Filed under: Events
I have been home from Atlanta for almost two weeks now and I am finally feeling like myself again. Grab a cup of coffee and a comfy seat, I have not posted in a while so this is going to be a long one!
Atlanta and the 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend was a truly amazing experience and I am very grateful we got to be a small part of it. That being said, my body and immune system (or lack there of) finally gave in and I got sick. Sick as a dog. I felt like death warmed over.
For those of you who really know me, you know that being sick is my most unfavorite thing and just a huge waste of my time. I do not get sick often, but when I do, it is a doozie. Let’s just say the Robitussin DM that I bought at the gift shop in the Ritz for $50 and the Tylenol “severe” cold and flu didn’t even touch this bastard. I needed antibiotics. And again for those you really know me, taking antibiotics is probably my second most unfavorite thing to do. Mainly because of the effect being on drugs for an extended period of time has on my body. We girls know that some bacteria is good. Thankfully, I ate lots of yogurt and was spared the wonder bread effect. To spare my poor husband, I will leave it at that.
Okay so I got ahead of myself here, let me rewind to the beginning of our excellent All-Star adventure. Becky and I packed enough clothes for a month. I called her before heading to the airport to ask her to bring her large suitcase so I would not feel as embarrassed. She said she would. I had already packed mine. And much to my surprise it weighed in under the limit! We left Boston on a Sunday, the very same Sunday Tom Brady made it 18 – 0. It was so hard getting on a plane in the 4th quarter but luckily our pilot and air traffic control were Pats fans too. They kept us informed of our win and we celebrated with all the other passengers with red wine on our flight. It was Delta red wine, but it did the trick.
Downtown Atlanta is nothing to write home about. Our hotel made it that much worse. Honestly, what convention hotel closes their cafe, lobby bar and Starbucks during the middle of the day? I could write a separate blog on the perils of our hotel alone. But to save time, two words: it sucked. I know I can be somewhat of a snob in the hotel department, but truthfully this place was horrific. It was official NHL HQ so that’s where we had to stay. Sure in the courting phase (before we signed our production contract) they put us up at the Ritz Buckhead and the Four Seasons, but once we inked the deal, back to flying coach and staying with the staff. I am joking of course. . . well kind of.
Luckily, we did manage to score our own office space for the 9 days we were there. It became the place to be – I know you are all shocked. We had flowers, candles, all kinds of treats and oh yeah, us.
The week before our big event flew by, but come Friday morning we were ready and excited. Wyclef Jean is an amazing performer and puts on one hell of a show. The Tabernacle rocked and we had a blast. More importantly, our client and their guests and sponsors all had a blast too. A few minor hurdles along the way, all to do with access, but our colorful crazy wristband system worked in the end. Its all about the access. Our gold sparkley bands were worth their weight in gold. We were totally prepared when Akon showed up with his entourage and performed on stage with Clef. We were also prepared when just about every other R & B artist showed up too with their entourages.
Clef played over 90 minutes and entertained us past midnite. He jumped from stage and made his way onto the balconies singing and dancing for the sold out crowd on the edge of the railings. Only his bodyguard protected him from the adoring fans and from falling. Beast, as he is affectionately called, held onto Clef by his beltloop. Beast also made a celebrity guest bodyguard appearance on stage later that night. That Beast can dance!
Security in general was another highlight of the week. Everyone had security, including us. And security comes in all shapes and forms. We miss Joe Cap and Big Al. They watched over us and entertained us pretty much all week. They were permanent fixtures in our office. We also met Big D (Usher’s private security), Beast and his team (all on Clef), Big Rob (giant size teddy bear in charge of the Jonas Brothers) and an assortment of others.
After retiring our walkies with the secret service earpieces, we headed back to our hotel to sleep fast. Saturday morning brought Usher, Taylor Kitsch, the Jonas Brothers and about 10,000 screaming tweeners. Taylor plays Riggins on NBC’s hit show Friday Night Lights. He is also an avid hockey player and huge fan of the sport. We are huge fans of his. For those girls who do not know him, tune in on Friday nights and catch the show. You will not be disappointed.
Usher introduced the boys and received alot of screams himself that day. He is a true gentleman and an absolute pleasure to work with. The entire combo of Taylor, the Jonas Brothers, Usher and hockey fans, as far fetched as it sounds, totally worked.
However, Saturday’s activities knocked me on my ass. At this point, I knew I was sick and on my way to being really sick. I crawled into bed loaded up with over-the-counter nonsense and slept the rest of the day. That night was the Skills Competition and post party featuring Ne-Yo. I did rally for the party but was tucked away again early. We never made it to the Badass Post Post Party hosted by Hollywood Records. But come on, how badass can Disney really be?
I actually did not make it to anything after that – missed all events including the actual hockey game on Sunday and missed my flight home on Monday. My head felt like it was in a vice, and if I stepped on a plane I knew it would explode. Not to mention I could not get out of bed. I did watch the game on TV and was so bummed I wasn’t there in person. Leave it to me to work all week and then not be able to enjoy the rest of the weekend. Ne-Yo performed again on Sunday and this time on ice. That man can rock a marching band hat and his hit “Because of You” has landed on my all time favorite songs right now list. I smiled last night when I saw him on TV on the Red Carpet at the Grammy’s.
We go through what I call event post partum after every major event we produce. This one was no exception. We miss our on site office, our team, the feeling of being part of something so big, the excitement and the super friends we made along the way. And although we are sad our event is over, we know it is just a matter of time before we are thrown into another project promising all of the above.
So thank you and good bye for now NHL and hello NBA.
Stay tuned. . .