Friday, January 7, 2011

Five Years after Starwood Acquisition, Le Meridien Celebrates with a International Party at their Philadelphia Location

Five years after Starwood's acquisition of Le Méridien, the brand ushers in its new brand strategy at a reception for local cultural leaders, taste-makers and hospitality industry VIPs. Le Méridien is poised for a new era with a renewed focus on global customer and guest service initiatives and programs designed to capitalize on an emerging trend toward positioning hotels as cultural hubs for its guests.

The party was held at one of the newer Le Meridien's right here in Philly at 1421 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215) 422-8200
Renowned photographer Ralph Gibson took the fabulous picture that greeted people as they entered the ballroom
Entertaining the crowd was Hisham Akira Bharoocha, was born in Nidata, Japan and is an ex-member of the Providence, Rhode Island bands Lightning Bolt and Black Dice. Currently, Bharoocha is involved in his solo band Soft Circle, and as an artist in New York City.
Their was a communal table in the middle of the room. It was stocked with colored pens, markers and chalk to inspire the guests artistic flair to shine through as they were encouraged to express themselves on "the table cloth."
Susan Fortin & Annie Heckenberger, Red Tettemer & Partners
hmm hmm good
Steve Loving, Justin Weeks, Lynn Garner, Evan Evans, Le Meridien Philadelphia General Manager

Estella Paza, Kerry Hsu, Anna Lloyd, Caroline Rippetbau, Sourcing Coordinator at Starwood Hotels , Audra DiSimone, Director of Design at Starwood Hotels & Resorts | LEED AP , Aliya Khan
Vivi He, International DJ Nigel Richards, Beke Rendell, Nicole Cashman, Cashman & Associates
Trey Sarten, Global PR, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien and Lyman Carter, Partner at Radar Entertainment. (If Lyman looks familar it's because his brother is Dawson Creek's actor Joshua Jackson)
Now represented by 105 properties in 50 countries spanning five continents, Le Méridien has undergone a dramatic re-launch to become a sought-after, contemporary, design-led lifestyle brand. With 85% of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts provides an international complement to Starwood’s strong North American portfolio and has accelerated Starwood’s leadership as the most global hospitality company.
Nick Schroeder, Lauren Goshman
Tiffany Taverz and Karna Kacala, Arts and eats in the City of Brotherly Love. Marketing Coordinator for First Person Arts.
Artist Yan Lei who currently lives and works in Hong Kong and Beijing traveled to Philadelphia to participate in the celebration. He stands in front of one of his art works.
Stephanie Brandow and Andrea Lawrence

The Le Meridien Team including Eva Ziegler, SVP at Starwood Hotels & Resorts,
Nicole Bowden, Judy Chu, Olivia Ward. Olivia would go on to win a 3 nights stay at a Le Meridien in Taipei
Fabrice Penot is half of the driving force behind cult perfume house Le Labo.

Then there was the raffle drawing and guests had a chance to win trips to various Le Meridien around the world, as well as various products like a coffee machine
Today, there are currently 105 Le Méridien hotels globally.

  • Since the Starwood acquisition in 2005, the company has exited 45 Le Méridien hotels that did not meet standards under Starwood.
  • 50% of Le Méridien hotels have been renovated or will be renovated by end 2012.
  • Starwood has opened 20 new Le Meridien hotels in the past five years, including San Francisco (USA), Minnesota
  • There's a great article at on the new direction of the Le Meridien:

  • The landmark Philadelphia hotel marks just the beginning for where Ziegler and her team are taking the Le Meridien brand in the future. 2011 marks the triumph of a very successful social experiment in building a travel hub for the creative class. With Paris as her guide, Ziegler is continuing to focus Le Meridien properties everywhere on targeting creative minds and their cohorts and opening them up to a new experience through the lens of arts and cuisine.

EDWARD MORRA will be Filming this Weekend other places besides Sampan, ie Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Robert De Niro star in Limitless, a paranoia-fueled action thriller about an unpublished writer whose life is transformed by a top-secret “smart drug” that allows him to use 100% of his brain and become a perfect version of himself. His enhanced abilities soon attract shadowy forces that threaten his new life in this darkly comic and provocative film.
Wednesday afternoon I received a tip that the film crew was setting up near 23rd & Market (thank you), so on my way over there I passed the old Triple AAA building as the empty building doubled as his campaign office
The Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert DeNiro film "Dark Fields" now "Limitless" filmed earlier this yearturning Philadelphia into New York City
Now they are again in town doing new scenes. Last time they were here (Fall) I captured Bradley Cooper & Abbie Cornish making out in Rittenhouse Sq (clip on NBC10 Website)
The filming at the election headquarters takes place on Monday during the day. Should be crazy since Market Street won't be closed during the shoot which will take place inside the former AAA building, so bring a long lens or 20/20 vision cause Market Street is wide.
Today (Friday) they filmed at Sampan between 7AM and 2PM with Abbie Cornish and Bradley Cooper
This shot I will call "Unfortunate" cause a big old water drop fell from melting snow above my head darn. I did get some other awesome shots which I will write about next week when I file my complete story.

I walked by earlier in the day and the stones were looking well stoney
and then around 9PM they had covered the stones with plastic. I imagine they did this because if it snows, they can easily brush the snow off the stones, then lift the plastic off to reveal the stones for continuity of the scene. The reason I think the shoot is on Saturday is there was no signage around the perimeter of the building saying "no parking". Last month I posted the trailer for the newly renamed movie here
Here's a link to Michael Klein's Insider blog about the filming on Monday:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tammy Jean Promoting her Playboy stint, Patti LaBelle, Seth Green & New in Restaurants


Tammy Jean wants you to "Please watch me on WMMR's Preston and Steve's Hottie Cam on Friday morning, January 7th, starting around 6:30/7am. I'll be promoting my Playboy publication! Preston & Steve Girls "
Photographer and Copyright: Arthur Eisenberg
Snake: Oriana Hair and Make up: Tammy Jean
Overbrook's Seth Green and his father Herb in 2008 at the Tribeca Film Festival Opening Night - World Premiere of 'Baby Mama' at Ziegfeld Theater NYC (this is my photos). Tuesday, 1/4/11 Seth joined the Stan Lee Celebration at Wolfgang's Steakhouse in Beverly Hills, CA. The Wolfgang Puck restaurant has begun the transformation of the space where the former Kimmel Gift Shop at the Kimmel Center stood. A source tells me the new space will not have a kitchen but the food will be cooked downstairs and brought up to the diners. Look for it to open in 2012.
Finally Patti LaBelle ended her run on Broadway in Fela!, (playing Fela's mother) the widely acclaimed Broadway musical inspired by the life, music and activism of Afrobeat maestro Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. In attendance on closing night Sunday 1/2/11 was producer Spike Lee, Tony Award Winning Choreographer Bill T Jones, as well as former LaBelle singing partner Sarah Dash and opera singer, Jesseye Norman. EXCITING NEWS: The London production of Fela at the National Theater will be filmed on January 13 and broadcast to 370 movie theaters in 20 countries. The producers plan that each theater could have four screenings of the filmed version. The producers plan to sell tickets for $22 each, offering audiences in the United States and all over the world a chance to see an enthralling film version of Fela!
Tutti Frutti slows down on the selling of their delicious yogurt at their 1315 Walnut Street store, but they are carrying cakes, cupcakes and their Choux Cakes. I refrained, but did stop in to say hi.
Nothing happening with Letto Deli yet
but the rumor is that the Gramercy is going to have a boutique gym on the ground floor.
Looks like Le Pain Quotidien is just about to open
Freshii at the Ritz-Carlton Residences opened Monday and already has a Yelp review.


2011 brings another facet to PhillyChitChat and that is of roving reporter when I come upon news happening. Yesterday I had a few errands to do and while window shopping at XIII on 13th (You really have to stop by that shop it's adorable) I notice several police cars driving down 13th Street. Being the curious guy I am I followed them enticing red flashing lights to the row of houses between Spruce and Locust, right down from the street of the Parker hotel, and across from the Wellington on Spruce where I first lived when I moved to Philly oh so many years ago. This stretch of block really hasn't improved much since the time I was mugged there one warm August night, back then it was known as the red light district, and if you wander about after midnight you still might catch a glimpse of a lady er lady like of the night.

So I get to the scene and I am trying to figure out what was going on. I identify myself as part of the media, because I guess I am, I have a press pass. I always wonder is a blogger media, but am I more than a blogger now, I had that fun PhillyMag column, I contribute news to NBC10 Non-Stop, my pictures go in the Philly Inquirer etc; I think I'll own that name member of the media now I think. I wonder if I can join the Pen & Pencil Club now? Media schmedia the cops wouldn't tell me what was going on, but shortly after I took this picture they started to panic and evacuate the block of all people.
Around this time the union shop boys were returning to their building, which is in the middle of the block, to change shifts. The police wouldn't let them enter the block and the boys threw a lot of their testosterone around to no avail as the cops weren't letting them through. It was so funny to her the brutes say "well you're gonna have to tell out boss to pay us overtime then."

Here are a few of their trucks which they basically just left in the middle of the road causes traffic mayhem. Oy By now I hear on Twitter from @ that it wasn't a bomb, or meth lab as the crowd suspected, but a man who was holding a women hostage and barricaded himself in the house. Which is a pretty serious domestic situation, but I can't figure out why the ladder truck would extend to the 3rd floor window. I guess they wanted to take a look inside. Shortly after getting the story right, the women was out of the house and the police just worked on getting the suspect out.
Next an ambulance came, and I will spare you the video of the predictable outcome when the policewomen attempted to hold down the yellow tape to allow the ambulance to drive over it, let's just say she had to park her cop car in the street to block traffic after the ambulance went by
This was kinda funny. If you look closely there's a yellow tape across the far sidewalk, now this I should have taped because the women in the blue coat was determined to make it to the mailbox which was behind me
and just walked by it like she was Casper the Friendly Ghost
through the throngs of police, and now you can see above the alleged suspect being led out of the house
and down the street
This picture was shot by Melissa Thompson
Still so excited that I got to meet @ on the scene of all the excitement! He reported the 13th st drama 1st! :)" - (Thanks it was nice meeting you too)
to the police car. I'm sure that pissed off the Union guys who still couldn't get back into their building for another 15 minutes
Oh ABC6 flew by to take a look. I have to clean my camera. The women was fine and didn't leave via ambulance.
And life returns to normal on 13th street
except the police left a little souvenir on a tree that will remain there forever.