By D. Channing Muller Posted February 2, 2009, 6:47 PM EST
As the only lad mag with a presence at Super Bowl this year (both Penthouse and Playboy, two Super Bowl regulars, cancelled its parties for 2009), Maxim once again turned to Tracy Kessler of TK New York to execute its Super Bowl party on Friday night.
”We know a lot of people are canceling and we still wanted to provide this for our sponsors and our guests but we had to tone it down,” said Kessler.
Kessler’s method of toning it down: reduce the number of the attendees to the invite-only soiree. Instead of the nearly 2,500 guests who attended in Scottsdale last year and Miami in 2007, this year a reduced number of 1,400 celebrities, tastemakers, and Maxim clients were invited.
“It’s a much more exclusive party this year in light of the economy,” said Kessler
Inspired by the Florida location, Kessler transformed the Ritz Ybor into a Cuban nightclub with amber lighting, palm trees, and sleek white leather furniture in the V.I.P. lounge from Room Service Furniture and Event Rentals. Celebs arrived via Samsung’s signature 26-foot tunnel of 40 TVs, which projected their own image back to them as they walked the red carpet. Additional TVs and projection screens were set up throughout the three-room venue showcasing a slideshow of guests taking their turn inside the Patrón-sponsored photo booth, complete with Cuban-themed props like hats and cigars.
Patrón also sponsored a Mojito bar, roll-your-own cigar station, and partnered with fellow sponsor PepsiMax to create a specialty cocktail for the night that was served with accompanying food pairings from Catering by Design.
Star power for the night included Brody Jenner, Stacey Kiebler, and DJ Vice and DJ AM who, having previously spun for the mag’s party in Scottsdale last year, returned as the headliner for the event. Though no “surprise” performer was scheduled this year—T-Pain and Akon performed in 2008—Benji and Joel Madden, along with Jazzy Jeff, hopped on the turntables for an impromptu performance near the end of DJ AM's set.