthus, White Dahlias and Green Cymbidiums. The eucalyptus and rosemary took dual roles. Besides floral decor they acted as aromatherapy ingredients at the same time. Our team went to work in our floral studio to assemble it all.

We used a variation of mason jars for the centerpieces, cocktail tables and buffet tables.
I bought a variety of Irish beers in different sizes for the bar arrangements.

We made 4 Bar Arrangements (Florals in Irish beer bottles with fresh florals)
6 Buffet Arrangements
20 communal center pieces in mason jars
22 centerpieces for the round tables
and finally 10 cocktail table arrangements in small mason jars."

The client loved the result.
Rebecca chuckles: "Most wanted to know what happened to the content of the beer bottles."

Monday, March 12, 2018

Alisa Walsh reports from last week's MPI OC Panel on Food and Beverage Trends.

Alisa had the pleasure and honor of participating in MPI Orange County's panel discussion with FoodBeast's Geoff Kutnick, Chef Martin Salazar from Canyon Catering and Moderator Lisa Meller. The topic: Food and Beverage trends in the event industry.

The Conference Topic: On a scale of 1 – 10: How confident are you that you fully understand the role of food in our business?

We are seeing that there is significantly more pressure on us in our events industry to create experiences, not just “events”.   
Food has always been a cornerstone for human connecting –in our house growing up, the kitchen was the center of the house – cooking together, entertaining, and dining with family and friends.  When it comes to  “going out”  - can we even do it without food and drink?   
Now the role of food is taking center stage. We are seeing tours, trips, and travel experiences in our industry continue to grow and to even move into the general session. Food is no longer an afterthought but now needs to be at the forefront of the experience. People are craving to be wowed – new tastes, new visuals, new presentation.
Bye bye buffet chaffing dishes with big spatulas and a presentation that looks like a glorified cafeteria. 
However, budgets are only seeing slight upticks when the economy is confident, but never enough to meet the real cost and pressure for profitability.

Alisa is happy to share experiences and advice from a planner's point of view.

"What we are encountering is that food and beverage is the central focus of the event these days. It used to be headliner entertainment or an iconic venue or famous keynote speakers but food and beverage has moved to the top now. For us this means that our clients request a much more curated food experience. Consequently we work very closely with chefs these days and the collaboration starts much earlier in the event planning process.
For us as planners the design aspect of food has become very important - and we love it.

Social media has influenced people in recent years. There is a lot of information and inspiration out there about foods that many may not have been used to in the past. People are more willing to try unique foods. It helps our creativity and it allows us to be a bit bolder with our food and beverage presentation. It used to be buffets with chafing dishes provided by the hotels. That has changed completely. To give you an example, we had the opportunity to serve sushi from an industrial conveyer belt recently and desserts from a ferris wheel. We get to have a lot of fun with food and beverage displays these days.

However, overall event budgets have not really changed so we get creative to turn grandiose ideas into an event reality.
Food and Beverage is now the focus of the experience so we allocate more of the entertainment and decor budget portions to this. We also encourage the chefs to source foods locally and do the best they can within the budgets to deliver a top experience because that is what we are all about.

An important aspect for event venues is the attention our clients pay to food these days. Our clients want the quality of the food to match the overall quality of the event. And they do not want to be bound by catering contracts venues may have. They want the freedom to be able to bring in a chef of their choice.

I tell clients that there are a lot of creative ways to deliver a great food and beverage experience that allows the guests to interact with food in new ways. It doesn't have to break the bank either. Convention Bureaus are a great resource to get in touch with all the local vendors, such as craft beer breweries and local specialty food vendors that will enable the planners to deliver an outstanding experience within budget."

Bon App├ętit and Thank You for reading.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Alisa Walsh Reports from "Ready Los Angeles"

The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board invited industry partners to attend a Crisis Preparedness Summit last Monday. We were very impressed!

LATCB invited partners to the L.A. Convention Center for this half day event a week ago. On the agenda: The Importance of Planning, an Overview of the City's Emergency Response, Hardening Soft Targets, LATCB's Role in a Crisis, #Recoverstrong and Reviewing Your Response.

Photo L-R: Alisa Walsh, Brandi Thigpen with LATCB and Kayla Kilpatrick with AEG.

Alisa Walsh: "Security at events is on the forefront of everyone's mind. It is something that needs to be addressed. All of our clients are certainly asking all of the questions that they should be asking these days. What event security measures are in place? We rely heavily on the venues to have security plans in place but we as event producers have to ensure that we provide our customers with that information and that we ask these questions on our end as well. There is a lot we can do to prepare for every sort of scenario but there is also a lot we can do to support our clients and attendees should they need it.

I was very impressed with the amount of information and the number of positives that the City of Los Angeles does have in place. It was interesting to hear from all of the different aspects; transportation, LAX Airport, the Mayor's Office, the City, the EOC. We have a lot of great plans in place. One example: the bollards that the L.A. Convention Center installed to block vehicle access. I walked away with the knowledge that the City of L.A. takes security very seriously and that they are prepared for certain scenarios.

The most profound insight for me was shared by one emergency management team member. The emergency management teams will come into place but the true First Responders are actually your neighbors. The people standing next to you, your neighbors on your street or in your building; we as a community have to come together and talk about how to develop a plan as friends and colleagues and neighbors."

Los Angeles Security by Numbers:

Jeff Gorell – Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security & Public Safety, City of L.A.

• L.A. is prone to 13 of 16 natural and manmade disasters (volcanic eruption, ice storms, hurricanes not applicable).
• Every September City and County organizations train with US military.
• Emergency Operation Center – in operation for every major event and recent natural disasters.
• Resilience by design – create opportunities for every disaster possible, retrofitting buildings, creating ordinances and more.
• March 2nd – signing of new resilience plan-  resilience strategy requires redundancy in water.
• Mayor signed telecommunications company so that Verizon, AT&T, and others will open up communications for emergency messages regardless of personal carrier.
• NotifyLA - City of LA first city to have earthquake early warning on cell phones and classrooms – by the end of 2018. Doors of fire stations will auto open so trucks can get out quickly, Transportation will slow and stop trains, with a 8-10 second warning, elevator doors open at next closest floor.

Emergency Management Department

• First responder that is helping in a disaster is your neighbor
• EMD - Coordinates emergency preparedness response and recovery, provides a unified and streamlined chain of command to coordinate resources
• Signing contract with AirBnb to open homes in case of emergency, also open internet lines


• Active shooter training
• Twice yearly evacuation training
• Installed bollards that prevent trucks from bombarding gathering areas


• Moves 80 million people through the year, 700 reported thefts (30% were misplaced items)


• 4 rail lines opening by 2028, will likely be 2nd behind NYC
• Have containers with food and water supplies for up to 5 days for employees and patrons in case they get trapped


• Social media – Getty Center one recent example, provided Instagram stories regarding update to fires.  Added ‘swipe up to donate to Red Cross’ during fires

Crisis Communication Plan

• According to study by World Travel and Tourism council it takes tourism:

    • 12 months to recover from terrorist attack
    • 21 months to recover from disease outbreak
    • 24 months to recover from environmental disaster
    • 27 months to recover from political unrest

• More than 75% of Americans receive breaking news from social media rather than traditional news sources
• 42% of US adults get most of their news from friends and family via Facebook and vast majority of them (87%) follow links to full news stories
• 86% of adults are online, for an average of 5 hours per day, surpassing TV
• Training and exercises are crucial

Click for the L.A. Emergency Management Department Website