The main Techno/House floor just as the party gets into full swing

Party of the Week: The Chapters Party

by Jessica Fernandes

Enter On Broadway, the San Diego club aptly named for its location on the corner of 6th and Broadway, and you know if nothing else, the venue has made the trek from the convention center worth the while. With two floors, four dance areas and music ranging from Techno/House, to Hip Hop and even Jazz, the Chapters party committee, with the help of corporate sponsors, turned a great space into a happening party and networking hub.

Kicking off the evening was a showing of some of the works from corporate sponsors Anark, ATI, Auto.des.sys, Discreet, Electronic Arts, SGI, Side Effects Software, Sony Pictures Imageworks, The Walt Disney Company, Tippett Studio, and Xbox. But that was just the beginning of the fun. Soon the projection screen was taken down, the music turned up, and the dance floors populated by the more daring of the 2500 attendees present. If dancing wasn’t your personal fix, sitting areas were abound, some quiet enough to allow for normal speaking (the Middle-Eastern inspired corridor comes to mind) and others right in the center of the upper-level strobe lit ambience.

For those in need of liquid happiness, a number of conveniently placed bars, as colorful as functional, were located on every floor, catering to all tastes. Finally, if a day of exhibition floor madness had worn you down, enter through the vault door and shoot some pool with friends new and old. And if you were fortunate enough to be female, make sure to catch a glimpse of the ladies room on the downstairs floor. I laughed at the suggestion when it was first proposed to me, but that was before walking in and feeling like I had entered a Hollywood dressing room of days gone by.


So what makes the SIGGRAPH Chapters party so popular? A quick impromptu survey posed to attendees sufficed to answer the question. First on its list of exploits, attendees noted that unlike some of the other industry parties, this one was open to all SIGGRAPH attendees (your conference badge acting as your entrance into the event). Thus instead of narrowing the scope of people attending (by catering only to a subcategory of interests), it promoted mingling between all walks of the conference crowd. And besides, as one attendee boldly put it, “everyone ends up here by the end of the night”.

Furthermore, attendees underlined their appreciation of this being a veritable party, not a sales pitch posing as a party. Among the varied responses regarding reasons for attending, people mentioned that they were there to unwind, to meet up with friends that only SIGGRAPH enabled them to see, to finally have a chance to enter into one-on-one discussions with other attendees in a comfortable setting, and if new to it, to have a taste of this veteran SIGGRAPH event.


And what of the sponsors? As Don Levy, of Sony Pictures Imageworks pointed out, “ACM SIGGRAPH is about community. One of the reasons there is such a strong community is because of the Chapters around the world”. This global presence could be seen and felt throughout the night.

As sponsors, companies are happy to contribute to the party in order not only to reach Chapter members, but also be recognized as contributors to the ACM SIGGRAPH community at large. It is this community that Sarah Counnas, of SideFX Software, made reference to, saying: “We strongly believe in helping the community network; by helping the people build the community, we are helped in return”.

Furthermore, with interest in technology being mentioned as the second greatest reason for attending the party (after people, of course), it came as no surprise to hear Anark’s Robyn Phipps note that the Chapters party gives them a chance to show their product demos, distribute their t-shirts, and boost traffic and awareness in general.

However, in the end, Alexandra Yessios of Auto.Des.Sys put it best: “Of course, we would like to attract people's attention to our product, and appreciate anything that helps us get reception, but the main idea is to help with the party.” In a sense, even the mix of veteran sponsors like Sony, SideFX and Tippett Studio, and newbies like Auto.des.sys, demonstrates the diversity and continued appeal of this event.

And the verdict at the end of the night (or early morning, as the case may be)? From the people I spoke with, first hand experience, and the charged atmosphere I left behind me at 1:00 a.m., I believe I do justice in calling it a success. Another year, another SIGGRAPH, another great event. Now all we can do is wait and wonder how SIGGRAPH and its supporters can outdo themselves next year in LA.
The scene downstairs
Middle-Eastern inspired corridor
One of the three bars
The vault door leading to the
pool area
The Hip Hop dance floor
Attendees enjoying the show
One of the lounge areas on the upper floor
The scene at 1:00 a.m.




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Last updated 8/7/03.

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All photos courtesy of Cybershot digital cameras generously loaned by SONY.