Page 1


Chicago $4.95 SPRING 2010 BIZBASH.COM


Special Meetings Report How Fresh Thinking and New Technology Can Solve Old Problems

The Best Ideas From Big Events Art Basel, Super Bowl XLIV & the Golden Globes

Chicago’s Top 100 Events

26 New Venues Plus: Boxed Lunches, Dining Tables, Pop-Ups, Corporate Picnics & More

Be cool! Have your summer of 2011 event at Chicago Union Station!

Elegant, Historic, Glamorous & Air Conditioned! Experience the ultimate venue in Chicago! The magnificent Great Hall at Chicago Union Station offers a private 20,000-square-foot space lined with marble floors, Corinthian columns, and crowned with a spectacular five-story atrium ceiling. Reserve this timeless setting, in one of Chicago’s most prestigious historic landmarks, for your next (300 to 3,000-person) special event – Chicago Union Station. For information on private events, promotions, or films please contact: Phone: 312-655-2481 • Fax 312-655-2469 Email:

CHICAGO Volume 3, Issue 1 Spring 2010 © 2010 BizBash Media


In February, Absolut hosted 900 members of the nightlife industry at a launch party for its new flavor, Absolut Berry Acai. Produced by Legacy Marketing Partners at the W Chicago City Center, the event borrowed from the ad campaign’s avian motif and the berry’s Brazilian origins with various signature cocktails, models in Carnival-style plumage, on-site screen printing of branded T-shirts, and product vignettes. More photos are on

On the Cover Performers outfitted with giant fists and boots greeted guests with shouts of “ooh” and “ahh” as they arrived at Redmoon’s annual Spectacle Lunatique fund-raiser, which doubled as the theater’s 20th anniversary party. Photographed by Barry Brecheisen for BizBash

FROM THE EDITORS 6 Conversation starters READERS’ FORUM 9 How do you recharge after a big event? 13 14 16 18 20 22 24 26

THE SCOUT Flexible seating Dining tables for rent Resources for corporate picnics How do you entertain guests on a car or bus ride? Trend Spotted: Greenery as event decor Thrillist’s offline events Innovative box lunches Entertainment consultant Donna Iacobazzi Pecci; What to do with summer associates

VENUES 28 Chicago’s newest restaurants, bars, and private dining rooms

EVENT REPORTS 33 Global cuisine at Common Threads’ World Festival 36 Redmoon Theater’s Spectacle Lunatique celebrates a birthday 38 From Miami: Art Basel’s exhibitions, satellite fairs, and sponsored parties 40 Coast to Coast: Pop-ups from across the U.S. and Canada 42 The Chicago Auto Show’s sneak preview for charity 43 Second City’s 50th anniversary alumni weekend 44 From Las Vegas: The Consumer Electronics Show 46 From Los Angeles: Productionheavy Golden Globe parties 48 TransUnion pairs yoga mats with money management; Children’s Memorial Hospital’s topping-off ceremony 50 From New York: A man’s world at the Hermès store opening 52 Chicago’s Top 100 Events A roundup of the city’s biggest annual undertakings 58 Break the Meeting Mold Innovative solutions for keeping meeting attendees energized THE DIRECTORY 63 New venues TED KRUCKEL 64 Rules for breakfast entertaining

ON BIZBASH.COM Comprehensive local venue and supplier directories The latest industry news Local sites for Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami/South Florida, New York, Orlando, Toronto, and Washington spring 2010 3

BIZBASH EDITOR IN CHIEF Chad Kaydo MANAGING EDITOR Libby Estell NEWS EDITOR Courtney Thompson STYLE EDITOR Lisa Cericola ASSOCIATE EDITORS Michael O’Connell, Anna Sekula








Claire Hoffman

CONTRIBUTORS EDITOR AT LARGE Ted Kruckel WRITER AT LARGE, LOS ANGELES Irene Lacher CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Mimi O’Connor, Brendan Spiegel CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Meryl Rothstein, Andi Teran LOS ANGELES: Shilpa Gopinath, Rosalba Curiel TORONTO: Amy Lazar, Erin Letson WASHINGTON: Adele Chapin, Walter Nicholls COPY EDITOR Josh Wimmer CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Vincent Dillio, Roger Dong, Nick Ferrari, Emily Gilbert, Dan Hallman, John Minchillo, Alice and Chris Ross BOSTON: Aviran Levy, Patrick Piasecki CHICAGO: Mireya Acierto, Tyllie Barbosa, Barry Brecheisen, Eric Craig, Jeremy Lawson, Eddie Quinones LOS ANGELES: Matt Armendariz, BEImages, Jessica Boone, Nadine Froger, Line 8 Photography, Zen Sekizawa, Dale Wilcox MIAMI: Joseph Cancellare & Associates, Alexis Corchado, Matthew Horton, Moris Moreno, Elizabeth Renfrow, Mitchell Zachs TORONTO: Gary Beechey, Jill Kitchener, Henry Lin, Emma McIntyre, Nicki Leigh McKean, George Pimentel WASHINGTON: Tony Brown/Imijination Photo, Stephen Elliot, FotoBriceno, Powers and Crewe EDITORIAL OFFICES 21 West 38th St., 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018 phone: 646.638.3600, fax: 646.638.3601 CHICAGO BUREAU 312.436.2525 LOS ANGELES BUREAU 310.659.9510 MIAMI BUREAU 1450 NE 123 St., North Miami, FL 33161 305.893.8771 TORONTO BUREAU 1 Thorncliff Park Drive, Suite 110, Toronto, ON M4H 1G9 416.425.6380 CONTACT US Editorial Feedback and Ideas: Event Invitations and Press Releases: Directory Listings: Subscription Inquiries: 866.456.0517 (toll-free) or 845.267.2170, New Subscriptions: Subscription Renewals: Reprints: Dani Rose, The YGS Group 800.494.9051 ext. 125, BIZBASH MEDIA C.E.O. AND FOUNDER David Adler PRESIDENT Richard Aaron BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jonathan Adler (CHAIRMAN),

Richard Aaron, David Adler, Beverly Chell, Martin Maleska, Todd Pietri






BIZBASH NEW YORK 21 West 38th St., 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018 646.638.3600, fax: 646.638.3601 PUBLISHER Jacqueline Gould ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Lauren Stonecipher ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, NATIONAL VENUE GUIDE/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, BIZBASH BOSTON Andrew Carlin ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Erica Fand ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Kristie Hudson



Online Evites zRegistration Session Tracking z Web Development Lead Retrieval z “Green” Badging z Housing





From the Editors

There’s A Better Way jobboard

The Best Job Board in the Business FIND JOBS / POST JOBS / GET BACK TO WORK

In January, a lighting designer invited me to a breakfast with a few other event industry friends at one of the best-reviewed restaurants in New York. I agreed—he’s always funny and insightful, and the food would be excellent— although, on the night before, when I calculated how early I’d have to wake up to trek from Brooklyn to the uptown restaurant, I’ll confess to grumbling to myself. When I arrived, I found beautiful food This New York event and—even better—terrific got us talking around company. In addition to the office. The dog the lighting designer, our lovers on staff liked hosts were a top-notch how Purina used mini caterer and an endlessly hedges to keep canine inventive designer, both guests separated as people I have enjoyed they tried its Chef meals with in the past. Michael’s line of The rest of the table of 11 gourmet pet food in February. More photos was a mix of producers are on and vendors I had met a few times and had been meaning to catch up with, plus others whose years under his belt, and they compared notes names and work I knew, but hadn’t actually met about their banks. Several producers commiserin person yet. ated over the tightening of credit—how much The hosts explained that even though they tougher it can be to charge several thousand work with different people all the time, there dollars worth of materials for a client. In this were lots of prominent people in the industry relatively ego-free zone, I was reminded that they somehow had never met. While, for some of the best people in the field—by my example, caterers encounter various designers sights—are also some of the nicest. (Funny how and rental companies on jobs, they rarely have those things can go hand in hand, isn’t it?) reason to talk to other caterers. But who better Connecting people who work on events— to compare notes with—if you can put aside across markets, industries, and experience your competitive feelings? levels—has been one of the founding principles So we chatted. They were all nice and smart, of BizBash since we launched 10 years ago. and occasionally a little braggy (what would And we’re working on a new site that will help you expect?), but more often candid. Everyone people share information online in an even was positive, even while acknowledging the more direct way. rocky economy. It would be deeply ironic in For lack of a better description, this part our gilded private room, over truffled eggs of will combine elements of the served by waiters summoned unusually early Huffington Post, Facebook, and Twitter to (the place isn’t normally open for breakfast), create a new platform to exchange ideas, tips, for anyone to admit to financial trouble—and commentary—whatever you want to pass along not especially smart if you didn’t want word to to colleagues. (And we won’t make you get up spread quickly. early to do it.) As we go to press, the project What I found most interesting was a certain is still in development, but I expect it might generosity of spirit as they shared lessons be live by the time you read this, or shortly learned. The host caterer, with a couple decades thereafter. Stop by and join in the conversation, of experience, sat next to a caterer with fewer won’t you? —Chad Kaydo


Conversation Starters

Bring your group of stars... The B-52s

Yo-Yo Ma

Vince Gill

Nelly Furtado

Bobby McFerrin

Patti LuPone

Buddy Guy

Renée Fleming

Steve Martin Martin Steve

The Temptations

The Music of ABBA

Ramsey Lewis

to see our group of stars.



The only thing we overlook is the Lakefront.

Meeting Rooms

Festival Hall


56,700 SQ. FT. dn

113,400 SQ. FT.



Grand Ballroom

Built in 1916 as part of Daniel Burnham’s famed Plan of Chicago, today Navy Pier boasts the ultimate in flexibility of space, state of the art facilities, and unparalleled amenities in a spectacular and truly unique lakefront setting.

F estival Hall Exhibition Space • 170,000 sq. ft. of functional space divisible into two halls T hirty-six flexible Meeting Rooms H istoric Grand Ballroom • 18,000 sq. ft. with a spectacular lake view L akeview Terrace • 15,000 sq. ft. with beautiful lake and city views R ooftop Terrace and Tent • 8,000 sq. ft. tent on outdoor space above Lakeview Terrace Plus, distinctive catering, exceptional service, on-site enclosed parking for 1,600 vehicles, and dozens of restaurants, shops and attractions to complete your Navy Pier experience.

CO N TA C T O U R S A L E S S TA F F AT 3 1 2 . 5 9 5 . 5 3 0 0 • n a v y p i e r. c o m / b i z b a s h

Readers’ Forum

How do you recharge after a big event?

“By the time the post-event analysis and reports are done, so is my energy level. I recharge by taking a yoga class or going on a hike. I find that calming my mind, which both of these activities do for me, helps me recharge the batteries and hit the ground running sooner.”

“I usually try to take the day off to clear my head. That way, when I get back to the office, I’m able to focus on the post-event wrap-up that needs to be done, like final budgeting, deleting emails, and cleaning files.”

Cynthia Moricz de Tecso, president, Original Cyn, New York

Leila Marie Eid, assistant director of events, Northeastern University, Boston

“I like to treat my crew to a massage at the nearest spa or even just a good foot therapy soak and pedicure the next day. It does wonders for morale.” Suzanne Smith, owner, Suzanne M. Smith Designs, Orange County, California

“I buy myself a really amazing pair of shoes. Then I have a debrief with my team—hearing the feedback gives me great ideas for making next year’s gala even bigger and better.”


Monika Halarewicz, national director of special events, Outward Bound U.S.A., New York

“My team has a laid-back brainstorming session about what we loved about the party and need to repeat and what didn’t work. We find that a quick powwow is the fastest way to have a laugh, re-inspire each other, and recharge. Coffee helps, too.” David Turk, president, Indiana Market & Catering, New York

“As a fund-raising event planner, I can’t allow myself any fun, recharging luxuries until all the incoming money has been counted and acknowledged, all vendors paid, and results reported to the board. But once that is in process, I like to treat myself to a ticket to a fund-raiser that I don’t have to plan and enjoy the open bar.”

“I sleep! A hibernating-forthe-winter type of sleep. I pull down the shades, turn off my cell phone, and crash. Then I treat myself to a massage, lunch, and a few hours on the couch watching some frivolous show.” Jennifer Williford, senior development officer, Nontraditional Employment for Women, New York

Sharon Becker, assistant director of development, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, New York

“Three Bloody Marys and about 12 hours of sleep.” Burke Giblin, hotel sales manager, New York

“I do a survey of my clients and the people who worked for me. The feedback recharges me and makes me want to do better the next chance I get.” Gloria Goldman, director, A Pampered Affair, Washington

“I always like to come up with some kind of fun project or activity. In running an event, I continually use one side of my brain—the strategic, logistical, organized part. After the event is over, I like to tap into my creative side and schedule a fun date with friends—organizing a wine tasting, going to paint pottery, taking a sculpting or art class, attending a sporting event, or planning a pub crawl. It’s a great break from the monotonous event planning that had preoccupied me for the previous months.” Jenn Shetsen, event planner, Evergreen Partners, Warren, New Jersey

Compiled by CLAIRE HOFFMAN spring 2010 9


Discover the perfect balance of beauty and imagination at Renaissance® Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel. Evocative architecture. Inspired design. Whimsical touches. All in an elegant setting where exquisite catering and flawless planning blend seamlessly to create the wedding of your dreams. For reservations or more information, phone 847.303.4100 or visit

RENAISSANCE SCHAUMBURG CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL 1551 North Thoreau Schaumburg IL 60173 t: 847.303.4100

WHERE BUSINESS MEETS CLASS. Whether you’re planning a daytime meeting or an evening celebration, the Chicago History Museum offers a sophistication and elegance you won’t find anywhere else. Spaces include reception, conference and breakout rooms, as well as an auditorium—all with access to our exhibition galleries. To host your event at the Chicago History Museum, call the Events Department at 312.799.2254.

Clark Street at North Avenue 312.642.4600

Leslie Weekes, meetings manager, Association of American Universities, Washington

My Cool New Job Jenny Abramson has been named the general manager of The Washington Post’s conference and events business unit. She has been at The Post for several years, working in sales management and sports advertising, as well as overseeing the sports marketing group. Abramson has previously worked at the Boston Consulting Group and Teach for America. In her new role, she will continue to serve as general manager of The Washington Post’s magazine, special sections, and TV Week group, and as publisher of FW. “I’m excited to extend The Washington Post brand into live forums. I think we’re uniquely positioned to bring together a wide variety of thought leaders to discuss the most critical issues of our day, and present it in a way that informs and engages our audience.”

WHAT INSPIRES ME “My favorite book is How Now: 100 Ways to Celebrate the Present Moment by Raphael Cushnir. As meeting professionals, we are always in planning mode. It’s a great little book full of inspiration and practical advice—it reminds me how important it is to live in the here and now.” Victoria Ascione, director of corporate meetings and events, Bacardi U.S.A, Coral Gables

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Tell us about your favorite new finds: Email us at



“My Design Assistant organizer bag ($99, assistantproductgroup. com, 513.522.4700) was created for interior designers, but I find it useful for my event design projects. The file folders have grid paper for a floor plan. There are also magnetic furniture pieces. It has pockets for business cards, receipts, swatch and lighting gel samples, and photos. It definitely makes a good impression and is a great tool.”

events with a twist

Located in in Allstate Allstate Court Court Located

Our most most dramatic dramatic exhibit exhibit ever Our ever has has just just touched touched down. down. It’s It’s Science Storms, a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience Science Storms, a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the science science behind behind nature’s nature’s most the most powerful powerful phenomena. phenomena. Step inside the worlds’ largest indoor Step inside the worlds’ largest indoor tornado. tornado. Unleash Unleash aa tsunami across a 30-foot wave tank. Create lightning tsunami across a 30-foot wave tank. Create lightning with with aa giant Tesla coil and interact with science like never before. giant Tesla coil and interact with science like never before.

57th && Lake Lake Shore Shore Drive Drive || convenient convenient indoor indoor parking parking || 773.753.2583 773.753.2583 57th

how how will will we we transform transformyou? you?

Broughtto toyou youthrough through the the generosity generosity of of The The Allstate Allstate Corporation, Corporation, The The Allstate Allstate Foundation, Brought Foundation, Mr. Mr. and and Mrs. Mrs. David David W. W. Grainger Grainger and and The The Grainger GraingerFoundation. Foundation. Additionalmajor majorfunding funding provided provided by by U.S. U.S. Department Department of of Energy. Energy. Additional



In May, Cort Event Furnishings (888.710.2525, will release its Endless Seating line, a modular alternative to traditional banquettes. The collection, which comes in black and white faux leather, is comprised of ottomans and curved and square seat backs that planners can conďŹ gure into serpentine or circular shapes to seat 20 to 200 people. Endless Seating will be available in the U.S. and for large orders in Canada. —Lisa Cericola


The Scout


For Rent

Cloths Optional There’s no need for linens with these eight dining tables. By LISA CERICOLA

Illuminated communal table, $350, available in New York from Jersey Street Furniture Rental (973.779.7444,

Wood dining table, $250, available in New York from Jersey Street Furniture Rental (973.779.7444,

Triangle dining table, from $385, available across the U.S. and Canada from Lounge22 (888.822.2011,

Nate dining table, $200, available throughout South Florida from Room Service Rentals (305.757.7500, roomservice

Cube Table Pattern, $350, available across the U.S. from Taylor Creative Inc. (646.336.6808, taylor Parsons dining table in brown ostrich, pricing upon request, available in New York from Party Rental Ltd. (201.727.4709,

14 spring 2010

Mahogany table, $350, available in New York, Washington, and Boston from Something Different Party Rental (973.742.1779,


Crowning Jewel, $345, available across the U.S. and Canada from Fresh Wata (323.951.0617,

Idea File

Pick Your Picnic


Resources for three types of corporate summer gatherings. By LISA CERICOLA • To-Go Ware’s colorful, reusable bamboo utensil sets, $6.15 for orders of 99 or fewer, (510.225.4045, dress up place settings, and staffers can use them at their desks when the party is over.


• Barbecue-inspired passed hors d’oeuvres add a sophisticated touch but will keep guests sated. Design Cuisine (703.979.9400, designcuisine. com) in Washington makes mini BLT “cupcakes” out of corn bread. Calihan Catering in Chicago (312.587.3553, calihan serves tenderloin sliders with corn slaw.

• Add a summery vibe with a steel drum band, such as Los Angeles-based Nesta (310.666.3464,; rates start at $325 for a threehour steel drum soloist.

• Create a patio setting using lounge furniture with an outdoor feel. Props for Today in New York (212.244.9600, offers a beachy love seat for $450.

• A family-style spread makes for easy conviviality. New York’s Francis Louis Catering & Events (718.403.0033, frankies offers a threecourse meal including meatballs in marinara sauce and ricotta cheesecake for $37.50 a person.

• Hide a conference room table with a summery tablecloth like the Green Wave Organza, $20 for a 132-inch round, available in Toronto from ChairMan Mills (416.391.0400, chairman, or the Del Sol, $35 for a 90-inch square, available in the U.S. and Canada from BBJ Linen (847.329.8400,

DAY IN THE PARK • Offer a bird’s-eye view with a tethered hot air balloon ride. Central Florida-based Bob’s Balloons (877.824.4606, charges $500 an hour. Pennsylvaniabased Above & Beyond Ballooning (908.208.1869, will do balloon tethers throughout the Northeast for $1,250 per hour. Travel fees are additional.


• Hold a beer tasting. Through Beerology (, Toronto-based Mirella Amato educates people about Ontario’s craft beers. Guided tastings start at $25 per person. Washington Wine Academy (703.971.1525, wash now offers private beer tastings throughout the metro D.C. area, starting at $18 per person.

• Spice up a cookout with hot dogs and surprising toppings. New York’s AsiaDog (718.594.3254, piles on Asian condiments such as kimchi and seaweed flakes and Thai-style mango and cucumber relish. Franks, sides, and beverages run about $12 per person. Gastropod (, a Miami-based mobile restaurant in a vintage Airstream trailer, serves the Old Dirt Dawg, a short rib hot dog, with “stupid slaw” for $5 each.

• Branded folding chairs can be used as seating at the event and all summer long. Best Promotions (866.881.2378, bestpromo offers the classic striped beach chair, $20 each for orders of 36, plus a $65 customization fee.

• Keep kids (and adults) busy with a kitemaking station. Teambuilding Unlimited (510.845.3600, turns the activity into a competitive project. Facilitators are available throughout the U.S.; prices vary. Or, do it on the cheap with kits from a toy store.


• Kitschy tiki drinks will get people in a party mood. Toronto-based Martini Club (416.778.9905, can make the Marikoriko, with rum, kiwi, mint, and lime; pricing varies. Alembic (202.558.2119, drinkalembic. com) in Washington can concoct hurricanes. Pricing starts at $100 for a consultation; on-site services are additional.


Photo credit: Rick Aguilar Studios

Samples from the Perfume Studio

Verified Person’s bus at the society for Human Resource Management Conference

How do you entertain guests on a car or bus ride? Whether it’s a group of editors riding to and from a product launch or a sales team headed out of town for a meeting, travel time is part of the experience, for better or worse. Here are ways to entertain or inform people, or just pass the time. Educating passengers about their destination is a popular and useful touch. “When we’re transporting a group of employees to the airport for an incentive trip to another country, we hold brief language classes that teach 12 basic phrases they can use in the country they’re traveling to. Some buses have video capabilities so you can show instructional videos; most have overhead audio so you can use language tapes; or you can bring an instructor on board,” says Dominic Phillips, president and executive director of Dominic Phillips Event Marketing (415.986.7449, in San Francisco. “Learning a language together helps employees get over a sense of initial awkwardness and serves as an icebreaker—they can test out their new phrases on each other.” On a similar note, Ronnie Davis, managing director of Great Performances in New York (212.727.2424,, uses videos in place of a tour guide. “We work with an outside agency to create a video that gives them information about where they are heading. We have done it for groups going to Ellis Island, West Point, and other historic locations,” he says. “The city is cracking down on alcohol on buses, so it’s not easy to do that anymore. This entertains everyone and is not a liability.” Games can work for certain types of groups, especially among passengers who might not know each other. “Guests can play a customized bingo game for fun prizes or a unique opportunity at the venue they’re heading to,” suggests Sarah Schnell,

A guest with Erik Estrada

senior program manager of Total Event Resources (847.397.2200, in Chicago. “You can customize the bingo board by changing the word or the numbers in the boxes to something more unique to the attendees, such as a corporate logo or a product’s major buzzwords. Have an M.C. or host facilitate the game from the front of the bus, and the employees can play either alone or in teams with their seatmates.” Bringing entertainers on the bus can make a long trip more enjoyable. “For our corporate and nonprofit clients, we’ve hired fortune-tellers, mentalists, and one time we worked with a contortionist,” says Lynda Webster, founder and chairman of the Webster Group (202.237.0090, websterconsult in Washington. Other options include hand or neck massages by staff from a local spa, stand-up comedians, or trivia hosts. To raise brand awareness during the 2008 Society for Human Resource Management conference in Chicago, Verified Person, a Memphis-based background screening company, shuttled attendees to the event from their hotels on a charter bus instead of purchasing a booth at the show. “We rented a luxury bus from Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. (773.648.5000, and wrapped it with our brand’s logo,” says Camille Gamble, vice president of marketing at Verified Person. “To create a conversation piece, we hired Erik Estrada to ride along on the bus with us. He autographed our marketing materials, offered passengers cold beverages, and presented a video about our company. For not very much more than having a booth at the show, we created a much bigger presence and grew our brand awareness at the same time.” —Jenny Berg & Lisa Cericola

D.I.Y. Perfume Workshops The Perfume Studio (917.449.1134, scent offers workshops that allow participants to create their own custom fragrances. Sue Phillips, who helped launch scents for Elizabeth Arden and Tiffany & Company, leads the workshops, explaining top and base notes and ACTI VIT Y providing historical tidbits on well-known perfumes such as Chanel No. 5. For a teambuilding approach, the sessions can also have groups design and market a product. Pricing starts at $135 per person, which includes the consultation and a 20-milliliter custom fragrance. Classes are available throughout the U.S. and Canada, with travel fees for events outside of New York. —L.C. Canvas palm trees

18 spring 2010

A GREEN ALTERNATIVE TO LIVE PLANTS For a tropical look without live foliage, the Canvas Nursery (800.226.3335, creates life-size palms, flowers, and other plants out of canvas. The botanicals can be painted for a realistic effect or left unpainted for DE COR a starker look. The plants are designed for indoor use only, but the fabric has been treated with a sealant to resist stains and moisture. Pricing starts at $39 for plants and $120 for trees and does not include containers such as pots or vases. Based in Fort Myers, Florida, the Canvas Nursery ships throughout the U.S. and Canada. A rental program will be available in South Florida later this year. —L.C.


Ask BizBash

Trend Spotted


In December, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s gala for A Streetcar Named Desire sported a lush New Orleansinspired setting with potted plants, Spanish moss, and ivy by Fleurs Bella.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, Sprint’s press event included a moss-covered bar designed by Fresh Wata.

Moss-covered bars, potted plants, and other types of foliage decorated these six events. By LISA CERICOLA A Comcast-hosted event for the Television Critics Association tour in January featured a “botanical library” theme with bars trimmed in greenery, botanical-print textiles, and potted foliage by R. Jack Balthazar.

A Louis Vuitton launch in November transformed Saks Fifth Avenue with five kinds of moss, life-size trees, and other leafy plants from David Beahm.

In November, the Museum of Modern Art held its annual film benefit with decor inspired by the evening’s honoree, Tim Burton. SPEC Entertainment created Edward Scissorhands-style topiaries that formed a makeshift garden throughout the space.

ON BIZBASH.COM 20 spring 2010

More photos and details from these events


The Obamas’ first state dinner at the White House had 12 electric chandeliers from Frost adorned with freshly cut ivy by florist Laura Dowling.

Strategy Session

A Man’s World

Ben Hindman

Guests on JetBlue’s Jamaica junket played on a zip line. Thrillist’s Internet Week 2009 bash filled M2 Lounge in New York.

The annual Thrillist pool party took to New York’s Grace Hotel last year.

22 march/april 2010

Ben Hindman, 24 and fresh out of Vanderbilt University, was running his own tour company in Washington, D.C., when a few friends got the idea to plan a networking junket for the people doing work that interested them—namely new-media entrepreneurs. Dubbed the Summit Series, the first in a nowregular string of destination events brought the founders of enterprises such as Facebook, Zappos, and Daily Candy to New Mexico for a weekend in early 2009. Also in attendance were Adam Rich and Ben Lerer, the duo behind Thrillist, a growing online newsletter targeting men ages 24 to 35 with frat-boy humor and discriminating recommendations since 2005. “Toward the end of the summit, there was a point where, I believe, a van got lost,” Rich remembers. “And everybody came back with stories about Ben and how he was beatboxing and telling jokes to keep them feeling positive. The thing that was compelling was that he wasn’t just managing every aspect of a complicated, junket type affair. He stayed aware of everyone’s attitudes and kept a positive attitude while enacting all of the logistics. That is what we try to accomplish with our own events.” Rich and Lerer didn’t hesitate. They offered Hindman a position as Thrillist’s national event manager on the spot. Two months later, he had sold his company and was living in New York, where he hit the ground running at his new gig. “In about seven months or so, we’d thrown 45 events all across the country, with more than 30 sponsors, in 10 different cities where Thrillist now operates,” Hindman says. Before bringing him on board, Thrillist didn’t host more than 15 events in its first three years. Hindman helped the company look past the alcohol brands that had already co-hosted smaller cocktail parties (Absolut, Canadian Club, and Patrón among them) to focus on tent-pole events sponsored by the likes of Gillette, H&M, Macy’s, and Trojan, even in the doldrums of the recession. As readership and event participation have grown, so has revenue. While competing with more established men’s publications like GQ and Maxim for marketing dollars—and fostering a reputation among ad buyers as the new promotional vehicle to try—Thrillist has seen its annual revenues approach $10 million. It has been profitable since its second year.

“Sponsors recognize the value of localized marketing, and you haven’t seen that go away,” Hindman says. “And it’s not just sponsors that have been eager to partner with us on these events. Venues, performers, and DJs are always approaching us to build relationships. I’m in a unique situation where my budget can be much slimmer because we have the power of voice.” That playfully masculine voice, which bestows recommendations for restaurants, clothing, and any other consumable, is what Hindman strives to inject into every event—whether they’re open-bar nights for readers or weekend junkets in exotic locales. “Before I joined the team, we had a thing called Jet Vegas,” Hindman says of a 2008 partnership with Jet Blue to promote a new campaign. The junket, not unlike the Summit Series, took influencers and entrepreneurs on a free flight to Vegas. “It went so well that Thrillist started working with brands to create more comprehensive offline promotions.” Happy customer Jet Blue approached Thrillist to organize a launch event for a new route to Jamaica and, after seeing them bring on Jamaican brands such as Golden Crust, Myers’s Rum, and Red Stripe for the New York launch party, decided it wanted to do another flight. Hindman rounded up 150 tastemakers—journalists, new-media personalities, and consumers—for what was billed as a mystery flight, taking the unknowing guests to a weekend in Jamaica. In addition to getting the media types to spend the three days sharing news of the trip online, the reader spots on the flight generated unexpected interest. More than 30,000 people entered a contest to participate in Jet Mystery, at a time when readership was just over a million. (It’s now at 1.5 million.) As he enters his second year on the job, Hindman is working on larger, more integrated events while maintaining a commitment to the more traditional reader parties that have been there from the start. In the works for the rest of 2010 is a plan to temporarily rebrand a Miami property as Hotel Thrillist in May and host a fifth anniversary party that incorporates elements of past events in New York this fall. “When I came on board, Ben and Adam told me they wanted to create an offline voice that complemented what they already had online,” Hindman says. “The voice of Thrillist resonates through each of the events we do and, more than that, there’s the embedded notion of access. You can get the newsletter letting you know you can make reservations at a new restaurant, and then, with our events, it’s never out of the question that any of our readers couldn’t come and be a part of them themselves.”


Ben Hindman gives e-newsletter Thrillist an offline life with parties that maintain the brand’s distinctive voice and boost advertiser exposure. By MICHAEL O’CONNELL

Whether you want to invite just a few or an entire culture, we've got the perfect room for you. From the historic beauty of Stanley Field Hall, to the elegance and modern dĂŠcor of the East Atrium and Pavilion, you'll find the perfect venue inside The Field Museum in Chicago that will make your next event, well, perfect. To learn more call (312) 665-7600 today. Start discovering now at

1400 South Lake Shore $RIVEsChicago, Illinois 60605

Spinach, ham, and Gruyère tarts, mini orange muffins with smoked turkey, strawberries with Devon cream and sugar, chocolate pots de crème with chocolate-covered coffee beans, and smoked salmon éclairs in a hatbox from Well Dunn Catering (202.543.7878, well in Washington

New on the Menu


Tarragon-crusted salmon with asparagus and lemon basmati rice from Stuart & Saladino Catering and Event Stylists (416.955.1360, stuart in Toronto

Box lunches can be satisfying—even impressive. Here are five ideas to keep attendees happy, whether they’re in a meeting or on the road. Lobster rolls, fried chicken, Caprese salad, frozen chipwich, roasted corn, and mint-flavored water in a picnic basket from Callahan Catering (212.327.1144, in New York

Chef’s salad with ham and turkey, Mediterranean pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts, roasted vegetables, and lavender shortbread from J&L Catering (312.280.7900, in Chicago

Seared ahi tuna and soba noodle salad with wasabimiso crème fraîche, marinated cucumbers, and a vegetable summer roll with soy dipping sauce in a steamer basket from Someone’s in the Kitchen (818.343.5151, in Tarzana, California

ON BIZBASH.COM A directory of local caterers




see a breathtaking performance, host an amazing event or thrill your guests with both!

Broadway In Chicago can help you design a cocktail reception for 1,100, plan a meeting for 2,244, entertain 350 dinner guests on stage or virtually any other experience imaginable.

Contact: Leslee Jones, Broadway In Chicago t 17 North State, Suite 810, Chicago, IL 60602 (312) 977-1701 ext.1273 t t

Fresh Face

Leveraging Her Talent Donna Iacobazzi Pecci books entertainment and negotiates contracts with celebrities to generate event buzz. your brand? Does their fan base match your target audience? Does the press already love them? The brand message will dictate whether you want Taylor Swift or Snooki from Jersey Shore.” Iacobazzi Pecci works with corporate clients, PR firms, and marketing agencies to secure entertainers such as bands, DJs, and celebrities for a broad range of events. “We handle all of the contract negotiations, everything up to managing the talent on site. I take that off of somebody else’s plate, whether it’s a producer or a corporate event planner,” she says. Booking relevant talent also involves educating her clients about the costs involved and the fact that a contract can call for a celebrity to do more than simply show up. If a client wants a celebrity to tweet about the brand or event, that can often be negotiated. “There are so many opportunities now with social media,” she

Donna Iacobazzi Pecci says. “All of those things have to be put into the contract so everybody is protected.” For the Wade’s World Weekend in Chicago, a three-day fund-raising event for Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade’s foundation in September 2009, event manager Lisa Furst of Agency 21 Consulting called on Iacobazzi Pecci to coordinate the entertainment for a benefit dinner, a bowling gala, and a community event. “Donna helped us secure [the Chicago Catz] for the Thursday night dinner, and then on Friday night and Saturday night she secured two DJs,”

Furst said. “She really helped us out within our budget.” Iacobazzi Pecci also worked with Jennifer Podkasik of JSH&A Public Relations to book an appearance by Ashlee Simpson-Wentz at a Hershey’s product launch in New York in late January. “One thing that stands out about Donna and Leverage 8 is the attention to detail and the level of communication,” Podkasik says. “It’s not a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. mind-set with her. She will communicate with us into the later hours of the evening and the weekend, which shows her dedication to the project.” —Susan O’Neill

PERKS AND RECREATION Here are new ways to entertain, feed, and treat summer associates and interns. Artistic Outing “Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy”—a collection of mobiles, paintings, drawings, and sculptures will be on exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 East Chicago Ave., 312.280.2660, from June 26 through October 17. The artist behind Chicago’s iconic “Flamingo” sculpture, Calder is perhaps best known for his mobiles. The museum will offer private tours for groups of 15 or more for $15 to $20 per person.

26 spring 2010

Fresh Air and Fresh Food Local catering firm City Provisions’ (773.293.2489, farm trips are newly available to corporate groups. The outings begin at a pickup location of the host’s choice, where a biodiesel bus collects as many as 50 guests and travels to farms in Illinois, Michigan, or Wisconsin. While en route, guests get snacks and beer from a local brewery. On the farm, activities include a 60-minute tour, a five-course dinner, and a bonfire. Cost per head ranges from $150 to $250.

Pre-Game Bites Based in Detroit, Leo’s Coney Island (3455 North Southport Ave., 773.281.5367, leoschicago. com) opened its first Chicago location in February. About half a mile from Wrigley Field, the restaurant dishes out a casual menu of hot dogs, fries, burgers, and chili; Greek specialties are also available. The venue seats 100 inside; in warmer weather, a patio will seat an additional 60. Full and partial buyouts are available. —Jenny Berg


Donna Iacobazzi Pecci has had a longtime, self-professed obsession with Hollywood news and gossip. Since launching full-service entertainment and event consulting company Leverage 8 (630.225.8338, leverage8. com) with husband Scott Pecci in January 2009, she’s been using that knowledge in her day job. “I found a way to turn it into a business,” says Iacobazzi Pecci, who booked celebrities including Sheryl Crow and Tony Bennett during her five years as the director of talent buying and entertainment management for XA, the Experiential Agency, before branching out on her own. “If I sit down with a brand and they want a celebrity to walk the red carpet, then I use my knowledge [of the entertainment industry in Hollywood],” she says. “The most important thing I do is create realistic expectations for my clients. Is this person relevant to


E32=1==@27</B323D3<BA /b3A><H]\SeSPSZWSdSbVOb^cbbW\U]\OacQQSaaTcZSdS\b`S_cW`SaOa[cQV^`SQWaW]\Oa`c\\W\U Oh]\SRSTS\aS]`^cZZW\U]TTOQ][^ZWQObSR^ZOg7bR]Sa\¸b[ObbS`eVSbVS`g]c¸`S^ZO\\W\UT]` ]` !SdS`g]\SVOab]PSW\^]aWbW]\T]`bVSSdS\bb]Q][S]TT`WUVbBVOb¸aeVgeS[OW\bOW\ObSO[]T RSRWQObSRSdS\b^ZO\\S`ab]Q]]`RW\ObSOZZ]c`SdS\ba`SUO`RZSaa]TaWhSEVSbVS`g]c¸`S^ZO\\W\UO V]ZWROg^O`bgO\Se^`]RcQbZOc\QVObSO[PcWZRW\Ue]`YaV]^]`XcabS\bS`bOW\W\UQZWS\ba3A><H]\S eWZZQ]]`RW\ObSbVSSdS\bT`][abO`bb]¿\WaVES¸ZZVSZ^^ZO\g]c`SdS\b^`]dWRSg]ceWbVRSZWQW]ca[S\c ]^bW]\aO\RQ`SObSO\Sf^S`WS\QSbVObg]c`UcSabaeWZZPSac`Sb]`S[S[PS`T]`gSO`a

1OZZ@O\Rg6OXRcYOb! $%#$#b]abO`b^ZO\\W\Ug]c`\SfbSdS\bb]ROg /B=67=/<2E/0/A6’3A><H=<31=;


Private Dining in a Haute Hotel

The Sinclair Ballroom


A Local Bar for Buyouts A third location of Small Bar, which also has outlets in Wicker Park and Logan Square, opened on Fullerton Avenue in February. In a former pool hall, the venue has an upstairs room that seats 35 and can host receptions for 50. Referred to as “the Mezz,” the space holds two 44-inch TVs that hook up to laptops and DVD players. Also available for full buyout, the restaurant and bar can seat 150. A menu of hearty

bar fare includes pulled-pork nachos and piles of hand-cut fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy. (1415 West Fullerton Ave., 773.525.2727)

French-Mexican Fusion for 40

A Modernized Mill With Mezzanines In December, contemporary American restaurant Epic took over a former mill in River North. With an industrial look that incorporates reclaimed wood, exposed brick, glass, and steel, the 14,000-square-foot venue can host cocktail receptions for 600. A first-floor lounge area seats 40, and a mezzanine with a 58-inch flat-screen TV seats 50. Above the second-floor dining room, which seats 115, another semiprivate mezzanine seats 60. (112 West Hubbard St., 312.222.4940)

28 spring 2010

Opened in Ukrainian Village in October, restaurant Sabor Saveur seats 70. A back room with lofted ceilings, an exposed kitchen, and two communal tables can seat 40 or host receptions for 50. Chef Yanitzin Sanchez specializes in French-Mexican-fusion cuisine. Her menu includes pumpkinflower-cream-cheese taquitos aromatized with pomegranate and filet mignon topped with pumpkin seeds and served with sweet-potato-and-coconut croquettes. (2013 West Division St., 773.235.7310)



Luxury hotel the Elysian opened in the Gold Coast in December. On the second floor, 34-seat bar Bernard’s channels an old-fashioned gentleman’s club. The third floor houses two restaurants, Balsan and Ria. The former, a more causal eatery, offers a private-dining room for 34. At Ria, the menu focuses on global dishes and a private dining room seats 12. On the fifth floor, function spaces include the Sinclair Ballroom, which can host receptions for 270. The Fitzgerald Boardroom can accommodate meetings for 12, and the Hemmingway Salon can hold receptions for 100. (11 East Walton St., 312.646.1300)

ELEGANCE OF HISTORIC PROPORTIONS. Opening Fall 2010, the new JW Marriott® Chicago, located in one of Chicago’s classic buildings, puts a modern spin on timeless elegance – with everything you need for successful events at your disposal. Book now and be among the first to discover this exquisite $396 million restoration. · Located in the heart of the financial district · 44,000 square feet of meeting space · 610 finely-appointed guest rooms including 29 suites · 18,000 square-foot spa with 14 treatment rooms

Opening September 9, 2010. Reserve your space today.

JW Marriott Chicago Chicago, IL For more information, call

312-660-8200 or visit © 2010 Marriott International, Inc.

Special Advertising Section

Outdoor Venue Directory Anita Dee Yacht Charters

Brookfield Zoo

Make Chicago Yours Exclusively! Located at Navy Pier, Anita Dee Yacht Charters specializes in private cruises for 50-400 guests. Choose your date, time and direction of sailing aboard one of two luxurious vessels. With so much flexibility, your event is sure to be a success.

Planning an event was never this fun! Imagine the possibilities when lovely event venues are paired with the unique and exciting offerings already available at the picturesque Brookfield Zoo. The zoo’s 216 acres of lush gardens, distinctive event venues and world-class animal exhibits offer the perfect backdrop for a unique and memorable event.

1821 W Hubbard St., Ste 110, Chicago, IL 60622 T: 312.379.3191 F: 312.379.3198 Service Area: Chicagoland area

3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL 60513 T: 708.688.8355 (Catered Events Office) Service Area: Chicagoland area

Hawthorne Race Course

Lincoln Park Zoo/Café Brauer

If you can think of it, we can handle it. From concerts and festivals to auto shows and sports tournaments, Hawthorne Race Course is Chicago’s premier destination for one-of-a-kind events. With 30-acres of infield to accommodate up to 100,000 guests and an additional one million sq. ft. for parking, tents or concessions, Hawthorne is equipped to make your event a success.

Lincoln Park Zoo is an urban oasis offering an abundance of unique locations. Accommodating events from 25 to 7,000, guests can surround themselves with lions, giraffes and apes just to name a few.

3501 S. Laramie Ave., Cicero, IL 60804 T: 708.780.3700 Service Area: Chicagoland area

2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614 T: 312.742.2400 Service Area: Chicagoland area

Millennium Park

Lincoln Park Zoo, your event is your safari!

Museum of Science and Industry

In addition to showcasing magnificent art and architecture, Millennium Park boasts remarkable views of the Chicago skyline. Plan your next event here, and with a creative plan and personalized décor, you can transform one of the world’s greatest urban parks into a private celebratory playground. The Museum’s Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit is available for events with the rental of the Henry Crown Space Center. “Chicago’s Greenest Home” is the perfect place to sip a glass of organic wine while learning how to make eco-friendly living a part of your life. 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601 T: 312.744.5943 Service Area: Chicagoland area

57th & Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637 T: 773.753.2583 Service Area: Chicagoland area

To advertise in BizBash advertorial directories, please contact Robert Fitzgerald at 646.839.6840 or

Special Advertising Section

Navy Pier

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The Lakeview Terrace Rooftop features breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the magnificent Chicago skyline. Located over a half-mile out on the lake and tented from May through October, the 3,200-square-foot canopy and surrounding 20,000 square feet of rooftop space provide a one-of-akind setting.

Located in Lincoln Park, the Nature Museum is the urban gateway to nature and science, featuring window-wrapped event spaces, multiple terraces, a green roof, and the internationally renowned Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. The Museum can accommodate an intimate dinner party, wedding reception for 300, or strolling reception for 1,200.

600 East Grand, Chicago, IL 60611 T: 312.595.5300

2430 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614 T: 773.755.5155



Ravinia Festival North Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oldest outdoor music festival presents 117 performances including Sting, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sheryl Crow, Yo-Yo Ma, Carrie Underwood, RenĂŠe Fleming and many others in the 36-acre wooded park complete with a new Dining Pavilion, private spaces, lawn and tent catering perfect for unique events.


BizBashâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s DeďŹ nitive Guide to Chicagoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New Venues Our upcoming issue is loaded with venue solutions for planners. The Chicago Venue Directory will quickly become the essential guide to the hottest spaces in Chicagoland. As in every issue, planners will ďŹ nd new catering options and rental products, plus these features: â&#x20AC;˘ Holiday Party Ideasâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s never too early to be thinking about whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s appropriate these days for holiday J^[L[dk[ parties. H[fehjĂ&#x160;&/ â&#x20AC;˘ Invitationsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Find creative ideas for invites that will ďŹ ll up a guest list without draining your budget. â&#x20AC;˘ Gift Ideasâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Discover new gifts that send the right message. <M<EKJ D<<K@E>J D8IB<K@E > JKPC< JKI8K<>P @;<8J

Oek9Wd>Wl[ W9ehfehWj[ >eb_ZWoFWhjo Wi


To advertise in BizBash advertorial directories, please contact Robert Fitzgerald at 646.839.6840 or rďŹ






Ekh7ddkWbHekdZkf e\j^[BWj[ijBeYWj_edi -'-FbWY[i\eh;l[dji" C[[j_d]i;dj[hjW_d_d]

7CeZ[hdBeea \eh8k\\[ji


8kZ][j#<h_[dZbo ?dl_jWj_edCWa[el[hi

418 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park, IL 60035 T: 847.266.5087 F: 847.433.8427 Service Area: Greater Chicago


Hkb[i\ehj^[H[Yel[ho 8/28/09 3:45:38 PM

3 To subscribe, call 646.839.6835 or subscribe online at 3 To advertise, contact Sue Babin at 312.436.2526.

Get Ready for BizBashâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chicago Expo on August 19 Chicago planners will be ďŹ red up to celebrate events on August 19 as BizBashâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chicago Expo returns to the Merchandise Mart for its third year of spectacular expo action. From the main stage to the show ďŹ&#x201A;oor, this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event offers attendees a 3 Visit palette of outrageous new ideas, tradeshow for event information. innovative products, eye-opening entertainment, and the inside 3 Exhibiting? Call Sue Babin track on industry trends and 312.436.2526. issues in the conference program.





Global Flavor Tony Priolo, chef at Piccolo Sogno, prepared black truffle and celery root flan topped with celeraic chips for his tasting station at Common Threads’ World Festival.


Chef Matthias Merges, chef de cuisine at Charlie Trotter, plated an Icelandic seafood dish.

Carla Hall, a former Top Chef finalist, served Ghanaian groundnut stew.

Double Helping

Avec chef Koren Griveson served Persian lamb meatballs.

Dubbed “Art’s Birthday Lounge,” a curtained-off V.I.P. area offered bars, food stations, and lounge seating.

34 spring 2010

Kevin Hickey, chef at the Four Seasons Hotel, prepared kaffir lime and tapioca pearl panna cotta.

The March 1 World Festival, a fundraiser for chef Art Smith’s Common Threads charity, drew 900 guests, raised $1.2 million, and offered tasting stations from 70 chefs. Almost as plentiful were the ingredients in each sample-size dish. “We’re a wordy bunch,” warned a staffer from Graham Elliott as he rattled off a description of the restaurant’s offering, which contained everything from pumpernickel crumbs to sauerkraut panna cotta and bits of green apple. Now in its fifth year, the event has quickly become known as a celebrity chef fest, with the likes of Top Chef Masters winner Rick Bayless and television personality Nigella Lawson manning tasting stations. As the buzz surrounding the event has built, so has its audience, and this year’s happening saw around 250 more guests than its previous iteration. To accommodate the larger crowd, planners moved the event from the Museum of Contemporary Art to Soldier Field. According to Common Threads executive director Linda Novick O’Keefe, this year’s event had extra allure because it doubled as a 50th birthday celebration for Smith, a Top Chef Masters alum who formerly worked as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef. “In the past, we’ve entertained 650 guests, but because of Art’s milestone celebration, we’re expecting more guests than ever,” she said. Common Threads’ In honor of the chef’s speWorld Festival cial day, a V.I.P. area dubbed “Art’s Audiovisual Production Birthday Lounge” housed tasting Big Audio stations devoted to birthday cake Catering, Venue Soldier and Southern cuisine that nodded to Field Smith’s Florida upbringing. Another DJs DJ Jem, DJ Galvan Invitations McGuffin cake—and M&Ms printed with mini Creative Group portraits of the chef—appeared at Flowers, Lighting an after-party at the James Hotel, Studio AG where Smith hit the dance floor Linens BBJ Linen Printing Palmer Printing, during live acoustic sets from singers Edison Press Inc. Sara Wasserman and Jakob Dylan. Rentals Hall’s Rental —Jenny Berg



Les Nomades chef Chris Nugent served farm eggs filled with shrimp and Provençal vegetables.

The Common Threads fund-raiser moved to a larger venue, and also served as founder Art Smith’s birthday party.

A Big Birthday Redmoon Celebrated its 20th anniversary with singing skeletons and fortune-telling cupcakes. On March 12, Redmoon’s Spectacle Lunatique doubled as a fund-raiser and 20th-anniversary celebration for the theater, which specializes in surrealist performance art. “The night was intended to be a wild, raucous birthday party,” said associate artistic director Vanessa Stalling, “and we wanted to make guests feel like it was their birthday as well.” Artistic director Frank Maugeri said he and the planning crew “designed an evening full of wild and beautiful experiences”—a series of short performances he referred to as “moments”—that involved the work of about 100 artists and a month of rehearsals. As guests turned up at Redmoon Central, the theater’s home base, performers outside the door greeted them with loud choruses of chanted “oohs” and “aahs.” At the same time, a pianist played a short song customized with guests’ names and a spotlight operator illuminated individual arriving guests. Inside the space, the personal attention continued as performers rushed Redmoon Theater’s up to guests to give Spectacle Lunatique them foam cupcakes that opened at the top Catering Blackbird, Boka, Carnivale, Coco Pazzo, Eli’s to reveal poems and forCheesecake, Entertaining tunes written on strips Company, Guerilla Smiles, of paper. A crew of singKeefer’s Restaurant, Kim ers dressed as skeletons and Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels, Mindy’s Hot serenaded attendees Chocolate, Pronto Za, with birthday-related Province, Rodan, Swirlz songs, and yet another Cupcakes, Tocco, Urban team of actors pranced Belly Decor David Beaupre through the space, Furniture Rentals Precision blowing out imaginary Sound and Lighting candles on miniature Invitation Design Kass pastel cakes that they Copeland Invitation Layout Don held in their hands. Harder Jr. The warehouse Invitations, Signage space was decked in Graphic Source decor meant to evoke “a Lighting Design Lightswitch Chicago birthday wonderland,” Lighting Equipment Maugeri said. Oversize Designlab Chicago, white balloons hung Intelligent Lighting from the ceiling, and Creations handmade centerpieces Linens BBJ Linen Rentals AAA Rental, contained toy goldfish Tablescapes Party Rentals capped by party hats. Sound Design Mikhail Fiskel And lest the theme Sound Equipment Sound escape any partygoer’s Investment Ltd. Valet VIP Valet attention, a performer Video Stoptime341 stationed atop a towProductions ering bike inside the main entrance shouted “It’s my birthday,” each ON BIZBASH.COM time the door opened. More photos from —Jenny Berg this event

Performers put on what Maugeri referred to as a “two-dimensional birthday opera.” Classical violinists sported rabbit masks as they played for guests in line at one of the bars.

One room housed a bar and a dessert buffet.

On highboy tables, centerpieces incorporated plastic goldfish wearing tiny party hats. The opera ended with a massive confetti drop.




Gucci’s Icon-Temporary, a sneaker store with a collection co-designed by Mark Ronson, stopped in the design district for two weeks.

Santigold headlined New York-based Deitch gallery’s annual party, which took place in a tent on the beach behind the Raleigh hotel.


New York-based public art organization Creative Time commissioned Los Angeles artist Pae White to design Art Basel’s 40,000-square-foot Oceanfront exhibit area.

Art Stars

Art Basel Miami Beach wrapped up in early December after four days of exhibitions at the Miami Beach Convention Center and nearly a week of satellite fairs and sponsored parties around the city.

Synchronized swimmers performed at a 1930s-themed party Maybach and David LaChapelle hosted at the Raleigh’s pool.

At Converse’s Art Is for Everyone party at Awarehouse, guests filled in a paint-by-numbers design.

Veuve Clicquot used champagne boxes to create the lighting fixtures on display in its exhibition area inside Design Miami’s 35,000-square-foot structure.

To launch its newest A8 model, Audi called on EventStar to create a 45,000-square-foot temporary structure on the sand north of the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach.

ON BIZBASH.COM More photos and details from Art Basel events

38 september/october 2009



Second Nature

Exquisite events are

to us!

left photo Š Modern Image Studios

As the urban gateway to nature and science, the Museumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s outdoor spaces feature both natural prairie and stunning Chicago skyline views. Enjoy the best of both worlds at your next event. For availability and pricing, call 773-755-5155 or visit

Dunhill During New York Fashion Week, Dunhill used laser cut aluminum panels to recreate its founder’s ancestral home in a meatpacking district warehouse.

Pop Culture The combination of cheap spaces and tight budgets has been a boon to the beloved pop-up—here’s a look at how brands have used them in recent months.


The B.C. Dairy Foundation Milk pushers in Canada preached the necessity of dairy last fall with a series of Vancouver “Weak Shops” showcasing fake products for people with no energy—chair pants, wallet walkers—and suggesting that a glass of milk would do them just as well.

Nau Sustainable label Nau wanted a New York retail presence during the holidays, but rather than create just a store, the label decked its venue with repurposed decor and fixtures and built a stage and bar to make it an event space with a community-center vibe.

Diet Coke

ON BIZBASH.COM More photos and details on these and other pop-up events

40 spring 2010

In New York and Boston, the soft drink pushed food pairings with an automat full of health-conscious snacks to complement the free bottles of beverage it passed out to thousands of locals.




Max Fish To capitalize on the out-of-towners looking for a familiar watering hole during Art Basel Miami Beach, locally based O.H.W.O.W. Gallery teamed up with New York dive bar Max Fish to create a Southern outpost of the 20-year-old venue, with four nights of drinks, performances, and plenty of branded merchandise.

Hello Kitty Japanese brand Sanrio celebrated 35 years of its popular Hello Kitty character by renting L.A. gallery Royal/T to host a temporary café, shop, museum, and event space.

Where the Wild Things Are


Last fall, Warner Brothers filled Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles with elaborate costumes, set elements, and branded swag to promote its film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book.

Following the success of a media-only pop-up in the fall, the online marketplace opened a consumer holiday pop-up store decorated with items bought on the Web site.

Target The retailer’s 2009 holiday outing featured three walk-up temporary stores in busy shopping hubs in New York, Washington, and San Francisco, all festively festooned and filled with cheap gift suggestions.

Clinique and Teen Vogue The partners kicked off an online marketing push by offering complimentary makeup styling and professional portraits at 10 college campuses and urban hubs across the country; recipients were encouraged to post the branded photos to social media sites. spring 2010 41

Road Trip The Auto Show’s opening night gala offered fewer cars, but more beer.

Occupying more than one million square feet of exhibit space at McCormick Place, the Chicago Auto Show ran from February 12 to 21. On the eve of the public opening, some 9,000 guests got a sneak peek at the vehicles during the First Look for Charity Gala, which raised $1.7 million for 18 local organizations and kept patrons sated with snacks ranging from cheese ravioli to crêpes Suzette. Each year, the preview features themed tasting stations, “and we want to make sure it’s never the same old choices on the menu,” said Erik Higgins, director of dealer affairs at the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, which produces the 10-day show. After the 2009 Ronsley provided thematic decor for menu reflected a the international tasting stations.


Route 66 theme, this year’s tasting stations slung foods from international auto-industry markets, including Mexico City, Shanghai, and Paris. An expanded drinks list included nine beers (up from three last year) to represent different countries: Coronas were on offer at the Mexico City station, and German beer flowed at a pretzel-laden buffet area called the Autobahn. Chicago Restaurant Partners handled catering with logistical assistance from Toque & Bottle Advisory. The gala’s execution entailed 300 walking servers, 40 tasting stations, 22 bar porters, and a detailed production schedule. Planners also brought in culinary specialists accustomed to serving large groups of people. Apart from sampling ethnic fare, guests spent the evening checking out cars from manufacturers such as Ford and Lexus. Higgins said that this year, dealers paid special attention to showcasing the green and technological features of their vehicles. Size was another difference between this show and its previous iterations. “I’m not going to The Chicago Auto lie. This year’s show is Show’s First Look for certainly not bigger,” he Charity Gala said. “There’s no Pontiac, Catering Chicago there’s no Hummer.” He Restaurant Partners Decor, Signage Ronsley couldn’t quote an exact Special Events percentage decrease in Event Management Toque size, but guessed “the & Bottle Advisory difference may not be Lighting, Staging Global Experience Specialists perceptible to the averLinens BBJ Linen age attendee.” Venue McCormick Place —Jenny Berg

Our room really has a view At 1,000 feet, our event venue is an all time high! Sip on cocktails with 20 – 600 of your closest friends, enjoy a seated dinner or immerse yourself in 360° views, with a complimentary multimedia SkyTour. Call us for a cozy private event space, or book the entire Observatory...and take over.

Andrew Apa Marketing & Events Coordinator P: 312.654.5021 F: 312.751.3675 E: W: 360° Views of 4 States

Open-Air Skywalk

Free Multimedia Tour

Espression by Lavazza café

Complimentary Concierge


Dessert sponsor Catered by Design presented a chocolate dish on glass tables.

show, before a V.I.P. party catered by local restaurants such as Scoozi and Joe’s Seafood. According to Martinez, the “hectic” back-to-back lineup on December 12 made for a challenging day. “We had such tight time frames to get people on Second City lured alumni to a 50th and off the red carpet and into rehearsals, and to get anniversary weekend with performances, them fed before the shows.” Puma, and late-night pizza. The day started at 10 a.m. with hourly panel discussions and went on to include rehearsals, red The weekend of December 11 was a carpet interviews, an alumni open house and buffet, CHICAGO lucrative one for Chicago ticket scalpers, and a nearly four-hour Second City alumni reunion who allegedly got as much as $1,800 a pop for passes show. The party was still going strong at 11 p.m., when to Second City’s 50th anniversary celebration. alumni began a private Second City’s Comprising panel discussions, performances, show for their fellow 50th Anniversary and parties, the three-day affair took over Old Town’s actors, followed by lateCelebration Second City Theatre. There, classrooms became party night snacks from Lou rooms and green rooms, Puma hosted a temporary Malnati’s pizza and Eli’s Airport Greeter Service lounge, and famous Second City alumni such as Cheesecake. DST Chicago Catering Scoozi, Joe’s Catherine O’Hara, Amy Sedaris, and Stephen Colbert The event ended Seafood, Prime Steak & appeared onstage. on December 13, after Stone Crab, Foodlife at “There was quite a lot going on,” said the a brunch at Hub 51 Water Tower Place, Hub theater’s chief administrative and and more screenings 51, Eli’s Cheesecake, Cafe Ba Ba Reeba marketing officer, Diana Martinez, and panel discussions. Flowers A New Leaf who oversaw logistics for parties asso- “Afterwards, we got so Jazz Pianist Scott ciated with the celebration. many lovely notes from Stevenson Southwest Airlines sponsored alumni telling us how Limousine Service United Limousine a charter flight that brought 109 much fun they had,” said PR Dan Klores Second City alumni to Chicago from Martinez. “People were Communications Los Angeles. saying that they’ll probRentals, Linens That night, actors such as Martin ably never have another Tablescapes Party Rentals Simulcasts Show Short and Eugene Levy performed in chance to see so many Department SCTV reunion performances, reprising comedy legends in one Venue Second City Theatre roles they played on the television room.“ —Jenny Berg

Return Trip


At Midway, actors were greeted with a red carpet, champagne, and “Welcome Home Alumni” signage.

Comedians such as Steve Carell and Bonnie Hunt walked a red carpet outside the theater.

trusted name in special events Always in good taste! For over forty years we’ve been serving the corporate, philanthropic, social and arts communities of Chicago. Jewell Events Catering is your creative caterer for cutting edge cuisine and seamless execution.

Best in Show It’s hard to overstate the impact of the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest trade show of its kind. This year’s attendance held steady, drawing about 120,000 attendees to Las Vegas amid an optimistic mood. Here’s a look at 10 standout exhibits from the show’s sprawling halls.


The C.E.S. show floor can be dizzying, and Samsung’s exhibit took that fact to its literal extension. Mirrored ceilings created a kaleidoscopic look that allowed showgoers to see themselves and the crowd from multiple unusual angles.

Panasonic built a theater into its crowded exhibit, which encompassed individual areas for many of its products. Multiple screens showed off its 3D technology.

The entrance to LG’s dramatic booth beckoned guests with bright wraparound screens made from three panels. Sleek white cabinetry marked the displays, and white panels overhead glowed with LED patterns. Sparks Los Angeles created the exhibit.

44 spring 2010


C.E.S. continues to be a forum where big brands come to entertain at dozens of offshoot events.

Miscrosoft’s round booth kept attendees flowing inward. Curved banners displayed the logo overhead, and a band of colorful LEDs cast a warm glow.

Broadcasts from NBC Universal’s booth included a Today segment and live shots for CNBC, MSNBC, and NBC stations.

Sprint hosted an event in a Venetian ballroom to announce its exclusive deal with Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot by Sierra Wireless. Attendees visited demo stations set up as individual vignettes. Fresh Wata provided the decor for the four vignettes, which included a park with trees and concession stands, a dorm room with a cafeteria, an office, and a living room with a 16-foot-wide fireplace and a hexagonal video screen.

Polaroid brought in Lady Gaga, who it recently named creative director of a specialty line of products. Other in-booth activities included an exhibition of fine art photography and live celebrity portrait sessions by photographer Maurizio Galimberti. Samsung held a product launch for 700 journalists at the Venetian. Working with Cheil Communications and Barkley Kalpak Associates, S&M Display built a custom set that lowered to reveal three skinny new TV models then glided out into the audience.

2LK Design designed and the Taylor Group built the Intel booth, where LEDs illuminated fabric boxes in undulating, colorchanging patterns.

ON BIZBASH.COM More photos and details from C.E.S.

Wired set up a media lounge at Society Cafe Encore for about 500 guests. Director of brand and strategy Maya Draisin tapped Precision Event Group to produce, design, and manage the event. The space included three themed stations: “recharge,” with Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy shots, something called Perky Jerky, and candy; “refresh,” with fruity waters and smoothies; and “rejuvenate,” with Bloody Marys, trail mix, and homemade granola bars—all catered by the venue. spring 2010 45

Although it probably came as no surprise to guests of In Style and Warner Brothers’ 11th annual after-party that the stars of the studio’s film The Hangover celebrated their best comedy win at the January 17 event, they probably did not expect to see a performance by the Dan Band, which makes a brief cameo towards the end of the film. “We’re at the [Beverly Hilton’s Oasis Courtyard] every year, and we have to strategize ways to make the party different so that it’s inspirational,” said Kelly Austing, In Style’s manager of creative development. Part of that strategy was to collaborate with Thomas Ford, who has worked on the event since its inception, to create an urban penthouse by lining the courtyard with images of high-rise buildings and hanging a 24-foot-wide crystal chandelier.

Around the Globes The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe awards always inspire some of the most production-heavy parties of the year. Here’s a look inside a few of the week’s biggies.


Lionsgate The studio took to the Beverly Hills Hotel on the night before the Globes, hosting a party to fete its nominees—including Precious and Mad Men—produced by Benarroch Productions. DJ Mr. Best spun for the celebratory crowd. Gold cloths from Wildflower Linen and white flower arrangements of ranunculus and roses from Collage Floral Design topped tables for an Old Hollywood look.

Summit Entertainment NBC Universal/Focus Features The Beverly Hilton swarmed with the guests and staff of at least six major parties on Golden Globes night, and among the big-name returnees to the event landscape this year was the NBC Universal/Focus Features party, presented by Cartier, held beneath a clear-roof tent on the top deck of the hotel’s garage. Under the financial and creative direction of staff from the NBC Universal ON BIZBASH.COM entertainment divisions involved—including NBC Universal’s Hollace Davids, NBC’s Francine Spray, and Focus Features’ More photos and details from Golden Carlotta Florio—Angel City Designs created an updated take on old-school discotheques. Globes events

46 spring 2010

Town & Country supplied white, modern-looking rental seating indoors and black and white furnishings outdoors for Summit’s party, produced by Chad Hudson.


In Style/Warner Brothers

Discover Incredible Venues All in One Convenient Source BizBash’s 2010 National Venue Guide g New Spaces p Makes Finding a Breeze

HBO HBO’s party at Hilton restaurant Circa 55 and its adjoining pool area had an informal theme of “sparkle, shimmer, shine.” HBO vice president of special events Eileen Rivard produced the celebration with longtime design partner Billy Butchkavitz. Partly inspired by the space race and James Bond movies, the look included Sputnikinspired chandeliers and sculptures and a wall of copper paillette drapery around the perimeter.

• Research More than 800 venues • Check out our editors’ picks for hot new spaces, nightlife, and business entertaining • Find out what’s changed since last year in 18 event markets • Complete contact/booking info • The only source you need to select the perfect venue

In Style Beauty Lounge In Style presented its beauty lounge at the Four Seasons, where guests came for a range of pampering services. Caravents designed the space, which included a tent draped in luxurious white material for a feminine look.

Order today! $24.95 Call 646.839.6835 or email (additional S/H rates apply if mailed outside of the U.S.)

Locate the best venues for meetings and events in: Atlanta


San Diego

Atlantic City

New Orleans

San Francisco


New York City

Washington, D.C.





Las Vegas


Los Angeles


Cruise Ships Golf Courses Toronto

Get direct access to the National Venue Guide online by visiting

Fox On Globes night, Fox—all six of its divisions—took its party for about 700 to Craft. 15/40 Productions handled the production and design, including creating chandeliers from Edison light bulbs that hung over bars, echoing the existing bulbs in the restaurant’s space.

VENUES: It’s never too early to reserve space in the 2011 National Venue Guide! Contact Robert Fitzgerald at 646.839.6840 or now to lock in the lowest rates of the year!

21 West 38th St., 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018 646.638.3600

Boston Chicago Las Vegas Los Angeles Miami/So. Florida New York Orlando Toronto Washington

Fiscally Fit

Event Architects’ light show illuminated the new building with colors and snowflake projections.

48 spring 2010

pital’s vice president of annual programs and events, to develop a winter street fair theme for the hourlong ceremony. At one end of the plaza, tented food stations offered chocolate-dipped marshmallows, roasted chestnuts, and butternut squash soup; staffers from Wolfgang Puck Catering wore Santa hats as they doled out the treats. Professional ice skaters whirled around an elevated rink at the center of the Children’s Memorial topped off its plaza, and the One Accord children’s choir belted out new hospital with a light show and “Jingle Bells.” chocolate-dipped marshmallows During the topping-off ceremony, a 20-foot LED screen provided close-up footage of speeches from On December 7, approximately 1,000 Mayor Richard Daley, Maggie Daley, and Governor Pat CHICAGO guests headed to the plaza at the Quinn. “We raised the screen up so everyone could Museum of Contemporary Art, where Children’s see what was going on,” Olson said. “It’s a big plaza, Memorial Hospital hosted a topping-off ceremony and we wanted to make sure that everyone felt for its Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of included.” Ann & Robert H. Lurie Chicago. Some of those present, including governA light show illuChildren’s Hospital of ment officials and donors, received invites to the minated the hospital’s Chicago Topping-Off happening. But “the hospital was very conscious framework as its final Ceremony about including the community in this,” said Emily beam was hoisted into Catering Wolfgang Puck Olson, a senior account executive at Event Architects, place. The show was Catering which produced the ceremony. choreographed to the DJ Chicago’s One Accord Patients led a As suggested by the campaign’s theme song, Entertainment Hall’s Rental countdown before bundled-up attendees—who performed by gospel Audiovisual Production, the new building Event Management, sported everything from con- singer Kim McFarland. was topped off. Production Event struction helmets to police“The effect was that the Architects man’s caps to warm winter building looked alive, like Flowers Event Creative hats—the ceremony drew a it was breathing or talkLinens BBJ Linen Shuttle Service Midwest diverse cross-section of the ing,” said Olson. Transit System general public. The new facility is Tenting HDO Tenting Event Architects worked scheduled to open in Venue Museum of with Jennie Steffus, the hos2012. —J.B. Contemporary Art

Light Construction


yoga mats. Clad in black pants and T-shirts splashed with the Zendough. com logo, yoga students recruited from local studios practiced a sequence of To promote its money management tool, poses while instructors gave verbal TransUnion brought yoga to Union Station. cues laced with promotional plugs over a microphone. “Keep the breath deep Spa music spilled out of speakers in and calm while you envision Zendough. CHICAGO Union Station on January 5, providing com allowing you to take control of your an unusually ethereal soundtrack for the mornfinances,” said the Chicago instructor. ing rush hour. To coincide with the launch of its Passersby were encouraged to step new financial management tool,, onto empty mats and join the classes, consumer reporting agency TransUnion staged a so- which took place in 20-minute intervals called “Yoga Takeover” event that brought large-scale between 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. “We mat classes—and dreamy accompaniment. definitely had some people jump in and “There’s been a lot of financial chaos in the world, participate, so that was fun,” said Duni. and with by TransUnion we’re trying But for those who weren’t interested to provide this place of calm and peace, where people in performing public downward dogs, can come and get all the tools they need to gain teams of representatives from Cramercontrol of their finances,” said Lucy Duni, the Chicago- Krasselt Public Relations were on hand based education director for the new to distribute promotional TransUnion Yoga management tool. According to Duni, postcards and answer Takeover Event the yoga classes were “a perfect way to questions. Some 125 participants took visually illustrate the concept of calm “I was surprised, Audiovisual Production part in the yoga class. Big Shoulders Digital amid chaos.” in a good way, at how Video Productions TransUnion staged a similar, many consumers stopped to find they would at seven o’clock in the morning. It shows PR Cramer-Krasselt Public simultaneous setup in New York’s out more about Zendough,” said that there’s a true thirst for this tool.” Relations Grand Central Terminal. In both cities, Aimee Eichelberger, the PR company’s The questions were also a good indicator of Printing, Production, Rentals, Signage, Staging which Duni identified as two of Chicago-based vice president and the stunt’s effectiveness, according to Eichelberger. GMR Marketing TransUnion’s biggest markets, ropedaccount supervisor. “People stopped “Consumer engagement at an event is a good, instant Venue Union Station off areas held more than 100 branded and dug a lot deeper than I thought barometer of how successful it is.” —Jenny Berg

Chicago / Merchandise Mart / August 19, 2010

Your Event Canvas Is Always Changing Join us for a singularly inspirational and creatively productive day celebrating the “art of the events” at the BizBash Chicago Expo. Longtime curators of the innovative and outrageous, BizBash feeds all your needs with a unique perspective on trends and all things fresh and new for meetings and events.

Find Out More at BIZBASH CHICAGO EVENT STYLE AWARDS New this year! Online submission process makes it easier than ever to be recognized for your event work. Entries accepted June 15 – July 21.

EXHIBITOR INQUIRIES Call 312.436.2526 or email

A carved wood bar under a white neon installation offered cocktails and draft beer in the game room.

The new store was covered in a giant orange tie.

Japanese artist Makoto Tojiki created an art installation of an LED horse—a nod to the brand’s heritage—with thousands of fiber optic lights aglow in Hermès orange. The game room housed vintage pinball machines, billiards, and Ping-Pong tables.

50 spring 2010

Mad Men


The 3,000-square-foot library had an aged plank wood floor, 20-foot ceilings, full-height factory windows and a wall of shelves stocked with 8,000 hand-dyed books.

has limited rigging capability during winter due to the roof’s snow load, so everything had to be anchored to the floor. KCD built independent truss structures for each room to support the scene, lighting, and audio elements. The six-day construction— Hermès created a lavish, masculine more than a year in the planning—needed to be world for guests at the opening of its dismantled and removed in just 12 hours to accomMadison Avenue men’s flagship. modate a show the following afternoon. Each of the makeshift rooms—at least 3,000 square feet in size—hosted its own distinctive decor, After a peek at the world’s first dediNEW YORK cated Hermès men’s store on Madison activities, performances, and menu from caterer Olivier Cheng. The wood-paneled library was stocked Avenue on February 9, the venerable French luxury with 8,000 hand-dyed books, the game room housed goods house treated guests such as Katie Holmes, vintage pinball machines and pool tables, and the Martha Stewart, and John Slattery to an after-party travel room was designed to mimic a shipping pier at the Park Avenue Armory. with various stations of global fare. PR and event production firm KCD Worldwide “We focused on a masculine element of food worked in conjunction with production designer as it was meant to evoke the feeling of the Hermès Stefan Beckman, Hermès senior vice president of man,” said Cheng, whose team prepped the food over communications Susan Anthony and special events director Jessica Zaganczyk—along with their respec- a week’s time. “We were Hermès Men’s Flagship definitely thinking food tive Paris-based colleagues—to transform 20,000 Opening square feet of raw space into the Hermès man’s ulti- more masculine in feel … Audiovisual Production mate leisure spot, with four vignettes: a travel room, no salady things.” ADI Group As for the jazz club, a library, a game room, and a jazz club. Catering Olivier Cheng the focus of the room was “The Hermès man loves to travel and explore Catering and Events Design Stefan Beckman Inc. a stage, where pianist new things,” Anthony said. “It was a global celebraBarry Harris, French group DJ DJ Coleman tion for us, and we just really wanted to offer our Lighting Bernhard-Link Venus Gets Even, and local guests this unique lifestyle experience.” Theatrical Productions band Locksley entertained Lighting Design Jules A. “It was a complex event to produce because we Bowie with several sets throughhad to create the four independent environments,” out the night—before the PR ID Public Relations said KCD vice president of creative services Keith Production KCD Worldwide Baptista. Roughly 25 percent of the furnishings were remaining guests moved Security GSS Security to the venue’s atrium, custom made. “Each room had to have very specific Services Inc. Staging Creative Engineering, where DJ Coleman lured appeal for the audience with different soundtracks Kadan Productions Inc. stragglers onto the dance that could not interfere with the adjacent room.” Venue Park Avenue Armory There were also technical obstacles. The Armory floor. —Jim Shi

Event Equipment Direct Millions have sat on our chairs since 1927. Chances are, one of them was you.

(312) 666-2100 or Visit

Since 1927, AAA Rental has provided equipment to Chicagoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top events. Invite us to a gathering of any shape or size.  -/6-Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160; " ,/-Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160;  / -Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160; -*",/ Ă&#x160; 6 /-Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160; /, Ă&#x160; -"7-Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160; 7

 -Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160; " 6 /" -Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160; *, -Ă&#x160;

,-Ă&#x160;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x160;1 Ă&#x160; 6 /",9Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160;/  -Ă&#x160;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x160;7 Ă&#x160;-  /" Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160; -/6Ă&#x160;EĂ&#x160; +Ă&#x160; -Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160;/ /-Ă&#x160; Ă&#x160;  "* -Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160; -Ă&#x160; Ă&#x160; / ,-Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160; 6 , Ă&#x160; +1* /Ă&#x160; ,/Ă&#x160;-"7Ă&#x160; +1* /Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160; ,,  -Ă&#x160;EĂ&#x160;-/ " -Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160;1 Ă&#x160;1*-Ă&#x160;­ /  -ÂŽĂ&#x160;UĂ&#x160;1 +1 Ă&#x160;/-Ă&#x160;",Ă&#x160; 6 /-Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160;* ,", Ă&#x160;-/ -Ă&#x160; Ă&#x160;,- ,-Ă&#x160; 1 "Ă&#x160;6-1Ă&#x160;Ă&#x2030;Ă&#x160;-"1 Ă&#x160;-9-/ -Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160;, , ,/",-Ă&#x160; Ă&#x160;, < ,-Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160; -Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160; , -Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160; "/Ă&#x160;, -Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160;** Ă&#x160; Ă&#x160; ,* Ă&#x160;­ 1,/ -ÂŽĂ&#x160;UĂ&#x160; " --" Ă&#x160; +1* /Ă&#x160; "" Ă&#x160; - ,6 Ă&#x160; +1* /Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160; 9Ă&#x160; "",Ă&#x160; *,"/ /6 Ă&#x160; "6 ,-Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160; "" Ă&#x160;  Ă&#x160; / , Ă&#x160; +1* /Ă&#x160; UĂ&#x160; 

,-Ă&#x160;  Ă&#x160; / ,Ă&#x160;   

TOP 100

EVENTS Year after year, these gatherings keep Chicago—and their respective industries—buzzing. Here’s a look at the biggest happenings on the city’s annual calendar. By JENNY BERG Some of Chicago’s most cherished traditions, the events in this list elevate the city’s character and profile. From Common Threads’ World Festival, which brings celebrity chefs together to raise funds for children, to the international-press-garnering Lollapalooza, these are the gatherings the media reports on each year, corporations clamber to back, and philanthropists make a point to attend. Last year was a difficult one for most, but these events went on regardless; and in many cases, the planners behind ON BIZBASH.COM them rolled up their sleeves and came up with clever new ways to lure guests, Reports from many draw sponsors, and raise funds. Here’s a look at those who proved that when the of these events going gets tough, events can go on—sometimes, more successfully than ever.

52 spring 2010

Sports Events 1. Bank of America Chicago Marathon Around 45,000 participants from more than 100 countries are expected to register for the October 10 run, which follows a flat, 26.2-mile course through the city and draws 1.5 million spectators. Brands such as Energizer, Nike, and PowerBar sponsor “cheer zones” at key points throughout the race. The marathon is broadcast live on TV and radio, and online. 2. Arlington Million Arlington Park, a Churchill Downs Company, hosts this event—reportedly the world’s first horse race to offer a milliondollar prize. Some 32,000 guests typically attend the prestigious affair, which is broadcast on national television and attracts sponsors such as Miller. The 2010 race is scheduled for August 21. 3. Bike the Drive [Up From 4] A fund-raiser for the Active Transportation Alliance, Bike the Drive will take place May 30. The morning event lets 20,000 cyclists pedal down a car-free 15-mile stretch of Lake Shore Drive. At this year’s postride festival, guests will find a pancake buffet, live entertainment, and family-friendly activities.



Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Art & Architecture Events Foundations Fighting AIDS, the event will attract around 14,000 guests to the Merchandise Mart November 4 to 6. 5. Diffa Chicago Gala Another benefit for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, this blacktie affair serves as the social kickoff for NeoCon. Various creative types, including architects and interior designers, help plan the event and lend artistic flair to its execution—the 2009 gala had centerpieces made of giant clocks. This year’s event will take place June 12 and expects to draw 550 to 750 guests. 6. DesigNight/American Institute of Architects’ Chicago Awards In 2009, this industry dinner and award ceremony drew 700 architects, designers, contractors, and their clients to Navy Pier’s grand ballroom. More than 252 projects competed to win honors in four categories, including urban design and interior architecture. The 2010 event is slated for October 29. 7. U.S. Green Building Council’s Emerald Gala [New to the List] The council’s local chapter hosts Art Chicago/Artropolis The Merchandise Mart seminars, industry association forums, and keynote this dinner-dance, which includes an award hosts this three-day exhibition of contemporary presentations. presentation that recognizes eco-minded business and modern art, which showcases work from 180 3. SOFA An acronym for “sculptural objects and leaders, government officials, and building practiinternational galleries and gets covered in interna- functional art,” SOFA will return to Navy Pier tioners. Last year, 25 sponsors included ComEd and tional industry publications. Some 50,000 guests— November 5 to 7. Last year, the exhibition displayed Bank of America. The 2010 event will take place on including curators, collectors, and artists—are work from 68 international galleries and drew May 22 at Soldier Field, with around 500 guests. expected April 30 to May 3. 31,000 art enthusiasts and collectors. Its opening 8. International Interior Design Association Black 2. NeoCon World’s Trade Fair The National night party saw a crowd of 3,500. Tie Celebration The association hosts its annual Exposition of Contract Furnishings will take over 4. Diffa’s Dining by Design Fashion designers, gala on the first night of NeoCon. With dinner, the Merchandise Mart June 14 to 16. Some 700 architects, painters, and art students dream up dancing, and an award ceremony, the event typiexhibitors will display their wares for an estimated stylish dining-room vignettes for this showcase of cally attracts 500 designers and manufacturers. 40,000 attendees, who can also check out 150 tabletop trends. A fund-raiser for Design Industry The formal gathering will take place in June.


4. Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure [Up From 5] With backers such as Yoplait, Ford, and Re/Max, this year’s race will draw about 15,000 runners to Grant Park on September 25. In Lombard, an inaugural sister race will take place simultaneously and is expected to attract as many as 5,000 participants. 5. Mayor Daley’s Holiday Sports Festival [Up From 10] The Mayor’s Office of Special Events and Blue Cross and Blue Shield present this family-friendly happening, which began as a basketball tournament in 2000 and has expanded to include new activities each year. Held last year on December 27 and 28, the free-admission fest at McCormick Place offered chess tournaments, a Pepsi-sponsored dance party, and an appearance from astronaut Robert Satcher. Around 3,000 guests attended each day. 6. AIDS Run & Walk Chicago Put on by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, this year’s sporty benefit will cover a 5K route through Grant Park on October 2. The event typically draws some 7,000 participants and includes a Health and Fitness Village hosted by the Illinois Department of Public Health.


Law Enforcement Torch Run’s Polar Plunge [Up From 8] To participate in the Polar Plunge, an event that sees athletes jump into frigid waters to benefit the Special Olympics, each registrant must raise at least $75. Last year’s chilly gathering drew 3,600 divers, up from 2,600 in 2008. With Geico as a presenting sponsor, this year’s chilly festivities took place February 26 to March 20, in 17 locations throughout the city and suburbs.

8. Race to Mackinac The Chicago Yacht Club presents the world’s largest freshwater race, in which 500 boats sail from Navy Pier to Michigan’s Mackinac Island. Now in its 102nd year, the event draws sponsors such as Lands’ End and Mount Gay Rum. This year’s race will take place in July. 9. Pets Are Worth Saving’s Run for Their Lives One of the city’s largest animal-friendly affairs, this 8K run/4K walk lures about 3,000 dog lovers to Montrose Harbor each September. Highlights have included a Canine Carnival with doggie massages, an animal communicator, and a Howl-O-Ween contest for costumed pets. spring 2010 53

CHICAGO’S TOP 100 EVENTS 1. Taste of Chicago The 30th iteration will occupy Grant Park June 25 to July 4. More than 50 local restaurants will sling samples of signature dishes, and a to-be-announced slate of big-name artists will put on free shows. Around 3.3 million guests attended in 2009. 2. Chicago Air and Water Show Billed as the nation’s largest spectator event, this 52-year-old show features daredevil stunts from civilian and military aviators. Some 2.2 million guests are expected to pour in from around the Midwest for the next iteration on August 14 and 15. 3. Lollapalooza The music fest will return to Grant Park August 6 to 8, with seven main stages and an expected crowd of 75,000 per day. The event has drawn bands such as Kings of Leon and Tool, an international stream of tourists and press, and support from brands such as PlayStation, Dell, and Honda. 4. Chicago Blues Festival The world’s largest free-admission blues festival will bring six stages to Grant Park June 11 to 13, drawing an estimated crowd of 600,0000 music lovers. Some of the genre’s biggest stars—including Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, and B.B. King—have performed here. 5. Chicago Jazz Festival Legends such as Miles Davis have taken the stage at this gathering, which draws an average crowd of 310,000. The event takes over Grant Park on September 4 and 5 with CareFusion as a new sponsor. Chicago Community Trust will back the Young Jazz Lions Stage, the festival’s first new stage in a decade.

6. Pitchfork Music Festival [Up From 12] Some 52,000 music fans—40 percent of them from outside Illinois—are expected at this year’s festival, which takes over Union Park July 16 to 18. The lineup typically includes about 40 acts; Pavement and St. Vincent will perform this year. Online indie music bible Pitchfork hosts, and Nintendo and Motorola have sponsored.

54 spring 2010

Trade Shows & Conventions

7. Grant Park Music Festival Developed by Mayor A.J. Cermak as a spirit-booster during the Great Depression, this is the country’s oldest free outdoor classical-music concert series. Set for June 16 to August 21, the festival will feature works by Vivaldi and Beethoven. Some 8,000 people attend a typical concert. 8. Chicago SummerDance With more than 1,200 participants each, three weekly classes offer free instruction in everything from salsa to polka. At the end of each class, live musicians play while guests try out new moves in Grant Park’s Spirit of Music Garden. This year’s alfresco dance party will take place June 17 to August 29. 9. Printers Row Lit Fest [Up From 10] The region’s largest literary festival, this downtown event offers more than 200 panel discussions. Other activities include cooking demos, writing workshops, and poetry slams. The 2010 fest is scheduled for June 12 and 13, and 125,000 attendees are expected—a boost from last year’s crowd of 110,000. 10. Chicago Country Music Festival [Up From 11] Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert have headlined this showcase, which features three stages, an art fair, a farmer’s market, and a dance tent. Tentatively scheduled for September 18 and 19, the down-home extravaganza will draw around 100,000 people to Millennium Park. 11. Northalsted Market Days Known as the Midwest’s largest weekend street fair, this event occupies six city blocks and draws 40,000 attendees. Forty acts perform, and some 400 vendors hawk food, arts, and crafts. The 2010 event will fill North Halsted Street on August 7 and 8. 12. Chicago Gourmet [New to the List] After its inaugural run in 2008, the Illinois Restaurant Association’s gourmet festival returned to Millennium Park last year with twice as many tasting stations, 100 more wine vendors, and 8,000 guests—compared with 6,500 the first year. The event returns September 25 and 26.

1. The Chicago Auto Show Held at McCormick Place, the country’s largest and longest-running auto show fills 1.3 million square feet of exhibit space. In February, the show comprised a two-day media preview, a charity event that raked in $1.7 million for various organizations, and a 10-day public show that drew one million attendees. 2. National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show Set to return to McCormick Place May 22 to 25, this 90-yearold show is the world’s largest gathering of restaurant and hospitality professionals. On average, it draws 2,000 exhibitors and 70,000 international guests. 3. Radiological Society of North America Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting With 59,000 attendees, this is the world’s largest international medical meeting. In 2008, Tradeshow Week gave the gathering a “Gold 100” award for its impact on the local economy—registrants spend about $124 million. The 2010 show will return to McCormick Place November 28 to December 3. 4. International Home and Housewares Show The International Housewares Association hosts this show, which displays consumerlifestyle goods ranging from spice racks to pet supplies. The event draws 2,000 international exhibitors and 60,000 buyers, and generates about $70 million in spending. The 2010 show took over McCormick Place March 14 to 16. 5. America’s Beauty Show [New to the List] Around 400 exhibitors bring their products to this gathering of salon-industry professionals. In 2010, the event returned to McCormick Place March 27 to 29 and drew around 60,000 attendees. 6. The Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show New offerings at this year’s January show included an interactive pirate exhibition and a DockDogs competition, which lets canines participate in an indoor swimming race. The Midwest’s largest event of its kind, the 80-year-old show drew around 55,000 attendees to McCormick Place. 7. Graph Expo The Americas’ largest exhibition and conference for the graphic communications industry drew 29,000 attendees in 2009. This year’s show will hit McCormick Place October 3 to 6. With 550 exhibitors and 60 educational seminars, the 2010 expo will include a new 10,000-square-foot pavilion devoted to newspaper publishing. 8. Sweets & Snacks Expo [New to the List] More than 450 exhibitors bring their products to North America’s largest trade show for confectionery, cookies, and snacks. Attendance has grown at a steady 1 to 3 percent each year; last year’s event drew 13,000 buyers.




Fashion & Retail Events 1. StyleMax [Up From 2] More than 4,000 manufacturers showcase their wares at this quarterly Merchandise Mart trade show, which displays women’s apparel and accessories and draws an international crowd of buyers. Though the official guest count is kept private, planners said attendance increased at each show in 2009. 2. Fashion Focus Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs presents the city’s version of Fashion Week, which shines a spotlight on local designers. An average of 35,000 guests attend the October event, which includes a string of Millennium Park runway shows and citywide seminars, fashion installations, and shopping events. Past sponsors have included American Express and Toyota. Macy’s Glamorama Beyoncé, Cyndi Lauper, and Ne-Yo have performed during Macy’s fall fashion show at the Chicago Theater, which includes an elaborate after-party at its downtown store. In 2009, Marc Jacobs created a custom dress for the evening’s guest of honor, Miss Piggy. This year’s event is scheduled for August 13.


4. The Children’s Service Board of Children’s Memorial Hospital’s Gold Coast Fashion Awards Show [Up From 6] Billed as the country’s only fashion award show that lets guests—not industry experts—act as judges, this benefit draws more than 1,400 guests each year. Past winners include bridal designer Monique Lhuillier. The 2010 event will take place at the Hilton Chicago on October 1. 5. Rush University Medical Center Fashion Show Some 100 socialites and corporate leaders volunteer to model in North America’s longest-running charitable fashion show, now in its 84th year. In 2009, the show debuted a new format, moving from the stage at Symphony Center to a temporary runway at the Palmer House Hilton. Sponsors included Northern Trust and Swarovski. The 2010 event is scheduled for October 14. 6. School of the Art Institute of Chicago Fashion Show [New to the List] Local industry heavyweights attend this show known for its avant-

garde fashions. The fashion showcase of more than 200 student-designed garments will take place May 7 at the Art Institute of Chicago for the first time in 15 years. 7. Nordstrom Designer Preview [Up From 11] This stylish soiree treats more than 500 of Nordstrom’s top clients to a fall fashion show with looks from high-end labels. In 2009, the event moved from the Chicago History Museum to the Nordstrom store in River North. Expect a new format in 2010. 8. The Service Club of Chicago’s Day on the Terrace Fashion Show Held on the terrace of the Peninsula Chicago, this alfresco fashion show sees local philanthropists and television personalities model looks from local retailers. The August 2 event is expected to draw 400 guests and raise $40,000 for various charities. 9. Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Awards [New to the List] The local chapter of Fashion Group International produces this industry function, which honors newcomers with awards in categories such as apparel design and fashion PR. With 175 guests, last year’s ceremony took place at the James Hotel and drew sponsors such as Bebe and Chicago magazine.

Parades & Holiday Events

6. Puerto Rican Parade Scheduled for June 19, this procession will take off at noon from Monroe Street and Balbo Drive. Organizers expect some 300,000 spectators, and local radio and television stations 1. Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic This nationally will broadcast the event live. telecast event is the nation’s oldest and largest 7. 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade African-American parade. About 1.5 million spectaOn September 12, Chicago’s Little Village neighbortors watch this 315-piece procession, which has hood will host the 2010 iteration of this vibrant included Oprah Winfrey and L.L. Cool J. This year’s celebration. Traveling down 26th Street from Kedzie St. Patrick’s Day Parade [Up From 6] parade is August 14. to Kostner Avenues, the event draws 300,000 specBeginning with the famous dyeing-green of the McDonald’s tators and offers floats, mariachi bands, and stalls Chicago River, this bagpipe-scored march falls on Thanksgiving slinging authentic Mexican fare. the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day so whole fami- 8. Memorial Day Parade One of the country’s Parade [Up From 4] On Thanksgiving Day, lies can come out to watch. WGN broadcasts the largest Memorial Day parades, this patriotic event event nationally, and some 300,000 spectators look garners 200,000 spectators. This year’s May 29 the 77th iteration on from the Chicago streets. of this McDonald’sevent will follow its traditional State Street route 4. Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Harris Bank sponsored parade from Lake to Van Buren Street. presents this holiday parade, which draws 900,000 9. Columbus Day Parade Italian flags wave at will move up State Street from Congress spectators. Mickey Mouse serves as grand marshal this fall happening produced by the Joint Civic for a processional lighting of more than 200 trees to Randolph. More Committee of Italian Americans. The 2010 version along Michigan Avenue, and the festivities culmithan 1,200 volunwill hit the downtown area on October 11. nate with fireworks over the Chicago River. This year 10. Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade teers facilitate the the event falls on November 21. event. Organizers The nation’s largest event of its kind, this charitable 5. Gay & Lesbian Pride Parade Held annually on anticipate some procession features some 10,000 motorcyclists. the last Saturday of June, national Gay Pride Month, Many riders don Santa hats and deck their bikes 425,000 spectators, this East Lakeview event is 41 years old. The 2010 and the parade will with sparkly garlands. Organized by the Marine iteration has 250 registered entries and will draw be broadcast on Corps Reserve, this year’s event will take place 400,000 onlookers. WGN. December 5.


2. spring 2010 55

CHICAGO’S TOP 100 EVENTS 1. After School Matters Gala [Up From 2]

Unconventional venues are a hallmark of this autumn fund-raiser, which took over an airport runway in 2008 and moved to Washington Park in 2009. Last year’s event drew 2,200 guests and raked in $3 million to fund after-school activities for local teens. 2. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Chance of a Lifetime Gala [Up From 3] In 2009, a silent auction offered 300 lots. During the live auction, a dinner at chef Art Smith’s home sold for $18,000, and the fund-a-cure component raised more than $1 million. Overall, the event raked in $2.75 million and drew 2,000 attendees. The 2010 gala is set for December 11. 3. American Cancer Society Discovery Ball [Up From 5] In 2009, this became the first event in Chicago to incorporate handheld bidding devices into its auction and ultimately raised $2 million. Some 1,000 guests are expected at this year’s iteration on April 24 at the Civic Opera House.

4. The Medical Research Institute Council of the Children’s Memorial Hospital’s Children’s Ball [Up From 6] Known for whimsical themes and lavish decor, this gala got a toned-down look last year. The 2009 ball raised $2.1 million and drew 1,100 guests. The 2010 gala is scheduled for December 11. 5. Green Tie Ball In 2009 the ball took place at the Chicago Illuminating Company for the first time. Some 1,500 guests attended, raising $300,000 for the Chicago Gateway Green. Known for attracting a hip, young crowd, the soiree offers casino gaming, restaurant tasting stations, and creative sponsor activations. The 2010 event will take place September 25. 6. AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s World of Chocolate [New to the List] Known for outrageously creative desserts, this benefit drew 1,500 guests last year, and offerings from more than 30 pastry chefs and confectioners. The event will return to the Hilton Chicago on December 2. 7. Chicago Urban League Golden Fellowship Dinner The league’s largest annual fund-raiser typically attracts 1,000 guests and raises close to $1 million; 2009 was no exception. Companies such as Ernst & Young have sponsored the black-tie event, which draws civic power players. This year’s dinner is scheduled for November 6.

56 spring 2010

8. Common Threads’ World

Festival [Up From 27] Just five years old, this walk-around tasting has built a reputation as a celebrity-chef fest: Art Smith hosts, and Nigella Lawson and Tyler Florence have manned stations. The March 1 event at Soldier Field drew 900 attendees (compared with 650 in years past) and raised $1.2 million a $765,000 increase over 2009. 9. Lincoln Park Zoo Ball This whimsical fund-raiser lets guests sip champagne while riding the zoo’s merry-go-round. Slated for July 9, this year’s gala has a “Rock and Roar” theme that will play out in a nightclub-inspired look. Sponsors include United Airlines and Neiman Marcus, and some 1,000 guests are expected. 10. Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Wish Ball This event typically draws more than 1,000 guests. This year, it heads to the U.I.C. Forum on June 26 with an “Enchanted Evening” theme. For the first time, planners will employ electronic bidding devices in the live and silent auctions, and the benefit is expected to raise $1 million. 11. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana’s Big Mac Under Glass Gala At the Palmer House Hilton, last year’s gala drew 950 guests and raised $504,000, which exceeded the 2008 take by $200,000. CocaCola will sponsor this year’s gala, is set to take place May 1 at Navy Pier. 12. Facing History and Ourselves Benefit Dinner [New to the List] Devoted to combating prejudice, this organization’s annual dinner draws around 1,000 guests. Last year’s benefit had sponsors such as I.B.M. and PricewaterhouseCoopers. On May 5, author Dave Eggers will give the keynote at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. 13. Shedd Aquarium Gala The 2009 gala highlighted the aquarium’s recent advancements. Guests including Mayor Richard Daley watched a marine mammal show in the renovated oceanarium and danced on the new lakeside terrace. Dubbed the “Beluga Ball,” this year’s event is scheduled for June 5 and will have a Russian theme. Planners expect to draw 850 guests and raise $500,000. 14. Museum of Science and Industry’s Columbian Ball Last year, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Miles White, C.E.O. of Abbott Laboratories, were among the 800 guests at this fall fund-raiser. The event included a live-auction and disco decor from Heffernan Morgan. The event returns in early October. 15. The Field Museum Gala The museum’s largest annual fund-raiser derives its theme from the Field’s current attraction. Some 850 guests are expected at this year’s gold-themed event on October 16. Planners hope to exceed last year’s $1.2 million take. 16. Boys & Girls Clubs Summer Ball Bill Cosby will headline this year’s ball, which takes place at the Palmer House Hilton on May 22. The 670-guest event raised $1.34 million in 2009.

17. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s Butterfly Ball In 2009, this springtime soiree drew 700 guests and raked in $1.3 million. The 2010 ball will take place on museum grounds on May 7 and will include a sneak peek of a new exhibition, “Sanctuary: The Flight of the Monarch Butterfly.” 18. American Heart Association’s Heart Ball The Palmer House Hilton welcomed 600 guests to the 2009 iteration, which stayed upbeat with a “Hope Is Where the Heart Is” theme and raked in $1 million. This year’s ball heads to Navy Pier on April 17 and will attract some 700 guests, including fitness expert Denise Austin. 19. Brookfield Zoo Whirl A “Diamonds of the Wild” theme gave this gala a sparkly look in 2009, when 750 guests helped to raise $1.3 million for the zoo. Dubbed “A Whirl in the Wilderness,” the April 24 event will be sponsored by American Airlines and A. Marek Fine Jewelry. 20. Alzheimer’s Association’s Rita Hayworth Gala The iconic actress’s daughter, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, chairs this Mother’s Day weekend gala. In 2009, planners saved by replacing a headline act with casino gaming, a live band, and specialty cocktails. The event drew 500 guests and raised $800,000. This year’s gala is scheduled for May 8. 21. Parkways Foundation’s Garden Party [New to the List] Known as the “hat luncheon,” this afternoon affair draws around 650 guests, many of whom commission extravagant millinery to match each year’s theme. The 2009 event raked in $500,000, which greatly exceeded the $300,000 take in 2008. This year’s luncheon is set for September 16. 22. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Grand Chef’s Gala The foundation’s Greater Illinois chapter hosted its gala on January 29. Tasting stations from more than 30 local restaurants drew 650 guests and helped raise more than $500,000. Chefs, caterers, and restaurateurs attend the event, which includes a presentation of the Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence. 23. Hedge Funds Care Open Your Heart to the Children Benefit In 2009, some 500 guests turned out to this corporate networking extravaganza, which took place at the Cultural Center and raised $850,000 for the Midwest chapter of Hedge Funds Care. The 2010 event is scheduled for May 20. 24. Museum of Science and Industry’s Black Creativity Gala [New to the List] The January 30 gala raised $500,000 for the museum’s Black Creativity programming, which comprises exhibitions and lectures that recognize scientific achieve-



ments by African Americans. To accommodate the footloose crowd, planners added a lower-level lounge with an additional dance floor, as well as a strolling buffet instead of a sit-down dinner. 25. Parkways Foundation’s Galapalooza [Up From 26] Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell typically attends this benefit in Grant Park on the night before his music festival begins. The evening’s centerpiece is an intimate performance from a Lollapalooza act—Vampire Weekend played last year. The August 5 event is expected to draw 700 guests. 26. Chicago Botanic Garden’s Harvest Ball Known for eye-popping floral arrangements, this endof-summer gala takes place on garden grounds, raises around $400,000, and draws sponsors such as Moët & Chandon. In 2009, Bukiety Floral crowned the dance floor with dahlia-studded topiaries, and Kehoe provided towering centerpieces for the dinner tables. This year’s event is scheduled for September 25. 27. Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Medicine Ball The institute’s 90-member women’s board plans this gala, which in 2009 featured entertainment from Grammy-winning jazz singer Steve Tyrell and raked in more than $509,000. Heffernan Morgan will provide decor for this year’s ball, at the Chicago History Museum on September 11. Children’s Place Association Once Upon a Time Benefit Gala Dubbed “Once Upon a Time in the Land of Make Believe,” this year’s ball will take place at the Cultural Center on May 1, when planners hope to raise $400,000. The evening includes a corporate award ceremony for major donors such as association management company SmithBucklin. 29. Adler Planetarium’s Celestial Ball A costumed Galileo poured champagne at the whimsical 2009 ball, where Ronsley handled production for the first time. With the theme “Cosmic Fusion,” the benefit offered international hors d’oeuvres and decor inspired by China, Morocco, and Africa. The event drew around 600 guests and raised $450,000. 30. The Mayor’s Halloween Ball Mayor Richard Daley dons a pumpkin-dotted vest for this October ball, which he hosts as a benefit for the Cultural Center. For the occasion, Event Creative has filled the downtown building with creepy tropes like jars of plastic eyeballs; entertainment has included wandering zombies and knife jugglers. The event typically raises $500,000. 31. Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Bearcat Ball Young socialites and business leaders like to see and be seen at this fund-raiser, which will take place October 23 with sponsors such as McKinsey & Company. Last year, the black-tie function drew 500 guests to the Chicago Cultural Center, where an award presentation honored Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.



Theater, Dance & Music Events 1. Lyric Opera’s Opening Night Gala Benefit and

Obama personally commissioned a performance. 7. Goodman Theatre Gala This drama company’s spring gala includes a cabaret-style performance from a major Broadway star. The benefit typically draws 700 guests and raises more than $1 million. Grammy winner Heather Headley will sing at this year’s event, at the Fairmont Chicago on May 22. 8. Fantasy of the Opera Gala This midwinter benefit presents a cheeky side of the Lyric Opera. In February, a cabaret-style performance by company members showcased Broadway classics and Johnny Cash hits, and Kehoe Designs’ decor underscored a Valentine’s Day theme. The event’s typical 600-guest attendance held steady this year. 9. About Face Theatre’s Wonka Ball A troupe of gay, lesbian, and transgender youth puts on this fund-raiser, which stays fresh by changing venues and attractions. Past highlights have included a V.I.P. cocktail reception held within Calihan Catering’s kitchen and a Madonna impersonator. This year’s benefit is scheduled for June 3. 10. Hubbard Street Dance Company’s Spotlight Ball Scheduled to hit the Hilton Chicago on May 5, this benefit has been moved to a weeknight to enhance corporate involvement. A new streamlined format will keep the formerly two-venue event in a single location this year. Some 700 guests are expected. 11. Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Gglassquerade At last year’s gala, a 21st birthday theme played out in a balloon drop, acrobatic performances, and a birthday-cake buffet. The sold-out event raised $550,000 for the theater company. The 2010 benefit is scheduled for April 10, and reps from Northern Trust, Clark Enterprises, and Jones Lange LaSalle will co-chair. 12. League of Chicago Theatres Gala Known as a Ravinia Festival Gala In 2009, some 800 prime networking opportunity for members of guests turned out to support the popular music the local theater community, this event includes festival at its annual gala, which raised more live entertainment—last year, the Chicago cast than $1 million. Broadway stars Audra McDonald of Legally Blonde the Musical performed. The and Patti LuPone will perform works from 2010 gala will take place at the Palmer House Stephen Sondheim on July 31. Hilton on May 24 and honor corporate supporter 6. Redmoon Theater’s Spectacle Lunatique [Up Prince Charitable Trusts. From 8] This wildly imaginative, one-of-a-kind 13. Chicago Opera Theater Gala Known for event is packed with surrealist performance art. championing young and emerging singers, the The 2010 benefit took place at Redmoon Central theater hosted its gala on March 13. At a new on March 12 and featured some of the spectacles venue, the Mid-America Club, the 300-guest that the troupe unveiled at last year’s White affair included a performance by soprano House Halloween party, for which President Danielle de Niese. Opera Ball [Up From 2] The company kicked off its 55th season in September 2009 by presenting Tosca to an audience of 3,500. Afterward, some 600 guests headed to the Hilton Chicago for an opulent dinner-dance with a trumpet-scored processional into the ballroom. 2. Chicago Symphony Orchestra Opening Night Gala [Up From 3] Last year, organizers added a charitable component by partnering with the Glass Slipper Project, so guests could feel doubly good about attending the symphony’s fundraiser. Soprano Renée Fleming performed for 2,400 classical music buffs; some 650 guests attended an ensuing dinner-dance. The event raised $1.1 million. 3. Steppenwolf Theatre Gala In 2009, Chicago’s internationally known theater company raised nearly $1 million at its gala, where company members Michael Shannon and Martha Plimpton were among the 550 guests. This year’s gala is scheduled for May 8. 4. Joffrey Ballet Spring Gala [Up From 5] Scheduled for April 23, the ballet’s 2010 gala will draw around 1,000 guests and raise $1.3 million. After company members and student dancers perform at the Auditorium Theater, patrons will head to Union Station, a new venue for the postperformance dinner-dance.

5. spring 2010 57

Break the Meeting Mold Many meetings face the same old problems. But inventive planners and new technologies are creating innovative solutions. Here are ideas for keeping attendees energized and on task. By LISA CERICOLA

Beat the Afternoon Blahs

ON BIZBASH.COM Comprehensive directories of meeting venues in nine cities

58 spring 2010

“During our training sessions we like to have quiz games after lunch that double as networking and teambuilding. We usually try to mimic game shows like Family Feud or Wheel of Fortune by using whiteboards or index cards, or by having attendees make buzzing noises. To raise the stakes, we have offered a prize of one extra paid personal day to the M.V.P. of the winning team or lunch in the executive dining room with a department head for the entire winning team. I find it to be a very successful way to recap earlier lessons, informally assess knowledge gained by attendees, and energize people in the afternoon.” Clifton Pierre, corporate coordinator, financial services firm, New York


To boost attendees’ energy during meeting breaks, Sentry Centers (730 Third Ave., 888.730.7307), a new New York-based conference center with eight meeting rooms, a rooftop terrace, four executive dining and function spaces, and an in-house kitchen, offers a mix of house-made sweet and savory snacks, including mini burgers, fried granola balls, yogurt and berry parfaits, crudités, and chocolate-dipped marshmallows.

Gifts That Won’t Get Left at the Hotel “For some conferences I hired a photographer for the entire trip to capture photos of the guests, which relieved them of having to remember their cameras. At the end, we sent them a CD with the images. Another time, the photographer pulled about 20 photos of each guest and we put them in digital frames that played a slide show when they got back to their hotel rooms. It was very personal and memorable.” Dawn Cooper, corporate events manager, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Chicago


“We usually try to shoot for two or three gifts with the same cost and allow our guests to choose which one they want. We’ve offered things like Bose stereo systems, blenders, a whiskey and vodka set. When they get back to their rooms, there is a sheet of paper with photos of the items, and attendees can check off what they would like and where they would like it shipped.” Tracy Wallach, senior meetings and special event planner, Southeast Toyota Distributors L.L.C., Deerfield Beach, Florida “Many speakers travel a lot, so we’ve given them business travel kits that include a wireless mouse, flash drive, and extension cord. We’ve also done shoe bags, as well as travel alarms. However, I prefer gifts that keep on giving. I’ve had a tree planted in a speaker’s name. We are all becoming so much more environmentally astute that no one finds fault with this, and I’ve received great feedback.” Annette M. Suriani, director of meetings, Meetings Management Group, McLean, Virginia

Let Attendees Set the Agenda Content-heavy meetings and conferences, by nature, are passive experiences. But some audience members might want to do more than sit quietly and take notes. At “unconferences,” attendees lead and go to sessions around a theme or purpose. There is no set agenda; participants create a schedule together on the day of the event. “Lots of people are freaked out by the word unconference, but people are already doing the same thing online,” says San Francisco-based unconference designer and facilitator Kaliya Hamlin ( “On blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, no one from a committee is telling people what to speak about or when. Unconferences bring what is online into the face-to-face world.” Here are a few things for planners to keep in mind.

Un-Conference, a one-day gathering on social media co-hosted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum The PodCamp Foundation’s digital in Washington, Amelia Wong, media unconference in Boston production coordinator for the serve as a lounge where people can museum, put critical information on a have a cup of coffee and continue a blog for participants. She recommends discussion.” explaining how the format will work, what attendees can expect, and what is expected of them. “Have an online space Don’t overlap preprogrammed and where participants can fill out profiles open sessions. Some planners may want and encourage them to browse these to ease into unconferences by including before the unconference,” Wong says. an open block of time within a scheduled meeting. If you do decide to do this, Emphasize interactions over Hamlin warns against “parallel tracking,” presentations. “Unconferences are or scheduling programmed sessions at about talking to people rather than the same time as open sessions. “It fails at them. Instead of ‘Here’s another every time,” she says. “It can be hard for PowerPoint,’ we try to emphasize people who are used to traditional events conversations,” says Whitney Hoffman, to take the leap into unconferences, but owner of Philadelphia-based Hoffman when you do it, do it all the way.” She suggests having scheduled morning Believe in the wisdom of the attendee. Digital Media ( sessions, followed by an open afternoon Although some planners may be wary of and director of operations for the session where participants can decide the inexperienced people taking the stage, PodCamp Foundation’s digital media agenda. Hoffman says the format often uncovunconferences. ers up-and-coming talent. “Just because Small roundtable discussions are The “law of two feet” rules. If a someone doesn’t have a New York Times a popular format. “We gave people presenter disappoints, attendees are bestselling book doesn’t mean they don’t the chance to give five-minute projfree to walk out of sessions. Ideally, there have something to contribute,” she says. ect demos—lightning talks—during should be multiple seminars going on “We’ve learned that a CV is not always lunch, which kept that hour lively at one time so people can move around the best starting point for value.” and prevented grandstanding during until they find something useful. “If you sessions,” Wong says. are not learning or contributing, it is Prepare attendees in advance. To encourage networking in your responsibility to respectfully find Although agendas are not preset, hosts between sessions, Hoffman creates some place that you are. Follow your own should give people a sense of what to spaces where people can congregate. passion at an unconference,” Hamlin says. expect. When planning the Conscience “I usually rent an extra room that can

Connect People Before an Event Social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook can help attendees see who will be at an event and get conversations started before they even get there. Lindy Dreyer and Maddie Grant, co-owners of SocialFish (202.741.9372,, a Washington-based consulting firm specializing in social media strategies for associations, offer tips on how to integrate social media into event registration. Go where your attendees are already gathering. Well before the meeting begins, find out what tools they are already using, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social space online. On the registration form, ask them to name the sites they use and include their usernames.

Communicate what you’re doing and why. Once you’ve decided the right sites to focus on, tell attendees early and often about what you’ve set up and why. For example, if you have a LinkedIn group, a Facebook event page, and a Twitter account and hash tag for the meeting, add prominent links to each on the meeting Web site. Put the links in your registration confirmation emails. Invite the most connected, motivated attendees to be the champions for your social media efforts and ask them to spread the word. Prepare your speakers. Make sure they know what you’re doing, especially if you have an active Twitter hash tag. Some speakers may be social media savvy and able to help people connect and market the event

to their fans. For the rest of your speakers, offer to walk them through your social media efforts, and provide a Twitter monitor to keep track of the hash tag during their session, in case of questions or feedback. Consider going private. Companies such as Groupsite (410.715.1400, group and the Social Collective (703.234.7910, set up private social networks, which offer a more branded, custom environment. Creating any private social network—one that people actually use—is hard work, but it may enhance connections, especially when the attendees need to discuss topics they wouldn’t feel comfortable posting on a public site or that the host company doesn’t want leaked. spring 2010 59

Make Virtual Meeting-Goers Feel Included

Prevent People From Skipping the After-Party “By holding the cocktail hour in the same space as the conference, we don’t have to worry about finding another venue, and it enables us to sell additional sponsorships. We transform a breakfast or lunch area into a cocktail space with dim lighting, a DJ, lounge seating, and signature drinks. We try to make the atmosphere loungey so people can spend an hour relaxing and talking about what they learned while unwinding with a drink. You will always get people who bolt the second a meeting ends, but there’s not much you can do. Other people will think, ‘I’m tired, but I could use a beer and I’m here already, so why not?’” Lauren Minardo, conference director, Advertising Age, New York

Breakfasts That Aren’t Boring

Social Media Week’s kickoff press conference in New York always repeated, that board work is in real time on the remote students’ screen, and that they are called on to participate,” DeFeo says. She also recommends adding extra virtual sessions in addition to the keynote and main sessions. “A live chat with a panel of executives or other experts creates takeaway value for the audience and emphasizes the idea of your live and virtual events being almost interchangeable.” To hold everyone’s attention and avoid confusion, Rathenberg says shorter 15-minute sessions are better than 90-minute presentations. Virtual meeting attendees like swag, too. Rathenberg suggests sending welcome kits with T-shirts or other branded items, or providing a catered lunch in a central location.

Mini breakfast of steelcut Irish oatmeal with berries; quiche lorraine with crème fraîche; sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit sandwich; and a cheddarpotato cake with pork belly, poached quail egg, and sabayon from Lorien Hotel and Spa in Alexandria, Virginia (1600 King St., 703.894.3434)

A custom-made smoothie with strawberries, bananas, oranges, soy protein, and honey from Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel (606 Congress St., 617.338.4111)

60 spring 2010


A party during Advertising Age’s Creativity and Technology Conference in New York

Sure, hosting meetings via a Web-based platform instead of in a hotel can save attendees travel time and money, but staring at a computer screen can also make them feel disconnected. Joerg Rathenberg, senior director of marketing for Unisfair (866.354.4030,, says virtual meeting platforms should make attendees feel like they are there in person, with the ability to collect contact information from other attendees, respond to questions via chat and polls, and interact with each other in other ways. “The environment should encourage them to explore, learn, and connect,” he says. “Attendees should not be jumping from one pop-up window to the next. Chat, polls, messages, and other components should all be part of the same platform, not a mash-up of different providers.” To improve individual sessions, Paula DeFeo, senior vice president and managing director of logistics for Jack Morton Worldwide (212.401.7409,, suggests training speakers, presenters, and moderators to acknowledge the camera and address virtual attendees as if they were in the room. “We ask that questions are

Boost Networking Time


Part of the value of faceto-face meetings is getting people into the same space to meet and interact. To keep attendees from using breaks just to check their email, Four Seasons Hotels in Chicago (120 East Delaware Place, 312.280.8800) and Las Vegas (3960 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702.632.5212) offer “BlackBerry breaks.” During the 30-minute recess, attendees leave their PDAs at a charging station provided by the hotel and spend time talking over a menu inspired by the berry itself— items include ginger duck breast with blackberry compote served in chilled cucumber cups, blackberry citrus smoothies, and blackberry strudel.

Keep Speakers on Track As a way to encourage conversation, more meeting planners are inviting attendees to use social media to comment about meetings as they take place, so they can share ideas and let organizers know what’s not working. For example, attendees using Twitter are invited to tweet comments about a session as it happens by using a preset hash tag for the event. The hash tag unites all of the comments in one place so attendees can follow along on laptops or phones. Planners can even project these live social media streams—called back channels—on a screen behind presenters. Although back channels can open a floodgate of snarky comments and off-topic chatter, they have positive benefits as well. Josh Jones-Dilworth, founder of Austin, Texas-based public relations and marketing firm Jones-Dilworth (jones-dilworth. com), handles PR for the South by Southwest Interactive Conference’s Accelerator event, where attendees actively contribute to a back channel during sessions. “The value is primarily peerto-peer communication, not just a moderator or speaker controlling a one-way conversation. The audience

A panel of speakers at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference can interact with each other,” he says. This can be a little scary for planners, but it can help, too. “The real benefit of these things—which few people talk about because it’s still kind of new—is the benefit to the organizers and speakers. Such streams create a real-time focus group for the talks and panels. It’s an easy way for audience members to

Frozen hot chocolate, oatmeal brûlée, and “banana splits” from Loews Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada (101 Montelago Blvd., 702.567.6000)

ask questions, but more important, it is a great way for speakers to adapt on the fly,” Jones-Dilworth says. “More and more we’re seeing speakers, both solo and on panels, monitoring these streams during their talks as a way of gauging reactions, and steering the conversations and content in a direction that reflects the will of the audience.”

House-smoked bacon, chicken-apple sausage, Canadian bacon, and herbgarlic sausage from Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile (540 North Michigan Ave., 312.836.0100)

Oatmeal station with caramelized apples, dried fruit compote, golden raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon-almond preserves from Montage Beverly Hills (225 North Canon Drive, 310.860.7800) spring 2010 61



3\b`WSa/QQS^bSR8c\S#´8cZg   AcP[Wb]\ZW\SObPWhPOaVQ][QVWacP[Wb Ag\]\g[]caeWbVbVSc\Sf^SQbSRZgW\\]dObWdS0Wh0OaVeWZZ V]\]`bVSdS`gPSab]T1VWQOU]¸aQ`SObWdWbgW\bVSO\\cOZ 3dS\bAbgZS/eO`Ra EWbV'QObSU]`WSa`O\UW\UT`][0Sab<]\^`]¿b3dS\b 1]\QS^bb]0Sab<SeDS\cSbVS3dS\bAbgZS/eO`Ra]TTS` []`S]^^]`bc\WbWSabVO\SdS`b]PS`SQ]U\WhSROaO\ W\\]dOb]` 3dS\bSZWUWPWZWbgRObSa(8c\S '´;Og!  4]``cZSa QObSU]`gRSaQ`W^bW]\aO\Rb]acP[Wbg]c` SdS\bdWaWbPWhPOaVQ][QVWacP[Wb]`QOZZ$"$&!'$&!


The Directory A selection of resources from our comprehensive online directory of event and meeting suppliers and venues

New Venues


Kith & Kin opened on Webster Avenue in December. Formerly of California’s French Laundry restaurant, chef David Carrier prepares a seasonal menu of high-end comfort food. At the back of the venue, a 40-seat private dining room has its own bar and fireplace. Carrier will prepare anything from casual brunches to five-course dinners for groups. (1119 West Webster Ave., 773.472.7070)





Bar Novo opened in the Loop in September in the Renaissance Hotel. With an L-shaped bar and a central chef’s station, the 244-capacity lounge serves truffled buffalo wings, mini Cuban sandwiches, and prime-rib nachos. Cocktails include a cucumber-pepper margarita and a strawberry-champagne cocktail served in an absinthe-misted glass. (1 Wacker Drive, 312.372.7200)

Later this spring, Mayne Stage and Act One Café will open in the former Morse Theater. Built in 1912, the Rogers Park venue has served as a vaudeville theater and a movie house. The theater has projection screens and 299 seats. At the in-house restaurant, executive chef Jimmy Madla will serve New American cuisine. The eatery and the theater will both host private functions. (1328-30 West Morse Ave., 312.988.9900)





A combined pub, restaurant, and inn in Logan Square, Longman & Eagle is opening in stages. In January, its restaurant opened; the upper-level guest rooms will debut later this spring. With an open kitchen and hickory accents, the 1,000-square-foot eatery hosts seated dinners and cocktail receptions for 80. (2657 North Kedzie Ave., 773.276.7110)


Beauty Bar, a New York-based cocktail lounge with a 1960s beauty parlor look, was slated to open its first Chicago location in late March. Offering manicures and specialty martinis, the venue will use Longman & Eagle as its preferred caterer. The West Town nightspot will be available for full and partial buyout. (1444 West Chicago Ave., 312.226.8828) CUVÉE

With a $1.25 million gift from Tiffany & Co., local nonprofit the Parkways Foundation renovated Grant Park’s south rose garden and unveiled the space in September. With views of Buckingham Fountain and the downtown skyline, the garden is twothirds of an acre and is available for private events. (Columbus & Balbo Drives, 312.742.5410)

Cuvée, a 5,000-square-foot lounge in River North, opened in late September. The lounge has decor inspired by the inside of a champagne bottle. Trappings include light boxes filled with golden and brown marbles, and colorful mirrored discs hang from the ceiling to evoke bubble clusters. The venue can be bought out for groups of 400. To the Find French Fare right of the space, a raised, banquette-lined Evanston’s Bistro Bordeaux area can hold 20. Banquette seating areas opened in December. Owner can hold groups of eight. (308 West Erie St., Pascal Berthoumieux named 630.688.3374)

Where to...


A third location of Small Bar, which also has outlets in Wicker Park and Logan Square, opened on Fullerton Avenue in February. In a former pool hall, the venue has an upstairs room that seats 35 and can host receptions for 50. Referred to as “the Mezz,” the space holds two 44-inch TVs that hook up to laptops and DVD players. Also available for full buyout, the restaurant and bar can seat 150. A menu of hearty bar fare includes pulled-pork nachos and piles of hand-cut fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy. (1415 West Fullerton Ave., 773.525.2727)


Luxury hotel the Elysian opened in the Gold Coast in December. On the second floor, the 34-seat Bernard’s channels an old-fashioned gentleman’s club. The third floor houses two restaurants: Balsan and Ria, The former, a more causal eatery, offers a private-dining room for 34. At Ria, the menu focuses on global dishes and a private dining room seats 12. On the fifth floor, function spaces include the Sinclair Ballroom, which can host receptions for 270. The Fitzgerald Boardroom can accommodate meetings for 12, and the Hemmingway Salon can hold receptions for 100. (11 East Walton St., 312.646.1300)

the venue after the city he grew up in, and worked with former NoMi chef Frank Mnuk to draft a seasonal menu of classic bistro fare. Specialties include cheese service, whole roasted pheasant prepared table-side, and continually changing foie gras specials. For events, Mnuk prepares menus tailored to hosts’ budgets and preferences. With yellow walls, cherry wood fixtures, and leather banquettes, the L-shaped venue can host semiprivate dinners for 25. Also available for full buyout, the space has standing room for 100. (618 Church St., Evanston, 847.424.1483)



In September, Chicago’s first JW Marriott is scheduled to open in the Loop. The property will take over a Daniel Burnham-designed bank building, which is undergoing a $396 million renovation. The venue will offer 609 guest rooms, 29 suites, a 20,000-square-foot spa, a fine-dining restaurant, and a bar/lounge. Some 44,000 square feet of event space will include two ballrooms and more than 30 breakout rooms. (151 West Adams St., 312.660.8200)


The Big Easy opened in Hyde Park in January. Available for buyout, the space can host seated events for 93 or buffets for 130. A menu of Cajun and Creole fare includes po’boy sandwiches, ribs with peach-mango barbecue sauce, and homemade beignets smothered in fudge. At the marble-topped bar, staffers prepare Southern cocktails such as hurricanes. (1660 East 55th St., 773.643.5500) DOS DIABLOS

The Bortz Entertainment Group, which backs venues such as Republic, was slated to open Dos Diablos in River North this spring. A casual Tex-Mex restaurant, the space will be decked with tin ceilings and Mexican artifacts, and will host private and semiprivate events. With a cantina-style bar and a sidewalk cafe, the venue will serve homemade tamales, fajitas, and frozen margaritas. (15 West Hubbard St., 312.245.5252)

Based in Detroit, Leo’s Coney Island opened its first Chicago location earlier this year. Occupying a space in Lakeview’s Southport Corridor, the venue dishes out a casual menu of hot dogs, fries, burgers, and chili; Greek specialties such as gyros and spinachcheese pie will also be available. The restaurant seats 100 inside, and the owners plan to expand with a patio this spring. (3455 North Southport Ave., 773.281.5367)


Nella Pizzeria Napoletana opened in November. Owner Nella Grasano bakes pies in a 12,000-pound oven made of imported bricks from near Mount Vesuvius. For events, food is served family-style, and pastas, salads, and antipasti are also available. At the back of the restaurant, a private dining room can be configured to seat groups of 24 or 36. (2423 North Clark St., 773.327.3400) ORVIETO PIZZERIA AND WINE BAR

Orvieto Pizzeria and Wine bar opened in the Green Dolphin Street jazz club in September. Pizza, the house specialty, comes in flavors such as basic margherita and potato-rosemary. Available for full buyout during the day, the venue can host seated luncheons for 80. Smaller lunches or dinners can take place in the private dining room, which seats 30, and in the wine room, which holds 22. (2200 North Ashland Ave., 773.395.0066) PRAIRIE FIRE

From the owners of Northbrook’s Prairie Grass Cafe, Prairie Fire opened in February in the former Powerhouse space in the West Loop. Menu options will include hearty entrées like shepherd’s pie, homemade sausages, and burgers. A weekend brunch will offer lemon-ricotta pancakes and eggs Benedict. The entire venue will seat 150; a space devoted to private events will hold 70. (215 North Clinton St., 312.382.8300)



In December, contemporary American restaurant Epic took over a former mill in River North. With an industrial look that incorporates reclaimed wood, exposed brick, glass, and steel, the 14,000-square-foot venue can host cocktail receptions for 600. A first-floor lounge area seats 40, while a mezzanine with a 58-inch flat-screen TV seats 50. Above the second-floor dining room, which seats 115, another semiprivate mezzanine seats 60. (112 West Hubbard St., 312.222.4940)

Sable Kitchen and Bar was slated to open in River North in late March. Inspired by 1940s Hollywood, the decor includes golden columns, tufted-leather chaise lounges, and a blown-glass chandelier. With a 34-seat lounge, a 48-seat main dining room, and a 24-seat secondary dining room, the venue is available for full or partial buyout. Later this year, a patio will open and provide seating for 36. (505 North State St., 312.755.9704)


From the owners of Landmark, Perennial, and Boka, Girl and the Goat will open in the West Loop this spring. Chef Stephanie Izard, winner of the fourth season of Top Chef, will offer a menu of Mediterranean-inspired small plates. With exposed brick walls and timber accents, the 4,400-square-foot-venue will seat 125 and host receptions for 175. An elevated semiprivate area will seat 30. (809-813 West Randolph St.) HEARTY


Hearty, a restaurant from the owners of Hearty Boys Caterers, began dinner service in early November. The 60-seat Wrigleyville venue is decked with sea-glass subway tiles, a mahogany bar, and exposed brick walls. Owners describe the menu as “upscale American comfort food.” (3819 North Broadway Ave., 773.244.9866)



Open since September, Logan Square Kitchen is an event space and shared-use commercial kitchen. In a 1913 building with exposed brick walls, fixtures made from reclaimed wood, and eggplant-hued velvet drapes, the venue is certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The space hosts sitdown dinners for 75 and receptions for 100. (2333 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.342.7395)

In October, the Evanston venue formerly known as Jacky’s Bistro reopened as Jacky’s on Prairie. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant specializes in seasonal cuisine made with local ingredients. Decked with plum, gold, and burgundy accents, the venue houses a 21-seat bar and a glass-enclosed wine cellar. (2545 Prairie Ave., Evanston, 847.733.0899)


Opened in Ukrainian Village in October, restaurant Sabor Saveur seats 70. A back room with lofted ceilings, an exposed kitchen, and two communal tables can seat 40 or host receptions for 50. Chef Yanitzin Sanchez specializes in French-Mexican-fusion cuisine. Her menu includes pumpkin-flower-cream-cheese taquitos aromatized with pomegranate and filet mignon topped with pumpkin seeds and served with sweet-potato-and-coconut croquettes. (2013 West Division St., 773.235.7310) THE SOUTHERN

The Southern took over the former Chaise Lounge space in Wicker Park in February. The bilevel eatery can host private functions for 125 on its enclosed rooftop deck, which offers banquette and cabana seating. Available for full buyout, the venue can hold 250. For events, chef Cary Taylor can prepare stations devoted to mac and cheese, grits, or fried green tomatoes. (1840 West North Ave., 773.342.1840)


New private event space will open under Wrigley Field’s rightfield bleachers this season. With flat-screen TVs and a one-way pane of glass that looks onto a batting cage, the space will host pregame corporate events. Other changes will include a new suReports on per suite—currently referred to as the executive club—in the left-field corner. A combination of Chicago’s newest six suites, the club will hold 71 guests. (1060 West event spaces Addison St., 773.404.2827)

ON BIZBASH.COM spring 2010 63

Ted Kruckel

If you must burden the morning meal with business, follow these rules. When the BizBash editors suggested I write about entertaining at breakfast, I thought I could file my shortest column ever, just one word: Don’t! Does anyone besides me remember the era of “power breakfasts”? The idea was that you got a heavy hitter to meet you at some hotel, preferably with “Regency” in the name, and showed up all spit and polished at 7:30 a.m., ready to work the room. This unfortunate trend really took hold in the late ’80s and didn’t shake until the ’90s, and boy, was it miserable. Putting aside the hassles of getting up extra early, having to look your best before it was scientifically possible, and having to share a meal (and worse, conversation!) when all you wanted to do was grump and read the paper, there was the all-day power-breakfast hangover. This malaise was brought on by too much coffee and an overactive mind, so the whole time you sat there hearing about your colleague’s son’s clarinet lessons (it was bad form to bring up serious business until tons of personal data had been mined, a nod, I suppose, to the idea that you were giving up private time), your mind was racing with obligations and deadlines you could be meeting back at the office, if only you hadn’t scheduled this

godforsaken morning meal. And when you got to your desk, it was just 9 a.m., and your co-workers arrived all bright and cheery and wanting to start the day with their hemming and hawing. Honestly, it felt like quittin’ time would never come. But I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that not only did I buy into this ridiculous ritual, I tried to capitalize on it with a series of morning events hosted by legendary editor Clay Felker, then of Manhattan, Inc. (Sigh.) He would interview some power broker in front of a crowd, and to make it really onerous, it was my big idea to host each one of these at some mind-blowingly important site, like the top of the World Trade Center or the balcony of Grand Central Terminal. This was before cell phones, so instead of ringing to find out why the sound guys had missed their 5 a.m. call time, I would just pace, smoke, drink coffee, and swear. But sometimes a breakfast event can’t be avoided. If you’re hosting a three-day conference, some people vie to be the breakfast speaker, believing that people pay more attention first thing in the a.m., which is only true of people who have nothing to do in the p.m. Trade shows also sport a lot of egg-based entertaining, busy schedules and all.

1. Buffets were invented with breakfast in mind, I’m almost sure, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have tons of staff on hand to pour coffee and juice, and even proffer seconds of bacon (why not!) at table. 2. Anyone who hosts a breakfast and doesn’t provide newspapers, even if it’s only USA Today, is an infidel, pure and simple. 3. Name tags: Are you serious? Ditto assigned seating.

the only choices are whole milk and half-and-half. Warning: These skim folks can get pretty ornery over this issue. I know—I am one. 8. If you serve both bready (pancakes, French toast) and eggy dishes, eventually, someone will put syrup and eggs on the same plate, which is nearly as gross as morning ketchup. By instructing the waiters to offer side plates when they see this happening, you are helping everybody. 9. If you are going to the expense of an omelet bar, why not have the cooks make fried and over-easy to order as well? And make sure you let people know there is an alternative to the chafing dish of scrambled.

4. Very few people are qualified to speak at breakfast. The morning orator requires one part wit and two parts brevity. If you are not super sure about both, you are risking the start of a very bad day for the whole room.

10. For so many reasons, fully crisp bacon is the only way to go. Also, the giant difference between fresh pepper and pre-ground is made more clear with eggs, yet so many people feel it’s okay to get away with shakers at break5. A lot of people subscribe to the notion fast. Have at least one grinder on hand that there’s nothing like some really for those who know. energetic music, say Bruce Springsteen 11. I’m okay with paper napkins at or Jay-Z, power-pumped into the rafters, breakfast, and in fact often prefer to get a crowd going early in the mornthem. Have some on hand even if ing. These people should not be allowed you’re at a swanky establishment. to plan morning events. 12. R.S.V.P. numbers for breakfast have 6. You may like ketchup with your the greatest margin of error for many eggs. But do you like it enough to risk reasons. Plan carefully for both high offending the whole room, for whom and low turnout. the sight of ketchup in the morning is 13. It’s not very green, I realize, but I … oh, never mind? Just keep the Heinz want coffee to go in a paper cup, not hidden. If someone asks, say the host is allergic. a mug or a cup and saucer, even if I’m staying on property. Little water bottles 7. It amazes me how many establishon the way out are also nifty, and I ments don’t offer skim milk in this day always grab one. and age. If you are a skim milk drinker, 2 ON BIZBASH.COM Bonus breakfast joke! Q. What do the French say at breakfast? percent just doesn’t Ted’s latest event cut it. Worse, often A. One egg is an oeuf! dispatches

Where Ted Likes Breakfast In New York, the Royalton Hotel’s long, dark lobby provides the business breakfast goer time to get his or her act together. Brasserie 44’s calm and cool tables complete the vibe.

64 spring 2010

I always feel like I’m in an I Love Lucy episode when I’m at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge. Maybe Eve Arden will walk by!


Breakfast of Chumpions

So if for some reason you can’t abide my one-word admonition above, here are a few things I have learned about hosting a special event in the early hours.

Meet in Chicago’s most spectacular space. Make an impression with your next meeting at the Trump International Hotel & Tower® Chicago, offering an inspiring setting surrounded by spectacular city views. With 20,000 square-feet of meeting and event space, the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago delivers high impact at high value, whether for an intimate board meeting or a company-wide conference. For more information, please contact our hotel Sales Office at 312.588.8000.



north wabash avenue, chicago, il



(877) 45- trump



Chicago Spring 2010  
Chicago Spring 2010  

Features: Special Meetings Report The Best Ideas From Big Events Chicago's Top 100 Events