Size matters at Emmy parties.
Because of the sheer number of nominees, the party scene has long been divvied up around town with a handful of primo events — all in the celebratory manner that industryites expect.
Nine months of prep leads up to the two post-Emmy galas at the L.A. Convention Center: the Aug. 21 Creative Arts Ball and Aug. 29 Governors Ball.
“It’s like planning two really large weddings twice,” Andrea Drake, project manager for event company Sequoia Prods., says of the massive effort.
More than 11,000 plates are required for the post-Primetime Emmys fete for 3,600, reportedly the largest formal sitdown dinner annually in United States. A celestial theme awaits ballgoers: A revolving orchestra turntable will hold musical entertainment, which is different for each ball, as is the dinner menu by Joachim Splichal of the Patina Restaurant Group.
Other events, such as HBO’s post-Emmy fete and the Motion Picture & TV Fund’s Evening Before benefit, have a rep for extremely tight guest lists. But even in a slack economy, partygoers can look forward to some spendy spreads by top local chefs such as Wolfgang Puck. Plentiful gift bags, rival premium vodka sponsorships and seemingly endless open bars are each highly anticipated elements of the annual TV biz ritual.
By Emmy week, this pre- and post-broadcast dance card should expand considerably:
Primetime Emmy after-party
Entertainment Tonight will host a glittery after-party not far from the Nokia Theater at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, the cathedral-turned-event space. Site is the same as last year, but co-host People magazine has opted out. A Grammy Award-winning performer will be announced Aug. 16.
Major consumer brands help sponsor the party, meaning a well-stuffed gift bag (designed by Cole Haan). Catering is by the Border Grill and “Top Chef Master” competitor Susan Feniger. The cupcake craze is honored via a dessert bar from Magnolia Bakery. Pampering includes a beauty lounge for touch-ups, sponsored by Neutrogena. Ladies can slip out of their Manolos and Choos into some ballet slippers at a foot-care lounge, courtesy of sponsor Dr. Scholl. Reflexologists will be there to massage tired feet.
HBO Primetime Emmy after-party
Since 1999 (with a year off in 2001), the cabler’s elegant fete has been a must-have ticket. Held outside at the Pacific Design Center’s Fountain Plaza in West Hollywood, event planner Billy Butchkavitz pulls out all the visual stops. In the past, the vet planner has been known to shop in India for the decor.
“Summer Safari” is this year’s design theme: a stylized jungle setting done in a palette of pink lemonade and lime. Towering palms (up to 30 feet high) will define the party space, and 6-foot-high hand-woven palm baskets will be the signature decor element. Richly patterned, custom-made textiles will cover all surfaces from tables to perimeter walls in cheetah, giraffe, tiger and vine motifs. Lighting will be suitably theatrical with oversized torches and hanging lanterns.
Musical performances, such as a set by Qool DJ Marv, will rotate on three cantilevered “tree house” stages. Wolfgang Puck Catering will provide the gourmet eats.
Audi’s Pre-Emmy Party
On Aug. 22, Audi will host a gathering at industry eatery Cecconi’s in West Hollywood for 200.
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Performers’ Nominee Reception
All nominated performers are invited to the Academy’s cocktail soiree Aug. 27 at Wolfgang Puck’s Spectra restaurant within the Pacific Design Center.
One of several elaborate pop-up events that appear annually to launch new products, presented by Nathalie Dubois, the pre-Emmy sesh will occupy the Sunset Tower Hotel’s Argyle Salon and Spa for two days of freebies and beauty treatments for nominees Aug. 26-28.
Entertainment Weekly and Women in Film
More than 350 guests will be welcomed at EW’s Aug. 27 party that celebrates femme primetime Emmy Award nominees. White and gold is the color scheme for the indoor-outdoor fete, to be held at the Sunset Marquis’ secluded restaurant.
Floral centerpieces by Larry Abel Designs come with coveted add-ons: free makeup from party sponsor L’Oreal.
The Evening Before Pre-Emmy Party
A fundraiser for the nonprofit Motion Picture & Television Fund is scheduled for Aug. 28 in the plaza adjacent to Craft, under CAA’s offices in Century City. All major players, nominees and presenters are invited (and often attend).
Limited press attendance keeps the benefit casual and amps the schmooze factor.