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For Barbara Chase, executive producer of special projects for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the weeks leading up to the Primetime Emmy Awards on September 20 are as busy as tax season is for an accountant. Between August 24 and Monday evening, when the academy celebrated nominated producers, Chase and event producer Richard Lauter, president of Savore Cuisine & Events, organized 22 bashes for various branches.
Organizers redressed the usually humble courtyard outside the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre three times, evoking affluent leisure in a Tommy Bahama-style tropical paradise; a clean, contemporary lounge space using dark woods and white upholstery; and a Hamptons-flavored beach escape with tall grasses, glass containers of lemons and shells, and Shabby Chic-style furniture.
The beachy blue-and-white scene that greeted nominated producers was lavish despite the tightest budget in recent memory. Chase managed to pull it together by keeping event production all in the television family: She secured donations from vendors that supply TV sets and might benefit from exposure to producers. Donors included Green Set Inc. of North Hollywood, which provided live grasses, a fountain filled with rose petals, faux boulders from the set of Lost, and plastic hedges, which fronted the bars. Dazian Fabrics supplied blue and white draping, and the NBC Universal Property Department lent whitewashed furniture with cream or blue upholstery. “That would have been probably $60,000 worth of decor or more,” Chase said.
Lauter shopped for finishing touches like white Venetian blinds from Ikea and blue glass vases from Marshall’s. And he anchored the space by building two 12-foot cabanas draped with navy fabric, which enclosed rattan light fixtures and lazily turning overhead fans. As DJ the Don spun hip-hop and R&B, guests cruised the Grey Goose bar and snacked on passed mushroom pizzas and tiny cream puffs. Midway through the evening, producers of nominated shows such as Entourage and House were honored with certificates. Afterward, as the crowd thinned out, revelers turned it into an impromptu dance party, boogying in front of the DJ booth until the evening ended shortly before 11 p.m.