GBK and Pilot Pen Pre Golden Globe Luxury Gift Lounge Atop the L’Ermitage Hotel

Photos by Billy Bennight for the Los Angeles Beat

Photos by Billy Bennight for the Los Angeles Beat

The gifting lounge is an odd bird and a fascinating creature; which only appears for major events like SXSW and any Hollywood Award Season Event to lock in branding opportunities with well known house hold names and celebrities. My experience with them only goes back a couple of years. They are often hidden form the public eye to be found in an elegant areas of a swank hotel, where sometime they occupy a room or expand over a rooftop or terrace. The smaller one have a bit more hustle and bustle about them, while the larger ones have the feel of an elegant refuges with a smattering of tables and booths hosted by well dressed attendees and company advocates. The tables and booths have lovely displays of various products and sample ready to share. It’s smart and low key that brings on this sense of gentle well being. Food and drink abound and sample freely flow in a magical way to all those saunter about taking in the fresh air and splendid views.

GBK and Pilot Pen Pre-Golden Globe Luxury Gift Lounge sat loftily on top of the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills. It was my first visit to the L’Ermitage Hotel, where Ed Lozzi holds his Annual Night Of 100 Stars Awards Gala. So the hotel has some heat! I found a set of stairs after negotiating the hall way that open to a couple podiums and a bright sky with an enchanting view of the Hollywood hills: buildings glistening in the foreground and hills home handsomely perched against the mountain side. I was greeting by a lovely hostess and my credentials granted. I find it wise to do a walk through to size up the area for shooting. It was all nicely laid out. The pool separated two tented areas and the deserts were positioned near the entrance. The vendors that populate a gift lounge are generally luxury and quality products looking for greater exposure through celebrity branding and product endorsements. It can be a new product introduction looking to create buzz within the film industry in hopes it will radiate to the general public. In any case, you can see some remarkably novel, truly exceptional and desirable items placed at one’s fingertips.

Photo Gallery After The Break

I got my feel of the L’Ermitage Hotel. I then became aware that the actors had a individual GBK escorts for the duration of their shopping experience. I happened upon Matthew Moy of 2 Broke Girls and Charles Michael Davis of the CW’s The Originals who seemed to know the drill. He was quiet and unassuming and appeared to know the drill. Soon my exploration led to the large tented area where a DJ was spinning and there were a half of dozen celebrities eyeing various gift tables. As I passed amongst the various vendors like, SPANX by Sara Blakely, AirweaveTweezerman, SAAS Hot Sauce, Lamda Legal, Pilot Pen and so many others I spied some familiar and unfamiliar faces in the a long the way and in the distance. Each actor had their own escort to assist with carrying of the various gifts. All the celebrities are generally accessible and friendly for any photo I proposed. I photographed Barrett Foa of NCIS: Los Angeles, Michael Rooker of The Walking DeadJim O’Heir of Parks and RecreationThomas Gibson of Dharma and Gred and Criminal MindsChris Colfer of Glee, Noah Bean of the CW’s Nikita, and Kym Whitley from Rango. For the total score came when I bumped into Chuy Bravo of Chelsea Lately. I just couldn’t get enough of him on the scooter he was piloting. Chuy contagiously brought a smile to my face and there were plenty around me who felt the same. Another slam dunk came out side when I ran to Terry Crews who played the Father of Chris Rock in Everybody Hates Chris. His other credits for the talented and flexible actor include: Idiocracy, The Longest Yard and The Expendables. Also, Terry’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine  won the Golden Globe for Best TV Series. The guy has talent!

This all led to my second excursion outside. The outside was warming up more with well known names and faces. There I found Sherri Saum of The FostersMegan Hayes from The Hunger Games: Catching FireNikki DeLoach of Awkward and singer in InnosenseCooper Huckabee of Urban Cowboy and Django Unchained, Brett Dalton of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Martha Plimpton of Raising Hope, Goonies and The Good Wife, whom I’ve shot before. I ran in to Terry Crews one more time where gave me some big love as a photographer and jumped into a crazy pose. It was a perfect California day to take in a relaxed and leisurely shopportunity and celebrity branding photo ops. As my stay reached it’s conclusion I had the opportunity to share a brief conversation with Michael Rooker about my camera. He was really enjoying himself. You could tell he’s be a lot of fun to hang out with like my friend Timothy V. Murphy. He was engaging, witty and charming. He could go freaky serious or be hilarious in a moment.

Some entertaining things took place while I was within the tent. There Michael Rooker spontaneously jumping in with Chris Colfer for to create a really clever shot with their Luminita clasps bracelets. Then more silliness when Michael was goofing around with Jennifer Tapiero for a Selfie during their interview for Radio on TV. There was Jim O’Heir’s GBK and Pilot Pen Golden Globe caking licking incident followed by Thomas Gibson’s funny/creepy cuddling of the Artisan Group‘s stuff white puppy with black bow. Finally, Chris Colfer had his moment with the SPANX manikin. They all knew how to play it large and keep things light hearted. They all took full advantage of the interesting and amazing gifts presented and services through GBK and Pilot gift lounge. It was a day well spent warming towards the the 71st Golden Globe Awards to be held not far away at the Beverly Hilton. GBK and Pilot had a great way to kick the season off in the right direction!

 

 

 

 

 

Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer, photographer and wardrobe stylist with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with an keen interest in art, fashion, photography and writing. He shoots celebrity events and red carpets for PR Photos, Photoshot and The Photo Access/Corbis. His images have been published in Vanity Fair, People Magazine and The Los Angeles Times. He's very engaged in life. You can follow him on his Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/billybennightartist
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