Introducing the LA Weekender: 5 Events to Check Out

Welcome to the first L.A. Weekender post on Fairplex Insider! Check back on Thursdays for our round-up of weekend fun.

Spring is in the air which means you have no excuse to be hiding indoors! There are plenty of happenings this weekend. So many options, so little time. Luckily for you, we threw together a flexible itinerary of activities to explore if you are so inclined…

santa monica pier Introducing the LA Weekender: 5 Events to Check Out  Photo taken from Things To Do In LA

1. Poolside, YACHTBecause we don’t shun the hipsters around here, we are absolutely highlighting the fun in the sun happening at Santa Monica Pier on Saturday afternoon. Dynamic duo Poolside are busting out their jams, which match the laid-back Southern California vibe we all embrace. YACHT compliments the tone of the day with some fun jams of their own. If good music, happy hour cocktails and a stroll on the pier is your thing, buy tickets and make your Saturday worthwhile.

2. Beauty & The Beast: This tale as old as time is at the Pantages Theater this weekend. Don’t miss the chance to relive this classic film brought to life on stage!

3. Wildflower Festival: No better way to enjoy spring than a stroll through nature’s beauty! Take your significant other or your kids (or both!) and enjoy the colorful array of flowers featured at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden. All activities are free with garden admission. 

4. It’s Time For Dodger Baseball!: It’s no surprise that opening day (April 1) will see a packed-to-the-max Dodger stadium but it’s not too late to catch the last pre-season game! Watch the Dodgers vs. the Angels this Friday night with the fam, or purchase (any) remaining tickets for opening day’s Dodgers vs. Giants mayhem.

5. Pomona Art Walk: Venture out to the IE this Saturday night to explore a different side of Downtown Pomona at the Art Walk where more than two dozen galleries feature hundreds of artistic pieces. Grab some dinner at a local restaurant and stroll on over to this free event.

Check back every Friday (and sometimes Thursday) for a weekend full of fun!

Event Industry News: Cake hotel, phone wars, lady arm wrestling

cakehouse Event Industry News: Cake hotel, phone wars, lady arm wrestling Photo taken from International Business Times

Let them eat cake: Creative promotions reached a new level in England. UK confectioners transformed a London home into a cake hotel, featuring eight rooms filled with edible art. The one-day only event promoted Tate & Lyle Sugars’ Taste Experience range of cane sugars.

2,000 hours of baking, 900 hours of construction and 14 cake makers later, the hotel was open to the public. Customers explored the “Tasting House,” sprinkled in styles inspired by regions around the world.  Themes included Pirates of the Caribbean, Mardis Gras and the South Pacific.

Technology: BizBash gives us an inside look at Samsung’s elaborate two-part launch for their latest smart phone device–the one giving Apple a run for their money.The launch was divided between two locations, one for press and one for consumers. Full details on both are available here.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Blackberry hosted a launch party for its Z10 in Hollywood. Whether the tired device will make a comeback is yet to be seen.

Los Angeles welcomes new entertainment: The Los Angeles Ladies of Arm Wrestling (LA LAW) add variety to the entertainment capital with performance art benefiting various non-profit organizations.

Event Industry News: St. Patrick’s Day in LA, Samsung Galaxy S4, Facebook hashtags

lamarathon Event Industry News: St. Patricks Day in LA, Samsung Galaxy S4, Facebook hashtags  Photo from Huffington Post

St. Patrick’s Day LA: Marathons and St. Patrick’s Day = polar opposites but the two paired remarkably well in Los Angeles. St. Patrick’s Day festivities began on Friday night and went strong until Sunday evening, but in between the green beer and shamrock shenanigans, the L.A. Marathon began bright and early Sunday Morning as runners made the 26.2 mile trek from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica Pier. Many of the 24,000 runners donned themselves in green tanks, tutus, leprechaun costumes and paint in celebration of the holiday. Free beer was being offered alongside the usual water and Gatorade fare, although quite a few runners declined that one.

First time marathon runner Aleksandra Duliba of Belarus won the women’s race and Kenyan Erick Mose won the men’s race.

Social media: Facebook is bringing hashtags to their site. Fun for consumers, smart for businesses.  Like the promoted hashtags on Twitter, companies can pay Facebook to promote their ads/campaigns via hashtags on users’ News Feed. Depending on how Facebook plans to leverage their hashtags, it could be a whole new way to engage with event guests.

Technology: Samsung is giving Apple a run for their money with the launch of their Galaxy S4 kicking off in New York last week. A wave of positive reviews over the weekend indicates the new device could be the best smartphone yet.

Closing time… or not: Proposed legislation could extend last call for alcohol in California event venues including bars, clubs and restaurants from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. This puts California on the same level as New York, Las Vegas and other hot nightlife destinations in the United States. It also means later hours for the owners of these venues and adapting in more ways than one.

Spring Socials: For those who have burst from their winter cocoons and emerged as social butterflies, L.A. Times gave a tidy round-up of all the spring happenings in our city.

Did floral ever go out of style? Cvent gives tips on how flowers can enhance any event.

Film and Your Venue Part 2: Hospitality in the Film Industry

In the first part of our series we talked about how to get your venue on the radar for film companies. Once you’ve booked your first client it’s time to play host.

The Process: 

  1. The film commission connects your venue with film companies and lists you as a possible location for a particular film.
  2. The director, set designer and tech scout come out and confirm whether they will use your venue or not.
  3. Once everyone gives the “okay,” it’s time to draft contracts and negotiate costs. It’s always wise to charge a reasonable amount. The current average rate is $4,000 per hour per location.

Once the paperwork is out of the way the fun begins. Set crews begin building, directors and actors begin filming and you, as the venue host, get to watch as your grounds transform into a different world.

Some things to keep in mind:

Reputation is everything

The film industry may span continents but word gets around fast, especially in Hollywood. Inland Empire Film Commission Director Sheri David advises, “It’s going to take awhile to build a good reputation [in film], but it only takes one bad filming experience to wreck you. People will talk.”

Location managers help others in their field. If you were accommodating and easy to work with, they will remember and spread the word.

Stay flexible

When it comes to filming, the only guarantee is change. From contracts to set-up to filming itself, flexibility is crucial to ensuring quality hospitality for your client. “Anticipate their needs,” Melissa advises. “Flexibility in time and location is essential.”

Film crews need to extend their hours, days and sometimes weeks. That is to your benefit as a venue. “That Thing You Do’s one-week contract turned into a three-week contract,” Melissa recalls. “It was an unexpected increase in our revenue.”

Market your amenities

Fairplex is home to the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel, restaurants, food trucks and owns Event Production Solutions (EPS), an event equipment company. When Melissa works with the directors and location managers, she mentions the on-site hotel, fitness center and sauna, food and beverage options and other resources like EPS are available for the crew at a discounted price. Doing so profits Fairplex and provides additional convenience for the client.

Know your role:

“Once they arrive and set up, I let them be,” Melissa said. “An event manager takes it from there and essentially let’s them do their own thing. They have their own crews and security. We provide as needed.”

That doesn’t mean you should completely shut down. “When the [crew] needs you to do something, they generally need you right then, right now. Be ready for that,” Melissa said.

It’s about the people:

Everything that has happened at Fairplex has stemmed through relationships,” Melissa says of her work with film. “We aren’t just talk—we consider these people our friends, not an inconvenience.”

3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day originally celebrated the arrival of Christianity to Ireland but has since become a cultural phenomenon celebrating all things green.

If your St. Patty’s Day signifies drinks, feasts and donning your favorite green clothing item, this post is for you.

3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

1. For the 21+ crowd:

While LAist suggests barhopping with the best of them on this glorious Sunday, we prefer creativity and an escape from the crowds.If you have the time and desire, create a special St. Patrick’s Day celebration of your own!

Let’s talk libations:

the irish kiss 3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patricks Day Greet your guests with an Irish Kiss cocktail served up in a dainty champagne flute.

Recipe:

4 oz. Korbel Champagne
1 oz. melon liqueur

Add two drops of green dye to 1/2 cup of sugar to give the rim that green glittery tint.

Add a lime for garnish and additional flavor.

Recipe and photo from Whattodrink.com

The Emerald Crush

This easy-to-make drink is sweet and to the point.

Recipe:

2 oz. Blue Ice Organic Wheat Vodka
½ kiwi
½ lime
1 tsp. sugar
Peel kiwi and cut lime into quarters. Muddle fruit and sugar in a shaker until well crushed and juicy. Add ice and vodka, and shake vigorously. Pour all contents into a glass and drink with a straw. Source: Blue Ice Organic Wheat Vodka

Time to eat! 

The following recipes are both fairly easy to make and don’t require a lot of time to prepare. If all else fails, you can always throw together a tasty salad and order pizza…

Corned Beef & Cabbage

cornedbeefandcabbage1 300x300 3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patricks Day If tradition is your thing, corned beef is your meat. A bonus? One serving is less than 300 calories!

Makes: 6 servings
Prep 10 mins
Cook 52 mins

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds corned beef brisket
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion (1 small)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 pounds cabbage, cut into 6 wedges

Directions

1. Trim any visible fat from the meat. Set aside.

2. Place rack in a 4- to 6-quart pressure cooker. Add the meat, onion, bay leaf, black peppercorns, and water.

3. Lock lid in place. Place pressure regulator on vent pipe (if you have a first-generation cooker). Over high heat, bring cooker up to pressure. Reduce heat just enough to maintain pressure and pressure regulator rocks gently; cook for 50 minutes.

4. Allow pressure to come down naturally. Carefully remove lid. With a slotted spoon remove the meat and onions to a serving platter; set aside.

5. Place the wedges of cabbage in the pressure cooker. Lock lid in place. Place pressure regulator on vent pipe (if you have a first-generation cooker). Over high heat, bring cooker up to pressure. Reduce heat just enough to maintain pressure and pressure regulator rocks gently; cook for 2 minutes.

6. Quick-release the pressure. Carefully remove lid. With a slotted spoon remove the cabbage wedges. Serve with meat and onions. Makes 6 main-dish servings.

Recipe and photo from Better Homes & Gardens

If corned beef isn’t your thing:

Corned beef & cabbage isn’t for everyone. If you’re still in the spirit of the Irish you can always spring for this simple Shepherd’s Pie Recipe.

End the evening with a wee bit of dessert:

thankyoucookes 3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patricks Day  Send your guests home with a little goodie back of green macaroons! You can purchase them at a grocery store or make some yourself.

2. Sunday Fun Day with the kidlets:

Momables Leprechaun Grilled Cheese
Start the party off with a nutritious and fun lunch!

St Pattys Grilled Cheese 3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patricks Day Mix broccoli pesto and cheese with whole wheat bread to create this gooey, delicious lunch. Pair it with soup and you have the perfect meal for the holiday.

Recipe from MOMables.com

Housing a Forest’s Shamrock Crystals

shamrockcrystals 3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patricks Day This easy-to-make sparkling shamrocks make perfect decor the kids’ rooms, gifts for family members or just a souvenir from a fun day. Thorough directions and how-to photos are available here.

Dinner Time! Start the evening with a warm Creamy Potato Casserole

creamypotatocasserolerecipe1 300x300 3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patricks Day Makes: 6 servings
Prep 30 mins
Bake 350°F 1 hr 10 mins
Stand 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 8 ounce reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), cut up
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded (4 oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or green onions
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold or round red potatoes, cut in thin wedges
  • 8 ounces sliced cooked Black Forest ham or country ham, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely crushed bagel chips
  • Thyme and/or Italian parsley leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside.

2. For sauce, in medium saucepan cook onion in hot butter over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender; stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and mustard. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Whisk in Neufchatel cheese until smooth. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the Gruyere cheese until cheese is melted. Stir in chives.

3. In bowl combine potatoes, ham, and sauce; toss gently to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

4. Bake, covered, 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Uncover; stir carefully. Sprinkle with crushed chips and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Let stand, 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with herbs. Serves 6.

Recipe and photo from Better Homes & Gardens

And if you’re the super ambitious type, treat your children to these tasty confections:

rainbowshamrockclose 300x201 3 Ways to Celebrate St. Patricks Day Bridget’s Double-Decker Rainbow Shamrock Cookies are sure to delight your kids and provide them with a fun and colorful way to end a full day of St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Click on the photo to for a full tutorial on how to make these little goodies.

 

3. For those who are just not inclined to cook:

If you are in the area, McKinley’s Grille at Fairplex is offering a special St. Patrick’s Day feast. All weekend Chef David Teig is serving up his special Corned Beef & Cabbage as well as $3 green beer.

On the other side of campus, Finish Line Sports Grill is doling out its own St. Patty’s Day feast. Guests who visit on Sunday will enjoy plenty of drink and food specials all day long. It’s Sunday Funday at its finest.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Film and Your Venue Part 1: 5 Steps to Utilizing Your Venue as a Film Location

What does a famous race horse, exploding freeways and Tom Hanks have in common?

Fairplex.

Presentation2 Film and Your Venue Part 1: 5 Steps to Utilizing Your Venue as a Film LocationFilm and Fairplex share a fun history together. A number of commercials and feature films have been shot on campus, including Tom Hanks’ “That Thing You Do!” “Seabiscuit,” “Live Hard, Die Hard,” and “The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant, conference center, theme park, hotel or a uniquely constructed home. If a film crew wants to use your location, there is opportunity to be grasped and connections to be made.

This two-part series will help transform your every-day venue into a film friendly location.

5 Steps to Utilizing Your Venue as a Film Location

1. Identify what makes your location film-worthy.

As a backlot location, Fairplex specializes in versatility. Directors generally need a blank canvas on which they can create their set.  Exploding freeways, a racing track from the 1920s and teens chasing boy bands are just some of the scenarios this campus has seen. Ask yourself what your venue is best used as. Is it a restaurant atmosphere? An action zone? Location managers are good at pinpointing what will make your venue stand out.

2. Do your research.

Melissa DeMonaco, Director of Sales at Fairplex played a key role in marketing Fairplex as a filming location and reaching out to the industry. “You have to be film friendly,” she says. “You have to support the industry and stay connected to what is going on. Watch films, understand the business of it.”

Working with a third party and having them represent your venue and/or home is advisable for those just beginning their career.

3. Meet with a film commission company.

Film commissions are responsible for getting the word out about your venue. They tell film location managers about areas in their region that are good for filming. Film location managers work with the director and film crew to find the right places for the movie. The film commission is the link between the location managers and your venue. Melissa reached out to Sheri Davis, the award-winning Inland Empire film commission director for assistance and hit the ground running.

Thanks to Sheri, Fairplex held a “fam” tour—inviting film location managers out for a familiarity tour of the campus, providing lunch and establishing relationships. From there it’s a matter of networking and awaiting the next opportunity.

4. Jump into the scene.

Be involved. One of the first things Melissa did was sign Fairplex up for a membership with the Location Manager’s Guild of America (LMGA.) When it comes to choosing locations, location managers are key components to garnering business for your venue. They are the ones who scope out potential film locations. They are the ones the directors listen to when considering options.

By being a member of the LMGA and other associations, Melissa puts herself on the front lines. She attends as many fundraisers, mixers and exhibitions as possible. “Support everyone and attend everything,” she says. “Say yes to whatever they need help with, even if you are just volunteering at an awards event.”

5. Network, network, network.

Once Melissa establishes a connection with a location manager she follows up and “friends” them on Facebook. LinkedIn is a good option for this too.

“I met Mike Fantasia [location manager for Seabiscuit] at a film event,” Melissa said. “I friended him on Facebook afterwards. I saw that he was celebrating his mom’s 90th birthday. At our next event, among a sea of other [sales directors] trying to get his attention, I simply asked him how his mother’s birthday went. He stopped and talked to me because I took the time to remember something about his life. The conversation wasn’t about what he could do for me. It’s about building a strong business relationship”

The second part of this series will focus on what to do once the film crew arrives on set and how to ensure an enjoyable experience for them.

If you have any additional tips, feel free to share in the comments section below!

Event Industry News: Facebook gets a facelift, SXSW, pop-up virtual stores

Syfy1 Event Industry News: Facebook gets a facelift, SXSW, pop up virtual stores Photo taken from Mashable

SXSW:
The annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival kicked off on Friday and continues to go strong this week (March 8-17). SXSW focuses on creative and professional growth, offering the unique convergence of original music, films and emerging technologies. A new addition to the conference? Pop-up hotels made from shipping containers. Mashable created an infographic re-capping yesterday’s most buzzed about SXSW happenings.

Event Tech Trends: Cvent wrote a blog post listing emerging trends in the event marketing industry. Hot strategies include pop-up virtual stores and marketing towards a specific audience via the pre-roll (those short videos you have to watch prior to a popular YouTube video).

Social Media: Facebook is getting a facelift. On Friday the company revealed its plans to redesign its News Feed ( the homepage we scroll through on a daily basis) to be more image and video-based. Creator Mark Zuckerberg has dubbed the updated feed as the basis for the “best personalized newspaper.” Additional information is available here.

Webinar planners beware: WebEx and  GoToMeetings’ online hosted web meeting services simultaneously crashed and didn’t restart for over two hours on Friday morning. Neither company has released a statement addressing the problem.

Fairplex at the moment

So Cal College Fair is happening over at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center right now.

Hundreds of high school students piled out of school buses this morning and into the conference center, welcomed by dozens of colleges, trade schools and other career representatives.

take2 Fairplex at the moment After talking to college representatives, students went into college preparatory seminars including athletic recruitment, SAT prep and other relevant topics.

take222 Fairplex at the moment The evening portion of the event is just beginning and the college booths, speakers and volunteer staff are set to welcome the second wave of soon-to-be high school graduates.

Not a bad way to end a Wednesday!

Cabernet Sauvignon just got salty

la fi mo napa valley winery ages wine in the o 001 Cabernet Sauvignon just got salty Photo taken from latimes.com

Mira Winery, based in Napa, California has begun experimental wine aging techniques by means of the Atlantic Ocean.

The inspiration came from the unique flavoring found in bottles of wine gathered from shipwrecks. The idea is to replicate the flavor with Mira’s own wine.

Bottles of cabernet sauvignon were placed in submersible cases designed specifically for the experiment and are expected to hang out on the ocean floor for a total of three months.

“The ocean has similar ideal elements that impact aging – temperature, pressure, humidity, pressure motion, light – or lack thereof – and oxygen,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, a Mira Winery winemaker. “Is there something just as impacting and interesting in aquaoir as there is about terroir? We are going to try and find out.”

[quote taken from L.A. times article]

Event Industry News: Beer gardens, Google Glass, Titanic Round Two,

Trend alert: According to BizBash, beer gardens are becoming the new “it” spot for business meetings and other events. These venues are large, loud and casual, yet also equipped with the technology needed to conduct meetings and presentations. The concept is  to work first, then play later, all in the comfortable atmosphere of a beer garden, ideal for summer relaxation.

Technology: Google Glass is one of the most buzzed about pieces of technology, set to open to the public by the end of 2013. A hands-free computer, an extension of your smart phone… whether it will be the next “need-to-have” or just another novelty has yet to be decided. Below is Google’s promo video, released two weeks ago:

Titanic Round 2: The original Titanic may rest in the dark waters of the Atlantic, but its doppelganger, Titanic II, is preparing to set sail in 2016. A near-exact replica of the Titanic will be making its maiden voyage along the same route the ill-fated original took. Duplicates of the restaurants and dining rooms from the first ship will be on board and the class categories will be enforced.