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Budget Minded

At the taping of Associated Television's World Magic Awards, entertainers performed tricks—and organizers behind the after-party also worked a little magic to feed 900 guests on a nonprofit-size budget.

Host Neil Patrick Harris with magician Florian Zimmer
Host Neil Patrick Harris with magician Florian Zimmer
Photo: Clinton Wallace

At Saturday's taping of Associated Television's World Magic Awards show at Barker Hangar, headliners from Las Vegas's Lance Burton to 15-year-old newcomer Kyle Eschen demonstrated the art of illusion, using contemporary props like black roses, paintball guns, and green lipstick as well as the classics—cards, birds, and silk scarves. Meanwhile, some magic of another variety was being performed in the tent adjoining the Santa Monica venue, where the Proper Image Special Events team was preparing for an after-party to feed 900 on a nonprofit-size budget.

That's because Associated Television executive producer David McKenzie had partnered with Feed the Children founders Frances and Larry Jones to make the global aid organization a key element and beneficiary of the show, which included a mini-documentary for broadcast in the U.S. and Europe. The event also raised money for the charity with $500 tickets for the after-party, coordinated by the Proper Image's Scherr Lillico in collaboration with McKenzie and Feed the Children vice president Larri Sue Jones.

To add an air of mystery, McKenzie brought in major decor elements inspired by the ancient world—giant golden Egyptian statues, such as sphinxes, the god Anubis, and a tall, distressed obelisk surrounded by a four-sided bar in the center of the 6,000-square-foot tent. The palette of the show's logo, projected on the tent's walls, was teal this year; to make the teal and gold pop, Lillico dressed the floor and seating area in basic black, with black chairs and tablecloths, topped with orange gerbera daisies, teal mini lights, and peacock feathers.

Guests cruised seven food stations representing relatively simple global cuisine from donor restaurants including Wokano, Chakra Creative Indian Cuisine, Daphne's Greek Café, the La Brea Bakery, and Louise's Trattoria as well as caterer Someone's in the Kitchen. “We weren't looking for froufrou food,” Lillico said. “We were looking for comfort food and variety.”

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