Starting in Hollywood, searching for the next “Big Wow!” I have to mention the mind-blowing IRIS show at the Kodak Theatre. They had an opening night party on Hollywood Boulevard that was more spectacular than any big movie premiere. But the party certainly didn’t outshine the show. Since it was a Cirque du Soleil production, it had to be extraordinary, but it even exceeded our wildest dreams. It was magnificently bizarre. The cinematic-themed world of IRIS will make the heart of Hollywood blossom for a long, long time.
Further down the road at Hollywood’s Ricardo Montalban Theatre, John Leguizamo has his Ghetto Klown autobiographical show. I have known the ultra-talented performer since his Fox TV days doing the House of Buggin’ variety show. His movies were bigger hits. Always wild and honest, John says, “I love that all my peoples are showing up to witness the latest chapter of my life on stage. I want to keep this show open until I’ve messed up my ten year old son enough for him to be my understudy.”
While I’m on the subject of guys who know how to wow the crowd, last month New York’s Finest: The Leading Men of Broadway played the Ford Amphitheatre and set it ablaze with their talents. Bravo to David Burnham (The Light in the Piazza), Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple), Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet), and Ace Young (Hair), plus Frenchie Davis (Dreamgirls) as Mistress of Ceremonies. They all knocked my socks off! Producer Chris Isaacson has a knack for putting the best performers in the spotlight and we look forward to his follow-up shows.
Now let’s put the spotlight on trends and products that created the wow-factor during celebrity events and the Emmy lounges.
Wow! Creations (yeah, “wow” is part of the company’s name) is headed by brothers Mark and Matt Harris, and they travel all over the country putting together celebrity lounges filled with the latest consumer products from emerging companies. I caught up with them at the Luxe Hotel in Beverly Hills at Emmy time to get the scoop on what’s new. Among the stand-outs was the unique GloToSleep mask that utilizes relaxing technique to help give the gift of sleep. Eric Roberts seemed fascinated by that and The Can’t Miss golf accessory that aims to improve your putting. The Joyful Bath Company had products that provide healing elements while you soak. Always a favorite of mine was seeing Johnny Rockets represented, offering the celebrities a dining experience at the nostalgic Johnny Rocket restaurants. They’ve gone global, with franchises in Asia, Europe, the Mideast, and a new all-American hamburger joint to open soon in Tripoli, Libya. Wow! No kidding, Libya, already?
If you love all-American hot-rods and classic cars, the Peterson Automotive Museum would be a big wow for you. And it was sensational place to have Kim Kreiss and Patrycja Towns host their Alive! Expo Green Pavilion and Mix Media Luxury Lounge. The event benefited Project Green and the “Only you can save energy” PSA campaign. An array of all that’s good and green from fashion, beauty, health, art and Bohmod Luxury Eco Furniture was featured. Celebrities attending included one of my favorite filmmakers, the fabulous Penny Marshall. Sponsors that stood out were Aubrey Organics and Sequel Naturals for your health. And for your soul, there was Lusciouss, fun-flirty jewelry from designer Kendra Bridel Weinman, who told me part of her “style code is to be strong, smoldering, stylish and over-accessorize.” I like that spirited attitude, it gets you noticed!
Now a shout-out to the folks who create the wows for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition families. For the ABC show’s ninth season premiere, an event was held downtown at the historic Vibiana Cathedral. Hosted by Hollywood Branded Inc., it celebrated the extreme efforts by the cast, crew, and staff who design, build and make the dreams come true for so many deserving families. There were young celebrities everywhere enjoying the Velashape treatments, riding around on Street Strider bikes, and a silent auction benefiting the American Cancer Society. It was a tremendous success, another big wow for a good cause.