Friday, September 26, 2014

When TEA went to Cincinnati: OkTEAberfest report from Clara Rice

Clara Rice and Henry Winkler
Hanging out with Henry "The Fonz" Winkler was just one highlight of "OkTEAberfest," Sept 19-20, 2014 in Cincinnati. Some 30 members of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) traveled from New York, Sacramento, Orlando, Nashville, Chicago and LA to attend the pairing of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati and the Cincinnati Comic Expo.... 

Many thanks to the TEA Eastern North America Division, Clara Rice, the event sponsors, the attendees and all who contributed to make TEA's first-ever event in Cincinnati a success.

At left, Melissa Ruminot of The Nassal Company enjoys her first taste of Cincinnati's Skyline Chili.

Monday, September 22, 2014

TEA backstage event at The Gravesend Inn, Oct 24, Brooklyn

Gravesend Inn, the high-tech haunt with a networked interface that responds to visitor cues, will host TEA members and their guests on Oct 24 at this Halloween event organized by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), in collaboration with the Entertainment Technology Dept of City Tech (The New York City College of Technology) in downtown Brooklyn.

Many thanks to the event sponsors: Weiglworks, Audinate, Medialon, and Figure 53

The Gravesend Inn is produced annually by City Tech's Theatreworks performing group and Entertainment Technology department. It is designed by professional faculty members, (including John Huntington, author of Show Networks & Control Systems) and assembled and operated each year by students. Effects are hidden in detailed scenery and props throughout the sprawling, multi-floor attraction, and sensors are monitored and effects are controlled over a sophisticated, managed network and industry-standard control systems.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Storytelling speakers announced for TEA's SATE design conference Oct 2-3 at FSU

Phil Hettema
Chairing the Storytelling segment of the SATE design conference, Oct 2-3 in Sarasota, FL, Phil Hettema of The Hettema Group announced speakers: Denise Weston of WhiteWater West, Joe Garlington, and Raul Fernandez of Brainwave ThoughtProducts, and Kenneth Feld of Feld Entertainment Inc.

"A Conversation with Kenneth Feld," in which Phil Hettema interviews the CEO of Feld Entertainment Inc., will headline the conference on Oct 2.  

For details on SATE speakers, program and registration, click here.

SATE '14 is the annual design conference of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), hosted Oct 2&3 by Florida State University (FSU) at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. SATE '14 presenting sponsors are Christie and Electrosonic.

SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience) brings together creatives, producers, owners and operators in the visitor attractions industry. SATE explores issues, opportunities and possibilities relating to the creation of compelling guest experiences for entertainment, education, retail and branding.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TEA launches webinar series for tomorrow's themed entertainment creatives

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is launching a new webinar series Oct 7, entitled "TEA Talks: A NextGen Web Series," to help students and others learn the professional side of the attractions business. The webinar is free, but pre-registration is required and tickets are limited. Click here for registration info.

"These webinars are for students or anyone with an interest in joining the themed entertainment industry," says Clara Rice of Jack Rouse Associates, who chairs the TEA NextGen Committee. "They may wonder how theme parks are designed, museum exhibits created or roller coasters engineered. They may think, 'I'd love to do that for a living, but don't know where to start.'"

Five industry leaders will share knowledge in the Oct 7 webinar: TEA president Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions, TEA president elect Steve Birket of Birket Engineering, Marissa Blake of VOA Associates, Alex Korting of Alex Korting Themed Entertainment Design and Jason McManus of Lightning in a Bottle.

Representing more than 50 years' combined experience, the speakers will define themed entertainment (it's more than just roller coasters) and share stories on how they chose their careers (or how their careers chose them)!

They'll also offer tips on how a student or person making a career change can enter the industry, even if their studies or experience aren''t an exact match.

Advance registration is required for the free Oct 7 webinar. Attendance will be capped at 250, but a single registration can be shared with an entire classroom, conference room or other shared space. Presentations will use GoToWebinar, and a session link will be sent via e-mail after registration. For those unable to attend, a recording will be available via the new TEA website launching later this year.

TEA is a non-profit business association representing creators of compelling experiences worldwide, with members ranging from Walt Disney Imagineering to Universal Parks and Resorts to the Museum of Science and Industry to design, fabrication, engineering, writing and media production companies around the world.

Within TEA, the NextGen Committee works to connect students, faculty and recent graduates to the industry, organization and community, supporting and fostering the next generation of TEA members and themed entertainment industry professionals.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

SATE '14 Architecture & Technology sessions announced

SATE '14 is the annual design conference of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), hosted Oct 2&3 by Florida State University (FSU) at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. SATE '14 presenting sponsors are Christie and Electrosonic.

SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience) brings together creatives, producers, owners and operators in the visitor attractions industry. SATE explores issues, opportunities and possibilities relating to the creation of compelling guest experiences for entertainment, education, retail and branding.

Architecture segment
Chair: Al Cross of PGAV Destinations. Speakers will include Dr. Timothy Parker of Norwich University, Abbey Rosen Holmes of NYXdesign, Zack Zanolli of Fisher Marantz Stone. Read more

Technology segment 
Chair: Mk Haley of FSU and Walt Disney Imagineering. Speakers will include Peter Weishar of FSU, Prof. Mark Francis of UCLA, Tommy Bridges of All Things Integrated, Stephan Villet of Smart Monkeys, Eric Cantrell of Medialon, and Martin Palicki of InPark Magazine. Read more

Coming soon: Updates on SATE '14 Experience and Storytelling sessions, chaired by Adam Bezark of The Bezark Company, and Phil Hettema of The Hettema Group. SATE '14 is co-chaired by Aram Ebben of exp and Stefan Lawrence of Rethink. More info about SATE '14

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sept 10, Orlando: TEA Eastern N.A. mixer at Bar Louie

Members of the visitor attractions industry and their guests are invited to an informal, no-host mixer Wed Sept 10 in Orlando, at Bar Louie, 7335 West Sand Lake Road, #101, 32819.

RSVP please, at this link.

This networking event is organized by the Eastern North America Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sept 4: Color Kinetics hosts TEA in its New York showroom

Color Kinetics, 
themed entertainment 
and you! 

Join your professional colleagues for a Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) industry mixer in New York City at the Color Kinetics showroom. This event has been organized by TEA's Eastern North America Division and is sponsored by Philips, Color Kinetics and Blue Telescope.

Sept 4, 5:30-7:30 pm
Color Kinetics showroom
267 Fifth Avenue, 4th floor
RSVP required in advance: Click here.

For TEA NextGen members: Aquatica event in Orlando Aug 16

A day of fun and professional development for NextGen members of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) will take place Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 at Aquatica, SeaWorld's water park, in Orlando.

TEA NextGen is a membership category for full-time students and recent grads who are working to make their careers in the themed entertainment industry. Learn more here.

Your day at Aquatica will include a panel discussion about park operations, plus an opportunity to enjoy the park.

Additional details and downloadable flyer here.
Advance reservation is required - click this link to RSVP.

Special thanks to Aquatica and to SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment for hosting and sponsoring this event.

Burbank, Aug 14: TEA Western Division Mixer

Join members of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) at the Burbank Bar & Grille Aug 14 for a no-host mixer, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

No need to RSVP - just show up. All industry members and their guests are welcome.

This event is organized by the TEA Western North America Division.

Burbank Bar & Grille:
112 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502

Click here to download the event flier.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Clara Rice's Top 11 reasons to attend "OkTEAberfest" in Cincinnati Sept 19-20

OkTEAberfest is organized by the Eastern N.A. Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). 

Here are Ten  Eleven reasons to be there:
11. Because “The Queen City of the West” is full of beautiful Italianate buildings, nationally recognized museums, and one of the best park systems in the country.

 10. More #TEAselfies!
Look! It’s Todd McCurdy of Morris Architects visiting Cincinnati!
9. Because this is the host hotel:
A heapin’ spoonful of architectural O.M.G.
8. Because where else will you find Catwoman, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, The Hulk, Doctor Who, Gimli, Young Anna from Frozen, a Power Ranger and The Fonz all in one place?
7. Because, on Oktoberfest Weekend, this is how we do dinner…
More than 56,000 sausages and 20,000 cream puffs will be consumed Oktoberfest weekend, followed by approximately 87 pounds of antacid.
6. …and fashion…
Any TEA member sporting lederhosen or a dirndl wins a free commemorative beer stein – full of real beer!
5. …and live music.
Pack your flugelhorn!
4. And because of this…
Tour guides: Comic Expo style.
3. …and this…
It’s the Running of the Wieners. Seriously.
2. …and absolutely this…
Oh, my! That’s George Takei leading last year’s World’s Largest Chicken Dance! Who will it be this year?

But the #1 reason to attend OkTEAberfest?! 

1. Because it’s the TEA
and you know 
we know how to have fun.
Click here for OkTEAberfest tickets and more information.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Paramount seeks European design talent for London project

Artist's rendering of the park plan
The London Paramount project team have asked the Europe & Middle East Division (EME) of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) to put out a call for design freelancers based in Europe.

If you are a designer or have design based skills and are willing to commit to the project on a full-time basis, please respond by sending an email to Attach a brief career summary (maximum one page) as a PDF file.

David Willrich
The project team have specifically requested that people with other theme park skills or products refrain from making contact at this time. Further announcements and requests will be made as the project develops.

-- David Willrich, President, TEA EME Division

Orlando, Aug 14: Discovery Cove hosts event for themed entertainment community

The Eastern North America Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) invites industry members to gather at Discovery Cove in Orlando on Thurs., Aug 14, 6:30-9:30 pm.

Enjoy the new Freshwater Oasis, meet members of the creative team at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, and network with your peers.

$20 for TEA members; $40 for non-members. 

Many thanks to PGAV Destinations, PCL Construction and Nassal for their sponsorship support.

To register for the event, please visit this link.

Download the event flyer here.

New Jersey, Aug 20: Experience Hippo Haven at Adventure Aquarium with TEA

Meet the hippos and your colleagues at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ on Aug. 20.

This event runs 7-9 pm and is organized by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Eastern North America Division.

Enjoy Hippo Haven! 
Free admission, parking, appetizers, beer and wine 

Thanks to our generous sponsors!

Barcelona: Tibidabo tour with TEA, Sept 4

Tibidabo Amusement Park in Barcelona hosts an event for attractions industry professionals on Sept 4, organized by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Europe & Middle East Division. 

Click here to register for this event.

There will be morning presentations (9-11 am) from both the Tibidabo team and other professionals from the region. This will be followed by lunch and a tour of the Park and time to explore it on your own if you wish.

Lunch is not hosted and will cost €25 each. In the evening the group will move to "las Ramblas" in the heart of the city, for an ad-hoc mixer, with tapas!

This outing is one in an ongoing professional development series titled "SATE Academy Days" that are an extension of TEA's annual design conference, SATE (Storytelling+Architecture+Technology=Experience). Click here to read about a recent SATE Academy Day, a visit to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld in the UAE. 

Download the Tibidabo event PDF here.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Unique "OkTEAberfest" gathering in Cincinnati Sept 19-20 reflects growth of TEA Eastern Division

Don't miss "OkTEAberfest" Sept 19-20 in Cincinnati! Details here.

At TEA, East meets Midwest
by Clara Rice

Clara Rice
One day, perhaps there will be a separate Midwestern North America Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). At present, the Midwest region is rolled into TEA's Eastern Division, and Eastern Board President, Traci Klainer Polimeni of Luce Group, has been energetically expanding activities across this region, as shown by the events of the past few months.

“One of the main goals of the Eastern Board this year has been to
Traci Klainer Polimeni
grow membership in and outside of Orlando, and the Midwest has been a huge part of this,” said Klainer Polimeni, who is based in New York City. “We have accomplished so much this year already with inaugural events in Chicago and St. Louis, as well as through our planning of our October event in Cincinnati. I have no doubt that TEA's presence in the Midwest will only grow, and our Board looks forward to engaging more Midwestern companies and projects in years to come.” 

When I first moved to Cincinnati from the East Coast, a common refrain I heard was, “Why?” To many on the US seaboards and around the world, the US Midwest is considered “flyover country” - some kind of cultural wasteland. That perception is very much at odds with reality. The Midwest is rich with great cultural institutions, visitor attractions and architecture. It's also rich with industry talent - people and companies in the business of creating compelling entertainment and cultural experiences.

David Aion

There are a multitude of creative minds and dynamic companies between the Appalachians and the Rockies, and the TEA Eastern Board is striving to connect these companies with TEA’s multitude of member benefits.

According to TEA Membership Chair David Aion, who is based in Saint Louis, there are currently 72 numbers in the Midwest (roughly defined as Ohio to Colorado). When I asked David why TEA is (and should) target more companies in the Midwest, he confirmed what I believed – that what these companies need most is access to their coastal counterparts. “TEA’s involvement is important to Midwest companies because they do not usually have direct and continued access to the large markets,” he said. “TEA provides that access.”

Image source: The Corner Side Yard

For that reason, the Eastern Division Board made it a priority this year to branch westward, diversifying its ranks to include more Midwesterners and hosting events all the way to the Mississippi River. Of the current Board slate, three (including yours truly) are from Midwestern companies, and our 2014 calendar of events has offered a rich menu of diverse Midwestern experiences.

Chicago - MSI
Our 2014 adventures in the Midwest began at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago, Illinois. Though initially delayed by “polar vortex” weather, MSI hosted a successful event that provided a behind-
John Beckman
the-scenes viewing of the restoration of Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle and a private experience in its newest exhibit, Future Energy Chicago. According to John Beckman, Director of Exhibit Design and Development at MSI, a group of about 40 went through the experience together. In good TEA fashion, the group enjoyed food and drinks before and after. MSI made the event open to non-members and specifically invited members of CMEG (Chicago Museum Exhibitors Group) to attend.

Saint Louis - Cardinals HOF
At a TEA event July 24 in Saint Louis, Missouri, members and non-members alike were able to experience the newly-completed Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, conceived and designed by TEA member company, PGAV Destinations. Guests were treated to a private tour and behind-the-scenes adventure, experiencing one of the greatest club collections in all of Major League Baseball. According to PGAV, “the galleries are designed to be immersive, time-traveling experiences, integrating the artifacts with touchscreen technology and other media within beautiful, immersive environments.” Each gallery evokes a different period in Cardinals history, but all operate with the goal of welcoming the guest into the Cardinals Nation. Again, this being a TEA event, guests were able to engage in libations, networking, and a Q&A with the museum’s designers.

Cincinnati - OkTEAberfest!
This September 19th and 20th, oompah bands will sound, bratwursts will be served, and superhero cosplayers will unite during what could be one of the oddest mash-ups in Cincinnati history. During OkTEAberfest, TEA members will have an opportunity to experience not only the nation’s largest Oktoberfest but also the fastest growing Comic Expo in the Midwest.

Guests will begin their two-day adventure with the 8th Annual Running of the Wieners, in which daring dachshunds race across Cincinnati’s Fountain Square, bound for treats and glory. Visitors will round out their first day in the Queen City with a tour of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a panel discussion on cultural storytelling, a wine reception and an informal group dinner.

Saturday, TEA takes the stage at the Comic Expo for “The Themed Entertainment Association Presents – From Page to Park: Transforming Comic Characters Into Blockbuster Attractions.” After enjoying the Expo (which will feature such legends as John Rhys-Davies, Lou Ferrigno, Henry Winkler and Paul McGann), visitors will be led on a tour of Cincinnati’s historic breweries, brothels and bootlegging sites. The weekend will wrap up in grand style, with a VIP Oktoberfest reception with a prime viewpoint of the World’s Largest Chicken Dance! The host hotel for the weekend’s festivities, the Hilton Netherland Plaza, is an art deco treasure that was recently featured in National Geographic Traveler’s glowing review of Cincinnati. I look forward to TEA members visiting my hometown, and I hope they fall in love with this city as much as I have!

Image source: The Lonely Planet
Sign up now!
Tickets for OkTEAberfest are available via this Eventbrite link. The discounted rate of $80 is available until August 15 and then increases to $100. A group rate at the Hilton Netherland Plaza is available until August 20 – hotel rooms during Oktoberfest are scarce, so book early! Special speaking opportunities are available for sponsors. For more information, email Clara Rice at Schedule is subject to change.

Clara Rice is director of digital engagement of media relations for Jack Rouse Associates, based in Cincinnati. She sits on the TEA Eastern Division Board, and also chairs the TEA NextGen Committee.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TEA Asia Pacific July newsletter: Jennie Nevin's report on IAAPA Beijing, and more

Jennie Nevin
"Now in my 7th month as COO of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) I was thrilled to help represent our organization in Beijing this year at the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo (AAE)," writes Jennie Nevin.

"I managed our TEA Booth and helped host our TEA Party with Asia Pacific Division President, Chris Yoshii of AECOM, and his dedicated Board members who are pioneers in this major new frontier of the attractions industry... Our TEA/AECOM Theme Index was distributed in a Chinese-language version at AAE, and was eagerly received."

Chris Yoshii
"The word from the media is that there are currently some 59 new theme/amusement parks at some stage of development  in China. The excitement in our industry is palpable. Our TEA gathering at AAE was a smashing success with over 320 attendees... TEA is forging relationships and helping to grow the industry in Asia, and we also help provide a home away from home – a landing place for our members who travel the world creating exciting new projects. Thanks to everyone who contributed in helping to make TEA’s presence in Beijing a success."

Click here to read Jennie's full article and see the complete newsletter, which also includes articles by Chris Yoshii, Darren McLean of The Sanderson Group, and Entertainment+Culture Advisors.

Saint Louis, July 24: Tour the new Cardinals Hall of Fame

Visit the new Cardinals Hall of Fame & Museum 
with The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)

Thursday, July 24, 2014
6:00-8:00 pm
Ballpark Village - Saint Louis, Missouri USA

The evening will include a panel discussion, free appetizers and an open bar.

Many thanks to the sponsors:
Free admission, but tickets are required and space is limited.
Your RSVP is needed by July 18 - don't delay! Click here to sign up.

The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum features unique interactive experiences and showcases one of the greatest club collections in all of Major League Baseball, together celebrating the thousands of stories, victories and heroes of Cardinals Nation.

Cincinnati, Sept 19-20 Enjoy Oktoberfest & the Cinci Comic Expo with TEA colleagues

  • Lots of information here for you to peruse.
  • Interested in sponsoring this Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) gathering? Contact Clara Rice!

Pertinent dates & links:
Tentative schedule of events 
lets you mix business and pleasure 
in such ways as:
  • 8th Annual Running of the Wiener Dogs
  • Guided Tour of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
  • Entry into the Comic Expo, which this year features guests such as John Rhys-Davies, Peter Mayhew and Lou Ferrigno
  • “Creating Cultural Experiences” Panel Discussion
  • "TEA Presents: From Page to Park, Turning Comic IP Into the Next Great Attraction" panel discussion at the Cincinnati Comic Expo
  • The World’s Largest Chicken Dance and Stein Hoisting
  • and much more Oktoberfest Zinzinnati fun!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ticket sales open for TEA's SATE 2014 design conference, Oct 2-3 in Sarasota

July 10, Long Beach: Aquarium of the Pacific hosts TEA behind the scenes

Open to all professionals working in the themed entertainment industry!

Ticket advance purchase required for admission: click here.

For downloadable event flyer, click here

Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Western Division presents a special behind-the-scenes event at Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, in Long Beach, Calif. 90802.
  • Thurs., July 10
  • 6:30-9:00 pm
  • $15 tickets; $8 self-parking
  • Panel discussion with exhibit designers
  • Mixer
  • Cash bar
  • Aquarium open house
Many thanks to the sponsors: exp and Morris