Women with powder dusted creamy backs in gowns dripping with beads and men in crisp tuxes. Of course its Oscar night. Yet I'm not talking about the fancily clad movie stars. I'm talking about the fancily clad crowd at Open-I Media's 2nd Annual Oscar party. "Black Tie Optional" and held on Monday, March 23, in their offices at 73 Franklin Street during the airing of the Oscars, Open-I benefited The CityKids Foundation's Cyber Links and Safe Space programs. Cyber Links is relatively new (it just started last week!) and has the goal of getting kids on computers. Safe Space is a physical space at the non-profit's Leonard street facility where city kids can go and express their feelings. Now, thanks to Open-I, they have a space online where they can safely express themselves as well.
Dana Story of Open-I wasn't just acting when she played the role of a good hostess, she gave me a very informative tour and spoke enthusiastically of their relationship with CityKids. In a stunning full length black gown with clear criss-crossed straps she navigated the space with me and pointed out how their office was transformed to accommodate the guests. The space is long and divided by a glass rectangular "backstage" area in the middle. "Backstage" is the color output center and where technicians can service the computers--like add hardware (zip drives)--for the computer terminals on either side. Hot hors d'oeuvres were stationed on what was the video editing suite, and next to the avid system (covered in blue plastic and strangely resembling one of those life boats in this year's winner "Titanic") were the computers people rent out on a monthly basis. Actually, Dana explained, some people just rent the space and bring in their own equipment. This way they can have their own business, but not have to deal with also being CFO or Office Manager, they can just do what they do best -- create. Downstairs are 3 rooms for computer classes.
Students created 3 games for this night's festivities: "Find That Oscar Tune," "Bingo," and a trivia game. The prizes weren't so shabby either: dinner at one of the fine Tribeca restaurants, 1 full day at Chelsea Piers health club, a 1 year membership to NYNMA, a bottle of Skyy Vodka or Ocumare Rum, and other goodies. All these fine things, including the much needed elbow grease to put on such a fine event were donated. The Special Events Marketing class at FIT offered students to work on a real-life project and receive credit. Two students I met from this program were Sacheen Cicero and Joanna Fillie, who both were pretty much rooting for "Titanic." Down the hall I chatted with Jeff Stuart who had that glowing "just back from a skiing vacation" look. Having his company get bought didn't hurt his relaxed happy demeanor either. Neither did Nate Elliot at Doubleclick look to badly, for the obvious reasons (if you don't know what happened to Doubleclick, check the @NY archive's). Nate said things are "crazy but great" and that Open-I "is a great shop." Kim Hino of Stanton Crenshew Communications was nearby, as was Bill Tucker, a writer for the New York Press who told me that "California didn't show up for the Alley to Valley Conference" (sponsored by the AlleyCats). Paul Glazrock, who was playing one of the Oscar games nearby, is freelancing as a technical development person at Individual Investor Online. And who were all these people voting for in the Oscar raffle? Matt Damon, Titanic, and 2 undecided, respectively. Jodie Kahn of 24/7 (Titanic) and Jeremy Kagan of Volatile Media (Starship Troopers) debated over their choices. And Miles Rose (WWWAC board member and biz SIG leader), sweetly said he was voting for me! All in all, I'd say everyone benefited from this fine event.
Correction: Tristan Louis is not at Bencom.com but Pencom.com. Please excuse my error in reporting.
(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)