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Special Events


A DIRECTOR ONCE TOLD me that you may start out loving plays, but when your taste matures, you love opera — the total theatrical experience that brings drama, music and design together.

I think that's what I love about special events — they put all the elements of delectable food, stunning decor and thrilling entertainment together, the whole more than the sum of its parts.

We present details about the latest production of the grandest opera of all in special events — The Special Event — in this issue.

We don't have room to include the high drama that went on behind the scenes — the last-minute demands from city officials, the supplies that never showed up. For backstage stories from the show, see our April “weddings” issue, where we will give the inside scoop on the Wedding Luncheon.

If special events are operas, then the prop masters are the event rental companies, which we focus on each month in “Rental Essentials.”

I've worked for trade magazines for a long time, and for a long time I've remembered a printer telling me to think about three important criteria: quality, service and price. And then pick the two you really want, because no vendor can offer all three.

This rule came back to me while we worked on this month's “Rental Essentials,” which takes a look at how event rental companies are beginning to adjust prices — mostly upward — as the event market grows stronger.

It would have been nice to present our readers with a clean little pie chart predicting how prices are going to change this year. But putting a price tag on the products, services and event expertise that rental companies provide isn't nearly so simple. If creating special events is an art, then there is also an art to event pricing, weighing the nuances of service and time-tested know-how against the hard costs of chairs and tables.

At press time, the story about the end of operations of Los Angeles-based Academy Event Services, parent of Academy Tent & Canvas and Event Technical Services, was just hitting the street. The news that one of the original operations in the special event industry as we know it is no more has rocked both staffers and competitors.

How any of its various segments will live on is still an open question. And yet the words of one event rental veteran are worth remembering: “It's too good a product line and too good a company to go away.”

Let's hope this drama has a happy ending.

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