It is the morning of the day of Doris Bergman’s eagerly anticipated Style Lounge Party at the prestigious Fig and Leaf Restaurant in West Hollywood, a few days before the Oscars ceremonies of 2019. There is excitement in the air as Doris, a legendary producer of such events, is personally greeting all the sponsors who have shown up for another of her gifting parties. She has been producing these affairs for eleven years and always starts the party off with a heartfelt greeting to everyone in attendance.
A style lounge, which used to be known as a gifting suite, is a party at which sponsoring brands showcase their wares to celebrities and the media during the week before such events as the Oscars and the Emmys. Doris Bergman also hosts such a gala for the George Lopez Golf Classic. The style lounge is an extravaganza itself, if it is done right, and Doris Bergman, after months of careful planning, always does it right! As a result, a sponsorship for one of Doris Bergman’s unique style lounge presentations is much sought-after.
The benefits to a brand appearing at a Doris Bergman event are tremendous, including exposure to a multitude of celebrities, industry influencers, and media purveyors. Sponsors have their names emblazoned on the invitations to the event and the photo wall as well, and consequently experience a plethora of photos, interviews, and personal contacts during the course of the day. The professional photographers of the highly regarded Wireimage are omnipresent to capture every moment.
The party starts at 10 AM and goes until 4 PM and in between Bergman serves hor d’oeuvres and a delicious lunch. She rents out the entire restaurant, and turns it into 3,500 feet of pure enchantment. Those who attend are in for a regal and delightful experience: hosting ambassadors greet and personally escort celebrities, first to the red carpet for a photo shoot and then to the individual brand sponsors. More photos are taken as celebrities pose with sponsors while holding a bag with the sponsor’s logo.
As entertainment personalities enter the restaurant, one experiences a thrill just watching them as they do their individual photo shoots and interact with the sponsors, and one may even get to meet them, as the ambience of every Doris Bergman event is one of good fellowship and bonhomie. I was able to meet the talented actor Bruce Dern, whom I have long admired, and was fascinated by his sparkling personality as he recounted some of his adventures.
Making sure the event runs smoothly, but without hovering, Doris Begman again works her magic. One might wonder just how she entered this venue of endeavor.
Bergman started out in life as a piano prodigy, beginning playing at the tender age of four. At ten, she made her concert debut as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, performing Bach’s Piano Concerto in F Minor. Then, at thirteen, she played with the renowned Arthur Fiedler and the San Francisco Pops, performing Weber’s Konzertstuck and so astounding Fiedler that he invited her to play with the Boston Pops and perform the same piece, which she did. Finally, at seventeen, she soloed with the celebrated Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, performing Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini.
Continuing to perform, she won many competitions and was sought after by Mt. Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles, which she subsequently attended and where she obtained her undergraduate degree. Of her experience there, Doris says, “I was the only Jewish girl in the whole of this girls’ school but never felt different, that is until Ash Wednesday. I just loved the small classes.”
She obtained her graduate degree in music at USC, and after university began teaching piano. However, she was disappointed that her students were not as studious as she was, and so when the Los Angeles Pops came calling and wanted to hire her as a booking manager, she was ready for a change. She excelled in this capacity, converting a society orchestra into a public orchestra of such calibre that celebrities such as Donna Summer and Robin Williams performed with it. Doris recalls that she was able to entice such stellar personalities by telling them that they would get the chance to perform with a seventy piece orchestra. Doris discovered she not only had a taste for producing but a skill for it, and she launched the Downtown Pop Concert Series, raising support money for the programs from the building and oil industry.
She then started a company to produce live shows and her first, in 1987, was a fabulous success: it was an AIDS charity gala and raised $500,000! Bette Middler and Barry Manilow performed at the event, which was covered by the Los Angeles Times. This was all the work of Doris and a few of her girlfriends.
Boosted by the success of her gala and not wanting to procrastinate, Doris started a company to help promote charities from all over the United States and worked diligently for fifteen years to assist charities such as United Way, City of Hope, and AIDS organizations, ceaselessly publicizing them. The stress of such efforts led her to seek new challenges, but she couldn’t lose the production bug and when someone suggested she do style lounges, she dove in. Not only was the field perfectly suited to her now well-honed promotion and production skills but also she had acquired a vast array of contacts with media and celebrities, so she was a natural, as has been convincingly demonstrated by her events.
“It is all about the sponsors and their brands,” Bergman says. “They are very important to me. In this city of Los Angeles, everyone thinks it’s about the celebrities, but without the sponsors you don’t have a party and what greater thrill is there than orchestrating a live party? That’s what a Style Lounge is. I have strived to build relationships with the sponsors, the celebrities, and the media and for each event I have set the bar at excellence, and that means you have to keep everything fresh and new.” Indeed, Doris Bergman has.