LOS ANGELES HBO's new miniseries The Pacific tracks the stories of three U.S. marines during World War II, often with bloody scenes. But the premiere party that took over the historic lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was rather more civilized. HBO vice president of awards, events, and trade advertising Lauren McMahon oversaw the event, tapping longtime collaborator Billy Butchkavitz to design it.
Butchkavitz described the event as “a 1940s Hollywood musical version of a U.S.O. party.” Entertainment included 16 swing dancers, a female vocalist with musicians recreating a Peggy Lee/Benny Goodman performance from that era, performers dressed in period uniforms from the miniseries mingling amid guests, and a Hollywood Canteen-inspired hostess.
Using a palette of red, white, blue, and gold, Butchkavitz draped the hotel entrance, interior balconies, and railings, ornamenting the look with golden eagle decor pieces ranging from five to nine feet wide. Golden silk velvet banquettes lined the perimeter of the party space, and blue and white star-patterned fabric covered dining tables, which were topped with gold starburst sculptures surrounded by white gardenias, as well as burnished gold urns filled with red roses.
A 16-foot round platform for the swing dancers covered the lobby fountain. And the hotel's main dining room became a museum of World War II memorabilia used on the set of the miniseries.