Creating events is both intellectually stimulating and a great deal of fun.
Probably the biggest perk to event producing is the people you meet. From the most creative and lofty minds to the most down to earth, and from the gifted artist to the technically minded entrepreneur. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet so many luminaries in the media, government, business, finance, and the arts.
One of the most memorable events I’ve produced was a Newhouse/New Yorker session with Jon Stewart, held shortly before the elections in 2004. At the very beginning of the discussion Jon had to change from a lavalier microphone to a hand held and he was a true pro. He wielded his mic like a magician’s wand, enrapturing the audience with his wit and deep political knowledge. To this day, I think that he should run for President.
Speaking of Presidents, as you can tell from the picture to the left, I have a deep admiration for President Bill Clinton. So his being one of the presenters at the Newhouse School’s 40@40 Anniversary Gala was an honor. Having my picture taken with him, just the icing on the cake.
Still another highlight was listening to Bette Midler first rehearse and later perform in The Plaza’s Grand Ballroom at The National Audubon Society’s 2013 Gala. What a treat! She is so very talented and such a lovely person.
A few other unforgettable moments:
- Ted Turner bursting into a rendition of “Don’t Fence Me In” during his one-on-one interview with Ken Auletta. He was on key, for the most part.
- A group of protestors appearing outside the venue where we were holding a Viewpoints event with WalMart’s Mike Duke — including a Lady Liberty on stilts, a woman dressed as Uncle Sam, and a brass band. As they say, the show must go on, so we cranked up the volume and kept on going.
- Directing a livestream of the Wallace Foundation’s conversation on Building Arts Audiences in NPR’s state of the art Greene Space. Technology has certainly changed since I produced the Spacebridge with Peter Jennings and Vladimir Posner in 1987!
I look forward to sharing more of these memories, as well as lessons learned along the way, in the coming weeks and months. For now, stay cool during these dog days of Summer.