Wednesday, July 25, 2007

RSVP Sydney Party After Dark

RSVP’s Cory Watson has developed a reputation for producing edgy parties.

This year the RSVP Party After Dark went retro with sex the dominant theme - and that theme oozed from every pore of the labyrinthine venue. Home is one of Sydney’s best-known nightclubs and is just a short walk from the expo venue at SCEC.

On arrival a pair of tele-evangelists implored guests not to enter the den of iniquity in front of them while a couple of sprites on stilts beckoned those same guests. Others tried to keep warm by huddling around the gas fired RSVP welcome sign.

Eventually the velvet ropes were parted and the guests were allowed in, to be greeted by an assortment of characters that one might meet at the Moulin Rouge or a German Cabaret of the 30s.

The entertainment opened with The Velvet Set a swing band accompanied at times by a pair of Lindy Swing dancers and then Sydney’s top burlesque entertainers showcasing their acts.
The Sugartime burlesque performers included Gypsy Wood as the absinthe fairy, a very dexterous Ginger Snap who has perfected the twirling of nipple tassels and Amelia Wood who has taken foot juggling to a new level.

Tasia showed a very inventive use of lights while Tulsa was a poppin and Hula La turned into a human slinky.

The finale featured Rachael St James in a very large champagne saucer. These acts managed to surprise a few punters but the majority were totally engrossed.

Elsewhere guests could indulge their fantasies in the Absinthe bar, try their had at sketching a model or visit the delights of the East and the Middle East.

Burlesque has made a big resurgence over the past year or so and has crossed into the mainstream where it is often combined with the edgier circus acts. Kass Warner is the madame of Sugartime and was responsible for the lineup of these acts.

Unfortunately this fantastic event did not get off to a good start.

Most guests simply walked across to the venue from SCEC. It was a chill night and they were looking forward to the warmth of the venue, however they were kept waiting for around 20 minutes in the unusually (for Sydney) freezing conditions and quite a number decided enough was enough and didn’t wait around.

This was then compounded by the tight entry to the venue. Home is not an event venue; it is a nightclub or disco and the entry is quite small, so many guests were left in the cold for even longer.

The welcoming drinks on arrival were a good look for the first dozen guests to enter but then they were just in the way.

Guests were directed into the main downstairs space which quickly became packed (at least it was warm). Eventually the upstairs spaces were opened up and when the crowd filtered through the venue it was quite comfortable and the bars accessible, however many guests had had enough and had gone.

Many guests complained about there not being enough food or drink. To be fair to the caterers the problem was that the waitstaff couldn’t move through the crowd to distribute the food or drinks and the bar was impossible to get near.

The entertainment content was too confronting or risqué for some guests (who apparently don’t get out much). I know the element of surprise is important for such events but some sort of forewarning could have prevented the wowsers from getting upset.

Home has a cloakroom hidden behind the main bar – it has no signage and no attempt was made to make guests aware of its existence, consequently the main dancefloor was littered with bags and coats, causing more than a few trips.

Surely it is important at any event to keep guests entertained, fed and watered. The issues I have listed are all avoidable with proper preparation and isn’t that what event management is all about! Keeping punters waiting outside a nightclub is supposed to make the venue look more exclusive, but this was supposed to be a party, not some wanky nightclub.

Not a good way to showcase the industry.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Phantom of the ISES REC

I'm in Melbourne for the ISES REC and we have just enjoyed the welcome party at the legendary Princess Theatre. Even for someone who has the theatre background that I have it was quite a thrill to be taken into the circle to have a look at the set-up for Phantom of the Opera.
Our host tonight was Jason Marriner who's father was responsible for saving the Princess along with the theatre history of Melbourne.
Marriner Theatres technical manager, Mark Allan talked about the history of the theatre and Ken Roach who is head of production for the touring production of Phantom enlightened us on the current production that was in the bump-in process. The delegates were very interested in the process and the questions kept coming.
Some items of interest - the original production at the Princess used over 800 lights, since moving lights were introduced into the rig a couple of years ago the size of the rig has halved (including 96 movers) and the so has the focussing and plotting time. In fact there are now more speakers FOH than lights. And the main FOH speakers are hidden behind the false pro so looking at the stage no speakers are visible.

Ken Roach, Mark Allan and Jason Marriner

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sydney's event venue snubbed

The major event for Sydney next year will be World Youth Day featuring the Pope.
And a major spat has erupted over the choice of venue. Randwick Racecourse has been the traditional venue for Papal visits in the past but with what is involved these days in presentation, staging and security organisers need control of the venue for a much longer period.

When Sydney Olympic Park was proposed it was promoted as the great venue that was going to solve all issues involving big events in Sydney - plenty of space, fantastic public transport access and close to the demographic heart of the greater Sydney area.

So where did it all go wrong?

In a very ironic twist the SCVB held a members information session about the papal visit at the SMC - that's the Sydney Masonic Centre. In years gone by the Tykes would have been much more comfortable with the gee gees.

And one has to wonder how much angst our pollies will suffer as they endeavour to find time in their diary to meet another religious leader.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

It's Easy To Have A Scene Change

The editor of Staging Connections newsletter - Showtimes - has sense of humour.
Their latest edition includes this little gem...
It's a Small World
It's Easy To Have A Scene Change. But When You're Planning Your Event - Wouldn't You Prefer Some Inspiration?
Pristine sandy beaches lapped by turquoise water. World Heritage listed National Parks and magnificent rivers. Rolling hills, pristine waterways and breathtaking vistas.
Where else but Tasmania?

Where else indeed!
And then their next article is promoting the new management team in Hobart.

New Management Team
A new year means a fresh new management team for Staging Connections Tasmania. Adam Webb and his team have nearly 40 years of experience in the events industry in Tasmania and interstate. The new management team plan to take Staging Connections Tasmania to the next level in technical and creative services. They will not only be providing Tasmania with quality AV production and exhibition services, but inspired customer service as well.

But then I guess they needed a new management team after the old one walked - to join Scene Change.