Friday, July 22, 2011

The ISES-NCC "Members Only" event at the The Parlor in San Francisco.  Our live Picasso painting provided some artistic diversion while members schmoozed and enjoyed the free refreshments.  The painting by Picasso is actually of Marie Therese Walker, who became the painter's mistress at a scandalously young age.  The juicy details of their relationship added to the fun, and a palette of paint attached to the reproduction allowed guests to add their touches to the masterpiece.  Images courtesy of   (Thanks, Scott!)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

'Twas the night before July 4th......"

Michael Saylor, man about town, and co-founder of MicroStrategy, decided to throw a party on July 3rd.  He called it the "Red, White, and Blue Beach Blast!"  The venue was the Sequoia Restaurant.  Cast of Thousands was summoned to round up some fun characters and we happily obliged.  Our crew included Uncle Sam on Stilts, George Washington, Lady Liberty, a living statue, a  henna artist, a fire dancer, cirque dancer and hula hoop twirler on stilts, and even a silouette artist -- and all on a day's notice!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Great article about us in Sunday's Washington Post! Check it out!!

Political faux: Washington’s power players work hard to perfect an image — and so do their impersonators.

Two men in dark suits, hands to their earpieces, hurry through the crowd of partygoers. The guests — in town for a dental convention at the downtown Marriott — cast quizzical glances at them as they disappear up an escalator. When the men reappear, they’re just as serious. But this time, they’re not alone. Behind them is another man, about 6 feet tall, with a confident stance and wide grin, accompanied by an elegant woman. Immediately, eyes turn and whispers are traded.
Is that Barack Obama?
It’s a mistake that Larry Graves counts on. The 56-year-old has the president’s height and build, and his voice carries the same rhythmic quality. Both are left-handed. Graves makes slight alterations to his appearance — thickens his eyebrows, adds a mole, uses body wax to get his ears to protrude ever so slightly. But in the right suit, the right light, he causes double takes.
To be a celebrity impersonator, however, it’s not enough to just resemble a famous figure, says Jan Kearney, owner of the McLean-based agency Cast of Thousands. “Of course, that’s a big help, but they have to have a kind of spark or personality that is similar in charisma or feeling that you would have if you were with the actual celebrity.”
The District is a popular destination for professional conferences and corporate events, and Cast of Thousands hires impersonators out to groups that want to add a little pizazz to their gatherings. The look-alikes will stand for photo ops, give speeches tailored to the event’s theme, improvise conversations as they mingle with guests. Rates for an in-character appearance vary depending on the doppelganger and the event, and can be anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per performance.
These actors are the closest many visitors will ever get to being in the presence of our nation’s biggest decision makers. Some event-goers get a thrill out of the chance to trick family members back home with photos of themselves with “famous people”; others take the opportunity to praise or criticize as though the impersonator were the real deal. “I think people kind of enjoy the joke of being fooled, even if it’s for a few seconds,” Kearney says.
She says Cast of Thousands draws from the city’s active theater community to find versatile actors who can improvise and are eager for a side gig. Bob Heck is one of those people. “You’ll always get work here,” says Heck, whose oeuvre includes Washinton-friendly characters such as Bill Clinton and Larry King. “It’s a smaller talent pool, so it’s an advantage if you can do lots of things.”
And although Brad Pitt and Lindsay Lohan look-alikes might rule in star-saturated cities such as New York and Los Angeles, impersonators in political roles — from Obama to the Clintons to the Roosevelts — have carved out a niche in Washington.
It was a gang of fourth-graders that got Graves — who lives in Gaithersburg and is a substitute teacher and model by day — into the business.
During the 2008 campaign, “I had half of them out at recess asking me for autographs,” Graves says. “I hear at least three or four times a week: ‘You look like Obama.’ I just basically say thank you. It’s a compliment; I have no problem with it.”
If you'd like to read the full article, please click on:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Great story about the over the top benefit for Stanford U. Hospital!

by jennifer raiser,  event photos by drew  altizer photography

There are parties, and then there is Jillian Manus and Alan Salzman’s “Channeling Love 2011” extravaganza to benefit Stanford Hospital Cancer Center. Now in its sixth year, the Valentine’s party is about as over-the-top as a benefit gets, always full of surprises, always with an irreverent theme, and always for the same worthy cause inspired by Salzman’s mother Helen, a three-time cancer survivor. This year it was all about 70’s TV shows, in all of their cheesy dialogue and bad hair glory.  For those of us who spent our after-school hours riveted by our friends StarskyCharlieGilliganRhoda, and Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, it was an amazing experience to walk into scenes we had only stared at, glassy-eyed, on our Magnavox.
Manus Salzman Valentine Party - Channeling Love
Manus and Salzman  abundantly underwrite the at-home affair, and then planner extraordinaire Robert Fountain makes the magic happen on Channels 2,4,5,7 and 44. (Anyone under thirty is completely confused at this point, serves you right for not remembering “what a bummer” black and white TV was.) Guests arrived on the balmy night in Atherton to Love Boat-attired valets and Rod Serling entering the Twilight Zone, which turned into a psychedelic inflatable walkway flanked by a dozen old school portable televisions beaming their cathode-tubed Jeffersons, Charlie’s Angels, Maude, and The Brady Bunch into the night.
As you approached the front door, there was the entire burgundy polyester-clad Partridge Family performing in front of their primary colored tour bus, waking up in Love this Morning and Went to Sleep with You on My Mind. (Where have you gone, David Cassidy?) Just inside the foyer, Archie Bunker was puffing on his stogie in his threadbare chair, while Edith plonked away at the upright. The Beverly Hillbillies colonized the dining room and installed a bourbon bar and their laundry fresh from washing in the cee-ment pond. Panch and Jon from CHiPs have removed their shirts and would incarcerate you upon request, and Laverne and Shirley have a game of beer pong lined up in the brewery. If you made it to the island, Gilligan was mixing potent boat drinks in the blender and providing a live parrot for your shoulder, which primed you for Bob Eubanks recruiting you and your date for The Newlywed Game, where you’ll admit to “making whoopee” in unusual venues. The Adams Family, including Lurch, Cousin It, and Thing invite you to the library for a glass of port, to be drunk at your peril. But first you had to visit the Saturday Night Live Samurai sushi bar, staffed by the Blues Brothers and a conehead from France. Meanwhile, over at the disco, Jillian Salzman, dressed in a fabulous white sparkly number asI-Dream-of- Jeannie channeling Cher, began the dance party in a tent that looked suspiciously like the inside of her bottle, Major Nelson be damned. If the Moroccan-themed buffet from McCalls’s wasn’t enough, you could always see how Lucy was doing in the candy factory with the conveyor belt, or just retreat to the powder room where Scottie has beamed up some Tribbles.
Even guests who’d seen it all, including, Attorney General Kamala Harris, philanthropist Tim Wu, and lots and lots of under-the-radar VC types, had never seen anything like this, regardless of how many channels their flatscreens had at home.  And with a cool $600K raised for the Cancer Center, there’s a lot of love to be channeled.  David Cassidy was onto something: Manus, Salzman – I think I love you.
Share shareshare
Tagged with:  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  • •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •