Corporations are more picky about
parties these days. With fewer events, there's increased pressure on
in-house planners to get the entertainment just right.
"It used to be you could
sell them on the phone or with a quick video presentation. Clients now
want to go and crash somebody else's party to hear the band or see the
performer," says Brian K. Gruber, president of Brian Gruber &
Associates Entertainment Center Ltd., a Washington booking agency.
But Gruber can relax when he books
one performer: magician and mentalist Dick Steiner, a Millersville, Md.,
resident and retired army lieutenant colonel who performs primarily for
Sometimes you'll find him roaming
cocktail parties performing sleight-of hand tricks. At other functions, he
impersonates an executive from the home office and demonstrates a new mind
reading technique the sales force will (supposedly) be learning. He'll ask
a member of the audience to select any word in any page in a book. Then
he'll guess it. Either way, the crowd leaves amused and amazed.
says Michele Sage, recruiting and marketing coordinator for Seyfarth, Shaw,
Fairweather & Geraldson in Washington, which hired him to perform at an
attorney retreat. "After he left, a lot of people sat around
discussing what he had done and couldn't figure things out."
"Steiner's client list has
grown appreciably since he began performing several years ago, and now
includes such names as General Dynamics, AT&T, Xerox and Vice President Al Gore.
"When I book Dick Steiner," Gruber says, "I don't have to worry
about the event anymore."