By Courtney Thompson Posted January 30, 2008, 4:11 PM EST
FROM SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. As New York and New England football fans head west, so are the corporate types planning Super Bowl-inspired events. Trading last year's Miami beach locale for a sprawling desert landscape, many planners are calling Arizona a breath of fresh air, with most everyone agreeing that anything is better than Detroit. Here's a rundown of some of the week's biggest to-dos.
Audi is kicking off the week with an invitation-only hole-in-one charity tournament today, with former NFL players and celebrities lining up to win an Audi R8. The auto brand has taken over a nine-acre estate in Arizona's luxe Paradise Valley neighborhood, which will be home to a series of events, including a Kate Hudson-hosted dinner and a Marquis Jet daytime party. Also on-site at the estate is a satellite hub for Los Angeles club Hyde, which will open at 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Relevent's Tony Berger is producing.
Tomorrow, DirecTV stages its second annual Celebrity Beach Bowl, an event that pairs current and former NFLers with celebrities and models in a semi-competitive, semi-comical flag football game. Matt Leinart, Doug Flutie, Pamela Anderson, and David Spade are among the players, with Fall Out Boy performing afterward. The sand-filled event is taking over a corner of the new SouthBridge Waterfront area, which is also home to the bevy of 944 Media goings-on (including nighttime concerts by 50 Cent, Velvet Revolver, and Wyclef Jean, and a less-than-shocking appearance by Paris Hilton).
The usual suspects are lined up for Friday night, including Maxim, ESPN the Magazine, and the second annual event called Vice the Party. The Maxim fete will double as the grand opening of Rande Gerber's newest Stone Rose lounge at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale. Alpha Media's new senior director of events, Jordan Rothstein, and TK New York's Tracy Kessler are producing the event, which is set to include high-tech sponsor activations and a 45- by 45-foot dance floor that is being built on top of the Fairmont pool. Also on tap: a surprise performance by a “major” artist, as well as music from DJ AM.
ESPN, meanwhile, is headed to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, where Ludacris will perform. Vice, produced by Bookem Danno's Dan Parente and Toast, will feature a performance by LL Cool J at the Venue of Scottsdale. A former Maxim-er, Parente bragged to us that he had lured longtime Maxim sponsor Coors over to his party; Rothstein retorted that Heineken was sponsoring their event this year, adding, ”Maxim is the signature kickoff event for the weekend, and we're not really too concerned with other events that may be scheduled the same night.”
All the partying comes to a head on Saturday night, with events for Fox, Sports Illustrated, Victoria's Secret, Penthouse, and Playboy lined up. Fox is taking over an empty lot in the downtown area, creating a tented 1950s Palm Beach-themed event for some 1,400 guests of the network. Sports Illustrated is following suit with an invitation-only evening at local hotspot Barcelona, where 1,000 executives, advertisers, athletes, and their agents will mingle alongside Cadillac and Patron integrations and a performance by the Roots. Victoria's Secret's event at Taste Ultra Lounge is likely to be a big draw, with angels Karolina Kurkova, Selita Ebanks, and Adriana Lima set to attend, as is Penthouse's “Desire” fete, which will mix the magazine's pets with a Snoop Dogg concert.
True to form, Playboy is once again straying from the norm, opting to host its ”Playboy's Desert Oasis and Resort"—another retro-themed affair—at Rawhide in Chandler, roughly a 45-minute drive from downtown Scottsdale. Playboy planner Donna Tavoso said she previewed some 60 venues before realizing that Scottsdale couldn't accommodate her 2,000-plus guest list. Hosted by Common, the night will have a resort feel, complete with a gift shop, a diner, and a cabana-laden, pool-inspired area.