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The Washington National Opera’s Midwinter Fete switched venues and formats in February, hosting a more casual cocktail affair at the French embassy’s La Maison Francaise. The opera used red lighting and flickering votives to set the mood while costumed company members, food stations from local restaurants, and caricaturists helped bring the “Evening in Paris” theme to life. More photos are on BizBash.com.

WASHINGTON Volume 3, Issue 1 Spring 2010 © 2010 BizBash Media On the Cover The BET Honors weekend included a gala dinner to celebrate honorees in a fabric-draped tent outside Meridian House; shades of blue and dangling paper lanterns and clear plastic spheres decorated the space. Photographed by Tony Brown/Imijination Photography for BizBash

FROM THE EDITORS 6 Conversation starters READERS’ FORUM 9 How do you recharge after a big event? 13 14 16 17

PHOTOS: TONY BROWN/IMIJINATION PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BIZBASH

18 19 20 21

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 Graphic designer Carla David; What to do with summer associates

EVENT REPORTS 23 Team spirit at the St. Patrick’s school auction 25 From New York: A man’s world at the Hermès store opening 26 From Toronto: Opening night at the Interior Design Show; The BBC’s vibrant R.T.C.A. dinner after-party 28 Coast to Coast: Pop-ups from across the U.S. and Canada 30 From Las Vegas: The Consumer Electronics Show 32 From Los Angeles: Productionheavy Golden Globe parties 34 Prevent Cancer’s spring gala; From Chicago: Second City’s anniversary weekend 35 BET’s Honors weekend gala dinner and after-party 35 Clearing a dance floor at Alvin Ailey’s annual benefit; Betsey Johnson pinks up the A.A.P.D. Leadership Awards 39 The Venue Report The newest spots for events and entertaining 42 Break the Meeting Mold Innovative solutions for keeping meeting attendees energized

ON BIZBASH.COM Comprehensive local venue and supplier directories

THE DIRECTORY 46 New venues TED KRUCKEL 48 Rules for breakfast entertaining

The latest industry news Local sites for Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami/South Florida, New York, Orlando, Toronto, and Washington

bizbash.com 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

CHICAGO EDITOR/BUREAU CHIEF Jenny Berg

LOS ANGELES EDITOR/BUREAU CHIEF Alesandra Dubin

MIAMI EDITOR/BUREAU CHIEF D. Channing Muller

TORONTO EDITOR/BUREAU CHIEF Susan O’Neill

ART ART DIRECTOR Joey Bouchard ASSISTANT ART/PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Carolyn Curtis

PHOTO PHOTO EDITOR Alison Whittington ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR Jessica Torossian

COPY & RESEARCH ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR

There’s A Better Way bizbash.com/jobboard

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

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

CONTACT US Editorial Feedback and Ideas: edit@bizbash.com Event Invitations and Press Releases: nyevents@bizbash.com Directory Listings: listings@bizbash.com Subscription Inquiries: 866.456.0517 (toll-free) or 845.267.2170, subscriptions@bizbash.com New Subscriptions: bizbash.com/subscribe Subscription Renewals: bizbash.com/renew Reprints: Dani Rose, The YGS Group 800.494.9051 ext. 125, bizbash@theygsgroup.com 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 SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING Robert Fitzgerald CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER David Micciulla

COULD YOUR NEXT EVENT USE AN UPGRADE?

MARKETING & CIRCULATION MARKETING DIRECTOR Tom Leader PRINT CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Tracey Harilall

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION AND CUSTOMER SERVICE J.P. Pagán NEW MEDIA COORDINATOR Jamie Hile

CONTACT US FOR YOUR GALA, WEDDING, OR SPECIAL EVENT

EVENTS SENIOR EVENTS MANAGER Sheryl Olaskowitz

OPERATIONS VICE PRESIDENT, CONTROLLER David Levine STAFF ACCOUNTANT Shahla Nas SENIOR DEVELOPER Wei Zheng

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

BIZBASH BOSTON 617.340.3914 TRIO OF SPRING SOUPS

BIZBASH CHICAGO 312.436.2525 PUBLISHER Susan Babin BIZBASH FLORIDA 1450 NE 123rd St., North Miami, FL 33161 305.893.8771 PUBLISHER Ann Keusch ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Leslie Rose BIZBASH LAS VEGAS 702.425.8513 ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Jessica Slama

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STAGING & EVENTS

BIZBASH LOS ANGELES 310.659.9510 PRESIDENT Elisabeth Familian PUBLISHER Hofite Huddleston SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Mandana Valiyee

BIZBASH TORONTO 1 Thorncliff Park Drive, Suite 110, Toronto, ON M4H 1G9 416.425.6380 ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Stephen Sinanan ONLINE SALES SPECIALIST Eileen Gualtieri BIZBASH WASHINGTON 202.684.8743 WASHINGTON ADVISORY BOARD Reggie Agarwal, C.E.O., CVENT; Aisha Davis, PRESIDENT, DESHO PRODUCTIONS; Susan Davis, CHAIRMAN, SUSAN DAVIS INTERNATIONAL; Aniko Gaal Schott, PRESIDENT, A. GAAL & ASSOCIATES; Kelly Gillespie, PRESIDENT, GILLESPIE EVENT MANAGEMENT; Jamie Greenwald, VICE PRESIDENT, GALA EVENTS; Tammy Haddad, PRESIDENT, HADDAD MEDIA; David Hainline, PRESIDENT, CAPITOL SERVICES INC.; Carla Hargrove-McGill, PRESIDENT, HARGROVE INC.; Leslie Hayes, FOUNDER, HAYES & ASSOCIATES; Victoria Isley, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS, WASHINGTON, D.C. CONVENTION & TOURISM CORP.; Nicole Krakora, DIRECTOR, SPECIAL EVENTS AND PROTOCOL, SMITHSONIAN; La Randa Mayes, STAFF ASSISTANT/EVENT COORDINATOR, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES MARSHAL’S OFFICE; Gail Mutnick, DIRECTOR OF MEETINGS, A.A.C.C.; J. Michael O’Connell, DIRECTOR, CONGRESSIONAL INFORMATION PROGRAM, THE NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE; Carolyn Peachey, PRESIDENT, CAMPBELL PEACHEY & ASSOCIATES; David Shackley, VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL EVENTS, DISCOVERY CHANNEL; Ann Stock, VICE PRESIDENT, INSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS, KENNEDY CENTER; Scott Widmeyer, CHAIRMAN/C.E.O., WIDMEYER COMMUNICATIONS; Kaye Willis, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, BAKER HOSTETLER

Marketing and Advertising Programs: sales@bizbash.com ®2010 BIZBASH IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF BIZBASH MEDIA INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

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From the Editors

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 BizBash.com. 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 BizBash.com 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

PHOTOS: ALICE AND CHRIS FOR BIZBASH

Conversation Starters


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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.”

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF CYNTHIA MORICZ DE TECSO, ROBERT CUSAK (TURK)

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

bizbash.com spring 2010 9


My Cool New Job

WHAT INSPIRES ME

“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.”

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 find inspiration from traveling and reading. My new 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. I recommend taking it on the road and reading it often.”

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

“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.”

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 edit@bizbash.com.

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE ASSISTANT PRODUCT GROUP, COURTESY OF JENNY ABRAMSON

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In May, Cort Event Furnishings (888.710.2525, cortevents.com) 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

PHOTO: COURTESY OF CORT EVENT FURNISHINGS

The Scout

A FLEXIBLE SECTIONAL

bizbash.com spring 2010 13


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, jsfrental.com

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

Triangle dining table, from $385, available across the U.S. and Canada from Lounge22 (888.822.2011, lounge22.com)

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

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

14 bizbash.com spring 2010

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

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF VENDORS

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


Idea File

Pick Your Picnic

LUNCH IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM

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, to-goware.com) dress up place settings, and staffers can use them at their desks when the party is over.

EVENING COCKTAIL PARTY

• 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 catering.com) serves tenderloin sliders with corn slaw.

• Add a summery vibe with a steel drum band, such as Los Angeles-based Nesta (310.666.3464, nestasteelband.com); 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, propsfortoday.com) 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 spuntino.com) 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 mills.com), or the Del Sol, $35 for a 90-inch square, available in the U.S. and Canada from BBJ Linen (847.329.8400, bbjlinen.com).

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, bobsballoons.com) charges $500 an hour. Pennsylvaniabased Above & Beyond Ballooning (908.208.1869, usahotair.com) will do balloon tethers throughout the Northeast for $1,250 per hour. Travel fees are additional.

16

• Hold a beer tasting. Through Beerology (beerology.ca), 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 ingtonwineacademy.org) 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, asiadognyc.com) 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 (gastropodmiami.com), 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 tions.com) 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, teambuildingunlimited.com) 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.

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF VENDORS

• Kitschy tiki drinks will get people in a party mood. Toronto-based Martini Club (416.778.9905, martiniclub.com) 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.


Samples from the Perfume Studio

D.I.Y. Perfume Workshops The Perfume Studio (917.449.1134, scent erprises.com) 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 ACTIV ITY 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

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, dominicphillips.com) 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, greatperformances.com), 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, total-event.com) 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 ing.com) 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, chicagotrolley.com) 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

PHOTOS: VERIFIED PERSON INC., COURTESY OF SCENTERPRISES (PERFUME), COURTESY OF CANVAS NURSERY

Ask BizBash

A GREEN ALTERNATIVE TO LIVE PLANTS For a tropical look without live foliage, the Canvas Nursery (800.226.3335, thecanvasnursery.com) creates life-size palms, flowers, and other plants out of canvas. The botanicals can be painted for a realistic effect or left unpainted for DECO R 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.

bizbash.com spring 2010 17


Trend Spotted

GOING GREEN

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 18 bizbash.com spring 2010

More photos and details from these events

PHOTOS: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA, EMILY GILBERT FOR BIZBASH (BAM), SHAE ROCCO (CES), JEFF THOMAS/IMAGE CAPTURE (SAKS), JESSICA TOROSSIAN FOR BIZBASH (MOMA), COURTESY OF R. JACK BALTHAZAR (COMCAST)

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

PHOTOS: DAN HALLMAN FOR BIZBASH (HINDMAN), SUNEEL NORTON (INTERNET WEEK), KATE MILTNER (POOL PARTY), NICK MCGLYNN (ZIP LINE)

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 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

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.

bizbash.com march/april 2010 19


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 dunn.com) in Washington

New on the Menu

GOOD, SQUARE MEALS

Tarragon-crusted salmon with asparagus and lemon basmati rice from Stuart & Saladino Catering and Event Stylists (416.955.1360, stuart saladino.com) 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, callahancatering.com) 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, jandlcatering.com) 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, sitk.com) in Tarzana, California

ON BIZBASH.COM A directory of local caterers

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PHOTOS: POWERS AND CREWE (WELL DUNN), NIKKI LEIGH MCKEAN (STUART & SALADINO), TYLLIE BARBOSA (J&L), JESSICA BOONE (SOMEONE’S IN THE KITCHEN), MARINA SENRA (CALLAHAN), ALL FOR BIZBASH

By LISA CERICOLA


Fresh Face

Works on Paper Graphic designer Carla David creates custom invitations—and much more— with unique materials and an eye for little details. Although Carla David says she never intended to become a graphic designer, let alone start her own invitation company, one of her childhood memories is telling. “When I was in grade school, my friend and I would make cards with stamps and sell them door-to-door to raise money for summer camp,” she says. After training to become an art teacher, then an art therapist, she ditched teaching and decided to get a degree in graphic design. “Teaching wasn’t quite the thing I loved to do, but I loved the art part.” While she was serving as art director for Fillauer Companies, an orthotic and prosthetic manufacturer, one of David’s friends asked her to create a wedding invitation. Word got around, and suddenly she was taking on more invites in her spare time. “Eventually it became too much to do on the side, so I went full time at the beginning of 2008,” she says. Based in

Fulton, Maryland, Carla David Design (301.300.5996, carladaviddesign. com) creates custom invitations for corporate events and weddings, plus collateral materials such as menus, programs, name tags, and table numbers. “A lot of people don’t realize that there are so many ways you can pull the design of an event together with paper goods,” she says. Paper isn’t David’s only medium. To give invitations more interest and texture, she likes to incorporate surprising elements, like silk-screened fabric, twigs, and sand. Whatever the style, David says she is involved in every step of the process, from meeting with clients to adding embellishments by hand. “Some invite stores have you choose a design and they send it out to be made,” she says. “All of my invites are created and produced in-house.” When developing an invitation for the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts

Carla David and Culture’s Gala in the Park event in May, David found inspiration in the park’s historic Spanish ballroom. “I incorporated details like the tile on the floor and the shape of the windows, which became the shape of the invite,” she says. Deborah Mueller, director of development for the organization, was so pleased with the results she brought David back this year. Mueller says, “Her initial designs were so strong that we made very few changes, and the turnaround on those changes was always David’s work for the Glen Echo Park quick and efficient.” —Lisa Cericola Partnership for Arts and Culture

PHOTOS: POWERS AND CREWE FOR BIZBASH (DAVID, INVITES), COURTESY OF MIXT GREENS, BIZBASH (CHURCHKEY), COURTESY OF BIKE AND ROLL

PERKS AND RECREATION Here are new ways to entertain, feed, and treat summer associates and interns. In-Office Lunches Mixt Greens (1200 19th St. NW, 202.315.5230, mixtgreens.com) offers organic salads and sandwiches with the usual salad bar ingredients, plus uncommon offerings such as coriander-crusted ahi tuna, white anchovies, roasted white truffle potatoes, and burrata cheese. The restaurant can deliver box lunches for $14.95 each or put together a communal spread of large salads, half sandwiches, and cookies, depending on the size of the group. Packages start at $180 and serve 12 to 15 people.

Beers and Bites Starting in June, Churchkey (1337 14th St. NW, 202.567.2576, churchkeydc.com), the upstairs lounge at beer-centric restaurant and bar Birch & Barley, will offer private tastings for groups of as many as 40. The two-hour sessions, led by an instructor, cost $65 per person and include seven beers and hors d’oeuvres.

Fresh Air and Sightseeing If your staffers are active types, Bike and Roll Washington (202.842.2453, bikethesites.com) offers guided bike tours of the city. Groups can check out local monuments on a three-hour day or nighttime ride, or explore more of the city on the Capital Sites Tour, which includes the National Mall, Union Station, and the Smithsonian museums. Tours range from $40 to $45, bike rentals are additional. —L.C.

bizbash.com spring 2010 21


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PHOTOS: ELLIOT MUD PRODUCTIONS FOR BIZBASH

EVENT REPORTS

Game Night The athletic program inspired the decor at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School’s benefit auction, held in its gymnasium.

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School Spirit St. Patrick’s fund-raising auction got sporty with referees, pompoms, and pennants decorating the gymnasium. More than 470 guests dressed in jerseys, cheerleading uniforms, and other athletic apparel gathered at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School on March 6 for the school’s sports-themed benefit for its financial aid program. The 36th annual auction’s venue—the school gym—was a natural fit for this year’s “Game On” theme. “It’s a wide, open space with no restrictions,” said André Wells, owner of Events by André Wells and the parent of a St. Patrick’s student, who volunteered to produce the dinner. Wells added that although the venue had its challenges (vendors were limited in when and where they could park their trucks on school property), the gym is bigger than some of the city’s hotel ballrooms. The auction’s inspiration always relates to the values of the school, and this year’s sports theme was no exception, according to St. Patrick’s assistant head of development Carrie Ahlborn, who worked with associate director of development Cathy Albo to coordinate the event. “We have a strong athletics department and this is a way to celebrate that,” Ahlborn said. “By having the theme it allows people to relax and not have to buy a new dress.” The silent auction “pep rally” in the school’s main building kicked off the evening, as parents and alumni bid on auction items and sampled Main Event Caterers’ tailgate-inspired foods, like corn dogs and nachos. At 8:30 p.m., a drum major led guests across the street for the “big game” sit-down dinner in the gym, where Wells had covered the floors with Astroturf and taped off lines to resemble a playing field. Green-and-white striped linens and sculptures of sports-related items (think footballs, sneakers, and hot dogs) by commercial sculptor A.J. Strasser topped the tables, while pompoms and crepe paper lined the walls. Rounding out the look: a popcorn bar and servers in referee uniforms. The school sold 344 tickets at $150 for the cocktail reception and dinner, and 133 tickets at $50 for the reception only. The rest of the funds raised came from online, silent, and live auction items, most of which were donated St. Patrick’s Episcopal by parents and ranged Day School “Game On” from home-cooked Auction meals to stays at Audiovisual Production, beach homes. Political Lighting John Farr Lighting commentator Tucker Design Carlson, another St. Catering Main Event Caterers Patrick’s parent, volunDecor A Vista Events, AJ teered as auctioneer for Strasser Productions L.L.C. the live auction, which Flowers Volanni defied D.C. norms by Production Events by André Wells lasting till nearly 2 a.m. Rentals Party Rental Ltd. —Adele Chapin

In addition to the green-and-white tablecloths and orange cones lining the stage, on-theme touches included gobos of the school seal and projected images of student athletes.

Homecoming essentials like crepe paper in St. Patrick’s school colors, pompoms, and tissue paper flowers livened up the stairway leading to the gym.

A striped awning gave the bar in the school gym—manned by a bartender clad in a referee uniform—a sporty look.

St. Patrick’s parent and political commentator Tucker Carlson volunteered as the evening’s auctioneer.

Pennants served as paddles for the evening’s live auction.

A concession stand selling St. Patrick’s-branded stadium blankets and pennants stood outside the gym’s entrance, next to a display of decorative trophies and a popcorn stand.

24 bizbash.com spring 2010

PHOTOS: STEPHEN ELLIOT/MUD PRODUCTIONS FOR BIZBASH

WASHINGTON


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.

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

PHOTOS: JOE SCHILDHORN/PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM (LIBRARY), CLINT SPAULDING/PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM (ALL OTHERS)

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.

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.

bizbash.com spring 2010 25


Potted herbs and tins of tomatoes filled with bread sticks topped two long tables covered in red and white gingham that flanked the main bar, which Heintzman decorated with Tag Vodka bottles and tomato tins bearing the Scavolini logo. “We have more than 600 pounds of tomatoes in cans. The Monk Lounge featured a PubliIt was very important to us that all of this food not Air inflatable dropped ceiling and a go to waste, so it’s all being sent to Good Shepherd The Interior Design Show opened with an sculpture of an organic coffee tree. [Ministries] afterwards. So decor becomes a donaItalian-theme kitchen party for 5,000. tion,” Heintzman said. Queen Street band the Calrizians performed at To kick off the 12th annual Interior the entrance to the show, and DJ Jojo Flores played at TORONTO Design Show, held January 22 to 24 the main stage and inside the Monk Lounge, where at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, organizers House & Home Media hosted a V.I.P. reception. The played up the “Ultimate” theme for this year’s event space, named for the jazz pianist and composer and hosted 5,000 guests at an opening night party Thelonius Monk, was on January 21. “It’s an Italian home-kitchen party on a designed by Rhed design IDS 10 “Ultimate” Match Restaurant served big scale,” event producer director Del Terrelonge Opening Night Party risotto balls at a catering Marion Heintzman of and created by Templar, Catering, Venue Metro station on the show floor. Heintzman Productions the development corToronto Convention said of the event, which poration behind the Centre Catering Ame, Aphrodiziacs was sponsored by Dekla, Templar Hotel Toronto, Scavolini, and House & slated to open this spring. Catering, Bagel World, Cantine Restaurant and Home Media. The show, presented Bar, The Cupcakery, Ferro In the main stage by the Chicago-based Bar Café, La Bruschetta, Magic Oven, Rodney’s area, Heintzman built a Merchandise Mart Oyster House, 24- by 16-foot appliProperties Inc. and sponDJ JoJo Flores ance rack and hung it sored for the first time Flowers Heintzman above the bar to display by Rado, returned to its Productions kitchen items like platoriginal home after being Media Relations, PR Faulhaber PR ters, strainers, oven held at the Direct Energy Production, Rigging Spirit Heintzman Productions decorated mitts, graters, measuring Centre for several years. Event Productions the main bar, sponsored by Scavolini. cups, and garlic strands. —Susan O’Neill

DJ Pitch One spun from a polka-dotted events that the BBC stages each year platform more throughout the U.S. than six feet off the For the after-party, Petherbridge ground. turned to Philip Dufour, who helped The BBC brought polka dots and pub fare produce last year’s MSNBC event at to this year’s R.T.C.A. dinner after-party. the Historical Society. Under direction to make the venue look comBBC World News America pletely different, this time around WASHINGTON hosted the after-party for the DuFour used bright spring colors 66th annual Radio and Television Correspondents like tangerine against stark white Association’s Dinner on March 17, drawing nearly furniture, accented with whimsical For dessert, Occasions 600 guests to the Historical Society of Washington, polka-dot and damask patterns. Caterers served chocolate D.C. Since an abundance of influenThe party kicked mousse topped with tial journalists and politicos attend off after guests BBC’s Radio & TV whipped cream. the R.T.C.A. dinner, BBC executives walked across the street from the Correspondents thought an after-party would be a Convention Center following a speech Association Dinner chance to showcase the network’s by Vice President Joe Biden. Servers After-Party coverage of U.S. news. handed out Occasions Caterers’ Audiovisual Production “We want to emphasize that we British-inspired snacks and drinks, such Maryland Sound are not just overseas, we’re not just as mini Cornish pasties and gin and International Catering Occasions bringing international news to the tonics, while a dessert buffet offered Caterers, Perfect Settings America, we are right here cultivating puddings. DJ DJ Pitch One relationships within the Beltway and Later, guests hoisted pints of Flowers Jack H. Lucky Floral Sitting areas upstairs included crystal-studded beyond, broadcasting in Washington Guinness—a nod to St. Patrick’s Day. Design white couches and orange shag carpets. Lighting Atmosphere Inc. five nights a week with World News The relaxed vibe was part of the BBC’s Production Dufour & Co America,” said Jo Petherbridge, execugoal for the evening, as guests stuck Rentals All Stage and tive vice president of communications around past 1 a.m., dancing to tunes Sound Inc., A Vista Events, for BBC Worldwide, Americas. Network from DJ Pitch One. “I want them to let Sugarplum Tent Company Security The Bilyeu Group talent such as anchor Matt Frei and their hair down, have lots of fun, and Venue Historical Society of Washington correspondent Katty Kay remember our name in the morning,” Washington, D.C. mingled at the party, one of the dozen Petherbridge said. —Adele Chapin

Brit Pop

26 bizbash.com spring 2010

PHOTOS: GARY BEECHEY FOR BIZBASH (IDS), TONY BROWN/IMIJINATION PHOTOGRAPHY (BBC)

Not-SoLittle Italy


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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.

COAST TO COAST

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

28 bizbash.com 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.

PHOTOS: FRANK OUDEMAN (DUNHILL), VINA PAREL AYERS (NAU), JENNY KIM (DIET COKE), COURTESY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA DAIRY FOUNDATION

By MICHAEL O’CONNELL


PHOTOS: LESTER COHEN/GETTY IMAGES FOR SANRIO, KEVIN TACHMAN (MAX FISH), SONNY GERASIMOWICZ/COURTESY OF SPACE 15 TWENTY (WILD THINGS), COURTESY OF EBAY, THOMAS KAFKA (CLINIQUE), DOUG DEMARK (TARGET)

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

eBay

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.

bizbash.com spring 2010 29


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.

LAS VEGAS

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.

By ALESANDRA DUBIN

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.

30 bizbash.com spring 2010


Party Highlights PHOTOS: EMMA COHEN/COURTESY OF POLAROID (POLAROID), JACOB KEPLER FOR BIZBASH (ALL OTHER EXHIBITS), SHAE ROCCO (SPRINT), CHRIS KING (SAMSUNG PARTY), DALE WILCOX (WIRED)

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.

bizbash.com spring 2010 31


Around the Globes

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.

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.

LOS ANGELES

By ALESANDRA DUBIN

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

32 bizbash.com 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.

PHOTOS: NADINE FROGER PHOTOGRAPHY (IN STYLE/WARNER BROTHERS), ERIC CHARBONNEAU/LE STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY (LIONSGATE), ANDRE MAIER (NBC/FOCUS), LINE 8 PHOTOGRAPHY (SUMMIT, IN STYLE LOUNGE, FOX), GABOR EKECS (HBO)

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.

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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.

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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

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.

The gala drew 700 A majority of the benefit’s $1.2 million take was raised in the weeks guests to the National prior to the event, mostly from table Building Museum. purchases by last-minute sponsors. At the gala, board member Ronald Indian-inspired colors and dangling Doornink made an emotional speech ribbons dominated the decor at about how cancer had affected his Prevent Cancer’s spring gala. life and offered a dollar-for-dollar pledge that coaxed guests to donate Prevent Cancer’s globetrotting a combined $58,000 on the spot. WASHINGTON spring gala, which each year New York-based planner and looks to a different country for inspiration, focused Prevent Cancer Foundation board on the “Indelible Impressions of India” for its 16th member David Tutera produced the incarnation March 12. The theme carried over to gala for the 10th consecutive year. The the catering and decor inside the great hall of the decor focal point of the evening came National Building Museum and at least one guest: in the form of ribbons that Tutera’s Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar, the event’s crew suspended from hoops above honorary patron. many of the round and rectangular tables, which were According to the foundation’s direcdressed in orange and fuchsia linens. tor of special events, Linda Chastain, Using a palette popular in Indian sari Prevent Cancer fund-raising was the biggest challenge shops, Frost Lighting uplit the hall’s Foundation Spring of this year’s event, which drew 700 soaring Corinthian columns in hot Gala Design Cuisine served a cardamom ice cream guests—about 100 fewer than last pink and yellow. Audiovisual Production stack and chocolate coffee tart for dessert. year. Realizing attendance was going In addition to Indian beverages Event EQ Catering Design Cuisine Hoops of ribbon down, the foundation re-evaluated the and a signature Mangotini cocktail, Caterers streamers hung event budget and went to vendors for Design Cuisine served a tandooriDecor, Flowers David Tutera above tables. help. “What makes this event so special glazed black cod as a first course, Entertainment Fresh Air is that we have vendors that are willIndian red curry duck, and vadouLighting Frost Lighting Invitations, Printing ing to support us at discounted fees or van quail for the main course and Breckenridge Design donations,” she said. “But it is very diffia cardamom ice cream stack and Group cult to fund-raise when the economy is chocolate coffee tart for dessert. Venue National Building on a downswing.” —Katherine Puccio Museum

A Sari State

34 bizbash.com spring 2010

PHOTOS: JOHN MCCLOSKEY (SECOND CITY), TONY BROWN/IMIJINATION PHOTOGRAPHY (PREVENT CANCER)

Return Trip


Seating cards for the honoree dinner were accented by frondfilled arrangements

At Saturday’s after-party, event designer André Wells fashioned the giant BET letters out of sequined velvet fabric.

and teals, creating a continuous look for the whole weekend. “We’re playing on shades of blue. It’s fun, definitely not stuffy at all,” Wells said. At Meridian House, blue uplighting, modern floral arrangements, and bright furniture in sleek shapes BET bookended its Honors weekend with a contrasted with the mansion’s traditional architecture. V.I.P. dinner and a late-night after-party. For dinner, Wells set up a heated tent that housed 19 tables draped in linens in varying shades of teal. Harpist BET celebrated its third annual Rashida Jolley and DJ WASHINGTON Honors, which recognize achieve- Adrian Loving provided BET Honors Weekend ments by African Americans, with a full roster of events entertainment during the Design, Planning, the weekend of January 15. The festivities kicked off Occasions-catered meal Production Events by André Wells on Friday with a 200-guest dinner at Meridian House of grilled beef tenderloin Draping, Furniture, Props celebrating this year’s five honorees, Whitney Houston, with a trio of lobster. A Vista Events Queen Latifah, Sean “Diddy” Combs, neurosurgeon Dr. With 2,000 guests, Flowers Volanni Keith Black, and Dr. Ruth Simmons, president of Brown Saturday night’s afterRentals Party Rental Ltd. University. The honorees were then feted the next day party marked a return to Honoree Dinner at the Warner Theatre in a four-hour ceremony (which 2008’s format, following Catering Occasions Caterers aired February 1), followed by an after-party at the last year’s scaled down Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. version that happened to DJs DJ Sixth Sense, DJ Adrian Loving Despite coinciding with the Golden Globes on coincide with the inaugu- Gifts Keith Lipert Gallery Sunday night in Los Angeles, BET still landed bigration and its glut of balls Lighting Frost Rentals Perfect Settings name talent, with performances by Jennifer Hudson, and parties. Although Tent Sugarplum Tent Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle, and more celebrities were in Company Maxwell. “It’s getting better and better. More A-list town last year, this time Valet MarcParc Inc. talent comes every year,” said Tonya Railey, an event planners didn’t have the Venue Meridian House coordinator for BET. “Everything is V.I.P., and we give hassle of additional street After-Party everyone that V.I.P. treatment. We want to wow our closures and security. Audiovisual Production, Lighting, Sound, Staging guests, from the invitation to the parking, the red Shortly after the VSG Solutions carpet, the whole process.” honors ended at 11 p.m., Catering, Security, Venue In pulling together the weekend, BET’s Railey, guests walked the one Ronald Reagan Building & Natasha Bryson, Bobette Gillette, and Sarah Storrs and a half blocks over to International Trade Center DJs Beverly Bond, DJ D-Nice turned to event producer André Wells—for the third the Reagan Building for Organics Plants Alive Inc. year in a row—to create the look for the honoree the after-party. Security IMAC Group dinner and after-party. Wells chose fabrics in blues —Adele Chapin

PHOTOS: TONY BROWN/IMIJINATION PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BIZBASH

Honor Roll

A jazz band played during the cocktail hour before the honoree dinner.

BET-branded acrylic stools lined up at the bar at the honoree dinner.

At the honoree dinner, André Wells installed sleek bars and bold floral arrangements.

bizbash.com spring 2010 35


Betsey Johnson designed bot the bolt-bedecked logo hung near the stage gala logo and the in the Ronald Reagan Building’s atrium, pink leopard print lamp centerpieces. while pink roses and a fluted centerpiece with a feather-trimmed, pink leopard print shade topped each table. Betsey Johnson and Stevie Wonder added “When you have a significant anniverstar power to this year’s A.A.P.D. gala. sary, you don’t want the invitation and event to look like everything you’ve Betsey Johnson had one goal done before,” Imparato said. WASHINGTON in mind for the decor at the This year’s gala was the most eighth annual American Association of People with successful in A.A.P.D. history, raising Disabilities (A.A.P.D.) Leadership Gala: “Just pink it $1.5 million—$500,000 more than out—as much as you can,” she said. To help the orga- the previous record. Last year’s guest nization celebrate its 15th anniversary and the 20th count hovered at just over 400, while anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, this year’s gala broke 750 and drew the fashion designer volunteered to design the logo corporate sponsors American Airlines, for the March 10 gala and lend her girlish sensibility AT&T, CSC, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Electric to the evening’s decor. America Foundation, and Wal-Mart. Betsey Johnson greeted “When Betsy was willing to add For the first time, the A.A.P.D. A.A.P.D. president and A.A.P.D. Leadership Gala her name to it, that added a little added a V.I.P. cocktail reception the C.E.O. Andrew J. Imparato. Catering, Venue Ronald bit of luster,” said A.A.P.D. president night before the event, allowing 75 Reagan Building & and C.E.O. Andrew J. Imparato, whose guests the chance to meet and greet International Trade Center mother, a fashion editor at the The Los Johnson. Held at the Recording Industry Audiovisual Production, Angeles Times, is a friend of Johnson’s. Lighting Projection Association of America’s office building, Presentation Technology “And when Stevie Wonder agreed to the pink-lit reception included Betsy Flowers Graceful Flowers accept the first ever A.A.P.D. Image Johnson party dresses modeled by nine by Patricia L.L.C. Award, that helped a lot.” disabled women. The next night, guests Production, Staging Johnson’s touch could be seen all Hargrove Inc. left the gala with Betsey Johnson goods Production Datoc Witten over the event. Banners emblazoned of their own: a floral makeup bag as a Group Inc. with her flower, heart, and lightning take-home gift. —A.C.

Pretty in Pink

36 bizbash.com spring 2010

PHOTOS: NAN MELVILLE (DANCERS), STEPHEN ELLIOT/MUD PRODUCTIONS FOR BIZBASH (AILEY TABLES), TONY BROWN/IMIJINATION PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BIZBASH (A.A.P.D.)

Let’s Dance

dance floor for the young, ready-to-boogie crowd, which included honorary co-chairs Mayor Adrian Fenty and Michelle Cross Fenty. In order to be accessible to the largest number of tables, the dance Alvin Ailey lured more gala guests, which floor and stage for the Free Spirit Band were placed required a strategic dance floor location. at the center of the South Gallery. For tables farther away, three plasma screens in the atrium broadcast The Alvin Ailey American Dance the action. WASHINGTON Theater gala on February 2, the “We wanted guests to know that there were biggest in the event’s 11-year history, added 250 people out on the dance floor and they wouldn’t be The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s more guests than last year and expanded beyond alone if they went out there,” Peachey said. Indeed, opening performance at the opera house the south gallery into two additional rooms on the Alvin Ailey dancers and guests shimmied to hits included its signature piece, “Revelations.” roof of the Kennedy Center. like “Billie Jean” and “Crazy in Love” from 10 p.m., The influx of guests when the gala began, Alvin Ailey Opening required event co-chairs right through the milk Night Gala Debra Lee, Carolyn Brody, chocolate crème brulée and Gina Adams to rethink dessert course. Audiovisual Production, Security, Venue John F. the configuration of the About 700 guests— Kennedy Center for the dinner. “They needed to minus a few no-shows Performing Arts figure out where you put due to snow flurries— Catering Restaurant what in the floor plan,” attended the Southern Associates said Carolyn Peachey, presi- Company-sponsored gala Entertainment Free Spirit Band dent of Campbell Peachey benefit after an opening Flowers Volanni & Associates, who helped night performance in the Imaging All Stage and produce the event with the Kennedy Center opera Sound Inc. Invitations Carla Badaracco co-chairs and Josephine house that celebrated Design Ciallella, an event consulchoreographer Judith Lighting Frost tant for Alvin Ailey. Jamison’s 20th anniverPrinting Hungerford One of the most sary as the company’s Printing Production Campbell important components artistic director and Amber uplighting created a cozy feel Peachey & Associates for the gala’s floor plan? launched a 20-city U.S. for the supper in the South Gallery. Rentals DC Rental Where to put the band and tour. —Adele Chapin


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Save the Date

INSIDE EDGE BizBash Breakfast Energizes D.C. Planners /N-ARCH ATTENDEESGATHEREDFOR"IZ"ASH´S-ASTERPLANNER%YE /PENER"REAKFASTATTHE,IAISON#APITOL(ILLTOHEARAPANELOF$#´STOP EVENTPLANNERS FUND RAISERS ANDPOLITICALSTRATEGISTSDISCUSSTHEKEYSTOA SUCCESSFULPOLITICALFUND RAISINGEVENT3PONSOREDBY#LASSIC0ARTY2ENTALS THE EVENT´STAKEAWAYSINCLUDEDNEWIDEASFORCONNECTINGWITHSUPPORTERS SUCH ASVIDEOE MAILSANDPEER TO PEERNETWORKING ANDAFAVORABLEPROGNOSISFOR POLITICALFUND RAISINGINLIGHTOFTHERECENT3UPREME#OURTRULINGS Jessica Marks, associate editor, BizBash Masterplanner D.C.; moderator Nancy Cordes, congressional correspondent, CBS News; Shelley Hymes, managing editor, BizBash Masterplanner D.C.; Angie Goff, reporter, Washington Life; and Chad Kaydo, editor in chief, BizBash Stephen Geer, vice president of new media, OMP Direct; Jonathan Mantz, managing director, BGR Government Affairs; moderator Nancy Cordes; Jan Baran, partner, Wiley Rein L.L.C.; Juleanna Glover, founding principal, the Ashcroft Group; and Lisa Spies, president, the LS Group

Celebrating 10 Years: BizBash N.Y. Expo Returns to the Javits Center on October 27 .EW9ORK#ITY PLANNERSWILLBE ½REDUPTOCELEBRATE EVENTSON/CTOBER  WHEN"IZ"ASH´S .9%XPO!WARDS RETURNSTOTHE*AVITS New York #ENTERFORITSTH The Javits Center YEAROFSPECTACULAR October 27, 2010 EXPOACTION&ROM THEMAINSTAGETOTHESHOWžOOR THISYEAR´S EVENTOFFERSATTENDEESAPALETTEOFOUTRAGEOUS NEWIDEAS INNOVATIVEPRODUCTS EYE OPENING ENTERTAINMENT ANDTHEINSIDETRACKONINDUSTRY TRENDSANDISSUESINOURCONFERENCEPROGRAM

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PHOTOS: COURTESY OF STARWOOD HOTELS

A meeting room at the W Washington D.C.

The Venue Report Washington is a city known for its historical venues, but over the past year a slew of new options that buck the traditional trend have entered the landscape. Our annual report includes local spaces ranging from a graffitiladen bar and a sprawling winery to a Japanese gastropub and what’s on tap for chef Robert Weidmaier. (Hint: It involves mussels and beer.) Here’s where to entertain now. By WALTER NICHOLLS

An All-New W D.C. saw several hotel openings in 2009, but by far the most hyped was the W Washington D.C. (15th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202.6661.2400), which opened a block from the White House in August. In addition to 285 rooms and 32 suites, the hotel offers 12,000 square feet of function space, including a 200-seat top-floor ballroom, and a steak house from chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

ON BIZBASH.COM The latest news about local venues, plus our comprehensive directory

bizbash.com spring 2010 39


Ping Pong Dim Sum

GRAB A DRINK District Lounge SW

Make use of the area’s influx of mixologists and in-depth cocktail menus at these four new spots. Here’s where to go in… Dupont Trilevel restaurant and lounge Policy opened below U Street in April. On the ground floor, the Love dining room and 16-seat bar offers an edgy interpretation of a classic diner. The second-floor Liberty lounge has four semiprivate spaces for groups of 12 to 30. The lower-level Truth private dining room and bar can host as many as 120. (1904 14th St. NW, 202.387.7654)

Policy

Privacy Please Looking for a room to call your own? Check out one of these four venues that offer private dining. In February, the Fireman Hospitality Group opened Bond 45 (149 Water St., National Harbor, 301.839.1445) at National Harbor, its first location outside New York. In addition to a sweeping Potomac River view, the 215-seat Italian steak and seafood house gets a 1930s ambiance from its tin ceiling, mosaic tile floors, and smoked mirrors. There are four semiprivate glass-enclosed rooms that seat 12 to 28 guests, and a 60-seat patio. Executive chef Daniele Turchetti of Bond 45 in New York oversees the menu.

40 bizbash.com spring 2010

dumplings, and traditional shu mai. For events, there’s a semiprivate room that holds 50 for receptions and seats 36. (900 7th St. NW, 202.506.3740)

Southwest A water view is the attraction at the retro-furnished District Lounge SW, which opened in October in the renovated Capitol Skyline Hotel in Southwest. Massive windows give a view of the venue’s competition-size outdoor pool and deck. For a cocktail reception, the space holds as many as 75 guests, with spillover possible onto the pool deck in fair weather. (2473 18th St. NW, 202.518.9820)

Bethesda In May, chef Robert Wiedmaier

(Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, Brabo, and Brabo Tasting Room) expands his empire with Mussel Bar by RW, Penn Quarter Modern in design, the 6,100a 4,000-square-foot Flemish gastropub. Guests square-foot Ping Pong Dim Sum opened in will find a 130-seat interior composed of rustic December. The 238-seat bar and restaurant is the wood with polished cement floors in both the bar first U.S. outpost for the British chain. A great spot and dining room. On the menu: mussels four ways, for after-work cocktails, Ping Pong’s menu focuses wood-fired savory tarts, and more than 40 Belgian on sweet and savory Cantonese-style steamed buns, beers. (7262 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda)

Opened in late October, the gastropub Againn (1099 New York Ave. NW, 202.639.9830) has a modern, industrial look with traditional British pub accents. Bright and spacious, the 5,600-square-feet eatery features floor-to-ceiling exterior glass walls that open onto the street. The carpeted 14-seat private dining room has leather paneled walls, glass-enclosed wine storage, and a view of the kitchen. Last August, chefs and brothers Morou and Amadou Ouattara opened the 6,900-square-foot restaurant and bar Kora (2250-B Crystal Drive, Arlington, 571.431.7090) in the Crystal City space that formerly housed Roberto Donna’a Bebo. Guests climb one step to the 21-seat bar and the 45-seat private

dining room, where a wall covered in purple silk leads the eye to the 20-foot beamed ceiling and skylight. Like Donna’s enterprise, the menu highlights trattoria-style Italian fare with an emphasis on house-made pastas and pizzas. Bilevel restaurant and lounge Blue Ridge (2340 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202.333.4004) opened in two adjoining Glover Park town houses in June. The venue’s minimalist decor was inspired by an early 20th century Shaker farmhouse. Bartenders pour Prohibition-era cocktails to complement chef Barton Seaver’s cuisine. Event spaces include a 24-seat private dining room, a 24-seat lounge that opens onto a deck, and a seven-seat garden café.

Againn

PHOTOS: DON COOPER (PING PONG DIM SUM), COURTESY OF DISTRICT LOUNGE, BIZBASH (POILCY), POWERS AND CREWE PHOTOGRAPHY (AGAINN)

The Washington Venue Report


Sunset Crest Manor

QUICK TRIPS TO VIRGINIA Just a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown, these venues are event-ready. Bibiana Osteria Enotteca A Country Estate Opened late last year near Dulles Airport, the 82-acre Sunset Crest Manor offers a rustic but luxurious 6,000-squarefoot barn surrounded by 5,000 square feet of landscaped terraces that can be tented. With a seating capacity of 100 inside, the barn has a seven-seat bar, a natural stone fireplace, and a catering kitchen. Come June, the estate’s 14,000-square-foot red brick mansion will also be available for events. (42169 Mayhew Lane, Chantilly, 703.967.9148)

Where to Eat Now Here’s a look at the city’s top tables of the summer.

lounge. A private room seats 22 and offers views of the C&O Canal. (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202.342.0444)

PHOTOS: POWERS AND CREWE PHOTOGRAPHY (BIBIANA), COURTESY OF SUNSET CREST MANOR), COURTESY OF STARWOOD HOTELS (W WASHINGTON D.C.)

Ris Chef Ris Lacoste opened her 240-seat restaurant Equinox Closed after a fire in mid-December, this A Winery Also opened in late 2009, the 55-acre Narmada Winery in Amissville (60 miles from Washington) has 15-acres of grapes spread across rolling hills with views of Rappahannock County. The 3,600-square-foot tasting room holds 100 for receptions and can be combined with a deck for 50. For outdoor events, Narmada has a 4.5-acre lake, a lakeside pavilion, and ample space for tents. (43 Narmada Lane, Amissville, 540.937.6613) A Hotel & Conference Center When June rolls around, George Mason University in Fairfax plans to open the 148-room Mason Inn & Conference Center Hotel on its campus. The property will have a 175-seat restaurant and a private dining room for 20. The design team is working with a palette of olive, orange, red, and gold in the 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space, which will accommodate as many as 450 guests. (4352 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax, 703.993.6055)

in the West End in December. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the 6,800-square-foot eatery has eight dining spaces that stretch around the northeast corner of L and 23rd Streets, on the ground level of the Ritz-Carlton Residences. For private dining, Ris offers the 10-seat State Room and the 40-seat Federal Room. (2275 L St. NW, 202.730.2500)

award-winning restaurant was set to reopen in midApril with more modern decor and a recalibrated menu. Chef Todd Gray and his wife and co-owner, Ellen Kassoff Gray, have replaced the dark paneling in the private 12-seat Wine Room with frosted glass walls. (818 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202.331.8118)

Galileo III After a four-year wait, chef Roberto Kushi Opened in March in Mt. Vernon Triangle, Kushi is a 96-seat Japanese gastropub. The 4,000-square-foot venue is divided into three areas: a bar, a 30-seat open-kitchen robata grill bar, and a 14-seat sushi counter. The Tokyo-influenced design features reclaimed-wood bars, large paper lanterns imported from Japan, and 18-foot ceilings. Full or partial buyouts are available. (465 K St. NW, 202.682.3123)

Bourbon Steak Opened in December 2008, chef Michael Mina’s steak house continues to be the toast of Georgetown. In the Four Seasons Hotel, the 5,400-square-foot lobby-level space is comprised of a 144-seat main dining room and 42-seat bar and

Donna is set to open this 6,100-square-foot restaurant in the former Butterfield 9 space in late spring. The 80-seat restaurant includes a flexible 45-seat private dining room. In addition to Italian fare, 100 preorder dishes, such as suckling pig, will be available on the restaurant’s Web site. (600 14th St. NW)

Bibiana Osteria Enotteca Ashok Bajaj opened this upscale Italian eatery in September, adding to his stable of venues that includes 701 and Rasika. A 10-seat semiprivate space is concealed behind floorto-ceiling steel bead curtains, while a 48-seat private dining room overlooks downtown. (1100 New York Ave. NW, 202.216.9550)

A Historic Hotel Four blocks from the White House, the Jefferson, Washington, D.C. (1200 16th St. NW, 202.448.2300) reopened in August after a twoyear, top-to-bottom renovation of the 1923 Beaux Arts building. The 99-room hotel, which preserved original details like leadedglass chandeliers and barrel-vaulted ceilings, offers eight intimate function spaces, including the 45-seat Pavilion Room and a 22-seat boardroom. Just inside the lobby, iron gates guard the entrance to a new power dining spot, the 60-seat restaurant Plume, which serves American fare with French influences and has an 18-seat Private Cellar dining room.

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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

42 bizbash.com 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

PHOTO: MARINA SENRA FOR BIZBASH

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

PHOTOS: BIZBASH (FRAME), COURTESY OF INDIGO PRIME IN AUSTIN

“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 (unconference.net). “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 as a lounge where people can have a cup museum, put critical information on a of coffee and continue a discussion.” blog for participants. She recommends explaining how the format will work, what attendees can expect, and what is Don’t overlap preprogrammed and expected of them. “Have an online space open sessions. Some planners may want where participants can fill out profiles to ease into unconferences by including and encourage them to browse these an open block of time within a schedbefore the unconference,” Wong says. uled meeting. If you do decide to do this, Hamlin warns against “parallel tracking,” Emphasize interactions over or scheduling programmed sessions at presentations. “Unconferences are the same time as open sessions. “It fails about talking to people rather than every time,” she says. “It can be hard for at them. Instead of ‘Here’s another people who are used to traditional events PowerPoint,’ we try to emphasize to take the leap into unconferences, but conversations,” says Whitney Hoffman, when you do it, do it all the way.” She owner of Philadelphia-based Hoffman suggests having scheduled morning Believe in the wisdom of the attendee. Digital Media (whitneyhoffman.com) 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 uncovers unconferences. 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, have something to contribute,” she says. ect demos—lightning talks—during there should be multiple seminars going “We’ve learned that a CV is not always lunch, which kept that hour lively on at one time so people can move the best starting point for value.” and prevented grandstanding during around until they find something useful. sessions,” Wong says. “If you are not learning or contributing, Prepare attendees in advance. To encourage networking in it is your responsibility to respectfully Although agendas are not preset, hosts between sessions, Hoffman creates find some place that you are. Follow should give people a sense of what to spaces where people can congregate. “I your own passion at an unconference,” expect. When planning the Conscience usually rent an extra room that can serve Hamlin says.

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, socialfish.org), 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 site.com) and the Social Collective (703.234.7910, thesocialcollective.com) 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.

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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)

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PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ADVERTISING AGE, COURTESY OF SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK, COURTESY OF KIMPTON HOTELS, RENAISSANCE BOSTON WATERFRONT HOTEL

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, unisfair.com), 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, jackmorton.com), 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

PHOTOS: FOUR SEASONS CHICAGO, STEVE GARFIELD (UNCONFERENCE), MICHAEL KLEINBERG (LOEWS), COURTESY OF CHICAGO MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN, COURTESY OF MONTAGE BEVERLY HILLS

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)

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

New Venues WALTER E. WASHINGTON CONVENTION CENTER

The convention center expanded in February, adding 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space in several parts of the venue, including the east and west registration areas near the grand lobby and the upper levels overlooking 7th and 9th Streets. The project included new custom carpeting, upgraded lighting, electrical and sound systems, and a state-of-the-art partition wall system. (801 Mount Vernon Place NW, 202.249.3000)

ESTATE SUNSET CREST MANOR

Opened late last year, the 82-acre Sunset Crest Manor offers a rustic but luxurious 6,000-square-foot barn surrounded by 5,000 square feet of landscaped terraces that can be tented. With a seating capacity of 100 inside, the barn has a seven-seat bar, a natural stone fireplace, and a catering kitchen. Come June, the estate’s 14,000-square-foot red brick mansion will also be available for events. (42169 Mayhew Lane, Chantilly, 703.967.9148)

HOTELS ELDON LUXURY SUITES

This new 50-suite hotel recently became fully operational following a total renovation of what was a circa-1929 nine-story apartment building. The hotel’s one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites range from 650 to more than 1,500 square feet. The venue has no designated meeting space, but the suites are large enough to hold 10 to 30 guests for cocktail receptions. For additional space, one of the two penthouses has access to a 300-square-foot terrace with city views. (933 L St. NW, 202.540.5000) HILTON WASHINGTON

The 44-year-old Hilton Washington began unveiling the results of a $140 million top-to-bottom renovation earlier this year. January saw the opening of the Heights Executive Meeting Center, the concourse level, 1,070 revamped guest rooms, and the new District Line Restaurant & Bar. Come June, the 30,000-square-foot multipurpose Columbia Hall will open, along with the Heights Courtyard and Gardens and the Terrace Meeting Suites. (1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202.483.3000) OPENING SOON MASON INN CONFERENCE CENTER AND HOTEL

KABAB-JI GRILL

RESTAURANTS With 10 locations around the world, Paris-based Buddha Bar was slated to open in Mt. Vernon Triangle in April. Decor plans for the 170-seat restaurant and 50-seat lounge included low lighting, Asian tattoo murals, and the signature golden Buddha statue as the focal point. The menu is Asian Rim with French infusion. A sunken patio will also seat 60. (455 Massachusetts Ave. NW, 301.602.8709)

This upscale restaurant chain, with more than 25 locations in the Middle East and North Africa, opened its first U.S. location in December, steps from Dupont Circle. Specializing in meat and vegetable kebabs cooked on a charcoal grill, the 4,500-squarefoot Kabab-ji Grill serves Lebanese cuisine. The U-shaped interior is both rustic and contemporary, with walls of caramelcolored stone, dark wood paneling, and tile-topped tables and booths. The 144-seat eatery has a 112-bottle wine display. (1351 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202.822.8999)

BOND 45

KUSHI

OPENING SOON BUDDHA BAR

Fireman Hospitality Group opened this 7,500-square-foot, 275seat Italian steak and seafood house in January. The space is packed with Old World decor (paintings, tile, and marble) and done up in the earth tones of Tuscany. For private dining, there are four glass conservatories, including the chef’s table, which seats 12. Three additional conservatories each accommodate as many as 28; a separate wine room seats 30. A 50person patio will open in the spring. (149 WaArty Affair ter St., National Harbor, 301.839.1445)

Where to... Host an

The 1,865-square-foot Fathom Gallery opened as a bilevel event venue in January. The lobby consists of a 450-squarefoot room with white walls, a dark gray polished cement floor, and three floor-to-ceiling pivoting glass doors that open onto the street. The upper level gallery, with reception space for 100 guests, has exposed brick walls, stained high-gloss oak floors, and chrome and glass details. The owners are constructing a 2,000-squarefoot roof deck and garden with a reveal slated for July. Fathom Creative, the company which owns and operates the space, can personalize events with custom art work and photos. (1606 20th St. NW, 202.588.8100)

In June, George Mason University in Fairfax plans to open a 148-room conference center and hotel on its campus. The property will have a 175-seat restaurant and a private dining room for 20. The design team is working with a palette of olive, orange, red, and gold in the 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space, which will accommodate as many as 450 guests. (4352 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax, 703.993.6055)

LOUNGE RECESS

Open since December, this 1,100-square-foot lounge is one block from the White House. The cozy space, dominated by a DJ booth constructed from a massive walnut slab, has dark wood floors and paper wall panels. In addition to nine stools at the black tiled bar, flexible seating options include leather banquettes, love seats, and contemporary cocktail tables. Full buyouts are available for 200 guests. (727 15th St. NW, 202.637.7667)

PERFORMANCE SPACE IN THE WORKS ARENA STAGE AT THE MEAD CENTER FOR AMERICAN THEATER

Sporting a dramatic cantilevered roof, and already a landmark on the Potomac River waterfront in Southwest, the Arena Stage will open in the fall with 200,000 square feet of revitalized and new space. Joining the updated 683-seat Fichandler Stage and

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refitted 514-seat Kreeger Theater will be the oval-shaped 200seat Kogod Cradle, as well as a large lobby, classrooms, and rehearsal halls. (1101 6th St. SW, 202.554.9066)

This 95-seat Italian pizzeria opened in February. The 1,200-square-foot bilevel venue is modern in design and has the look of an art gallery. In addition to having an imported domeshaped pizza oven, the main dining room has an open kitchen, an eight-seat bar, and a staircase that leads to the 50-seat private dining level and 40-seat terrace. Dark gray woven vinyl floors, reflective silver walls, dark wood furnishings, and impressionistic photographs fill the space. (1063 31st St. NW, 202.337.4444)

OPENING SOON CARMINE’S

Budgeted at $9 million, Carmine’s will open this spring. The 670-seat family-style Italian eatery from New York-based Alicart Restaurant Group will have a 40-seat bar, 50-seat cocktail lounge, and eight private rooms. Sliding walls will accommodate groups of various sizes in the 20,000-square-foot venue. (425 7th St. NW, 202.737.7770) OPENING SOON CUBA LIBRE RESTAURANT & RUM BAR

On schedule for a May opening, Penn Quarter adds another Latin venue with the more than 9,000-square-foot Cuba Libre, which promises 1950s Havana decor and live entertainment. Staff will serve innovative Latin cuisine in a 200-seat dining room decorated with murals of Cuban life. Plans call for a 50-seat bar and lounge with an extensive rum selection and a 66-seat sidewalk café. (801 9th St. NW, 202.408.1600) OPENING SOON EQUINOX

Closed after a devastating fire in December, award-winning Equinox was scheduled to reopen in mid-April with more modern decor and a recalibrated menu designed to give diners more menu options for main course accompaniments (sauces and side dishes). Chef Todd Gray and his wife and co-owner, Ellen Kassoff Gray, have replaced the dark paneling in the 12-seat private wine room with frosted glass walls for an airy look and feel. (818 Connecticut Ave., 202.331.8118) FUNEXION

Loaded with high-tech eye candy and modern decor, this 1,800-square-foot health-conscious bar and eatery opened in March. Designed with the look of a space-age greenhouse, the long, slender ground-level space sports both rough-cut white stone and textured floral wall coverings in muted earth tones. The burgers, pizza, sandwiches, and salads on the menu contain no added salt, butter, oil, or sugar. FunXion is available for full buyouts for as many as 150. (1309 F St. NW, 202.628.8820)

Opened in March in Mt. Vernon Triangle, the 96-seat Kushi is a casual Japanese gastropub. The 4,000-square-foot venue is divided into three areas: a bar with more than 30 kinds of sake; a 30-seat open-kitchen robata bar that serves up charcoal-grilled meat, fish, and vegetables; and a 14-seat sushi counter. The Tokyo-influenced design features reclaimed-wood bars, large paper lanterns imported from Japan, and 18-foot ceilings. Kushi is available for full or partial buyout. (465 K St. NW, 202.682.3123) OPENING SOON MUSSEL BAR BY RW

In May, chef Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, Brabo, and Brabo Tasting Room) will expand his empire to Bethesda with this 4,000-square-foot Flemish gastropub. Guests will find a 130-seat interior composed of rustic wood with polished cement floors in both the bar and dining room. On the menu: mussels four ways, wood-fired savory tarts, and more than 40 Belgian beers. (7262 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda) PING PONG DIM SUM

Ping Pong Dim Sum opened in December in Penn Quarter. The 238-seat bar and restaurant is the first U.S. outpost for the British chain. Best suited for sharing, the menu focuses on sweet and savory Cantonese-style steamed buns, dumplings, and traditional shu mai, stuffed with chicken, pork, shrimp, or vegetables—all cooked in an open kitchen. For events, the 6,100-square-foot venue has a semiprivate room that holds 50 for receptions and seats 36. (900 7th St. NW, 202.506.3740) RIS

Noted chef Ris Lacoste opened her namesake 240-seat restaurant in December in the West End. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the 6,800-square-foot straw- and cream-colored restaurant has eight dining spaces on the ground level of the upmarket Ritz-Carlton Residences. For private dining, Ris offers the 10-seat State Room and the 40-seat Federal Room. An additional 60-seat alfresco dining area is slated to open in the spring. (2275 L St. NW, 202.730.2500) SOU’WESTER

The Mandarin Oriental recently made over the Asian-inspired MoZu restaurant into the contemporary Sou’Wester, which has an American menu with a Southern lilt. For small lunches or dinners, the 3,500-square-foot venue has a 12-seat communal table in the main dining room and a 14-seat semiprivate room with floor-to-ceiling windows offering a view of the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial. (1330 Maryland Ave. SW, 202.554.8588) IN THE WORKS TABLE 14

The owners of Local 16 have an August opening in mind for the tentatively titled Table 14—an 80-seat farm-to-table restaurant and bar coming to the 14th Street corridor. Walls of exposed brick and architectural details of the former 1900s department store will be preserved in the 5,000-square-foot trilevel space, which will offer room for 30 on the roof deck. (1832 14th St. NW)

WINERY NARMADA WINERY

This 55-acre Indian-themed winery opened in November. In addition to their own wines, owners and Mumbai natives Sudha Noted chef Roberto Donna is slated to open Galileo III in the and Pandit Patil serve a menu of Indian foods. The 3,600-squareformer Butterfield 9 space in late April. The 80-seat restaurant foot tasting room has a custom 30-foot bar, a catering kitchen, includes a flexible 45-seat private dining room. and a retail area with Indian clothing and jewDecor details in the 6,100-square-foot space inelry. The space holds 100 and can be combined clude a fireplace in the entry, an open kitchen, and with a deck that holds 50. Below the tasting a color scheme of copper and sienna. In addition room, the winery’s production area and barrel Reports on to the chef’s seasonal menu of traditional Italian room has space for more than 200 guests. For fare with a modern, lighter touch, 100 dishes for outdoor events, Narmada has a 4.5-acre lake and Washington’s preorder, such as suckling pig, will be available on a lakeside pavilion, which holds 40. (43 Narmada newest event spaces Lane, Amissville, Va., 540.937.6613) the restaurant’s Web site. (600 14th St. NW) OPENING SOON GALILEO III

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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.

48 bizbash.com 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!

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MORGANS HOTEL GROUP (ROYALTON), COURTESY OF THE DORCHESTER COLLECTION (POLO LOUNGE)

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.


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Washington Spring 2010