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Episode Fun

FOR A RECENT Star Wars-themed party, Los Angeles-based Poko Event Productions used the force to create an out-of-this-world experience-the creative force, that is.

The event followed a pre-release screening of Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Nearly 1,000 guests included executives from 20th Century Fox Studios. "We wanted to capture the mystery and spirit of the film," explains Poko's president and founder Inna Poncher, "but not compete with it."

Poko art director and lead designer Armen Sevada transformed the venue, a stark sound studio at Los Angeles-based Fox, with 15 35-foot-long curtains made from strands of 5 million tiny metal beads. Abstract image projections played across these curtains, which were suspended from bars throughout the space. Los Angeles-based ShowPro produced the lighting.

Six 16-by-4-foot blocks of ice containing metal sculptures added to the mysterious design. "We wanted to use the beauty of the ice itself rather than carving it or making it a theme prop," Sevada explains. "The works become much more sublime, sophisticated and interpretive that way."

Much of the latest Star Wars film takes place in an intergalactic dusty backwater. Playing on this theme, Poko covered the tabletops in white duck accented with natural burlap and jute. Centerpieces incorporated succulents and metal sculptures holding round glass containers filled with a mysterious translucent substance. "We used frozen Jell-O," Poncher confides.

The entertainment also harkened back to the Star Wars theme. "We brought in aerial performers formerly with Cirque du Soleil," Poncher says. When guests first walked into the room, the spandex-clad performers were posing like statues on jute-covered platforms. Later, the film's theme music filled the room and the performers came to life with an aerial performance. At the end of their act, the dancers returned to their platforms, becoming still once more.

The food formed the earthly element in this otherwise extraterrestrial setting; guests feasted on a full buffet, provided by Los Angeles-based Cienega Catering.

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