COMMUNITY: 2014 Marian Anderson Award Honors Jon Bon Jovi

November 18, 2014

Jon bon jovi marian anderson awards

Over the years, Evantine Design has had the pleasure and honor of designing the event decor for many of the prestigious Marian Anderson Awards Galas. Tonight’s grand celebration honoring American singer-songwriter, record producer, philanthropist, and actor JON BON JOVI, is sure to be as incredible as the others. If not more so. Not only for the amazing show that will assuredly take place on stage in the magnificent Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. But also, and more importantly, for the well-deserved recognition the event will highlight of the work Bon Jovi has done, and continues to do, to fight hunger and homelessness through Project HOME and the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation. Many of his philanthropic projects focus right here, in and around Philadelphia, which makes this year’s dedication even more precious as our local community has been touched so personally by this humble humanitarian’s passion for helping others. We particularly admire his community restaurant JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, New Jersey as HOPE really is delicious.

Tonight’s 2014 Annual Award Gala Dinner and Concert program guarantees a rockin’ night to remember with comedienne Wanda Sykes as host, spoken tributes by Senator Cory Booker and Project HOME Executive Director Sister Mary Scullion, as well as performances by Grammy Award-winning Estelle, The All American Rejects, Jon Batiste and Stay Human.

Reaching out to others less fortunate really is a simple and straight-forward concept. One we have always taken to heart here at Evantine Design as that’s the principle Creative Director, Brian Kappra, feels strongly about himself and strives to honor every day. In other words, giving back isn’t complicated. It is black and white with sunshine rippling through it in hopeful, caring ways. Reflecting on that clarity of purpose, in our own simple way, for tonight’s gala, Evantine Design will be creating a comfortable black and white environment with pops of bright happy yellow, magenta and purple. It is a true honor to participate once again in this amazing annual event.

We encourage you to read more about the esteemed Marian Anderson Award below as it really is a tremendous gift to the City of Brotherly Love, as well as the greater community around us.

The Marian Anderson Award, sponsored by Wells Fargo, honors artists whose leadership on behalf of a humanitarian cause(s) or issue(s) benefits society. Previous recipients include Berry Gordy (2013), James Earl Jones (2012), Mia Farrow (2011), Bill Cosby (2010), Maya Angelou and Norman Lear (2008), Richard Gere (2007), Sidney Poitier (2006), Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis (2005), Oprah Winfrey (2003), Danny Glover (2002), Quincy Jones (2001), Elizabeth Taylor (2000), Gregory Peck (1999), and Harry Belafonte (1998). No award was given in 2004 or 2009. Created in 1998, the Award is named for the great Philadelphian and American singer Marian Anderson, and is produced and administered under the direction of J. Patrick Moran. Since its inception, the Award program has provided more than $500,000 in free public programs, residencies, commissions, and grants to young artists.

Marian Anderson, the most celebrated contralto of the 20th century, was born in Philadelphia on February 27, 1897, to an African-American family of modest means. Recognized for her extraordinary musical talent, as well as her generosity and commitment to others, Ms. Anderson was a master of repertoire across operatic, recital, and American traditional genres. Throughout her musical career, she played an incalculably vital role in the acceptance of African-American musicians in classical musical and in other previously segregated performing arts genre. In 1957, Ms. Anderson was appointed by the U.S. Department of State to serve as a Special Envoy to the Far East, and the following year President Dwight D. Eisenhower named her to the post of delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations. She sang at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961; in 1963 President Lyndon B. Johnson bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom upon her. On her 75th birthday, in 1974, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution ordering a special gold medal minted in her honor. On April 8, 1993, Marian Anderson died at the age of 96 in Portland, Oregon. Her legacy continues to shine.


Freaky Good Times at M. Night Shyamalan’s “Shyamaween”

October 31, 2014

scary costumes for halloween

As per usual, October had us partying down with a vengeance! One fabulous event after another to orchestrate, many of them for charitable organizations, kept us jumping from one side of Philadelphia to the other and beyond. Each party was chock full of all the fun, thoughtful, and, let’s be honest, sometimes whack-a-doodle, details we love to obsess over. None more so than M.Night Shyamalan’s first ever spookfest fundraiser, “Shyamaween” at the Mask & Wig Club in Philadelphia. As you can see from these incredible photos, we had a blast working with the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation’s uber-creative team! Wicked costumes, playful attitudes, clever entertainment, and generous guests. Everything you want in a Halloween gig! To read more about the incredible work they’re doing at the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation, we encourage you to hop on over to their website. Happy Halloween!

shyamaween party 2014 evantinelove sick djs halloween party phillypumpkin man halloween costumepocahontas halloween costumecircus entertainers halloween partiesshyamaween mask and wig club philly partiesboston circus halloween dancershalloween costumes fun ideasboston circus shyamaweencostume parties halloween events phillylight up jugglers boston circus halloween partyhalloween djshalloween dancers evantine design

{Photos courtesy of M. Night Shyamalan Foundation aka #MNSFund}


Honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Special Gregory Benjamin Jam

October 15, 2014

breast cancer gifts evantine design

Now, on sale exclusively at Evantine Design’s Boutique at The Rittenhouse, Gregory Benjamin Jam’s Special “Scented Lemon and Raspberry Preserves” created specifically in support of the Breast Health Institute and The Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health.
If you know Evantine Design at all, you know we are HUGE supporters of charitable causes, particularly those organizations near and dear to our hearts. The Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health is just one of those causes, and one we have supported since its inception. Apparently, we are not alone in our unwavering support as Gregory Benjamin Jam is joining in on the fight to raise awareness of the importance of breast health, and local Philadelphia-based Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health (FBPH) is directly benefiting from their generosity during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And that month is? October!
Gregory Benjamin Jam, the “Best of Philly” winner and recipient of “Best Artisanal Spread” by Cooking Light magazine is partnering with FBPH for the first time this year by using their artisanal craft to create a signature raspberry and lemon jam called Scented Lemon Raspberry Preserves.

“In creating the recipe for the Scented Lemon Raspberry Preserves, we wanted to use fresh antioxidant-rich ingredients like raspberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove to not only make a great tasting jam, but also one that had important health benefits to shine a light on how nutrition can play an essential role in in breast health,” said Gregory Conocchioli, founder of Gregory Benjamin Jam. “As a long time supporter of FBPH, I’m honored to use my talents to help FBPH in the Philadelphia area in their mission to raise breast health awareness.”

When you buy a jar (or two or three) of Gregory Benjamin’s specialty Scented Raspberry Lemon Preserves you’re not only promoting#breasthealth, you’re also getting a jar full of fresh antioxidant-rich ingredients like raspberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

The delicious preserves will be sold all month in our fine gift boutique in The Rittenhouse, as well as online at Gregory Benjamin Jam. All proceeds will go to benefit FBPH’s Fund for Living program which assists women by covering costs or addressing unique problems associated with breast cancer care that are not commonly covered by health insurance programs, such as transportation to a medical appointment or childcare during treatment.

fbph logo

Not familiar with The Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health

The Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health is a world-renowned nonprofit 501c3 foundation and think tank that serves as a catalyst to advance breast and prostate cancer education, awareness and treatment, while advancing the scope of scientific research through grants to pioneering doctors in both fields.  Since the organization was founded, it has gained regional, national and international recognition as a major source for public awareness of breast and prostate cancer related issues. We encourage you to learn more about the foundation and the wonderful ways they selflessly do what they do by visiting their website at www.fbph.com.

Available until October 31, 2014 at Evantine Design at The Rittenhouse
210 West Rittenhouse Square, Upper Lobby Level, Center City Philadelphia
Hours Monday through Saturday, 10:00am-6:00pm, 215-790-2576

Opera Philadelphia Celebrates Their 40th Season Right on Broad Street

October 12, 2014

evantine design opera philadelphia gala event design

Just a month ago today, Opera Philadelphia celebrated its 40th Anniversary season with a spectacular evening of performances entitled “From the Stage to the Stars.”

The black tie event began with a cocktail reception at the Academy of Music, an historic arts venue that was built in 1857 and which is the oldest opera house in the United States. The more than 400 well-heeled guests, including opera superstars Nathan Gunn, David Daniels, Eric Owens, Isabel Leonard, Ailyn Pérez, and Stephen Costello, as well as actor David Hyde Pierce, the gala’s Honorary Chairs Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and his wife Lisa, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Kevin Puts and Jennifer Higdon, sat on the stage of the Academy of Music for an intimate recital by Soprano Ailyn Pérez and Tenor Stephen Costello, and then dined and danced in a tented ballroom constructed on the Avenue of the Arts. In this time lapse video shared below, you can see the amazing tented ballroom as it was installed on Broad Street aka Avenue of the Arts. The tent itself was beautifully and efficiently constructed by Select Event Rental with air-conditioning provided by Priority Rental.

Attendees were seated in a clear tent “under the stars” for dinner with special guest performances, a lively “live auction” and plenty of dancing. And if that wasn’t enough celebration, guests were invited to continue the party with dessert and dancing back in the Academy of Music lobby. We had a ball creating a glamorous event design to honor the momentous occasion.

The Gala proceeds of $500,000 will benefit Opera on the Mall, Opera Philadelphia’s annual broadcast to Independence National Historic Park.


Colorful Leadership Meeting for ADP at Philadelphia Museum of Art

October 3, 2014

Corporate Events Philadelphia Museum of Art Evantine Design Floral Decor

Yet again, when a client puts their complete trust in the event planning team at Evantine Design, we are only too happy to tackle every challenge to bring to life the thoughtful, branded event they imagined. Earlier this week, we produced a rainbow of modern style for ADP’s Senior Leadership Meeting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As one of the nation’s foremost destinations in which to see world-class art, the Greek Revival main building of the museum is one of the city’s most prestigious venues for corporate events. Thanks to the tremendous talent of Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele, the original architects of the building, the grand, formal nature of the museum gives us event designers much beauty to work with! From stellar, artistic lighting and special effects projected pn statues, walls and steps, to the innovative, urban-classical entertainment and branded decorative accessories, ADP’s meeting was one to remember.

But of course, as you know, we love to make a dramatic statement with our floral decor and this event was no different. Working within the traditional walls of the museum, we elevated the majestic spaces to modern times with contemporary designs that included long feast tables covered with green and white patterned linens, clean white table settings, and glossy white dinner chairs. Running the length of each of the dinner tables, we created centerpieces in custom-made white rectangle wood vases filled with low, lush ombre arrangements of flowers. Seasonal and exotic blooms, such as orchids, dahlias, hydrangea, roses, and tulips, were arranged in bright modern colors that moved from white to yellow, vibrant green, orange, magenta, red, plum, and purple. Striking, bold and yet perfect for networking across the tables.

All branded materials, from signage to menus, placecards and napkins, were orchestrated by our team to flesh out all the details into one cohesive event design. And, as mentioned earlier this week, we brought in the uber talented Black Violin to perform for the guests as yet another nod to ADP’s focus on innovation.

Knowing that it takes a village to make these types of events happen, particularly when produced in pressured, short time frames in public spaces, we thank the talented culinary team at Stephen STARR Events for their collaboration on the menu and food styling for the event.


Black Violin Performs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

September 29, 2014
Black Violin Philadelphia Corporate Events Innovative Music Evantine Design

Black Violin/Colin Brennan Photography

One of our favorite things about producing events is working with incredibly talented artists, musicians and performers from every discipline. And, in many cases, whole new genres of entertainment! For instance, for a corporate event taking place tonight at the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, we booked (on Friday!) one of the most innovative musical acts available on the urban scene: BLACK VIOLIN.

Kev Marcus and Wil B are Black Violin. They are two classically trained musicians who perform their own original style of music: a groovy blend of jazz, hip-hop, funk, and classical. Suckers for any artists who think out of the box, we were blown away with how this savvy duo came to be. So, here it is, in a nutshell. (Did we mention how excited we are to hear them live tonight?)

Photo courtesy of Black Violin

Photo courtesy of Black Violin

Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester met at the Dillard High School of Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. After graduating from college, they joined up as hip-hop studio rats in South Florida, working with several different acts before returning to their roots to create their own groundbreaking fusion of sound. Their innovative vibe has seen them play for everyone from the troops in Iraq to President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC. They have also headlined 40 shows in two stints at the New Victory Theater on Broadway, including 16 sold out shows over two weeks last November. Along the way, Black Violin has wowed audiences at the legendary Harlem Apollo Theatre, accompanied Alicia Keys’ performance of “Karma” at the 2004 Billboard Awards, and appeared with Gym Class Heroes and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump playing the hit song, “Stereo Hearts,” for VH1’s Unplugged. Recently, they appeared on The Queen Latifah Show and blew the entire audience away!

Since starting Black Violin a decade ago—named after an album by preeminent African-American swing era jazz violinist Stuff Smith—Wil B and Kev have performed an average of 200 shows a year in 49 states and 36 countries as far away as Dubai, Prague and South Africa, while appearing at official NFL celebrations for three Super Bowls and last year’s U.S. Open in Forest Hills with Jordin Sparks. The pair has played with the likes of Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda’s Fort Minor, while opening for Fat Joe, Akon and the Wu-Tang Clan. Individually and together, Black Violin has collaborated with the likes of P. Diddy, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin and The Eagles. Kev supplied strings for a track on Lupe Fiasco’s Grammy-nominated Food & Liquor 2 album, and appeared on the Meek Mill cut “Maybach Curtains” with John Legend, Rick Ross and Nas. Wil and Kev also scored an episode of CSI: New York, adapting the finale of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly for an on-screen murder.

Like we said earlier, we can’t wait to hear these dudes play tonight! It’s sure to rock out the museum in a whole new, cool way. In the meantime, check out their rendition of Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me”…


PLANNING: A Father of the Bride Shares His Tips on Wedding Day Toasts

August 1, 2014

Nothing says “gracious” more than hearing the host of the wedding stand up and make an incredible toast to the entire room. Sure, it’s wonderful to eat delicious food and dance the night away to a fabulous band. But, seriously folks, isn’t it the emotion and the inclusion that keeps the memory of the day fresh in our minds? How you were welcomed, how you were treated and how important you felt in a room of many. That’s what these special milestone celebrations are all about.

To us wedding planners, who have seen hundreds of weddings over the years, nothing reminds us of the REASON for the party more than the heartfelt, insightful, and hopefully HUMOROUS words offered by the father of the bride. Having been blown away recently by a client’s toast, we asked him if we could pick his brain on how he developed his amazing “father of the bride” speech and if he would allow us to share his endearing toast on our blog. It was no surprise to us when he agreed and was more than happy to help. Take a look at his authentic words of wisdom as well as his incredible speech. We hope it inspires you as much as it did us…

{Photo courtesy of Cliff Mautner}

Tulin Wedding 2007 038-1

The SECRET to making a thoughtful wedding day toast starts with a simple, straight-forward approach that goes a little something like this:

  1. Welcome everyone;
  2. Thank your out-of-town guests for traveling from afar;
  3. Thank your daughter’s new in-laws;
  4. Thank your spouse profusely;
  5. Offer a general message to all the guests about the occasion;
  6. Offer a message to your new son-in-law;
  7. Offer a message to your daughter; and then end with glass raised and
  8. Make a toast to the bride and groom.

However, here are a few TOASTING RULES I learned from other fathers of the bride who shared their stories with me:

  • Never say anything even remotely disparaging about the wedding, the wedding guests or the bride and groom.  Do NOT say anything negative, even in jest, such as “I hope your marriage lasts” or “things can get tough at times” or “I wasn’t sure we were gonna make it here tonight” or anything like it. Keep it positive, keep it supportive.
  • Absolutely minimize the use of the word AND as it diminishes the importance of what comes after (except when referring to the bride “and” groom).  Make it two sentences, each standing on its own.
  • Refer to the bridal couple as “Bride and Groom” or “Groom and Bride”; but be consistent and do not switch.
  • In my speech (shared below), you will see the places where I wrote PAUSE.  Those pauses were for emphasis and make people really listen to what’s coming next as in “Sharon, PAUSE, you look so beautiful tonight…”
  • Put the microphone close to your mouth.
  • Try NOT to use a written speech, or if you do need one, hold it only for reminders. Don’t read from it.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Now, for the WEDDING SPEECH. I am so very honored to share it with you, and with any other father of the bride who can be inspired by it for their own upcoming celebration. Every time I read it, I still weep with joy!  What a special night.  Here goes:

Nancy and I welcome all of you and thank you for being here tonight to help us celebrate Sharon and David’s wedding.  We are truly honored to share such a wonderful occasion with our family and friends.  I am especially proud to say that many of you have been our friends for 20 years, some as many as 30 years, and a few have been my friend for 50 years.

We are especially grateful to those of you who have traveled a little farther than the rest of us, including those from as far south as Florida, as far west as California and as far East as England.

To Jessica and Jon (pause), we couldn’t have asked for better machatunim to share the future with.  We look forward to celebrating simchas, holidays, good food, and good wine for many years to come…..and not only with Sharon and David.

Nancy, there is a list (pause), yes an actual list (pause), that is very long, containing the names of people who have stood in this exact position (pause), at this exact moment in their lives (pause), and with sheer amazement and pride, announced how absolutely incredible someone ELSE has been for pulling together the million details that go into creating a fabulous memory for everyone here tonight.  You may now, officially, add my name to that list.  I am truly grateful for everyday that we have each other.  I thank you and I love you.

And to those of you who root for one or more of the following 7 sports teams, (slowly) the Giants, the Redskins, the Devils, the Rangers, the Capitals, the Mets, or the Nationals, and you know exactly who you are; we who live here welcome you to Philadelphia and ask that we put our rivalry on hold ….for tonight.

Speaking of 7, many of you may not know that the number 7 has tremendous significance in Jewish history and culture; the most obvious being that the world was created in 7 days…6 days of work plus Shabbat.  But did you know that the Torah begins with a verse containing 7 words?  Or that there are 7 Jewish holidays, and that Rosh Hashanah occurs in the 7th month?  Or that there are 7 weeks between Passover, the Exodus from Egypt and Shavout, when Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt Sinai. You saw Sharon circle David 7 times during the ceremony, and you heard Sheva Bracha, 7 blessings, recited.  There are 7 continents, 7 seas and the list goes on.

So let’s bring it a little closer to home:

  • I’ll bet you didn’t realize that Sharon and David met 7 years after they became Bar and Bat Mitzvah.
  • And, that this weekend marks exactly 7 years since the first time Nancy and I met David when he and Sharon were studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • And, to the entire Rubenstein family, David is about 7 feet tall and we are extremely happy to finally have tall genes in the family
  • And Sharon (pause), you are so beautiful and radiant tonight that Mom and I are in 7th HEAVEN 

David, when I felt the need to confirm, what Nancy and I knew for a long time, that the two of you would make fabulous soul mates and partners, I asked Sharon 7 questions…

  1. Does he treat you as an equal? (pause)
  2. Do you look forward to going home at night just so you can be with him? (pause)
  3. Does he ask for your opinion and does he listen to the answer? (pause)
  4. Is he proud of you? (pause)
  5. Does he respect what’s important to you? (pause)
  6. Does he make you laugh? (pause)
  7. Does he tell you that he loves you? (pause)

Unequivocally, and without hesitation, Sharon gave me 7 Yesses.  David (pause) you are the luckiest person in the room tonight because you are now entrusted with the lion’s share, of the heart, of our favorite daughter in the whole wide world.  Nancy and I are so happy that she chose YOU.  Though your de-facto initiation occurred many years ago, we are thrilled to officially, publicly, and with a tremendous amount of love, welcome you to our family,

(SLOWLY) Sharon, from the first moment we laid eyes on you, Mom and I have been so proud of you.  From You Are My Sunshine, to Har Zion pre school, to the pink corvette, to Do ya, do ya, do ya do yo wanna dance, to the boys baseball team, to Camp PawPaw, Harvard, New York City, the Boston Marathon, and now Penn Health, you’ve had a truly remarkable run that we are absolutely sure will continue with your latest terrific decision (pause) sharing your life with David.

So Sharon and David, here are the last 7 for the evening (pause)…Mom and I hope you will

  1. Stay healthy;
  2. Be involved in your community;
  3. Look South, not North, to see how fortunate your lives are;
  4. Stay close and connected with your family;
  5. Trust your gut – you’ve both experienced plenty of Life’s lessons;
  6. Always, always have each other’s back;
  7. and give each other unconditional love. (pause) ALWAYS.

(PUT DOWN NOTES, PICK UP GLASS)

Please join Nancy and me in a toast to Sharon and David….

You are both so incredibly fortunate to have found each other.  May your lives together always be blessed with happiness, good health and success.  And may you always know how much you are loved.

L’Chaim

 


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