BiZBash's Event-Biz Bash

May 16, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT Idea Center networking party Madame Tussaud's New York Tuesday, 05.15.01, 6 PM to 8 PM
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It might seem like we're bragging by writing about our own event. Forgive us. But with this many special event industry folks in one place, we just had to tell you about it.

BiZBash's first networking party was designed as a way to showcase the work of some of the company's marketing partners (the companies that pay to advertise on the site) to a group of high-level event planners. So what might have been a simple cocktail party turned into an event packed with the work of more than 20 special event vendors showing off their capabilities to a group of potential customers.

The event's venue, Madame Tussaud's New York, and its wax figures of celebrities prompted the event's theme--“Come play among the stars,” the invitation suggested--and provided lots of conversation fodder. (“Does he really look like that?”) The fun space made for an unusual cocktail party, even for people who put on events for a living. It was always a bit hard to get an accurate count of people in a room, because many of them were wax. And many people said ”Excuse me” to a person who was bolted to the floor. (One downside: With guests scattered over four areas on two floors, guests could easily make it through the entire party without encountering someone they were hoping to find.)

To match the theme, Chez-zam had actors pose in the lobby as screaming fans, snapping pictures and asking for autographs as guests entered the building. A Joan Rivers impersonator on the red carpet also interrogated people, asking about their fashion choices for the evening. The stunt startled many of the guests, and managed to generate some excitement before people even checked in. (See a picture of the fans...) Chez-zam also had impersonators playing Joe Pesci, Sean Connery and other celebs walking and posing among the wax figures to further confuse guests.

After guests picked up their name tags (from Big Badge) they walked up the venue's large staircase to a mezzanine where they encountered drag queens from Screaming Queens. Then, one more flight up, guests found Marc-Antoine Floral Studio's gorgeous arrangement of glass vases filled with fruits and vegetables, before boarding elevators to the party areas. (See pictures of the arrangement...)

Within one of the rooms of wax figures, Matthew Kenney Catering & Events' food was presented in two interesting ways that had guests talking: A large ice bar by Ice Sculpture Designs held containers of carrot ginger and cucumber basil soups that were ladled into shot glasses and displayed on a three-tiered ice sculpture. (See pictures of the bar...) And another Screaming Queens drag queen dressed as Marie Antoinette (perfectly suited to the French Revolution display inside the museum) stood in the middle of a dessert table on wheels, and slowly maneuvered among the guests and wax statues. (See a picture of the dessert table...)

Just as important as all the eye candy was the mingling, and the party drew a large crowd of special event industry folks. The event's invitation designer, Marc Friedland of Creative Intelligence (who we profiled recently), even flew in from California to attend. Other guests included Chris Giftos from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (who we also profiled recently), Karin Bacon and Esther McGowan from Karin Bacon Events, Susan Magrino and Karena Black of Susan Magrino Agency, Pam Miller of Big Apple Circus, Mark Musters of Musters & Company, Maury Rogoff of Maury Rogoff Public Relations, Joan Steinberg of Match Catering & Eventstyles and Mary Wible and Deborah Williamson of Swell Productions. Among the numerous corporate planners were Comedy Central's Tara Donnelly, Bailey House's Kara Forcey and News Corporation's Mark Steele.

Representing industry groups were Felice Axelrod, president of the Council of Protocol Executives; Samantha Bowerman, president of the New York chapter of Meeting Professionals International; Meryl Hillsberg, president of the New York chapter of the International Special Events Society; and Suzanne Walker, director of meeting services for the American Society of Corporate Secretaries.

The networking party even passed one of the unofficial tests of an event's success: party crashers. We spotted at least one uninvited caterer--the event was for advertisers and planners, remember--who managed to get in.

--Chad Kaydo & Suzanne Ito

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See a picture of the dessert table...

See pictures of the ice bar...

See pictures of the entertainment...

See a picture of Marc-Antoine's arrangement...

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