Thursday, October 11, 2007

A car show

As I’ve discussed, I work in a large building that is a convention center attached to a very large (soon to be the largest in the world) hotel and casino. I’ve posted stories on some of the assorted shows and conventions that come through, because I find them interesting and want to share them, and since you aren’t here to walk through the halls with me I have to resort to words and photographs. This week there was a meeting that was laid out a little differently, so I figured that again I would share it with you.

Most conventions take our large open halls and subdivide them with pipes and drapery into little booths, from 10x10 up to whatever the company displaying things wants to pay. This one was more of a major show and tell, put on by a car company for their dealers. They were served food in the big ballroom and had smaller presentations, but one of the halls was set up like an auditorium.

There was a big stage and lots of video screens.

I didn’t go up there when the show was on, but I understand that some new car models were driven up on stage so people could see what might be coming into their showrooms. There was a big fog machine, so that the cars looked like they rolled in on a cloud. And part of the stage revolved, so that the cars could be seen from all angles. I don’t know what videos were shown, but there was an extensive sound system and a big drum set back stage. A small area backstage was set off as an area for ‘the band’. At least that’s what the little hand written sign said.

Nobody knew what band was there, we are assuming an expensive one from the setup and how fancy the drum set was. But we do know that Jay Leno came by one evening and entertained.

One of the things, well, a lot of the things, hidden behind the curtain are required to set up for a show like this. Usually hidden from the crowd, but now you get to see some of the boxes that the screens and speakers and amplifiers are packed in.

About ten percent of what it took to move everything in. Oh, you ask, what did the new cars look like? Well, most were in the back all covered up when I was walking around, but I did get to see one of them.

I think Jessica Alba was seen driving this in one of her recent movies. Don’t know when it will be in a showroom near you. But our rigging guys loved this show - all the curtains, screens, speakers and assorted things are hanging from big beams and cables suspended from the ceiling, all of which are put up and taken down by the rigging department and dozens of Teamsters called in to do the work, by the hour.

And again you ask, but what did the dealers do during the day when not in the stands? Well, there were lots of buses out front, so there were a lot of field trips. Behind the Team Member Parking Garage, in the back lot of the smaller hotel next to the big hotel and casino next door was a setup for them to play. There were a number of big tents, and we could look down from our parking garage and see some fancy food being prepared and served. And at times there was much noise, as the dealers got to drive the new vehicles over some prepared courses. Over hills and obstacles for the four wheel drive vehicles, around a little track for the faster models.

A side suggestion – if you are offered a good deal on a demo car, low mileage, it could be one of these. Oh, and I can’t tell you what car company or even what city they were in, so don’t ask.

Today it's all getting pulled down and hundreds of computers are getting set up in an adjoining hall, in preparation for some international gaming group. This weekend we'll have Halo players from all over the world competing on the keyboards, with the top team getting almost a half million dollars in prize money. Imagine that, a half million dollars just for playing a game.

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