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Prepare. Climb. Reach Summit. Repeat.

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Our own Ash Crawford has been in Paris for the past two weeks representing Jupiter Ambrosia Productions at the Hub Culture Pavilion during the Climate Summit. At Hub Culture, Ash has been managing several projects and mini events in the space as well as acting as a knowledge broker, connecting stories and media at the pavilion.

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Ash Crawford outside Hub Culture’s Paris Pavilion.

Hub Culture is a global collaboration platform. At the Paris Pavilion for COP21, the United Nations meeting on climate change, the Pavilion is in operation daily from November 24 to December 20 located in the central area of Tuileries in Paris.

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A working space.

The space is set to offer co-working facilities, events, meeting space and smaller roundtables focused on environmental issues, with a calendar of events and activities managed through the Hub Culture Paris online interface.

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Meeting and working space.

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The media center.

Leaders from non-profits and the tech world are invited to collaborate with Hub Culture on a set of activities focused on climate innovation at the Pavilion. Project partners include XPRIZE Foundation, EIT Climate-KIC, People + Planet Project, Ven and Inspirelle.

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Hub Culture’s social media center will broadcast to HubLive.tv from the Pavilion during the course of its operation, and Edelman is partnering to build a newsroom to share news coming from COP21.

Tags: climate summit, paris

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Every event producer lives for that moment; the one where the client, who has seen the room filled before all the décor work, re-enters the fully designed room and smiles with delight. But what if that person is Oprah? If that happens, as it did recently to Carl Bendix, who was not only event producer, but co-host of Maria Shriver’s 60th birthday party with Oprah, you get much more than this. What you get is a boisterous, “It’s gooooorgeous!”

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It’s gooorgeous!

Besides the fact that the room at the Montage Beverly Hills was indeed gorgeous, Oprah had further reason to be pleasantly surprised. Only hours before, the ballroom was filled with hundreds of business people attending a seminar. It might have seemed impossible to Oprah that the room could be transformed from zero to fabulous in less than two hours. But then, while Shriver was very familiar with what her friend and go-to event producer could do, this was the first time Oprah had co-hosted an event with Bendix and worked with his team at Carl Bendix Productions.

Just the night before, that same team had produced an event for 1,000 people at the Beverly Hills Hotel for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Fund. With two high-profile back-to-back events, there was no room for error. When the business seminar had cleared out and it was “go-time” at the Montage, they were ready.

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The ballroom, only hours before guests were to

arrive.

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Love my team! Richard Fire and I enjoying a moment

because we are on time with everything!

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The crew begins to place everything, including the dance floor

and stage.

Four trucks had been waiting at the loading docks packed with the necessary staging, audio-visual equipment, plush club furniture and floral arrangements to transform the space and the foyer into a party for Shriver and 180 friends and family.

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Such a beautiful guest sign in area.

By the time Oprah entered the ballroom (as host of the event she arrived well beforeShriver), the hundreds of hot pink peonies and roses from Eric Buterbaugh Floral Design and Flowers in Beverly Hills were opening up perfectly. The greenery around the room was set and decked with bistro lights to bring an old-world elegance to the setting and intimate seating arrangements featuring plush clubby furniture from Revelry Event Designers was placed just so.

The house lights went down, the magic came on and the guests began arriving.

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The club came together fast with lighting, floral and greenery.Ready for doors to open.

After cocktails in the foyer, the doors opened and guests spilled into the ballroom-turned-club complete with a rocking house band. Shortly thereafter, actor Rob Lowe introduced the evening’s speeches followed by a good-natured “roast” song about Shriver custom-written and performed by several of her brothers and sons dressed in drag to represent both Shriver and her best friends. Finally, the co-hosts, Oprah, Sheryl Lowe and Bendix came on stage to offer heartfelt words of admiration for their long-time friend.

“You are the candle in so many so our lives,” Bendix said, “And we thank you for your compassion, love and support.”

Bendix had chosen just the right metaphor for a 60th birthday celebration in which each candle on the cake truly represented another year in a warm, inspirational and well-lived life. A feeling that was celebrated again in song as Stevie Wonder took the stage to sing songs from the key of life, including, of course, Happy Birthday!

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Rob and Sheryl Lowe.

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A hilarious family skit about Maria and her friends.

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Stevie Wonder and Maria.

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The cake!

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The hosts and the birthday girl celebrating.

Photos: Silvia Mautner

Tags: beverly hills, birthday party, Maria Shriver

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Event Designer of the Year

Finalists
Niki Delacueva, R. Jack Balthazar, Inc. Damon Drescher, Angel City Designs Thomas Ford, Tomford Design Tim Koch, Poko Event Productions Jay Newington, scene-one Selena Souders, Big Red Sun Edgar Zamora, Revelry Event Designers

Winner
Edgar Zamora, Revelry Event Designers

For almost three decades, Carl Bendix, as CEO of Carl Bendix Productions, has presided over an extraordinary series of projects spanning the worlds of entertainment, sports, education, Fortune 500 companies, government and the arts. These events have ranged from epic and theatrical to elegant and understated. Notable productions have included the Academy Awards Governors’ Ball, parties following the Grammy Awards, the Super Bowl,...

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Event Solutions magazine

January, 2011

“Seven years ago, it was just Maria, me and a small staff sitting in a room wondering what direction this all could take,” said Carl Bendix, president of JupiterPx/Ambrosia. The “Maria” was Maria Shriver, and the event in question was The Women’s Conference, which Bendix has produced since Shriver became first lady of California.

The direction it would take was straight to the top with an extended program, and a stellar lineup of speakers from First Lady Michelle Obama to an encore appearance by Oprah.

Shriver inherited a one-day event, which was originally called the California Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women. Created in 1985 by Governor George Deu...

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With change coming to the California governor’s office after next week’s election, this year’s Women’s Conference was the last in its current incarnation for hosts Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was also the conference’s largest showing, with more than 140 top speakers and participants, including Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, Oprah Winfrey, and many more, who drew a sold-out crowd to the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. In response to the high demand—tickets sold out in one hour, beating last year’s record of two—organizers grew the event to three full days, with an additional health- and wellness-focused day on Monday, and Shriver’s March on Alzheimer’s...

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It might be said that 2009 is a year that created a particular need for inspiration and community support—especially in a state like California, where budget shortfalls and the unemployment rate have become notorious. Either in spite of or because of that climate, California’s first lady, Maria Shriver, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Women’s Conference once again drew masses of women from all over the state to join a packed roster of about 70 high-level speakers and participants at the Long Beach Convention Center

This year, the program ballooned from a single day to two full days—to accommodate the increasing number of would-be attendees. (Each year, full-day passes to the conference sell out in reco...

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To accommodate its larger crowd of 14,000, the California Women’s Conference in Long Beach added an exhibitor-driven night-before program known as Night at the Village and expanded the reach of its live Webcast programming.

How do you accommodate a record crowd of 14,000 women for a fast-growing, sold-out conference at the Long Beach Convention Center? For one thing, open access to the men’s bathrooms. But organizers behind Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver’s annual Women’s Conference had plenty of bigger ideas than that for this year’s event, which drew the biggest crowd in its history with tickets selling out immediately after going on sale.

In addition to the full day of conference programming which included a varied list of more than 70 speakers, including hosts Schwarzenegger and Shriver, plus Warren Buffett, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, Jennifer Lopez, and Gloria Steinem—organizers added an evening-before event called Night at the Village. On Tuesday night, attendees could browse the vendors on the exhibit floor and stay for book signings, entertainment, food, and a conversation with Rachael Ray. (The show floor was also open throughout the day of the conference.) In addition, the conference extended the outreach for its extensive live Webcasting offerings, with the goal to reach 1 million additional viewers in the U.S. and internationally online.

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California First Lady Maria Shriver gave interviews to the press in a dedicated area outside the venue. Photo: BizBash

With so many moving parts including a web of greenrooms, makeup and dressing areas, and a holding area for the Secret Service not visible to ordinary attendees the conference used four executive producers. Conference executive director Erin Mulcahy Stein worked with Alexandra Gleysteen (for the TV production element), Julia Paige (for the Night at the Village), Karen Skelton at Dewey Square (for speaker coordination), and Carl Bendix at Ambrosia, who handled the overall production and coordination, and who has worked on events for the Schwarzenegger-Shriver family for 25 years. The Women’s Conference is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization led by Shriver.

“This year there was a much higher level of production,” said Bendix. “We expanded the exhibit hall enormously with theatrical lighting and video.”

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About 200 exhibitors filled the floor, which was open during the conference day as well as the night before for the new Night at the Village program.
Photo: BizBash

Stein added, “We went international with the speakers in years past, we were really at the California level, and now our message is global. A few years ago, we said we were trying to break through the walls of the convention center, and we think we’ve delivered on the promise to continue our work beyond this [building and] this day.”

Among the conference’s other production feats was a luncheon session in which CNN anchor Campell Brown moderated a discussion between Secretary of State Rice and PepsiCo chairman and C.E.O. Indra Nooyi, which packed the arena; 3,500 guests sat at a sea of round tables on the venue floor for boxed lunches with menus designed by the La Brea Bakery’s Nancy Silverton, and thousands of others filled the arena seats above.

The Minerva Awards named for the Roman goddess of wisdom on the California state seal closed the evening, with Shriver presenting, remarks from Bono, and a performance by Bonnie Raitt.

Alesandra Dubin

Governor Schwarzenegger’s Remarks at the Opening Ceremony Webcast for the XXVI Border Governors Conference

GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, thank you very much, thank you. It’s great to be here and actually be back at Universal Studios. And what is so exciting about it is not just that we have this great conference here, but that I actually started my movie career right here at Universal Studios. It was Universal Studios. (Applause) That’s right. It was Universal Studios that started the Conan the Barbarian movie and Conan the Destroyer and all the comedies like Twins and Kindergarten Cop.

And then they built this great ride, T2-3D, which is the most successful ride around here. And I had the chance to take all the govern...

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