All Eyes on L.A. CAPITALIZING ON ONE of Southern California's warm July evenings, MPI's 2000 World Education Congress held its welcome reception in the open-air plaza of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County. For the more than 3,100 Meeting Professionals International members in attendance, Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Extraordinary Events crafted "MP-Eye on L.A.," showcasing the fashion, entertainment, culinary and artistic presence for which Los Angeles is known.
Wanting to entertain an audience made up largely of fellow meeting and event professionals, Andrea Michaels, president of Extraordinary Events, enlisted Beverly Hills, Calif.-based talent agency International Creative Management to book popular comedian Rita Rudner. As evening skies grew darker, the tempo increased with performances by the Blue Man Group, a troupe of avant-garde performance artists, and percussionist Sheila E.
Because the Performing Arts Center had its own events scheduled during the event, "We had to observe their noise restrictions," Michaels says. "We had two loud rock acts happening during the theater performance and had to monitor sound carefully." Michaels positioned staff members inside the theater to gauge the outside noise level and arranged to have the loudest part of the show happen during intermission. "It was a very cooperative effort between Extraordinary Events and the [Performing Arts] Center and was intense in its timing," Michaels recalls.
"The key to a city event like this is to create the focus and prioritize what you're going to say. In this case, we wanted to position Los Angeles as the entertainment capital of the world," she says.