May 2005

Beard Awards Stage Looks Like Child’s Kitchen

The set design and decor at the Marriott Marquis for this year’s annual James Beard Foundation awards was inspired by Julia Child’s home.

With this year’s James Beard Foundation awards—honoring the best in the food and restaurant industry—billed as a tribute to Julia Child, the event’s set designers looked no farther than Child’s kitchen for inspiration for the set design and decor at the Marriott Marquis.

Set designer Paula Longendyke of Overland Entertainment went to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s permanent exhibit of Child’s kitchen, and worked closely with the curator to add detailed touches to the stage. Decor included turquoise green cabinets, walls hung with pots and pans, posters of cats (a favorite of Child’s), and shelves lined with cookbooks all similar to those in Child’s original kitchen. Color photographs of Child with Jacques Pépin (who received the evening’s lifetime achievement award), James Beard, and other chefs highlighted the night’s tribute.

The event’s M.C. was friend-of-Julia and Good Morning America coanchor Charles Gibson.

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December 2000

Rock’s Million Dollar Bash

“Anyone can be bought; anyone is available for a price,” Jonathan Scharer says flatly. He ought to know. His Overland Entertainment Company has booked everyone from Beck to Bob Dylan for private parties and corporate gigs. Although Scharer will not discuss specific fees, he characterizes prices as “outrageous”-and rising. Just two years ago, the Eagles received a reported $500,000 to play for the financial firm Nomura Asset Capital Corp.; now superstars can command more than $1 million for about an hour’s work.

November 1999

They Rock Hard for the Money

On corporate dates 20 years ago, you booked Don Rickles or maybe the Everly Brothers. “That’s changed dramatically. The counterculture element of rock has disappeared into the woodwork.” And good riddance, said Jonathan Scharer, president of the Overland Entertainment Company, a New York promotion firm that deals primarily in private parties. When he first formed the company, Scharer said, performers who agreed to play private parties were not sure what kind of commitment they would get from the producers. “They were playing in airplane hangers and hotel ballrooms. They were singing on hotel risers. We got sophisticated.”

Scharer said the private party niche was unexplored territory when he started. “I identified a need in the corporate sector for rock ’n roll. Corporate executives were getting younger and younger. They wanted to boogie.”