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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

I Love the Vegas Nightlife (Kind of…)

Filed under: Travel

The industry parties, which seemed to dissipate for a while a few years ago, are back and better than ever. My colleague Christian Brandt, referred to often here at ASI as my “handler” (those of you who know me can empathize with that particular level of Dante’s hell…), were on the circuit, with Christian keeping us on schedule like the maniacal drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket.

See the photos for just a few fetes we were able to attend, but some of the best included PPMN’s awesome mixer – a perfect way to kick off the show; AIA’s reception (with Michael Woody making a return appearance and looking better than ever!); iPromoteU’s Rat Pack-inspired ring-a-ding-ding cocktail soiree featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. look-alikes hamming it up with Ross Silverstein (who never met a camera he didn’t love); the Goldman Promotions reception with its hilarious American Idol-inspired “try-outs”; the HALO/Lee Wayne event at Eye Candy at which Leed’s was named its “Supplier of the Year”; and PromoShop’s fantastic party at the Red Rock Resort bowling lanes, in which the company presented its internal sales awards and to its top three suppliers of the year (Gemline, SanMar and Leed’s).  

My pal Jo-an Lantz. hosted a wonderful Geiger reception for its colleagues and vendor partners. If there is one company, I think, that has completely reinvented and reinvigorated its brand, it’s Geiger. Through the company’s work with FueldFilms – the multimedia production company owned by those whip-smart cuties Jeff and Brady Anderton (formerly of OraLabs) – Geiger’s latest self-promo video elicited a shake-the-shingles-from-the-house howl of laughter from me. Who knew Gene Geiger was such a brilliant comedian with his dead-on, deadpan humor?

Click here to see Geiger’s self-promo video: http://www.fueldfilms.com/geiger/ind/mime.html.

The most coveted invitation of all, though, is from Bravo Awards. Each year, co-owners Brian Starke and Greg Livings hold their super-exclusive party on the DL (“down low,” for those of you who are over the age of 15 and/or more emotionally mature than me…) for a select group (we’re talking less than 50) of industry clients and friends (some of whom are competitors) at a fabulous location. Once you get the special invite – which really is like winning one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets – you experience that special thrill of being escorted beyond the red velvet rope to the VIP area of some exclusive club where the endless Grey Goose awaits, beckoning you to get all flocked up. It’s like being Brittany Spears or Lindsay Lohan without the sloppy nudity and subsequent jail time. 

One special event I was graciously invited to was the Jack Nadel Inc. dinner in which they honored their best suppliers and gave a touching and heartfelt send-off to recently-retired Robert Buckingham, the company’s COO who joined JNI in 1994 and has been a partner in the company since 1970. Having attended JNI’s annual sales meeting in Temecula, CA last September, I can tell you that this is one company whose sense of family is not limited to people with the last name of Nadel.

“Robert has been a close friend and a valued partner for 38 years,” Jack Nadel told me. “He has made many contributions to the success of Jack Nadel International and pioneered computer generated sales promotions and developed the creative services that have become one of the hallmarks of the JNI advantage. Robert’s intelligence and style is a legacy that will benefit Jack Nadel International for years to come.”

Craig Nadel, incidentally, is one of the first people I met in the industry almost 11 years ago and one of my closest friends. We have a tradition each year in Vegas that Craig – who is a total numbers wonk and a card shark – tries (the operative word being “tries”) to teach me to play blackjack. Craig, being the awesome guy he is, never lets me gamble with my own money, instead letting me play with his. Well, I will tell you that in all the years we’ve been playing, not only have I never won a cent of Craig’s money back (because I am decidedly NOT a numbers person and am more interested, frankly, in just spending time with Craig than in adhering to the rules of the card game) but I believe I’ve lost THOUSANDS of his dollars cumulatively over the years. Just thinking about it makes me wince, so if you know Craig, be kind to him and remember that he has a friend like me to contend with.

Lastly, having been attending this show for so long and having done my fair share of legendary industry partying, I must admit that this is the first year when I reeled myself in. I could say it’s because my favorite drinking partner-in-crime, Dan Townes, had to miss the show this year, or because Jill Albers – another favorite drinking pal – is five months pregnant, but honestly, I think it’s because I turned 40 this summer.

Truly, my favorite night of the show was when Michael Bernstein (who turned 40 three months before I did), chairman of Polyconcept North America, and I sat in his room in our comfy clothes (me, sans stilettos) watching Family Guy. I turned to Michael as it dawned on me how jaw-droppingly amazing it was that he and I – two of the most prodigious industry partiers in our heyday who could have given Keith & Mick a run for their money – were watching TV at 11:00 p.m. IN VEGAS. “What do you expect, Michele,” he said, completely nonplussed and very “Michael” in his matter-of-fact way. “We’re old now.”

Lastly, I’d like to congratulate Matthew Cohn and Tim Andrews on their new roles with ASI — Matthew being named vice chairman of the ASI Family of Companies (including responsibility for ASI, The ASI Show, Inc. and ASI Computer Systems Inc.) and Tim as president of The ASI Show and vice chairman of ASI Computer Systems. They are two of the smartest cookies I know and have the patience of Job for dealing with the cuckoo’s nest that is ASI’s editorial department. Tim, especially, is like our own kinder, gentler, funnier Nurse Ratched – without the little Dixie cups of meds.

Stay tuned for my next blog from the PPACanada Show, which starts Sunday, in Toronto!


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