COVER STORY: EDWIN McCAIN
If you are looking for star power at a reasonable price, Edwin is the answer. With chart-topping, memorable songs, a sensational rapport with the audience, and knowing what is required of an act in this market, he is an extraordinary artist and your clients will love him. He delivers a show that will rock the house.
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FROM THE PUBLISHER My Generation, Part 2 Spanky McFarland Guests
CORPORATE WITH PURPOSE: The Re-invention of Entertainment Inside Out EDWIN McCAIN: One of America’s Best Values He’s Personable & Talented 85 ACTS UNDER $15K The Best Bargains In The Market Music, Novelty and Comedy BOOMER HUMOR Generational Acts From Gail Stocker
THE IACEP PAGES Getting Ready For The International Conference in Vegas.
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF IACEP
stepped on my dog’s tail and I had to rush him to the vet; the vet said, “I’m sorry, your beaver is dead.” Ba-dum-bum! (Sorry, bad joke, but the statistics I’ve uncovered in my research are so depressing I felt the need for some comic relief.)
By Spanky McFarland
FROM PART ONE: How can I be a member of the generation viewed as responsible for environmental disaster, economic collapse, countless broken homes, and unparalleled corporate avarice? If you are a college student reading this, on behalf of myself and all members of your parent’s generation, I’d like to offer a few explanations. I suppose I was fortunate to grow up with one of the few remaining stay-at-home mothers, but we really didn’t see each other much, unless she stood in front of the television. Gen-X may not have invented TV, but we certainly did suckle on the cathode-ray teat. The TV was my babysitter; each day my mother could plop me down in front of the set and go about her day. It all seemed innocent enough at the time, but little did she, or millions of other parents know, they was creating monsters—legions of insatiable shopping machines—that would transform the economy and totally reshape the American landscape, arguably not for the better. There are a number of reasons the American economy shifted from being powered by manufacturing and agriculture to consumerism, but none greater than television. I can’t remember or imagine life without TV. In 1950, America had 5 million TV sets, by 1995, there were 900 million, three for every single citizen. For Gen-X, life is TV and TV is life; we started as toddlers watching Sesame Street on PBS, moved on to Nickelodeon as children, MTV as teenagers, VH-1 in middle age, now we’re becoming old lumps watching the Weather Channel. I love television; rarely a day goes by that I do not find myself perched in front of one, so it pains me to admit TV has had a harmful effect on my generation, and on those that followed: it showed us how the upper half lives. When people compare their lives with the inflated lifestyles of TV characters, they are left feeling inadequate. What family would not feel dysfunctional compared to Beaver, Wally, June, and Ward? TV characters of the time were all nicely
Absolutely unique! Powerful! Phenomenal! words that attempt to explain what artist Joe Castillo does. It is almost impossible to describe a SandStory presentation to one who has never seen it. Magically creating detailed illustrations to live or taped music, Joe transforms sand into everchanging shapes. These Sand Stories are projected on large screens for corporate events, conventions and other large audience. Sand Art is an awe inspiring, captivating, inspirational experience. Joe Castillo is unquestionably the top Sand Artist in the world today. 2009 American Entertainment Magazine’s Best Arts Performance and Best Novelty Act.
dressed and lived in large homes equipped with all the modern luxuries. So the luxuries of the 60s (dishwashers, clothes dryers, central air and heat) became the necessities of the 80s; just as the luxuries of the 80s (microwaves, VCRs, CD players, fax machines, and computers) are considered necessities today. These feeling of inadequacy twisted our priorities, for example, we now have more tanning salons than libraries. Television created an unreasonable sense of entitlement. I recall watching Flipper and the following Christmas asking my parents for a pet dolphin. The next year I wanted a Batmobile. This needy feeling was expanded by a constant barrage of advertising, the industry that exploded with the Baby Boomers and fueled TV production in the process. Recent studies report that children under seven are not capable of recognizing messages with ulterior marketing motives, but when I was a child no one gave it much thought. In 1980, over 100 million dollars was spent on children’s advertising, by 1997, that amount ballooned to $1.5 billion! The popularity of the term “Couch Potato” is ironic in that the very first toy sold on television was Mr. Potato Head. The very first TV cartoon shows were created explicitly to sell sugared cereals. As a result I know more phrases from commercials than the Constitution. “Snap crackle pop,” I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,” “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids,” and “They’re magically delicious,” are good examples; no not good, “They’re gr-r-reat!” 90% of the Saturday morning food ads promote products high in calories, sugar, and salt; small wonder obesity rates for children doubled in the 80s. I witnessed this tragedy firsthand: my sister
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The average American will spend two years of their life watching TV commercials, and that number is increasing as the avalanche of advertising continues to snowball. Way back in 1957, advertising guru, Pierre Martineau, proclaimed “The average individual doesn’t make anything. He buys everything and our economy is geared to the faster and faster tempo of his buying based on wants which are created by advertising in large degree.” “Faster and faster” is an understatement. In 1980, there were 6 minutes of ads per half hour of broadcasting, by 2000, it was up to 8 minutes, in 2009, commercial messages are not limited to the commercials, as it is now common practice for TV producers to sell “product placement” within the shows themselves. Today’s children will see more than a million commercials before the age of 20, up to 200 more each day than their parents. The average 12 year old will spend 48 hours each week exposed to commercial messages, but only 90 minutes in significant conversation with their parents.
Bob Stromberg Shadowmaster Bob Stromberg brings to the stage an ancient skill seldom seen. Casting shadows with his hands, Bob brings to life a dreamscape of creatures and images in such stunning, life-like clarity they must be seen to be believed. Everyone has made a shadow on the wall, but no one has seen shadows like these. Whether used as a comic touchor a dramatic flare, Bob customizes his work to leave a lasting impression.
What effect did all this advertising have on Generation X? I can sum it up in one tragic statement: it made having what we want more important that wanting what we have. Having what we want became our new religion. Our dogma was to acquire, attain, obtain, procure, secure, and consume more than we could reasonably expect or possibly deserve. We placed our faith in bigger & better, new & improved, and more, more, more. We were thankful that in 1956 the Baby Boomers created our new house of worship: the first fully enclosed shopping mall. In 1964, there were 7,600 shopping centers, a mere halfdozen years later there were 13,174. In 1986, there were more high schools than malls; by 1999, there were twice as many malls. To suggest that malls supplanted churches as our symbol of cultural values is not that much of a stretch; 75% of Americans go to a mall at least once a week, far more than attend church. In Mammon we trust!
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2009 American Entertainment Magazine’s Best Comedy Act
Materialism became our new deity and the mall was its altar. Previous generations dreamed of visiting Vatican City or Mecca, for Gen-X however, the Mall became a vacation destination; The Mall of America, outside Minneapolis, boasts 40 million visitors each year (roughly 8 times the population of Minnesota). Adults now spend 6 hours a week
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shopping and only 40 minutes playing with their kids, and then complain the athletes we see in commercials are not good role models. Any surprise that 93% of teenage girls rate shopping as their favorite activity? Gen-X embraced shopping with dedication and devotion. Over-spending became our creed. The next time your parents complain that college tuitions are too expensive, remind them that Americans spend more each year on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($80 billion) than they do on higher education ($65 billion). Or that America spends more on trash bags than 90 of the world’s 210 countries spend on everything! Or that America’s 102 million households contain and consume more than all other households throughout history combined! And it came to pass that in 1974 the demon “inflation” arose, and lo, a terrible plague descended across the land. Our spending continued to increase but our incomes did not. By 2004, men 30 to 39 years old (born 1964-1974) earned 12% less in real dollars than their fathers did at the same age in 1974. Thus the devout required a new doctrine, and so it came to be the 11th Commandment was etched in stone: “Buy now. Pay later.” Credit cards became our holy icons. We don’t need money, we have small pieces of plastic salvation fulfilling our every need with a simple swipe; it’s a miracle! In the 90s credit card debt tripled. The average person today has $9,200 in credit card debt. The average college student has $2,500, roughly what the average person in 1950 earned in a year. Here’s a terrifying fact: if you are 19 years old and have $2,000 in debt at 18% and are making minimum payments, by the time you pay it off you will be in your thirties. Credit cards do not make us rich, they just enable us to pretend we are, but it’s much easier to run up a bill than to run down the money to pay for it. Ironically, just pretending to be rich keeps some people poor. 1 in 7 Americans now carry 10 or more credit cards, with the average person sustaining 4. According to the Guinness World Records, the “Pope of Plastic,”
his holiness Walter Cavanagh, owns 1,497 credit cards; his wallet weighs over 38 pounds and extends over 250 feet. Hallelujah! Now that we could buy stuff without having to pay for it, soon we had more stuff than would fit into our homes, so we bought bigger homes. In the 50s, the average new home was 800 square feet; by the 90s, it was up to 2,300 square feet, almost three times as large. The average early Baby Boomer home would fit into today’s 3-car garage. And we need 3-car garages because we now have more cars than registered drivers. (The average price of a new car in 1970 was around $3,500, now it is close to $30,000. Do you know how depressing it is to pay more to insure my car than my life?) But even our McMansions can’t contain all of our purchases; since 1960, the storage business has increased 40 fold; it now generates over 12 billion dollars each year, more than the US music industry. Gen-X became masters of “having what you want,” but it is more difficult to “want what you have” when what you have is in storage. And that is a very sad tune indeed. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared, “Too many of us worship self-indulgence and consumption.” The American public thought this was a blasphemous statement and the following year Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan, the apostle of supply side economics. Thus the birth of the “Yuppie,” who created a New Testament, as voiced by Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street: “The point is, ladies and gentleman, that Greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind. And Greed -- you mark my words -- will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.” We had a new Messiah: Mr. Greed.And we fell to our knees and praised him for the abundant gifts he would bestow. Thank you very much indeed! Not only is greed one of The Seven Deadly Sins, it accounts for most of the others. Greed for sex is lust. Greed for food is gluttony. A precursor for greed is envy and an after effect of greed is pride. Greed made Adam and Eve taste the forbidden fruit, thus greed is truly the original sin. Yet despite warnings from the Bible, Koran, Talmud, Tao-te-ching, Veda, Bhagavad Gita, and the aforementioned Jimmy Carter, Mr. Greed rules and “selfish” is the catch of the day. Mr. Greed is the reason our supermarket shelves are full, yet 10 million Americans go hungry every day, 40% of them children. Mr. Greed is the reason 2 million Americans experience homelessness, while 9 million own a second home. Mr. Greed is the reason more people will declare bankruptcy this year than graduate college. Mr. Greed is the reason the gap between the rich and poor is consistently expanding, because (if you’ll allow me to fuse cliches) the rich get richer and the poor get poorer because it takes money to make money. In 1981, the US ranked 13th out of the 22 industrial nations in income equality; now, we are dead last. In 1976, the top 1% of the population owned just less than 20% of our nation’s financial wealth; by 1995, they owned twice as much. I am not sure what is worse: that the top 1% own 40% of everything, or that the bottom 80% own just 9%. We are the richest country in the history of the world, yet out of our 3,141 counties, only in 4 can a person making minimum wage afford a one-bedroom apartment; while our presidential candidates can’t remember how many
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many homes they own. When asked to define “rich,” John McCain replied, “I think if you’re just talking about income, how about $5 million.” So I can make $4.9 million a year and still be considered middle-class? WTF? How wide is the gap between the Haves and Have Nots? If you drew a line on a building threestories high to represent the distance between the highest and lowest family income, the average income sits just ten and a half inches off the ground, with half the nation clumped below. It must be difficult for the wealthy to even see the common man from such lofty heights. No wonder President George W. Bush described his political fan base as “The Haves and The Have Mores.” In 1965, the average CEO for a major US company earned 24 times more than the average worker in the same company; by 2000, the average CEO earned 300 times more than the average worker! There are currently CEOs reportedly earning 500 times more, which means on that CEO’s first day on the job, he earned more by lunch than the average worker will all year. I realize it is popular to place the blame for all our country’s woes at the doorsteps of the colossal corporations that control the global economy. These institutions operate with the sole mission of maximizing profits: greed incarnate. However, we must admit these institutions exist because we, as individuals, want to purchase products at the least expensive price and these corporations enable us to do so; they are only giving us what we want. So if the small independent businessman becomes extinct, minimal-skill labor gets outsourced, and the notion of job stability becomes obsolete in the process, we, as individuals, must bear some responsibility. We had a choice between small companies that operate with some degree of humanity and big companies that produce cheaper products by treating their workers as expendable assets, and we choose the latter. No surprise really. As a Gen-X guy, my first poop was in a disposable diaper, my first shave was with a disposable razor, my camera is disposable, my plates are paper, and my cups are Styrofoam, so is it any wonder I do not expect to have the same job (or spouse) forever? Gen-X is the disposable generation and we have thrown away our happiness. We, as individuals, must recognize the high price to be paid for “having what we want.” 1957 was the year the percentage of Americans describing themselves as “very happy” peaked. Satisfaction has become more and more elusive ever since. Clinical depression rates are ten times what they were before the Baby Boomers. Child suicide rates have tripled since the 60s; suicide is now the third leading cause of death for young Americans age 15 to 24. We have the highest percentage of people who are in prison, divorced, surgically enhanced, overweight, and mentally ill, than any country in the history of mankind.
It is time we accept that wealth alone does not create lasting happiness. Shopping is an addiction; the thrill we get buying a new possession is fleeting, and when it fades we feel empty, so we have to rush out and buy something else for another quick fix. We’ve become “shopaholics” and to support our habit we’ve had to become “workaholics,” because the free market isn’t free. We work over 160 hours more each year than we did in 1969, in effect working 13 months a year. And we do it on 20% less sleep than in 1990. All work and no play make Jack have headaches, back pain, heart palpitations, hyperacidity, sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety, and depression. This created a new way to make money in America: psycho-pharmaceuticals. In the past 40 years the pharmaceutical industry has had consistently higher returns on investments than any other industrial group. 30 million citizens (1 in 10) are now on antidepressants. “The pursuit of happiness” was stressed by our Founding Fathers, but what would they say today, “Give me Librium or give me Meth?” Mr. Greed is never satisfied so neither are we. Every day a new product arrives promising the contentment that eludes us. Supermarkets now stock over 30,000 items, two and a half times as many as offered in 1984. With all these choices to choose from, we are frequently left with a persistent feeling we made the wrong choice. This feeling spills over into all aspects of life, including relationships. Is there a person alive today that has not questioned that perhaps there is someone better out there than their current significant other? Once again, full satisfaction escapes us. Clearly having a house full of toys is not the answer; families are more disconnected than ever. Now, Dad is in the study on the computer, while the kids are upstairs playing video games, and Mom is watching a DVD in the media room. We are so busy entertaining ourselves we don’t have time to really connect with our loved ones, one of the true sources of happiness. All generations eventually come face to face with the fact that our lives have been lived; what we have done is behind us and cannot be changed. The Baby Boomers gave us many wonderful things, such as Rock-N-Roll, and life-saving medical advancements like transplants, laser surgery, and cures for Polio, Smallpox and Cholera. I am grateful. However, they also created a consumer culture obsessed with material gain that led GenX down the wrong path in search of happiness. We have foolishly looked outside ourselves for satisfactions that can only come from within. Hopefully there is enough time for us to turn this ship around before it sinks. I sincerely hope the Gen-X legacy will include more than Big Macs, wine in a box, cheese in an aerosol can, boner pills for men, and so many Boy Bands you'd think Michael Jackson peed in our talent pool.
I am proud Gen-X learned from some of the Baby Boomer’s mistakes and as a result Gen-Y grew up aware that tobacco kills, cholesterol should be avoided, seat belts save lives, and you really don’t need to have your tonsils removed. I am in hopes Gen-Y will learn from the Gen-X mistakes and shift priorities to create a new measure of success. In 1967, two-thirds of American college students said “developing a meaningful philosophy of life” was “very important” to them, while less than a third picked “making a lot of money.” By 1997, those numbers were reversed. I prey this outlook will reverse again and Gen-Y will pull back the curtain of materialism and reveal that Mr. Greed is a fraud; learning that, just like the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion, we already possess everything we need to be happy. Simplify. Cut up your credit cards and enjoy the stress-free life of living within your means. Spend a little more to support small business and stop feeding the heartless retail mega-corporations. Find joy in nature. Shift from “wake up and smell the coffee” back to “stop and smell the roses.” Spend more time outdoors and insist the children in your life do the same. Limit your child’s exposure to advertising and remind them that TV characters (and their lifestyles) are fictional. Rediscover the pleasure of entertaining yourself with the art of conversation; it will reconnect you with your loved ones. If nothing else, teach your children that wanting what you have is more important than having what you want. Generation-X entered with scientists trying to figure out how old the planet is and we exit with scientists figuring how much older it may get; please learn from our mistakes. If you don’t, Generation Z may be the end of the line. For more information on the intelligent comedy of Spanky, he is represented by Red Planet Productions (212-514-5741). If you were amused or bemused by the above, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org You might want to check out his regular column in Campus Activities Magazine® or campusactivitiesmagazine.com Spanky is an excellent, thought-provoking comedian on a wide array of subjects.
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 7
Corporate With A Purpose: The Re-Invention of Entertainment No one who plans, produces or participates as a supplier to corporate events would question the integral value that entertainment contributes to the overall success of an event. What the International Special Events Society (ISES) audience at the 2009 Northeast Regional Education Conference wanted to know from their panel of industry experts was how the current environment is impacting entertainment decisions and how their peers are overcoming the budget and perception
issues facing companies today. The four industry experts were all members of The International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers (IACEP), which organized the session held at the Marriott New York Downtown. They delivered a compendium of information about domestic and global trends impacting corporate entertainment from which ISES members could draw their own conclusions. Due to the success of the March 8th program led by moderator Jeff Kalpak (Barkley Kalpak Associates), panel members Craig Neier (Craig Neier Associates), Danny Bergold (Empire Force Events), and Carmen Tomassetti, (CTO World Entertainment Productions), they were asked to share the information with AEM readers. In a follow up interview, they presented four key themes from their March 8th presentation and the audience discussion that followed: broader meeting goals;
focus on the fundamentals; shrinking attention spans; and new technologies.
Broader Meeting Goals
Hiring entertainment has not ceased, it’s just evolved. Corporations are redefining entertainment’s importance by the purpose it serves. Companies know they need to keep meeting so that their key resources are up to speed and ready to blast out of the blocks when the market returns. But they are also conscious of the fact that consumers and shareholders want to see how these investments add value. So beyond the usual laser focus on a meeting’s business objectives, corporations are broadening their goals to ensure their entertainment investments have a wider impact and support organizational values. For example, as Neier said “Corporate social responsibility gives an entertainment element a purpose.” That means that corporations are looking to strengthen their
purpose for having a meeting by “tying events into fundraisers for charities or foundations.” One client’s program recreated an NFL experience. All the money raised went to a cancer center. At the end of the day, the event was a “good thing for employees and served a public service.” The green initiative is a surefire method to align entertainment choices with a company’s values. For instance, many bands promote the fact they’re green. The company can then demonstrate its concern for the environment while still providing entertainment, commented Bergold, “We used to make suggestions about things that would reduce rider costs, but now clients are asking what’s in the rider that could be perceived as being green.” Another way in which corporations are reinforcing values through meetings is a focus on “family values, kind of like Take Your Child To Work day,” explained Neier. Some clients are engaging families in conferences to achieve this, and that has a clear impact on what kind of entertainment would be appropriate.
Focus on Fundamentals
“It’s about going back to basics… simplifying,” said Bergold. He advised being flexible about production value and decreasing the numbers of performers needed. Neier noted that some companies are bringing in the same celebrity performer, but instead of being backed by a band, the singer lowers production costs by doing it “unplugged.” Tomassetti cited a client who wanted a “Jersey Boys” production, but to reduce costs, the performers worked with soundtracks. Clients are looking for impact, but cutting bells and whistles. Other advice from the panelists for producers and entertainers?
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L to R: Carmen Tomassetti, Danny Bergold, Craig Neier, Jeff Kalpak. Photo: Agency Photographers
How entertainment is delivered greatly alters how it is perceived in terms of corporate excess. Instead of an over-the-top spectacle, find ways to simplify decor and lighting.
Clients want to be blown away by the talent and content, rather than the spectacle.
Shrinking Attention Spans
The length of a performance has been affected by media and technology. “Young people are used to watching shows like “America’s Got Talent”… seeing acts that are three-to-five minutes in length. Go beyond that and they’re bored. The audience needs to be hit with that ‘Wow’ moment and then they’re ready to move on to something else,” said Kalpak. Variety shows, in which three or four acts perform shorter sets, is an emerging response to this trend that solves the problem an audiences’ short attention span. It especially works well with international audiences. If one act doesn’t gel with a segment of the audience, they know another act will appear shortly. “Affordable acts—those that deliver a fiveminute punch, make their mark by being short… such as dance crews or the type of performer you’d see on ‘America’s Got Talent’,” said Kalpak. “They usually have one to three people in the group. That appeals to planners because they’re not flying ten people across country.” New acts generally create value for less money. “Everyone’s looking to save money. I agree that when you have a specific deliverable and purpose, it’s important to communicate, but the main topic is still saving dollars,” added Tomassetti.
From twittering immediate updates of convention schedules to blogging about sessions, and to the social media sites that encourage attendance because people want to still be a part of any happening, technology is felt at every level of a conference. So while technology that creates spectacle is receding in importance right now, technologies that enhance communication and eliminate waste
are surging forward. “I don’t like getting hard copies anymore. I want it delivered digitally so I can immediately see it or forward to clients. Part of our (corporate entertainment producers) own green initiative is that we don’t want to waste materials,” voiced Bergold. One point the four IACEP elite corporate entertainment producers agree on is that a company still has to market and advertise to keep going. Even during economic downswings, a corporation requires meetings that boast entertainment and which draw attendance, or when the economy does pick up, they’ll be behind their more attentive competition. Their conclusion? If a business is not bringing their people together, they are missing the chance to create loyalty and inspire their employees and clients. The human connection a meeting sparks inspires commitment and new thinking. That emotional connection is the key – and entertainment is a surefire way to accelerate and heighten its impact. If you want more information about the future direction of corporate entertainment and acts that support the trends cited above, the corporate entertainment experts—IACEP, has the answers. Go to www.iacep.com to identify a seasoned entertainment producer. Special Thanks to Jeff Kalpak, Barkley Kalpak Associates, email@example.com Craig Neier, Craig Neier Associates, firstname.lastname@example.org Danny Bergold, Empire Force Events, DBergold@empireforce.com Carmen Tomassetti, CTO World Entertainment Productions, Carmen@cto.com All contributing experts have agreed to answer questions or provide additional info if readers want to learn more.
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 9
Edwin McCain is a performer who truly understands the intricacies of each and every different market and audience he plays for. Well experienced in nearly any venue over his past 20 years entertaining, he is one performer who knows how to accommodate corporate client’s special requests and exhibit the cordiality he has become so well known and loved for. With a total of 10 record releases, Edwin has a bevy of mainstream hits trailing in his wake, including his breakthrough hit “Solitude” in 1995. Followed by highly successful hits like “Sorry To A Friend” “I’ll Be”, and the huge smash “I Could Not Ask For More” from the film Message In A Bottle which also became 10, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, May/June 2009
a crossover hit on the country charts when it was rerecorded by Sara Evans. Despite great success and exposure in many mainstream outlets, Edwin still hasn’t forgotten where he came from. “The college market was where I cut my teeth and became a real performer, as did Hootie & The Blowfish, Dave Matthews, John Mayer and so many others. That was the preferred method of ascension at the time. Everybody knew that you needed to get with Mike Lee (the biggest college music agent in the area at the time) and start booking colleges to get your career off the ground.” www.americanentertainmentmagazine.com
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 11
Edwin’s band started paying their dues. “When I say we played, I mean we played everywhere. We slept on couches and floors and did whatever it took to get to where we were going to play. It was amazing and it was fun; God was it fun.” Initially all of these dates were centered in the Southeast, Edwin beginning his career in Hilton Head, SC and then moving on to the very active college scene in what was locally known as “The Triangle.” “Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina formed a very active hub of entertainment in the college market. There are a lot of campuses in the area and they all had big music scenes. We would play The Triangle until we made enough money to afford to go to Texas and then we’d run out of money and come back. Then, we’d go to New York and start it over again. We played every fraternity, sorority and keg party we could get our hands on. We used to play every college function at Duke. It was great.”
what has happened now is that the technology has overwhelmed people. They think with the Internet and online media and distribution and all of the viral marketing that can be done, the job will be easy. They get entirely too tied up with virally marketing themselves and they forget to be passionate and dedicated. Some of that nuts and bolts stuff falls by the wayside, but you really have to do that. I think there is no way to digitally duplicate a compelling emotional performance and Dave Matthews and Hootie knew that. I just learned it from them.” Anyone who sees this man perform will realize his incredible charisma and talent
would shine in any setting, but he is well aware that a large part of his success also came from a right-place right-time scenario. “I was a part of a musical boom in the Southeast that was special. We never considered that we would get record deals, the best we could do was to get big in the colleges. That is what we were hoping to do; the result was such a surprise and it changed the face of the music industry in the Southeast.” Members of this explosive Southeastern music movement in the mid 90’s produced acts the like of Dave Matthews, Hootie, Better Than Ezra Rusted Root, Sister Hazel,
Paying homage to where he started isn’t uncommon for Edwin either, as he is still active in the campus market and because of his love and loyalty for it, will continue to be. “It is fun even now to go back and play because it is such a different mind set now. Back then, we were playing for college kids as college kids, or at least should have been (laughs), but I wasn’t, much to my old man’s chagrin. Now going is fun, especially when we get to talk to the up-and-coming musicians at the college. We always make a point of trying to do a Q&A with the music class or at least some student-based Q&A, just to talk about some of the things that lie ahead and what you have to do to impress the music industry these days.” Edwin looks back on his career and appreciates the value of having some guidance. “I had sort of a bridge in some older musicians who looked after me when I first started and it is always nice to be able to return that favor.” Edwin has a top-notch team and strategy when it comes to marketing his product and he utilizes all available avenues, however he also speaks on the point of becoming too dependent on the cold hard tools of the trade. “I like to be able to tell my story because I think that while the industry has changed, the pathway hasn’t. The way to get to where you want to go starts with desire, focus, emotion and passion. I think 12, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, May/June 2009
Blind Melon, Tonic, Cowboy Mouth and a host of others. Many of these acts owe their success to the incredibly popular Aware Records compilation albums, which at the time single handedly shaped that popular music scene. “I was on Aware 3 and I think 9 of 11 bands on that particular disc went on to major label success. It was astounding what was happening with music then.” One special memory Edwin recalls epitomizes the state of the scene at the time. “I remember one of the Aware events and everybody was there. All of the bands, Tonic, Sister Hazel, us, Hootie, I don’t even remember them all. What I do remember is that The Verve Pipe played and just crushed it. Every musician there knew it; I remember looking at Cary Pierce of Jackopierce and just saying ‘Wow, I’ll go get your jock strap if you’ll go get mine (laughs). Because we all thought we were great and anybody that tells you they didn’t are lying. I just remember when those guys came out on stage and just handed it to everybody. And no one knew who they were. I remember that was the moment where I knew who my real friends were in that musical community. The guys who knew they had just been schooled but were laughing about it were blown away and happy they got to see this great band were the good ones. The people who were bummed you knew wouldn’t last very long (laughs) because when it comes right down to it, that’s how the Southeast really did protect itself. All of these musicians loaned each other fans, amps, trailers, whatever. It wasn’t a competition, it was ‘Hey, we’re the red-headed step children of the music business and no one cares about us anyway, so we have to look out for each other.’ I remember a gig at W&L University in Lexington, Virginia with Dave Matthew’s playing one frat house, I’m at the next one and then Hootie was next to me, all
next door to each other. We’d all go back and forth between breaks to hang out because that was just the sort of close-knit community it was.” Edwin still performs in the college market when the opportunities arise, but he honestly admits that time has shifted his appeal and his focus. “I am not as relevant in the college market today as I once was. When I was in my twenties, I was a college kid playing for college kids. My audience has grown up and I play different venues now. I am a parent now. I play venues that start at 7 o’clock instead of midnight. I still play outdoor festivals and shows at the colleges, but the days of me playing until the wee hours of the morning in a college bar are pretty much over.” Edwin’s main strides presently have come in areas that are of special interest to the readers of this magazine. From corporate functions and private events to performing arts theatres and special celebrity functions, Edwin has the look, sound, reputation and appeal, which are perfect for our reader’s. “I do a TON of corporate work. From Gulfstream to GlaxoSmithKline, I have done performances for more corporate clients than I can remember.” From the NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL all the way to NASCAR, you name it, Edwin has probably done it. “I do a ton of private events for the NASCAR drivers. I just sang at Bill France’s (creator of NASCAR) funeral. I do so many functions, from National Anthem events to intimate private storyteller cocktail parties.” Edwin has done any kind of event you can imagine for all sorts of groups and is well aware of how widely each performance may need to vary from the next. “It all depends on what the client’s needs are. I have
done huge corporate events with a full orchestra backing me for Toyota; I have done the 15 person coffee shop circle sit-down on the back of a private yacht in the Azores for Dale Earnhardt before he passed away. I have done pretty much every gig you can possibly imagine. I have even done gigs with no power or sound, just me and a guitar on top of a cooler at the beach. It all depends on what the client needs.” Edwin says while a lot of performers may just pack in and out of their gigs, he loves performing for corporate and special events as much for the opportunity to see new people and things as to play his music. “I get a glimpse into how someone else’s business works. I did the ACE awards through Peter Jacobsen’s company PJP and I got a chance to sit with all these high level insurance agents and get a perspective on how their industry works. I really didn’t know anything about it. When I did an event for Gulfstream I got to see the planes and meet the pilots which was really exciting.” Being an amateur pilot himself, this was especially exciting for the musician. He says one of his greatest pleasures in doing shows for the corporate market is the audiences he knows he can look forward to. Aside from the somewhat strange sensation of occasionally performing for a crowd full of formal evening wear (something Edwin surely didn’t see before the corporate market), he says the attentiveness and respect he gets from these groups is quite relaxing and reassuring. “The difference in corporate events is that everyone is having a great time. When you deal with the general public, there is quite often a wild card situation. There is always a crazy person in the audience or someone who is drunk and screaming or going bonkers. While you learn to deal with this over time, it can still be off-putting. In
corporate and association settings, everyone is very kind, respectful and calm.” One feature of the entertainer’s personality that shows a prevailing maturity and wisdom perfect for these venues is his ability to recognize and accommodate for different types of groups. “A real challenge for me is how to play each and every different event. Sometimes I am asked to be the main attraction and outwardly be the entertainer and master of ceremonies for the event. In other cases, it is better for me to be optional. I may be playing off to one side of the event and when people want to come over and engage me and hang out and listen to music they can. When they want to go back to get some food and mingle that’s fine as well. Sometimes it is hard for entertainers to know (or admit) when to do which. I have a lot of fun figuring it out, as well as making sure the songs and material I present are appropriate for anyone who is watching me.” His focus is right where it should be for every event. “I ask myself at every function I play, ‘How can I be the most accommodating? How can I be the easiest part of this event?’ When meeting planners and producers look back on the event, I want them to say ‘Wow, Edwin McCain was the least stressful and most helpful part of this event!’ That is my goal. I show up an hour ahead of time, I may play longer than they expected, I talk to anyone who wants to see me after and then I’m out of their hair.” Edwin completely understands that the entertainment portion of the event can be the make or break of the entire day. Edwin is also a staunch supporter of pre-show audience research. “The worst thing you can do is to not know your audience. If I am playing in front of a crowd, I want to be careful to avoid topics that could spark a debate. I don’t want to try and deliver a political message in front of an international crowd. After the show is over, people will talk. You don’t want to be the cause of tension over a controversial topic just to make a point. It is just as important as keeping a show G-rated for clients because there will be children in the audience. It’s a very important point to consider.” With all the freedom and satisfaction he gets by being able to perform so many corporate functions, Edwin is also able to refocus his energy on another thing that truly matters to him, which is giving back.
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Edwin does a lot of public service. In this respect, Edwin is the role model that every entertainer should be. By design and by luck, entertainers are some of our highest profile members of society and as such should be held to a higher standard than we have seen recently. Role models and heroes are what they should be, not criminals and drug addicts. Edwin McCain is an example many could learn from. From a young age he had trouble in school due to learning disabilities and speaks to kids on the subject of overcoming their problems and making the most of the talents they have. “The idea of being able to say that I have lived a very colorful and blessed life does not exclude me from working in service and doing good things, especially in the case of kids with learning disabilities. I was severely dyslexic and learning disabled and it was really hard for me growing up. For me to be able to go to these special schools and talk to these kids is dear to me. I can say to them ‘Look, its hard now and maybe it seems like there is something different about you. Well, there is, but it’s a good different. You can take what is different about you and capitalize on it and do great things.’ It is just a matter of finding the things you do well and working hard at those things. He speaks to corporations about getting their members involved with public service, something anyone in the position to do so certainly should. He has built homes for low-income families. He personally funds a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in his hometown. He does a significant amount of work both professionally and charitably for the military as well. “As much as I love playing, I think that at the end of the day what we are for each other is really in service to each other. I think the better part of our nature is in our ability to help others. To reach out and leave our communities in better shape than we found them.” Edwin McCain is one of the most significant ways you can impact your next audience. From a performer in the national spotlight on radio and special guest appearances on television programs like the “Dr. Phil” show, Edwin McCain is one of the most inspirational artists and truest humanitarians that you could consider for your next event. BOOK IT! For more information on bringing Edwin McCain to your next event, contact Cass Scripps at Metro Talent at (770-395-1000) or for a virtual link, log on to our website at www.americanentertainmentmagazine.com AE May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 15
With improv training from The Groundlings, two International Juggling Championships, multiple appearances on "The Tonight Show" starring Jay Leno, and a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, These two unrelated siblings bring unparalleled experience and excitement to corporate and special events around the world. They have opened for Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Howie Mandel, Dennis Miller and Tony Bennett. Their ability to quickly connect with and win over any group has earned them standing ovations. www.keyartistgroup.com
The Blanks, aka "Ted's Band" on the wildly popular sitcom Scrubs, are available to perform hilariously musical and entertaining acappella and comedy at your special event! They’re seen in over 90 million households on ABC, NBC, Comedy Central, TV Land, and daily network syndications, plus live performances at colleges, arts centers, casinos and festivals. Their shows are a riot - with songs from their 8 years on “Scrubs”, plus such classics as "Charles in Charge" and the "Six Million Dollar Man." http://www.thebazelgroup.com/theblanks
In an economy like this, clients are looking for more for their money. Your job is to deliver the best value for the budget. We’ve discovered more than 80 shows for $15,000 or less. Some of these are traditional acts you may not have believed
could be such a bargain. Others are emerging talent that offer excellent performances. In many cases these special prices may not include travel and accomodations. Please check with the act to verify your exact cost.
This singer/songwriter from Decatur, Georgia is out to revive the passion and soul of the Golden Age of Rhythm & Blues (1960-1972) for a new generation. His debut album, This Is Ryan Shaw, combines a powerfully expressive voice with a clutch of great songs both classic and new -and a state-of-theart, in-your-face sound that makes it impossible to sit still. Over the last two years, he's performed with Joss Stone, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, John Legend, Los Lonely Boys and Van Halen, just to name a few. www.montereyinternational.net
Unplugged is an acoustic quartet consisting of 2 guitars, bass and percussion. They play all the hits of the Classic Rock era, from The Beatles to Van Morrison to The Rolling Stones. Perfect for background music or featured entertainment, Unplugged is worlds apart from any other band in San Francisco! Innovative Entertainment www.inn-entertainment.com
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DICK BRIGHT’S SRO
Innovative Entertainment www.inn-entertainment.com
Considered one of the top party bands in the country today, Dick Bright's SRO puts on a show like no other band you've ever experienced. Clever costumes and props, zany skits, hiphop choreography and soul-stirring vocals are all set to a pulsating beat. A unique combination of six lead singers, three horns, three dancers plus a four-piece rhythm section, they are visually as well as musically exciting, their repertoire includes music of the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. Innovative Entertainment www.inn-entertainment.com
Key Artist Group
Stringfever - are four world class musicians playing five and six-stringed electric violins, viola and cello in a truly original show. Stringfever’s unique, acclaimed version of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ has all four playing on one cello simultaneously. Then they challenge the audience to play “Name That Tune” as they race through 20 of the best-loved film themes in one breathless arrangement. Their helter-skelter 007 James Bond medley is an absolute killer. The show ends with ‘The History of Music... in 5 Minutes’. Byway Entertainment & Events, Inc. www.stringfeverusa.com
Shemekia Copeland’s passion for singing, matched with her huge, blast-furnace voice, gives her music the timeless power of a very few greats who have come before her. “Young Shemekia is the most soul-shaking, big-voiced blues singer in years, attacking contemporary material like the early Etta James.” - Village Voice “Extraordinary talent.... Copeland is a vocalist who knows few stylistic limitations. She’s a true blues diva.” - Billboard
This is the premier party band with the greatest hits of the 60’s and 70’s with a special emphasis on the music of the Beach Boys. Performing for four decades, averaging 150 dates a year, highlights include touring with Jan & Dean in the 70’s, performing and recording with members of the Beach Boys, and earning two gold record awards. With all that credibility, plus having a former member of the Beach Boys as the newest member in the band, it is no wonder they are so successful!!
ZEROtaiko prowls the edge of fusion music, reshaping it into a unique, multi-sensory experience. ZERO uses Taiko, the ancient art of Japanese drumming, as a springboard into creativity by merging the percussive Ki with the modern wizardry of synthesized sounds, ethnic instruments, and powerful visual performance. They transform the ordinary into an extraordinary experience. keyartistgroup.com
Singer, actress and performer Simone is the daughter of musical legend and freedom fighter Nina Simone. Simone has been building a career as a vocalist and performer in touring musical productions (Jesus Christ Superstar), jazz bands (Liquid Soul), with international touring artists (Raphael), as well as Broadway performances (Rent, The Lion King, Aida). Prior to her passing, Nina Simone left her daughter a large collection of charts for compositions. These charts became the basis for her newest record, “Simone on Simone.“
Apollo Robbins is a unique combination of performer, speaker and consultant. Robbins first made national news as the man who pick-pocketed the Secret Service while entertaining former president Jimmy Carter. Apollo's performances utilize pickpocketing and sleight-of-hand to demonstrate proximity manipulation, diversion techniques and attention control. This unique set of skills has led to several national television appearances as well as both corporate and academic speaking engagements. www.eastcoastentertainment.com
The Celtic Tenors have established themselves as the most successful Classical Crossover artists to have ever come out of Ireland, and continue to re-invent the whole "Tenor" idiom. Offering three different programs (a holiday program, a symphony program and their traditional Celtic repertoire), the Celtic Tenors continue to stretch musical boundaries while paying homage to their traditional Irish roots.
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 17
1964-THE TRIBUTE Still the "#1 Beatles Show In The World" according to Rolling Stone Magazine, 1964 The Tribute over the years has become one of the hottest corporate acts in America. Selling out such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall and Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the band easily and successfully plays fundraisers, corporate parties, conventions, and many other private events with the same success. Even dyed-in-the-wool Beatles fans will tell you that 1964 The Tribute is so close to the original that even the lads themselves would have a hard time distinquishing them. With all the original gear and costumes, 1964 is a real trip down Memory Lane. Group H Entertainment www.grouph.com/1964/
Craig Karges combines the art of magic with the science of psychology and the power of intuition to create the impression that nothing is impossible. Tables float, minds are read, metal bends and your imagination is challenged because you won’t believe your eyes! You’ve seen Craig on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Larry King Live” as well as CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, E! and CNBC. Craig has also starred in two, one-hour television specials and is the author of Ignite Your Intuition and The Wizard’s Legacy. In addition to his work as an entertainer, Craig is also an accomplished professional speaker and offers Ignite Your Intuition (based on his book) as a perfect complement to his business theatre and motivational entertainment program Experience the Extraordinary! Purchasers can get two presentations with only one travel expense for less than $15,000. Karges Productions www.craigkarges.com
Cowboy Mouth is New Orleans rock n' roll. Annually presenting roughly 200 shows, releasing nearly a dozen records, and featured on TV shows and radio stations everywhere, Cowboy Mouth has been seen and heard by millions of fans worldwide. For more than 15 years, the members have preached and shouted at the top of their lungs the joys of being alive and being in and from New Orleans. As frontman Fred LeBlanc said, "If The Neville Brothers and The Clash had a baby, it would be Cowboy Mouth." www.montereyinternational.net
Associated Entertainment • associatedentertainment.com
17 Years, 8 Albums, 4 Gold Records, 21 Countries and 8 Bass Players. Following the break-up of his seminal 1980's band, Camper van Beethoven, David Lowery, looking to the future, formed Cracker with Johnny Hickman. Cracker was, and continues to be, an ideal showcase for Lowery's invariably satiric, oft-times, acerbic take on present day Americana. Anchored by Hickman’s pan-rock stylings they glide seamlessly between rock, alternative and country musical styles giving them the freedom to consistently re-invent themselves. As a result, they have enjoyed a longevity possessed by few rock bands.
DEANNA JOHNSTON, TREY PARKER and WES QUAVE are the nucleus and magic of this group. Collectively they are one family on stage. Their charming enthusiasm, professional choreography and high energy are infectious to all audiences and guarantee to make you want to dance! Superlatives: High energy!! Entertaining!! Gets the party started!!! Hollywood's most notable!! Dynamic show!! “The Best band I’ve ever worked with!!!” Current Hits to Classic rock, R&B and Motown to Disco, Standard Jazz to Swing. They have a fresh, hip style and funky approach to music.
Being part singer, comic, and impressionist Finis Henderson's audience is equivalent to being invited to a reunion of some of the entertainment industry's greatest legends! You'll rock to the rhythm of Eminem, InSync, Outkast, and Ricky Martin, swoon to the unforgettable Barry White; and, then reminisce with Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Mick Jagger, BeeGee's, The Beatles, James Brown, Willie and Julio, Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, Prince, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Beach Boys, Rick James and none other than Mr. Ray Charles himself!
Innovative Entertainment www.inn-entertainment.com
Innovative Entertainment www.inn-entertainment.com
Relive the music and the memories with BEATLEMAJESTY. BEATLEMAJESTY features original members of the smashhit Broadway production, BEATLEMANIA. From note for note renditions of the songs that have become the soundtrack of the 60's, to exact replicas of The Beatles’ wardrobe and hairstyles, including costume changes that feature the matching jackets of the Beatles, BEATLEMAJESTY will have you “twisting and shouting” throughout their show!
David Glickman presents "Custom Corporate Comedy", a hilarious performance of jokes and songs created specifically about the client's business or industry. He combines humor and music into an experience that leaves the audience laughing and amazed as to "how did he know that much about us?" David’s been a professional speaker and entertainer since 1985 and has presented over 2000 programs. He’s worked with everyone from The Beach Boys to Steve Martin and has made several national television appearances.
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One of the Bay Area's hottest dance bands is Encore, a group produced by Dick Bright, leader of the party band Dick Bright’s SRO. Encore is a ten-piece band comprised of four lead singers (three females, one male) as well as guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, saxophone and trumpet. Their repertoire includes music from the 1940’s swing era, through Motown, 70’s disco, 80’s pop, and contemporary hits of today.
John Charles’ popularity in the convention market is a result of his uncanny ability to identify with and relate to any group, no matter how large or small. By allowing his audience to become a part of his show, John is able to create a unique and exciting experience that is tailored especially for that audience, that night. No two shows are ever alike. With just his guitar, a piano, and his incredible singing voice, John amazes his clients with his ability to combine music, comedy and audience interaction. He can produce custom material for any client, from background music to jingles to fun show productions.
A keynote speaker and an incredibly funny entertainer (imagine a speaker, comedy juggler, clean comedian, and magician all in one), Greg creates a visual display of words and action every time he takes the stage. He blends ideas and entertainment into a dynamic presentation about fully experiencing your life in the midst of trying times. You have worked hard to plan your event. Now, make it perfect by inviting Greg Bennick to share his comedy, perspectives, talents, ideas, and creativity with your group.
The Crossbow Tango is a unique and exciting performance of dancing, and precision crossbow marksmanship. Your event will become electrified with excitement as MR. & MRS. G. demonstrate the ultimate in trust and focus as they shoot playing cards out of hand, cigarettes out of mouth and hearts just inches above each other’s head! We can custom make an exciting production for any occasion. www.crossbowact.com
Born the daughter of legendary soul singer, songwriter, actor and music producer Isaac Hayes, Heather honed her skills as an entertainer with the unique ability to leave audiences breathless and wanting more. Her live performances and vocals have been compared to Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner and she’s worked as a singer, dancer and choreographer for Michael Jackson, Brian McKnight, Sean “P Diddy” Combs, James Brown and Beyonce Knowles. She formed The Heather Hayes Experience with some of Atlanta’s most seasoned musicians.
Actor/comedian Hal Sparks was once the host of the Emmyaward winning “Talk Soup”, was a cast member of the hit Showtime series “Queer As Folk,” is one of the stars of the VH1 hit pop culture series “I Love The 90’s, 80’s, 70’s.”, & costarred in the 20th Century Fox comedy, “Dude, Where’s My Car?.” His numerous television appearances include “The Tonight Show,” "Premium Blend", “Larry King Live,” “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “Politically Incorrect,” MTV and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” His stand-up comedy show is a wild ride of high-energy hilarity . www.SummitComedy.com
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 19
When booking the band, Maggie Speaks, you get a national cover band that appeals to both 20-somethings and 60somethings. Their repertoire spans the 60’s through today, focusing on emerging trends and artists. Their high energy, continuous music format with seamless transitions and imaginative mash-ups keeps dance floors packed all night long. With a client list that reads like a Who’s Who of the Fortune 500, Maggie Speaks brings corporate events to life. A favorite among producers from the International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers (IACEP), Maggie Speaks is currently in the running for Best Duo or Group for a 2009 American Entertainment Magazine Reader’s Choice Award. Magnificent Events www.maggiespeaks.com
Jon Stetson was one of the highest rated acts showcasing at the 2008 IACEP Conference. Corporate America's most unique entertainment experience is almost impossible to describe...Mind Reading has never been this much fun! Jon observes people's patterns and steps inside their heads. The results are amazing, motivational, inspirational, and hilarious Both your customer and your bottom line will thank you for it. The Stetson Experience Event Equity Formula simply put: maximizing the customer event experiences = the greatest return on both investment AND objectives.
BEALE STREET FLIPPERS
One of the most sought after acts for NBA halftimes, the Beale Street Flippers couple amazing athletic ability with high-wattage charisma. If you are looking to get a session off to a high energy start, having the Flippers come pouring down the aisle and onto the stage can make your meeting as exciting as an NBA arena. They simply defy gravity as they perform stunts that will leave your audience amazed and delighted. A can’t miss addition to your next general session. Fee: $3,500 - $8,000
BIG SWING BALLROOM BLASTERS
Meet America’s only Big Band Swing Funk Band. Featuring five vocalists, a four-piece band and eight swinging horns.
This band performs Big band and the best dance music in a non-stop 3 hour show to keep your audience on the dance floor. With Grammy winning horns to an allstar band Big Swing brings the Heat!
Resource Entertainment Group www.regmemphis.com
Epic Entertainment • www.epic1.com
G.L. Berg Entertainment www.glberg.com
Something just “clicked” when Antony Field heard Sinatra sing. He knew from that moment on his vocal career would take him on a trail blazed by other crooning legends. After intense vocal training, Antony grabbed a chance to submit original material for the movie “Totally Blonde.” Much to his excitement, two of his songs would go on to be sung by Michael Buble. A perfect corporate entertainment match, listeners can’t help but feel the charismatic charm of this mutli-talented affordable jazz vocalist.
Belladiva is the Midwest’s hottest show band featuring an electrifying ensemble of accomplished singers, dancers, and musicians covering pop, R&B, disco, rock, country and jazz.Their expertise, versatility and attention to detail allow them to cater to clients’ specific needs and custom design an event to fit virtually any theme. Some specialized shows include Boogie Fever- a Tribute to the 70’s, Best of Motown, Divas Through the Decades, Red Hot Country, and back to the 80’s. In addition the band is equipped to provide full production services.
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Make no mistake: This is “in your face” interactive party music! Band X delivers powerful, dynamic renditions of ’60s soul, ’70s disco, ’80s retro, ’90s dance classics, and the hottest pop tunes of today. They have appeared at every Hendon Rocks party — often joined on-stage with stars like Mickey Thomas (Starship), Lou Gramm (Foreigner), Jeff Carlisi (.38 Special) and Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) to play their hits, for corporate clients and fund-raisers including Xerox, Delta, IBM, Visa, Intuit, HBO and the March of Dimes, and at private galas such as Spanx founder Sara Blakely’s wedding. www.vipentpro.com • www.bandxinfo.com
Unanimously voted by Uri Geller, Criss Angel and the American Public as the #1 mystifier in the world. NBC searched the globe for the 10 best mystifiers in the world. Over a series of 5 weeks the American public voted on their favorite entertainer. With ELECTRIC performances on LIVE Network TV, that reached out and ENCHANTED the public, MIKE SUPER was chosen as the BEST of the BEST, awarded $250,000.00 and given the prestigious title of THE PHENOMENON. Mike was named Americas Best Entertainer of the Year by Campus Activities Magazine; their highest honor. He's also been awarded Best Performing Arts Entertainer of the Year and Best Novelty Entertainer of the Year. Mike is currently touring the US, selling out theatres nationwide, and has his own weekly television series coming out in late 2008! Supernatural Productions www.mikesuper.com
Barkley Kalpak and Associates www.bka.net
Bravo Entertainment • www.bravo4u.com
C. Willi Myles is America’s everyday comedian! Willi takes everyday life challenges and applies the humor to them. He has opened for many of the top musical and comedy acts and in concert with the biggest names in entertainment. Willi is also an extremely popular performer for corporate events.With funny non-offensive stories and jokes, Willi makes everybody laugh. What happens when you take a guy from Alabama and you move him to Minnesota and let him experience his first winter including ice fishing? One thing that happens for sure is a lot of laughter. G.L. Berg Entertainment • www.glberg.com
BROADWAY YOUR WAY
Harmony Artists • www.harmonyartists.com
Barkley Kalpak and Associates
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of a Broadway musical? Broadway Stories features three seasoned Broadway performers offering an insider’s look into their personal stories about what happens behind the curtain. What is their favorite song to perform? What has been their best experience on Broadway? If they could play any character from any show, who would it be? What is their most embarrassing moment on stage? Unparalleled vocal performances and exclusive backstage tales from current Broadway stars make this journey along the Great White Way incredibly informative and memorable.
CAVALCADE OF STARS
With the cast of professional musicians, singers & impersonators, “Cavalcade of Stars” will wow your audience with a dazzling show featuring the most famous entertainers in the world and a wild rendition of Retro-1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s costumed dance sets! “Cavalcade of Stars” is an exciting, interactive show & dance band that is perfect for corporate events, fairs, festivals, and private parties. Whether you are looking for an elegant ensemble for cocktails or dinner or a dynamic disco or rock n' roll show entertainment, this attraction will keep your audience entertained and on the dance floor all evening. Tapley Entertainment • www.talentbookingusa.com
Welcome to the magic of sound. Kristalleon is a magician. He weaves his magic with the sounds and melodies of crystal glasses. His silver flutes charm us into a daydream of mirrors and light. Dressed in 400 mirrors, he entices his audience into other realms, other worlds. Crystal clear water and the finest glass sparkle like a thousand stars. He wanders nimbly through space and time, leading us masterfully through melodies past and present. In the end he invites his enthralled audience to join in, but still reveals no secrets. Fascinating music, light and ethereal, like the player himself.
The lead vocalist from Riverdance on Broadway, Michael Londra is accompanied by a 5-piece Irish band fusing Celtic airs and original compositions in an amalgamation of driving rhythms. Supported by an array of traditional instruments including uileann pipes, whistles, bodhranm and fiddle Michael integrates his phenomenal tenor voice with the rhythmic band and the lore of the Emeral Isle bringing new definition to Irish music. Barrie Robinson, Irish ambassador to the U.S., called it “A unique and outstanding contribution to Irish arts.”
C. WILLI MYLES
Broadway Your Way ™ is an opportunity to experience first hand what it’s like to be a Broadway performer. During this fun and unique experience, participants “audition” and then are divided into several “Broadway show casts.” A team of actual Broadway performers teaches each group musical numbers and simplified choreography so they are able to perform a Broadway number for their peers. It’s not only a great teambuilding activity, but the final performance also becomes the event’s entertainment! www.bka.net
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 21
BIG CITY REVUE
“Dance Like Drumming, Drum Like Dancing”
Their secret formula is really no secret. Big City starts with a strong, well-rehearsed 5- piece rhythm section, consisting of bass guitar, lead guitar, an arsenal of state of the art keyboards and drums. Then they add an outstanding percussionist to boost the rhythms even more. Add to this a brassy, punchy horn combination of trumpet, trombone, and sax all playing explosive horn arrangements highlighted by exciting solo spotlights.
COBU is an all-female Japanese performing arts troupe, originally founded in 2000 by STOMP! performer Yako Miyamoto. Blending traditional Taiko drumming with rhythmic tap dancing, COBU delivers a live action show filled with powerful tempos, exhilarating choreography and striking movement. Comprised of 7 drummers and dancers, COBU is based in New York City, and tours throughout much of Asia, Europe, and The United States.
Cobu’s motto is inspired by the combined sounds of New York and traditional Japanese culture.Their signature sound is created organically through acoustic instruments, rather than digital transcription. This juxtaposition of traditional modernity makes them one of the most unique and original mind-blowing groups of our time. The Peter Bailey Company www.cobu.us
One of the most sought-after corporate and special event comedians in the country, Dick Hardwick's strong audience reaction is a testament to his ability to know what works each and every time he hits the stage...and make you - the buyer - the hero! Dick recently hosted the private 80th Birthday party for General Chuck Yeager’s 25 closest friends and the 75th for Michael Pulitzer. Upon seeing his act, Larry The Cable Guy called him “My new favorite comedian!” The LA Times calls him “A comedian that can be trusted to be clean!” A veteran entertainer producers know they can trust!
LogiCom Management • www.dickhardwick.com
As one of music’s most distinctive voices, David Pack has won acclaim for his solo work and as the former lead vocalist and guitarist for group Ambrosia. As a songwriter, Pack’s compositions took the band to the top of the charts repeatedly. Now on his own he continues to excite audiences with his music, often being described as “electric on stage.” Audiences’ sing along with his classic #1 solid-gold hits “Biggest Part of Me,” “How Much I Feel,” “You’re the Only Woman.” His fiery guitar work and soulful vocals combine to create a dynamic evening of affordable and memorable entertainment. Epic Entertainment • www.epic1.com
LogiCom Project Mgmt. • www.logicomonline.com
Mardar Entertainment • www.hypnotwist.com
Jane Labanz first appeared on Broadway in Anything Goes opposite Patti LuPone at Lincoln Center. She subsequently earned 40 professional theatre credits, performing in over 100 theatres across the country, including Radio City Music Hall. She has been a stand-by for celebrities such as Sandy Duncan and Stefanie Powers. She has performed with Ann-Margret, Marie Osmond, Tommy Tune, Mitzi Gaynor, and Leslie Uggams to name a few. Her debut album, Moon Garden was released this spring with a live performance at the Barnes and Noble Lincoln Center.
The award-winning creators of The Three Waiters now brings you HypnoTWIST! The show cleverly fuses elements of Hypnotism with Surprise Entertainment, resulting in a fascinating interactive performance. The European Hypnotist selects "volunteers" from among your guests, excitement builds as the "volunteers" "perform" increasingly amazing feats under hypnosis which continue to escalate to a finale of hilarious show-stopping hits!
22, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, May/June 2009
Big City Revue's 12 piece, non-stop, soul injected, musical party extravaganza has been drawing raves from San Francisco Bay Area audiences at an alarming rate.
Associated Entertainment www.associatedentertainment.com
HERE AND NOW/ LEGACY OF LUTHER VANDROSS
Harmony Artists • www.harmonyartists.com
Bravo Entertainment • www.bravo4u.com
Nashville Speakers Bureau • www.nashspeakers.com
Herb Dixon takes everyday life experiences and skews them into epic comedy extravaganzas. It’s the kind of material everybody can relate to. A Comedy Sound Impressionist, Herb brings a 3rd dimension of totally realistic sound to his performances. The sounds of squealing tires, helicopter blades and even barking dogs punctuate his energetic story telling. And there’s the one special piece that Herb has become justly famous for – his fantastic impression of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle. The sound is so loud, lifelike and believable, you can almost smell the hot exhaust fumes! Harmony Artists • www.harmonyartists.com
Craig Neier and Associates • www.craigneier.com
David Belenzon Management, Inc. • www.belenzon.com
From spectacular wardrobe to innovative sets and dazzling lights, this show exquisitely brings to life the soul-stirring sounds of Luther’s legendary performances. A wonderfully produced theatrical event with multimedia production starring Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Terry Steele and featuring an amazingly talented cast of performers, dancers and musicians.
When corporate leaders, such as Charles Schwab, and celebrities like Robin Williams and the Rolling Stones need unique entertainment, they call one individual---Master Magician and mentalist Jay Alexander. Newsweek magazine called it ”The funniest show in town.” Robin Williams says he’s “always a blast.” David Crosby calls Jay “The Master of Bafflement.” Bono of U2 summed Jay up in one word, “Astonishing.” Jays creates custom presentations for Fortune 500 companies at trade shows, sales meetings, product roll-outs, incentive dinners, gala banquets and brand marketing. ProMagic Entertainment Services • www.sfmagic.com
Kevin Spirtas and Sean McDermott bring you Jersey Men a celebration of the men and the music that put New Jersey on the map! Featuring hits from legendary artists such as Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Sammy Davis Jr., Kool & the Gang, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Count Basie and MORE! Spirtas and McDermott, veterans of Broadway and television, bring powerful vocals and fine comic touches to the stage. “Guaranteed to entertain every member in the audience” – Entertainment Today.
Flip Orley is single-handedly reshaping the image of hypnosis from something perceived to be of the vaudeville era into something palatable for the MTV generation. His recent appearance on the TODAY SHOW brought rave reviews and stopped traffic in midtown Manhattan. His one-man show is setting comedy club attendance records from coast to coast as audiences catch on to his fresh combination of hypnotism and comedy. After making them forget their own names, or pledge undying love to complete strangers, subjects often report less stress and more energy.
TV personality, Dave Ramsey, says, “Jeff Allen has the best relationship humor out there!” With broad appeal to cross-generational audiences, Jeff’s comedy captures the humor in everyday family life, and the trials and tribulations of relationships. Jeff has performed on Comedy Central, Showtime and HBO. He has starred in projects with Castle Rock Television, First Look Studios and Warner Brothers. He has performed at Presidential Inaugurals, Congressional galas, and for US troops on aircraft carriers and battle ships in the Middle East.
Frank Olivier is an award winning entertainer who brings laugh out loud comedy and variety to any show. It's an outrageously funny evening from the mind of America's most talented modern vaudevillian. Three standing ovations at the Just for Laughs Festivals have led to countless headlining dates in Las Vegas and international comedy clubs, plus corporate shows for Apple, HP, Wells Fargo, and hundreds more. Frank continues to be in high demand for his twisted and unique comedy. "Frank Olivier is to juggling what Einstein was to long division!" - SF Chronicle
Ventriloquist Kevin Johnson -- of “America's Got Talent” fame -- and his clean comedy are a favorite for audiences of all ages. Completely self-taught, Kevin has been performing for most of his life. And because his mouth never moves, it makes it so much easier to believe in the magical characters that seemingly explode to life on his hand. You'll fall in love with Matilda, laugh hysterically with Clyde and delight at the relatability of Harley. David Belenzon Management, Inc. • belenzon.com
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 23
With over 200 Off-Broadway performances, the Drama Desk Award added to their resume, being named: “ARTIST OF THE YEAR” by the CARAAwards, and now nominated for “Best Musical Act” by American Entertainment Magazine, VOX AUDIO have established themselves as one of the most unique, original and fun theatrical shows in America! The five vocalists in VOX AUDIO use no instruments other than the human voice to create complex sonic textures, rhythmic drumbeats, thumping bass lines and searing guitar-like solos in their performance of contemporary pop songs, timeless classics, jazz-scat, TV theme songs, R&B, comedic song parodies, celebrity impersonations and vocally-orchestrated original compositions, intertwined with wonderfully funny audience participation! Vox Audio is a “Family-Friendly” show and suitable for ALL AGES! www.voxaudiogroup.com
Brian Olsen’s “Art in Action” is an explosion: a colorful display of paint, energy, music and passion with a purpose. The lights go down and the excited chatter subsides as the audience turns toward the spotlight on the far side of the room. Suddenly an explosion of shouts and cheers erupts through the crowd as an energizing beat surges through the air and Brian Olsen charges onto the stage. With his hands full of brushes, he begins an engaging acrobatic performance sometimes throwing the paint, sometimes strategically planting a paint saturated elbow on the canvas, or rapidly tapping a series of marks with his fingertips. Brian’s paintings of famous figures from world history to Hollywood, are choreographed in an awesome auditory and visual performance on a huge four and a half by six foot canvas, taking the audience from surprise, hilarity, suspense, and finally awe at the breathtaking likeness in a matter of minutes. http://www.brianolsenart.com
Nashville Speakers Bureau • www.nashspeakers.com
Liquid Blue, Inc • www.LiquidBlue.net
Harmony Artists • www.harmonyartists.com
Born in Mexico City, Joe Castillo developed a passion for telling stories using live artwork to illustrate them. He has become an accomplished, motivational artist, performer and speaker in both English and Spanish. His latest innovation is “SandStory”, which is almost impossible to describe to one who has never seen it. Magically, choreographed to music, Joe creates beautiful images from sand and transforms them into ever-changing pictures projected on large screens for any size audience. “SandStory” is an awe inspiring, captivating, inspirational, stand up and cheer experience.
Mariachi Divas are a unique, multi-cultural ensemble imbued with the true flavor of Southern California. The ensemble has been represented by women of Mexican, Cuban, Samoan, Argentinian, Columbian, Panamanian, Puerto Rican, Swiss, Japanese, Honduran, Peruvian, Tongan and Anglo descent. With their foundation and roots in Mariachi, they draw on their member’s diverse influences to create music that is traditional and then some. This all-female group just won the 2009 Grammy award for Best Regional Mexican Album with their latest CD, Canciones De Amor. Harmony Artists • www.harmonyartists.com
Twice awarded "America's Best Dance Band" (2007, 2001 National Music Awards), Liquid Blue has entertained audiences in over 100 countries (a world-record). Starting out in 1996 as a dance band, Liquid Blue has developed into an international recording act with a sensational live show. The San Diego based group has appeared at large venues including sold-out concerts with attendances of 15,000 in Europe, 13,000 in the USA and 65,000 in Asia. They tour internationally approximately four to five months out of the year with the remainder dedicated to private events.
LINWOOD PEEL’S TRIBUTE TO THE DRIFTERS
You remember “The Drifters.” Their great American tunes. Their patented choreography. Today, Linwood has united his former group members as Linwood Peel's Tribute to The Drifters to commemorate much of the great material to which is still known, sung and covered worldwide. Not only does the group perform many of the Drifters tunes that they were noted for, but an abridged potpourri of standard rock songs. Linwood Peel, was the lead for The Drifters and the Elsbeary Hobbs Drifters since the 1991-1992 season. Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. • marksonderproductions.com
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Kevin Toney is a Pianist/Composer constantly exploring, and developing new musical horizons. As a world-renowned contemporary instrumental recording artist and musician, Kevin’s music covers a broad range of styles and is timeless, classic yet always contemporary. His music is described as cosmopolitan, a jazz style that embraces traditional, urban, gospel, classical and contemporary elements all wrapped up in a sophisticated package! Billboard Magazine notes “Toney’s piano skills and ear for melody set him apart from the pack and make him enjoyable and engaging.”
Clean and corporate friendly makes comedian Marianne’s Sierk’s rise through the corporate ranks no surprise. Sierk began making a name for herself by filling the niche for younger comedians to connect with younger corporate audiences. Recognizing and respecting the rules for corporate-friendly material has made her a hit with meeting planners. Winner of the 2003 Hollywood Improv Comedy Contest, a regular on VH1’s “All Access”, Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham”, she is affordable and adaptable which makes Marianne an instant “go to” for a corporate comedic act. Epic Entertainment • www.epic1.com
Craig Neier and Associates • www.craigneier.com
Royce Carlton • roycecarlton.com
Bravo Entertainment • www.bravo4u.com
Mardar Entertainment www.thestringangels.com
Sophie K Entertainment • www.sophiek.com
Bravo Entertainment • www.bravo4u.com
In 2008 Michael Harrison took his talents to a new level when he appeared on NBC’s, “America’s Got Talent”, NBC’s top rated summer show. Michael’s performance received glowing reviews from the celebrity judges. He finished as a semi-finalist amongst 25,000 acts. Michael is an extraordinarily talented ventriloquist, puppeteer and comedian. He has worked along side celebrity acts, Kelly Clarkson, Boyz II Men and The Muppets. His many talents allow him to create performances for all type of audiences; adults, kids and family.
Three beautiful girls, three electric violins, one dynamite show! The perfect way to punctuate your event; as the opening or closing act or as the featured entertainment, this show will blow your guests away. Each a soloist in her own right, when these three brilliant musicians get together the result is incredible. Playing everything from Bach to Pop and Rock, the string angels give classical music a completely contemporary slant. Your guests have never seen violins played like this before!
Witty, provocative, and opinionated, commentator, comedian and actress Nancy Giles blends laugh-out-loud humor with common sense wisdom on everything from President Obama to Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” with her acclaimed commentary on CBS Sunday Morning. She’s appeared on The Today Show and Hardball With Chris Matthews, and credits include China Beach, Working Girl, Law & Order, Spin City, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Clients have called her talks “enormously funny, insightful, and poignant.
Fresh off performing at a St. Patrick's Day Presidential luncheon for President Bush and Ireland's Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, They played kicked-up Celtic and world music with hints of gypsy and klezmer, all infused with a touch of punk-rock sensibility. The guys played 25 festivals, including SummerFest sharing the stage with GUSTER and opening for FLOGGING MOLLY at Shamrock Fest (DC). With the July 2007 release of their third album, Immigrant Road Show, Scythian accumulated nominations for their efforts, including best song from CelticRadio.net, and PaddyRock.com's Top 20 Albums
One of the BEST party bands in America! Professor D plays an eclectic fusion of funk, R&B & Pop with outrageous talent and well, silliness. They ROCK the dance floor! The V-Posse Horns, mixes dance steps with zany stage antics and great chemistry to become one of the band’s biggest trademarks. Playing music for all audiences Professor D guarantees to keep the party going! Add a little country flair too- as veterans of Toby Keith's band are regular members of Professor D. Country to Disco to Funk to Southern Rock- they've got it!
A brand new sound blends Rock, Jazz, Pop and Classical styles in this unique ensemble. Featuring Rizpah an international acclaimed Jazz Harptist! Rizpah performs on the electric Harp with a variety of accompaniment choices such as guitar, bass, drums and/or percussion along with backing tracks this act brings a fresh new sound with an unexpected edge. The new addition of a Midi Harp allows Rizpah to create a full range of Midi sounds through her harp, lending a new twist to conventional harps. Add her sultry vocals and ripping rock riffs and edgy jazz style and you’ve got a new sound for the ages!
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 25
Lynn Trefzger is a ventriloquist/comedienne with a trunk full of zany characters that have accompanied her to stages throughout the country. Named the 2006 Funniest Female Performer of the Year, by CAMPUS ACTIVITIES MAGAZINE, as the result of votes by thousands of college students nationwide! Nominated 2007 Funniest Female by American Entertainment Magazine. Her vocal illusion talents were first brought to national audiences on TV’s popular “Star Search” and she has since performed with artists including Jeff Foxworthy, Ray Romano, Drew Carey, and Faith Hill. Her off-the-wall audience interplay is riotously funny, and her performances are tailored for both family and adult audiences. Lynn (and her many voices) has appeared on ABC, TNN, A&E and Lifetime television. ”Trefzger is an excellent technician and a bright, inventive comedian…the result is a gem of a routine…a first rate entertainer!” Courier Post, Atlantic City, NJ
DCA Productions www.dcaproductions.com
Taylor Mason is in a league by himself as a corporate comedian, entertainer and speaker. He is as comfortable at the piano, performing a parody written specifically for his clients, as he is delivering a Taylor-made monologue as a stand-up comic. His ability as a world-class ventriloquist opens doors to humor and inspiration that other entertainers cannot express. That he is adept at all three make him a valuable commodity in an age when diversity and flexibility are cornerstones to success.He has performed on hundreds of television shows, at Carnegie Hall and every imaginable venue. Nashville Speakers Bureau • www.nashspeakers.com
Statuarium - Greco-Roman- Imagine . . . mysterious GrecoRoman Gods and Goddesses in togas and elaborate headdresses. They’re elegant, regal and beautiful to behold. As they subtly come to life and the 20 minute orchestrated score begins to play, the Greco-Roman Statuarium is sublimely magical! Statuarium cast members are world class performers hailing from the renowned stages of Broadway’s best productions and the New York Metropolitan Opera! They’ll give your guests a stunning performance and a most memorable experience! Also available in Old West sculptures. Bravo Entertainment • www.bravo4u.com
"National act quality without the national act price, ego or rider."
The 13 piece band includes Toni Braxton’s sister, a Canadian Idol vocalist, a Grammy winning horns sections and an all-star band. Band leader Ronnie Garrett is a Grammy nominee and Tyler Perry’s musical director, who has worked with Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Usher and many more! Performing a non-stop 3 hour show, this band is destined to take America by storm! Dennis Smith • www.simplyirresistibleband.com
UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE
The Upright Citizens Brigade is the most popular alternative comedy theater in the nation. The UCB Touring Company is the Theater's most popular show. Two hilarious halves of the freshest long form improvisation in the world. Many of our performers can be seen in films and television shows including: Old School, Mean Girls, Anchorman, Bad Santa, Road Trip, Wet Hot American Summer, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, VH1's Best Week Ever, The Office, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade. UCB Touring Company • www.ucbtourco.com
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BLESSID UNION OF SOULS
Over a decade of performances, BLESSID UNION OF SOULS is still going strong. The band’s new single “COULD‘VE BEEN WITH YOU”, off their much anticipated sixth album, “CLOSE TO THE EDGE”, charted #37on the Hot AC and #98 on the HOT100. Their acoustic release “BLESSID UNION ALMOST ACOUSTIC” released exclusively on iTunes; launched their new acoustic show, BLESSID UNION UNPLUGGED. Their impressive TEN HIT SINGLES are classic pop songs. From their haunting 1995 #1 hit “I BELIEVE“, from their Gold Album “HOME”, to their 1999 smash hit “HEY LEONARDO (She Likes Me for Me)”, they stand as a band that’s in it for the long haul. Fogg Entertainment www.blessidu.com
LogiCom Project Mgmt. • www.treyhensley.com
BridgeWorks, LLC • www.times-four.com
Resource Entertainment Group • www.regmemphis.com
Multi award-winning Andy Kushner and his ten piece party band SoundConnection have been called, “outrageous,” “phenomenal,” and “edgy.” Their bold sound and powerful performances offer great value for any event. SoundConnection has performed for the President and at impressive events like the Winter Olympics and Bellagio’s VIP New Year’s Eve. The Special Event’s Director said, “Bellagio has never seen such an over-the-top display of entertainment.” An elite Disney event garnered SoundConnection coverage from Entertainment Tonight, among others.
YLS Entertainment, Inc. produces laser entertainment for Touring, Theme Parks, Casinos, Special Events, Corporate meetings, Sports arena shows including indoor and outdoor events. YLS is a family owned business that specializes as a full-service production company. YLS enjoys producing shows from story development, to music and costumes, project direction, including choreography, acrobatics and stunt coordination all while keeping the show within the client’s budget. YLS prides itself on building shows and events around the specific needs of the client. David Belenzon Management, Inc. • www.belenzon.com
Trey Hensley, despite his young age, has already forged his own style. What started seven years ago as a kid singing traditional bluegrass has become the mature-beyond-its-years sound of an 18-year old country performer and vocalist who has already found his voice. While you’ll hear some of his idols and influences around the edges, more than anything, when you hear him sing, you’ll hear Trey Hensley. Whether it is full band or intimate acoustic his shows for corporations to the President of the United States have been met with critical acclaim. “Trey is the future of country music”…Marty Stuart
Imagine the power of 8 to 20 Vocalists back by an all-star band performing 3 hours of great party music and you have the magic of The Celebration Club. Available as a gospel choir for opening general sessions, weddings ect. This band can be two for the price of one.
Bandleader Anthony Lockett, a founding member of Cameo has honed the vocal arrangements to a fine edge. The musicians have performed with Peabo Bryson, Jennifer Holiday and Gladys Knight, just to name a few. www.thecelebrationclub.com
TimesFour is a one-man show that uses clever staging, props costumes, and customization to explore the gaps between the generations we live, work and play with—Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials. This show is more than entertainment – it’s strategic entertainment where audiences laugh and learn. TimesFour is customized for each client, interactive and has all-inclusive pricing—no hidden costs. The show is based on the best-selling book “When Generations Collide” by David Stillman and Lynne Lancaster, TimesFour stars comedian Joe Marlotti.
Brian Setzer is a fan. They played Elvis’ band in “Walk the Line”. They’ve performed for the President of the USA and with the Prime Minister of Japan. The Dempseys are a high energy rockabilly band with a level of energy and showmanship that sets them apart from every other band. When they do their rapid fire series of musical impersonations, it’s like taking a 2-minute ride through the history of American music. They can energize a room in seconds and carry the energy for hours. Rockabilly pioneer (and Elvis producer) Sam Phillips called them, “The best I’ve ever seen.” Fee: $3,500 - $8,000
THE RAT PACK IS BACK
Dynasty Productions • ratpackvegas.com
Return to Las Vegas when entertainment was ruled by Frank, Sammy, Joey and Dean. This is the only show of its kind to have involevment and development from guys who were actually around the show in its heyday. One of the key components to this production is Sandy Hackett, son of legendary comedian, Buddy Hackett. In addition, Joey Bishop has issued his personal endorsement of the show, working with the team to make sure every detail is as authentic as possible. No other show of its kind even comes close.
Recently voted the 2009 Spotlight Award Ensemble Entertainer of the Year in the events industry, The Water Coolers –– has 2 sized offerings (both of which are $15K or under if booked more than 60 days out). But the big news here is their new “Traveling Light” offering that travels only 4 (3 onstage performers and keyboard player). This smaller show is specially designed to enhance daytime programming and is a perfect fit for intimate evening audiences. But in both sizes, you’re getting top-notch NYC talent and comedy writing that the Chicago Sun Times raved is “guaranteed to make you laugh.”
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 27
In the last three years, Randy & Jason have been seen regularly on national television, performing stand-up comedy in their own half hour special on Comedy Central, and as guests on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, CBS’s “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” and their own show on ESPN Classic entitled “Cheap Seats”. In addition, they have also appeared as guest stars on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”, “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on FX and HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” & “Entourage”. Randy and Jason were in the Touchstone major motion picture, Wild Hogs with John Travolta, William Macy, Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence, as well as in the Fox Atomic Movie, The Comebacks, with David Koechner. Sophie K. Entertainment, Inc www.sophiek.com
Mitchell Zeidwig performs the greatest one-man show on earth. He is sheer brilliance in action, sheer poetry in motion... an innovative extravaganza, but not eccentric; he is a gifted pianist with an insane sense of humor. As a pianist, he balances things like a bicycle or a string bass on his chin while playing, but he's not a juggler. He can play with his nose, feet & even in unusual positions - backwards, upside down & from inside the piano, but he's not a novelty act. He is though, a first rate musician, dazzling audiences with his fusion of comedy, acrobatics & music! Zeidwig performs regularly on TV all over the world. He is also a frequent soloist with many symphony orchestras including a Spring ’09 gig with the Boston Pops. In a class with Victor Borge, David Copperfield and Siegfried and Roy, his act is without boundaries or description! Perfect for an international audience, he can also customize his act and sometimes the piano itself. For a serious evening of fun and music, Zeidwig is the perfect entertainer!
DICK BRIGHT’S SRO inn-entertainment.com
KEVIN TONEY harmonyartists.com
ANTONY FIELD epic1.com
DICK HARDWICK dickhardwick.com
SIMPLY IRRESISTABLE simplyirresistablethe band.com
APOLLO ROBBINS eastcoastentertainment.com
LA ALL-STARS associatedentertainment.com
SKLAR BROTHERS sophiek.com
BAND X vipentpro.com
ERIC O’SHEA SummitComedy.com
SOUND CONNECTION soundconnectionband.com
BEALE STREET FLIPPERS regmemphis.com
FINIS HENDERSON inn-entertainment.com
LINWOOD PEEL’S TRIBUTE TO THE DRIFTERS marksonderproductions.com
FLIP ORLEY craigneier.com
BIG CITY REVUE associatedentertainment.com
FRANK OLIVIER belenzon.com
BIG SWING BALLROOM BLASTERS bigswingandtheballroomblasters.c om
GREG BENNICK gregbennick.com
BLESSID UNION OF SOULS blessidu.com BRIAN OLSEN brianolsenart.com BROADWAY STORIES bka.net BROADWAY YOUR WAY bka.net
Craig Neier and Associates • www.craigneier.com
Get ready to witness not only a comedy show, but an event! With over 3 million hits on youtube, and having been nominated three times--and then winning-- Campus Activities Magazine's "2007 National Comedy Performer of the Year," Eric O'Shea needs your help to try to cope with this crazy thing we call life! As a veteran performer of over 1200 colleges and universities, sit back, but buckle yourself in--and let his clean wit and priceless observations take you through your embarrassing childhood and everyday moments that drive you insane! From surviving family, to surviving all 24 hours of the day--from original stories to celebrity impressions including Family Guy & Elmo--Eric's unique humor, expressions, and high-energy show is unlike anything you've ever heard... ...including his world-famous "Commercial Songs for Products" that caught the eye and got rave reviews from Mr. Steven Spielberg!! Summit Comedy www.summitcomedy.com 28, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, May/June 2009
1964-THE TRIBUTE grouph.com/1964/
C. WILLI MYLES glberg.com CAVALCADE OF STARS talentbookingusa.com CELEBRATION CLUB thecelebrationclub.com CELTIC TENORS montereyinternational.net COBU cobu.us COWBOY MOUTH montereyinternational.net CRACKER montereyinternational.net CRAIG KARGES craigkarges.com DAVID PACK epic1.com
HAL SPARKS SummitComedy.com HEATHER HAYES eastcoastentertainment.com HERB DIXON harmonyartists.com HERE AND NOW / LEGACY OF LUTHER VANDROSS harnomyartists.com
LIQUID BLUE LiquidBlue.net LYNNE TREFZGER dcaproductions.com MAGGIE SPEAKS maggiespeaks.com MARIACHI DIVAS harmonyartists.com MARIANNE SIERK epic1.com MICHAEL HARRISON craigneier.com MICHAEL LUNDRA harmonyartists.com MIKE SUPER mikesuper.com
NANCY GILES roycecarlton.com
JANE LEBANZ logicomonline.com
OTTAVIO GESMUNDO crossbowact.com
JAY ALEXANDER sfmagic.com
JEFF ALLEN nashvillespeakers.com
PROFESSOR D bravo4u.com
JERSEY MEN bravo4u.com
RASPYNI BROTHERS keyartistgroup.com
JOE CASTILLO nashvillespeakers.com
JOHN CHARLES keyartistgroup.com
RYAN SHAW montereyinternational.net
JON STETSON jonstetson.com
KEVIN JOHNSON belenzon.com
SHEMEKIA COPELAND montereyinternational.net
STATUARIUM bravo4u.com STRING ANGELS thestringangels.com STRING FEVER stringfeverusa.com TAYLOR MASON nashvillespeakers.com THE BLANKS theblazelgroup.com/the blanks THE DEMPSEYS regmemphis.com THE RAT PACK IS BACK ratpackvegas.com THE WATERCOOLERS seethewatercoolers.com TREY HENSLEY treyhensley.com TIMES FOUR times-four.com UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE ucbtourco.com UNPLUGGED inn-entertainmnet.com VOX AUDIO voxaudiogroup.com YLS LASERS belenzon.com ZEIDWIG craigneier.com ZEROtaiko keyartistgroup.com
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 29
When it comes to corporate entertainment, there are many entities out there that work within the system as a conduit between buyers, talent and press. While the traditional means of buying talent may have been by contacting an artist’s
exclusive agent directly, many clients are finding a different approach more effective. While agents and artist’s representatives have some bias in their opinions based on loyalty, there are other contacts that can literally find you exactly
30, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, May/June 2009
what you are looking for, even if you don’t know what it is. And, on top of that, they have no specific affiliation with one agency or group, so you can truly be offered an unbiased opinion. www.americanentertainmentmagazine.com
Gail Stocker is one such contact. Making her living in the entertainment industry for over 25 years now, she specializes in comedy and finding her buyer’s exactly what they need. Gail doesn’t spread herself too thinly by taking on the role of an event pro-
ducer, leaving that to the busy bees. What she does best is finding out exactly what kind of audience an event will have and offering the very best show possible based on taste, price, comedic genre and any other criteria the client has. A keen eye for knowing
what her clients will like and a vast amount of experience highlight her assets. “I have been working with stand-up comics for over 25 years in a large number of ways. I have been an agent, a manager, a producer and a consultant.”
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 31
A well-rounded resume means Gail can understand the corporate entertainment comedy buying process from all sides. Utilizing this was what drove Gail into the work she does now. “The reason I went into consulting was because I wanted to be able to offer the most excellent artists – the very best. As a consultant, I have access to everybody in the marketplace. Any situation a client presents, I can offer choices. Whereas an agent offers their roster, I offer the field.”
which she had a recurring role. She appeared regularly on ABC's "Politically Incorrect" . She has guest starred on Fox's "Titus" and CBS's "Everybody Loves Raymond." She has been a writer on several shows, including "Roseanne," "Caroline in the City," "The Caroline Rhea Show."
Every comic Gail works with is handpicked by the lady herself and her standards are not easily met. “My criteria for comics include a minimum of ten years experience and industry recommendation. Of course they have to make me laugh and they have to be professional.” Gail’s reasons for such strict standards are well defined in her mind. “The reason I ask for ten years experience is that I feel by the end of ten years not only does a comic performer have a fully developed persona, but they have worked in so many different kinds of venues and for so many different audiences I feel they can handle any kind of corporate audience.” One of Gail’s unique qualities is her ability to find niches within the market and group comics into sensible genres for client’s ease of selection. Boomer Humor, for example, focuses on our greatest of generations and one of the largest demographics in our country. Blue Collar, Female and every ethnic grouping is included and one corporate event planners and producers may find especially interesting and productive: a category of affordable comics just right for the market. Gail has been able to simplify this entire process through a very complete database of the artists she works with on her website. Not strictly limiting herself to only working with stand-ups, she also has a smattering of performers from other genres including speakers, novelty performers and comic musicians...anyone with a quality, productive message and a humorous slant. Check out the selections below for a couple of Gail’s picks from the “Boomer Humor” category and be sure to get in touch with her so she can recommend the perfect act for your next event! Jeff Cesario A bold and witty commentator on life’s eccentricities, comedian Jeff Cesario stands tall among his peers. Cesario performs on-target observational humor emphasizing reality, simplicity and common sense. Cesario grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He attributes his sense of humor to his parents, Bill Cosby records, and childhood insecurities. By 1983 Jeff moved his base of operation to Los Angeles. Several years of hard work and perseverance finally landed him a five-minute spot on the "Tonight Show." His very first appearance earned him the Carson seal of approval – perhaps
More pertinent information was displayed by the network in a scroll across the screen including the following: • 89% of Texas Roadhouse customers intend to return. • Employee turnover (at Texas Roadhouse) is down 15% over the last two years. • Employees have bought $100k worth of “I Love My Job” t-shirts to wear at work.
Cathy's comedy focuses on family, growing up, relationships, and real life from a very personal perspective. The Los Angeles Times put it best "... Ladman has such clever, well-written material and such a breezy, unassuming delivery that it would be easy to overlook just how good she is: Her act seems effortless."
the most prestigious endorsement a young comedian can obtain. Jeff’s comments often reveal the incongruities of life. For example, his observation that violent, televised hockey games are the chief source of prison riots in the United States. "Think about it," Jeff said, "You’re a convict sitting in your cell at the federal penitentiary, watching a hockey player on TV get a 2-minute penalty for the same offense for which you’re serving 17 years." This conclusion found its way into Sports Illustrated and newspapers across the country. Jeff has made appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman," and ESPN’s "Sportslook." His guest spots on the "Tonight Show" have continued with regularity over the last year and he has been a featured comedian on MTV. He first appeared on Showtime in 1988 in the one-hour special "Jimmie Walker & Friends," followed by an appearance on the "Showtime Comedy Club Network" series. In 1990 he joined Showtime’s’ family of "Resident Comics," a list of twelve stand-ups who create their own half-hour specials for the network. Cathy Ladman The best way to get inside Cathy Ladman's head is to see her live. As one of the country's top comedians, Ladman's show is a self-probing, anxiety-venting vehicle, which draws laughter from exposing personal neurosis. She has not only appeared on "The Tonight Show" nine times, but was also the only female comic to appear on the last two Johnny Carson "Tonight Show Anniversary" shows. Cathy has had her own HBO "One Night Stand" comedy special and was awarded the American Comedy Award for Best Female Stand Up Comic. A native New Yorker, now living in Los Angeles, Cathy is successfully pursuing an acting career in television and film. Her film credits include roles in "The Aristocrats," "White Oleander," "What Planet Are You From?" "My Fellow Americans," and "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead." Her television pilots include "Caroline in the City," in
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Carol Leifer CAROL LEIFER (pronounced lee-fer) is an acclaimed stand up comedian, writer, and producer who has paved a variety of paths in a field where not many female comedians have ventured. The Long Island native began her stand up career in the late 1970's, performing at such well-known New York comedy clubs as The Comic Strip, Catch a Rising Star, and The Improv. Her “big break” came when David Letterman unexpectedly showed up at the Comic Strip and caught one of her performances. His visit led to twentyfive appearances on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman. In addition, Letterman also produced Carol’s 1988 Cinemax special “Carol Doesn’t Leifer Anymore”. Carol has written, produced and starred in three specials for Showtime: “Carol Leifer Comedy Cruise” (1989), “Really Big Shoo” (1990), “Gaudy”, and “Bawdy And Blue” (1992), which was nominated for three cable ACE Awards. She also appeared in HBO’s Young Comedian Special and The Rodney Dangerfield Special. One of Carol’s greatest career dreams came true when she appeared with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show”, two months prior to his retirement. She went on to be a frequent guest star on the show and has also appeared on numerous other shows including “Dr. Katz”, “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher”, and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”. Her hosting duties have included four seasons of A&E’s “Caroline’s Comedy Hour” and guest stints on “Talk Soup” and “Later”. Carol has remained a fixture on the stand up circuit. “I’ve played every two-bit laugh shack across this great country of ours,” she quips. One highlight of her roadwork includes opening for Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas. He was quoted after the show as saying, “I wish my mother had been that funny -- I wouldn’t have had to work so hard.” BOOK IT! For more information on the corporate comedy expertise of Gail Stocker, contact her at (323) 654-4015 or check out her website at www.comedycontact.com AE
Think these folks are onto something???? I f you would like to see the video, it’s at http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?play=1&vi deo=1084547481 (It’s also posted to my Facebook page.) So, what might this mean?
“Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn? "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm." - Bob Dylan
From Howard Stovall Chairman of the Board Perhaps I am premature, or at least seeing a silver lining where many do not, but it appears to me that the hurricane force opposition and toxic bad press towards corporate meetings may be abating. I certainly was heartened by the April 6 CNBC interview with Texas Roadhouse President and CEO G. J. Hart detailing the return on investment of their fiveday, 1,000 person retreat to San Francisco (including a day of public service in which they invested $1MM in labor and materials). If you missed it, here is the gist of Mr. Hart’s logic: We’re all about our people and our culture, and our people are the biggest asset that we’ve got, and this investment in our people will yield us great returns . . . Just like investing in anything, you’ve got to give a little to get a lot. In our mind, we’ve got almost 40,000 folks out there doing it day in and day out. We want to recognize our front line folks . . . we absolutely think it’s a great return on investment.
Well, it means that the storm may have passed enough for us to come out of the basement and see what’s still standing. The rhetoric and the politically easy opportunities to stir up populist rage have waned, and what’s left is what we have known all along – corporate meetings, employee appreciation events, and company celebrations all have a return on investment that smart companies realize and on which they capitalize. Anecdotal evidence to a change in perception is everywhere. After posting the Texas Roadhouse video on Facebook, I got the following comments from people who are not in our business: “He's on the money. The problem arises when you do this using Taxpayer Dollars, such as when AIG had parties after bailout money arrived. The CEO is right to take care of his people using the company's money.” AND
“It's none of the government's business how this or any company (not owned by the government) spends its money to promote itself and its people. It's the business of the company and its shareholders. They (the Big G) should be jumping up and down that companies are out there stimulating the service economy… and having fun doing it.” Further information came from IACEP’s most recent Business Forum Call, hosted by former chairman Dick Hall and entitled “Signs of Market Recovery....What to Look For!” Much of the discussion centered on ways of countering the negative slant offered by the media. It was agreed that a critical element is for all of us to take a more positive, pro-active approach, from writing opinion letters for local newspapers to aligning with other industry partners and organi-
zations to promote the message that our industry contributes to the overall success of the nation by providing the means for businesspeople to meet face-to-face and do what they do best: create business. As Dick reminded the listeners, each journalist has his or her own opinion of where the economy is and why. None of us have a crystal ball that unfailingly predicts when things will improve. In the end, it’s not the biggest or smartest who survive, it’s the one that is most adaptable to change. Smart helps, though. For smart corporate producers and suppliers, it remains critically important to stay on top of the most innovative thinking, the best practices, the newest gear, and opportunities to learn from one another. And nothing concentrates all these elements into one place and time like the annual IACEP conference. Register now at IACEP.com and make your plans to be in attendance at Green Valley Resort, Spa & Casino in Henderson, NV from Tuesday, Sept. 8 – Friday, Sept.11, 2009. It’s the best return on investment you are likely to get all year!
IACEP 2009 Conference, Showcase & Exhibit Schedule At-A-Glance Tuesday, September 8, 2009 4-5 PM First Time Conference Attendees & Early Registrants 5-6:30 PM Pre-Conference Social Gathering 7-11 PM SHOW OPTIONS Wednesday, September 9, 2009 9-6 PM Conference Registration 10-11 AM Opening General Session with Entertainment – IACEP Network Demonstration 11-12:30 PM IACEP’s Business Networking… and More 12:30-1:30 PM Business Networking Lunch 1:30-2:45 PM Concurrent Educational Sessions Sales & Marketing Session: “No More Excuses!” Sam Silverstein, MBA, CSP Operations & Management Session: “Great Client Service … Remember Your Business Depends on It.” Lisa Ford, CSP, CPAE 2:45-3:45 PM TVL- Total Vendor LIVE! With Entertainment A unique dynamic session in which vendors (exhibitors) share what’s “hot” in specific fields. 3:45-6 PM IACEP/AEM Exhibit Hall 6-7 PM FREE TIME 7-8 PM Pre-Main Stage Showcase Buffet Dinner 8 PM- 12:30 IACEP/ American Entertainment Magazine Main Stage Showcase (with Celebrity DJ & Dancing) The premier corporate entertainment showcase! Thursday, September 10, 2009 7:30-8:45 AM Board of Directors/ Committee Chair Breakfast 7:30-6 PM Conference Registration (Day 2) 9-11:15 AM Emerging Talent & Trends with Extra Entertainment 11:15-12:15 PM Roundtable Discussions & Committee Meetings 12:15-1:30 PM Attendee Networking Lunch (with Speaker)
1:30-3:30 PM Concurrent Educational Sessions Sales & Marketing Session: “Getting the Gig” Adam Christing Operations & Management Session: “Contracting Versus Expanding Your Business—Economic Fears” Cheryl Cran, Synthesis at Work 3-4 PM TVL-Total Vendor LIVE! (Continuation) 4-6:15 PM IACEP/ AEM Exhibit Hall 6:15-7:30 PM FREE TIME 7:30-11 PM Chairman's Event (separately ticketed event) Friday, September 11, 2009 9-9:30 AM Opening General Session/Conference Wrap-Up with Entertainment 9:30AM - Noon Major Agents Round Table A priceless opportunity to listen, ask questions, and establish direct, faceto-face connections to major agency reps.
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 33
SEEN AND BE SEEN:
Congratulations To IACEP Members Taking Top Honors at the 2009 Spotlight Awards The following IACEP members were recognized by their industry peers as representing the best in their respective fileds at the 2009 Event Solutions Magazine Spotlight Awards held in Las Vegas on February 25.
PROFILE: JEFF KALPAK, BARKLEY KALPAK ASSOCIATES Tell us a little bit about your company and why you chose to work there. As we’re gearing up for our 20th anniversary, I can’t help but think of our humble beginnings when it was just me and Lynnette (Barkley) and we started the company with $5. We were doing everything ourselves, from writing the shows to schlepping the costumes, and worked really hard to bring theatricality to corporate meetings. Now, with a staff of twenty, we are a full service design and production company, and it’s thrilling. I often feel like a kid in a candy store as I have great people and great resources around me.
Ensemble Entertainer of the Year - The Water Coolers, represented by Sally & Tom Allen, shown here with Kathy Sledge.
Event Planner of the Year – West Lenny Talarico (MGM Mirage Events)
Creative Director of the Year - Eddie Diaz (Encore Creations), Diaz also produced the 2009 Spotlight Awards
I’m appreciative that, in general, the corporate entertainment and event industries are growing up and taken more seriously. The exciting part for me is definitely in the sharing. It’s very different from how the industry worked in the past. We work together across companies now. Networking and going to IACEP is a huge part of how I keep up with it. Our staff also has weekly “show and tell” meetings so we stay inspired and aware
MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS
IACEP producer member, Bill Peterson of Bill Peterson Productions, was the buying agent who brought Final Say to Chicago’s hottest New Year’s Eve bash at the John Hancock Building’s Signature Room (Chicago). Final Say is managed by Dave Calzaretta’s Magnificent Events, Ltd. Bill Peterson Productions, Inc.: Bill Peterson, 630 530 7200 ext 21; email@example.com Magnificent Events, Ltd.: Dave Calzaretta, (815) 230-3770; firstname.lastname@example.org
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Entertainment Company of the Year – BRAVO! Entertainment, Debbie Meyers
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS: Producers:
Pamela Burton, Cast of Thousands Entertainment Company David Green, DG Global Events, South Melborne, Australia Kathy Krajewski, Double Exposure, Inc. Dayna Malow, Magnificent Events, Ltd. Michael McGuire, Bollotta Entertainment Matthew Thomas, EastCoast Entertainment, Inc. Alice Stinnett, Bollotta Entertainment
Fred Anderson, Comedy on the Square Evonne Darby, Detroit Underground Nick Dialoiso, Atlantic Entertainment Group David Fishof, Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp John Garrett, JohnGcomedy Cynthia Harris, Classical Entertainment Joshua Landis, Hoffman Entertainment Monika London, Greg London ICONS Rich Mullen, Edge Audio Services Karin Stein, Artes Latinas Brad Stewart, Dynamic Artists Management
The IACEP Members often partner to deliver the absolute best to their clients. Here are few examples of top-notch collaborations that optimized client impact and ensured a flat-out great entertainment experience. This is how our world-class network pays off for all our clients. (IACEP Members: Submit photos and booking information to Sally Allen, email@example.com for future issues).
It’s fun, and then it’s done! I’ve always loved working in the theatre, but whether I was acting or directing, the part I loved most was rehearsing and putting the show together. That’s when you get all of the feedback and learn. I often found that once a show opened I was ready for the next challenge. So events are perfect… the bulk of time is spent pre-production, the event happens, you get the rush and then you move on!
Are you impressed with the evolution of corporate entertainment, the speed, the pace and/or the transition? How do you keep up with it? www.americanentertainmentmagazine.com
I really don’t know what I’d change. I feel like I’m the luckiest man alive, I’m surrounded by really smart people every day and the industry has been very good to me.
I’d really love to tour our show “Utopia” internationally as a benefit for a number of needy organizations. I’d like to bring “Utopia” to audiences that have never seen theatre before. What was the best or favorite event you were ever a part of? Just after 9/11 we created a show called “Broadway Celebrates America” and toured the country bringing favorite Broadway songs to audiences who needed some healing and relief. It was a very emotional and very rewarding experience.
What was your first job in the industry? Entertainer of the Year - Larry Jones (Man of 1000 Voices)
Of course life has no “do overs,” but if it did, what one thing would you do differently in the industry?
What would you like to produce if there are no parameters, or no guidelines from the corporate office (of a client)?
What drew you to the industry? What’s your favorite thing about it?
My first job in the industry was creating Barkley Kalpak with Lynnette as a means to earn a living in between our directing and choreographing gigs. The first job we had as a company was called “Station to Station.” It was an event that launched a new radio station in Baltimore. Guests were taken from NYC to Baltimore by train. We cast multi-talented performers and dressed them in train porter uniforms circa 1940. They entertained the guests with travel songs during the train ride from New York to Baltimore. When we arrived at the Radio Station, the buffet was revealed as an oversized train car. The cast performed an integrated tap dance/customized song as they danced along the length of the train buffet pointing out what was on the buffet in rhythmic cadence. Seriously, they tapped down the length of the buffet, saying “cheese plate” and then traveled some more and say “chicken cacciatore” and “fruit parfait!” It was hilarious… and so us!
because he gave me incredible opportunities and bought me my first business suit.
of resources we can provide to our clients. What are your hopes for the next year in your professional life? What's your most challenging hurdle in 2009? What chances would you like to take? What advice would you give to a young producer about making it through this economic time? The biggest challenge for 2009 is to stay one step ahead and to not let the obvious economic situation preclude us from seeing our strategy through. My hope is that the people who work at BKA are all fulfilled by their projects and still digging it! Who has been your greatest inspiration or influence professionally? My Dad, because he was a genius at navigating personalities. My boss at JDT Public Relations (John Thomas)
Recently we created a custom show called “Studio ’67.” It was one of the events I enjoyed the most. It was a fun and unique experience for the audience as we essentially created a show within a show. The show, which was inspired by American Bandstand, had a variety of performances, but through very purposeful elements we made the guests feel as though they were part of the live studio audience. We IMAG’d the show in black and white to keep the feeling authentic and true to the time period. And, of course, the shows we did in China. Both “Chicago” and “Guys and Dolls” were incredible experiences, especially working across cultures. We’re all traveling a lot -- what’s your #1 travel tip to make it a little easier? Just go with it. Let go of what you can’t control… and of course, hydrate, bring snacks, hand gel and moisturizer! Where was the best meal you ever had? Shrimp and grits at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill.
May/June 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 35
What’s your favorite drink? Tall, skinny, vanilla latte. What’s the most important thing in your life? Oskar, Taco and my friends.
IACEP CONFERENCE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED. REGISTER NOW!
Where do you go to find new ideas -- books, films, travel, artistic retreats, or what? YES! What’s your personal mantra? Treat everyone you encounter with respect. Jeff Kalpak is President of Barkley Kalpak Associates, an award-winning event design, production and entertainment company based in New York. BKA produces hundreds of events annually for major corporations worldwide. He was named Best Producer by American Entertainment Magazine in 2006 and 2007, and Entertainment Producer of the Year in 2005 by Event Solutions Magazine.
HOT DATES! • Get the rock bottom conference registration price by registering on or before Tuesday, June 30.
• Showcase applications must be submitted by Friday, May 29, so apply now to appear in corporate entertainment’s premier showcase! For more information go to: http://www.iacep.com/ and select Click to Register Exhibit or Showcase Now. • Make sure you’re in the Green Valley Resort room block at this fantastic rate! IACEP has negotiated a great nightly room rate of $130.00 plus tax with NO RESORT FEE (usually $19.99 per night). Rooms at this rate are limited so book now.
What does an Interactive Comedic Performer and Author, a “Gen X / Zoomer cusper,” an internationally-known expert on customer service, and an Author/Entrepreneur who demands “no more excuses” have in common? They’re the first four speakers announced for the 2009 IACEP Conference, Showcase & Exhibit Hall in Henderson, NV, September 9-11, 2009. Sam Silverstein, Lisa Ford, Adam Christing, and Cheryl Cran are must-hear speakers at a conference you don't want to miss! • “No More Excuses!” Presented by Sam Silverstein In Sam Silverstein’s (MBA, CSP), IACEP humorous presentation, he helps audiences realize that they alone are accountable for their choices, actions, and results, all of which can be applied to sales, leadership and customer service. He is President of Sam Silverstein Enterprises, Inc. and BuildaBetterBiz.com. His books include: The Greatest Secret To Business Success, Creating and Communicating A Memorable Marketing Message, The Success Model, The Power Of Choice, and Only The Best On Leadership. • “Great Client Service … Remember Your Business Depends on It.” Presented by Lisa Ford For more than 20 years, Ford, CSP, CPAE has spoken on customer service, leadership, team issues and change. She authored the top-selling videotape series, How to Give Exceptional Customer Service, as well as other Customer Service video collections, and most recently published Exceptional Customer Service -Going Beyond Good Service to Exceed the Customer’s Expectations. • “Getting the Gig”
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Presented by Adam Christing Ranked as one of the top five after-dinner speakers in America by Success magazine, Interactive Entertainer Christing has since been featured in national newspapers and magazines, on more than a 100 radio and TV shows, and is the Author of Comedy Comes Clean: A Hilarious Collection of Jokes, Quotes and One-Liners. He’s also the CEO of Creek Park Pictures and the co-writer and co-director of a “mockumentary” feature film entitled Change Your Life! • “Contracting Versus Expanding Your Business—Economic Fears’ Presented by Cheryl Cran “Self-branded a “Gen X / Zoomer cusper,” Cran’s firm, Synthesis at Work, specializes in generational leadership consulting and training. Author of The Control Freak Revolution– Make Your Most Maddening Behaviors Work For Your Company And To Your Advantage, the expert on workplace trends has been a TV guest commentator and has written articles for numerous publications. Early registration discounts end soon, so make your plans quickly to attend this traditionally soldout conference. For more information: www.iacep.com. Known as The Entertainment Experts, more than 90 percent of IACEP’s Producers and Supplier members are the CEOs and presidents of North America’s leading entertainment production companies. Its annual conference is the premiere event in the corporate entertainment field. www.americanentertainmentmagazine.com
MITCHELL ZEIDWIG Acclaimed Pianist and Comedian
BILL BOGGS Speaker
Motivational Speaker and Founder of Fast Food Chain Blimpie’s
FLIP ORLEY Comedy Hypnotist Sleep Has Never Been So Funny!
Nominated Best Speaker from American Entertainment Magazine
The Mentalist Magic, Comedy & Mindreading As see on on NBC’s “Phenomenon”
As Seen on America’s Got Talent
Master Musical Impresionist, Singer, and Dancer
Nominated Best Novelty Act from American Entertainment Magazine
PETER DE CARLO
A Three Women Theatrical Comedy Experience About Life, Love, Politics and Social Issues