LOS ANGELES It was only days ago that people were gathering in families' homes, stuffing themselves with carbs, and vegging out to pro football or the Rose Parade on TV. To ease their transition from relaxed winter holidays to high-gear award season, the after-party following the 37th People's Choice Awards on Wednesday provided a laid-back atmosphere and comfort foods for about 600 guests at the Conga Room. TeleNext Media president Fred Nelson oversaw the party, and TeleNext's event lead was Megan McGee. The team tapped Sequoia Productions—known for its longtime production of award season's biggest bash, the Oscars' Governors Ball—to produce for the fourth time.
“We're trying to keep guests comfortable, with warm, delicious food and great cocktails,” said Sequoia's Andrea Drake Brooks. “It's a really laid-back atmosphere, with lots of great lounge furniture, and a place for people to unwind from the show [at the Nokia Theatre] and the holidays. It's mellow—people just come and have a good time.” Guests included members of the motion picture academy, guests of the People’s Choice organization, and executives from sponsor Procter & Gamble.
Tray-passed hors d'oeuvres from Wolfgang Puck included chicken and leek pot pies, and mini cheeseburgers on brioche buns. Comfort dinner stations dished up the likes of popcorn shrimp with spicy mayonnaise, honey strung fried chicken, short rib sliders, baked mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes and gravy. There was also an Italian food station, and desserts like house-made versions of Ring Dings and Twinkies, plus red velvet cupcakes and mini tiramisus. Specialty cocktails with cheeky names included the Gleebreeze (Ultimat Vodka, Patrón Citronge Orange Liqueur, fresh blackberry juice, and fresh orange juice) and the Betty White Russian (Ultimat Vodka, Patrón XO Cafe, and light cream).
Working with the People's Choice 2011 logo, the decor was black and blue, including a blue carpet for arrivals. “We made it cool, icy chic,” said Brooks of the color scheme. DJ Corey spun for the crowd.
It was the second time the party was at the Conga Room, and the second time the awards were at the Nokia after a move from the Shrine. Brooks described the production scene in the L.A. Live area as an “ant farm,” with a flurry of activities, including a Clippers game at Staples, and the recent removal of the Christmas tree and ice rink. The team had to wait its turn in a crowded loading dock before the installation could begin—a harbinger of the frenetic award season activity on the winter horizon all over town.