Seven Days in Vegas…
…And many nights spent in the Palace Ballroom of Caesars Palace.
It all began about three months ago when, as consultant to Event Solutions magazine, I approached Bart Kresa, Bart Kresa Design, and Ray Thompson, Images by Lighting, with the idea of producing a totally different style of awards show for the Event Solutions Spotlight Awards and ICA CATIEs.
I had seen what Bart and Ray had done for the FIDM fashion show and awards, and was inspired by Bart’s digital mapping artistry (for more on that click here). They made it seem easy, but I should have known from experience that something that looks easy most often is not. It takes a lot of talent to create the illusion of seamless ease, especially when it comes to anything based in technology. With the addition of more talent in the “dynamite-comes-in-small-packages” personage of Beth Stephenson, Extraordinary Events, as our Executive Producer, we were a team, come what may.*
This was not the most complicated show any of these pros had done, but as with every new thing, there is always a different set of challenges and this event was no different. Throughout the process I was fueled by the personalities of these three very different and yet very similar professionals. They are all very focused yet super professional and for the amount of pressure they are under, super calm and always, always nice (which should always be a prerequisite when considering a career in event production).
And so it began. First working in Bart’s techno studio based in Los Angeles. Below is the first of seven custom-imagined looks (each one took five days to create) that the 1,200 attendees at the awards would see on a 100-foot long screen in the Palace Ballroom at Caesars.
Here is Bart programming the digital images on site. They were custom created and mapped to fit the space. Bart is the perfect example of what we can do when our passions drive our art and our life. He created all new images for this show and logged in epic hours behind those computer screens accompanied by a team of techs and artists eager to work with him. He is something of a super hero in the international world of digital mapping and 3D video projection and like a superhero, he keeps his strength up with special potions such as the kale concoction to his right!
Here is Bart’s quick video from the awards show (it was also professionally recorded which will be ready later this month).
We did take breaks to enjoy the quirkiness of Vegas. This noodle restaurant was like eating inside a wedding veil. The look came from metal that had been cut in lace patterns and then powder-coated white. Behind them, a shadow of gray was painted on the white wall. An oddly calming interior look. The large screens projected images of peaceful environments which offset the hot spice of the dishes!
And the icing on the cake! The beautiful photographer Marianne Lozano from Los Angeles (and a 2012 Event Solutions Rising Star nominee) getting ready to shoot a group portrait of the Spotlight and ICA winners in a style similar to Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue.
Spotlight Winners from left to right: Tricia Schmitt, Marketing Professional of the Year; Greg Zalkin, representing AFR, Event Supplier of the Year; Barbara Oehlerking, Artistry Design Group, Floral Designer of the Year; Sabdy Pacheco, A Joy Wallace Production, Rising Star of the Year; Hillary Harris, representing Warner Bros., Event Site of the Year; Rrivre Davies, Rrivre Works, Designer/Creative Director of the Year; and Janet Elkins, EventWorks, Hall of Fame Inductee.
Winners not pictured: Aaron Kaneicki, Good Gracious Events; Classic Party Rental; Frank Andonoplas, Frank Event Design; Deborah Herrman, Ghostlight Productions; The Water Coolers; Michael Kloss, Emory University; Creative Backstage; Sequoia Productions; and Hall of Fame Inductee Jim Watterson.
After that, which was the last day of the show, it was a quick whirl around the floor to see what was new. My first stop was at the SEARCH booth being manned (wo-manned?) by Corinne Dudine and congratulate her on doing such a phenomenal job this year as Director of Education for Event Solutions — great speakers Corinne! Around the corner I found Napa Valley Linen. Owner Sharon Dexmier is a relative newcomer (four years) to the industry and the show. This is her year to shine — she’s the incoming WIPA president, she had her first big bridal photo spread and video shoot in January, and this was her first year exhibiting. Her sample books are gorgeous and her style is truly that easy beauty of Napa (although of course she ships nationally). Sharon partnered with Soulflower from San Francisco to design a booth that showcased three looks including this one that was featured in a photo shoot for a bridal magazine.
There were many other great resources but I was struck this year with how many trees made their appearance in event decor, the tabletop design competition and on the show floor.
I particularly liked the looks from Arclite whose LED trees were used at the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball.
Was it in the Garden of Eden that our love affair with trees began? They bring us sustenance when we are hungry, shade when we are hot and firewood when we are cold. They truly are the source of life.
I know in my life trees represent new growth. Branches are unfurling and flowering now that it is spring. It’s a New Year. Whatever it brings, I’m ready to go out on that limb and grab the most beautiful piece of fruit.
I hope the conference fueled you to do the same.
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*On behalf of Event Solutions, a big thank you to all team members of the Spotlights/CATIES:
Ruth Moyte, Red Dandelion Creative, scriptwriter,
Atomic Rental, screen-surround Austrian tiles
Rachel Staples, opera singer
Champagne Creative Group, trophy girls
And all the riggers, techs and a/v people who made it possible!