Thanks to a Hollywood location, the movie-star quotient was high during the opening day of ISES Eventworld 2005, held Aug. 11-13 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. Almost 450 attendees from around the world made the trip to L.A., marking the best attendance in the conference’s history.
During the opening general session, performers from San Diego-based Imagination Entertainment acted out famous scenes from hit Hollywood films including “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “E.T.” U.S. President George W. Bush—actually, an impersonator from McLean, Va.-based Cast of Thousands—made an appearance and addressed the crowd in a speech filled with signature Bushisms, telling them, “I’m pleased to implement my policy of no event planner left behind.” Eventworld chair Brenda Schwerin, CSEP, of Metallic Design Studio, Los Angeles, welcomed attendees, while “event spy” Steve Kemble escorted ISES international president Dale Harmon of Plants Alive! in Silver Spring, Md., to the stage. Keynote speaker John S. Parke, former vice president of sales for Marriott International and president and CEO of Frederick, Md.-based Leadership Synergies, spoke to attendees about creating stronger client relationships and the importance of branding to boosting sales for their event businesses.
Later that evening, attendees crossed Hollywood Boulevard to the Hollywood Museum, located in the historic Max Factor building, for the Old Hollywood-inspired welcome event produced by Ilona Hobbs of Cort Event Furnishings in Anaheim, Calif. Arriving guests strolled down a red carpet into the museum, where they took an oversized elevator—complete with an onboard bar provided by Cort—down to the “Lock-up Lounge” in the building’s basement. There, they wandered through a dungeon setting that featured the movie set of Hannibal Lecter’s cell from “The Silence of the Lambs.”
On the building’s first through third floors, guests took in exhibits of Max Factor makeup and film memorabilia including photographs from Hollywood’s early years, classic movie posters and dresses worn by Marilyn Monroe in her films. Makeup artists were on hand to give mini makeovers, a fortune-teller told guests their future, and a roving Austin Powers look-alike—the same actor who portrayed George W. Bush earlier—kept guests entertained. Several party-goers channeled their inner movie star, showing up dressed as celebrities such as Diane Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Whitney Houston.
The progressive party ended on the museum’s top floor, where Los Angeles-based caterer Gourmet Celebrations served dishes inspired by classic L.A. restaurants such as the Brown Derby and Polo Lounge, including petite eggplant Napoleons, country-style meatloaf stack, stuffed chicken and cobb salad. For dessert, Ice Magic of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., worked with Gourmet Celebrations to design an elaborate ice cream bar that featured a carved-ice re-creation of the famed Hollywood sign. During dinner, L.A.-based Jag Co. Productions dancers performed routines from films such as “Grease,” alternated with projected scenes from the actual movies. After they finished eating, guests also hit the dance floor. And as with any good Hollywood event, when the music stopped the festivities didn’t—guests moved on to L.A. nightspots for some after-party action.
Photo of 'George W. Bush' by Bob Blanken/Blanken Photography Studio; all other photos by Kelly Wardle.