December 20, 2007

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Going black tie
Local promoter parties in a tux
By Alec O’Meara aomeara@hippopress.com

At 20 years young, producer, promoter and film-maker Arnold Soko is hoping that he can make Manchester a place to see and be seen for the region’s young people with red-carpet premiere events like the one he has scheduled for Friday, Dec. 21, at the Radisson hotel in Manchester

The event is the second that Soko, originally from Zimbabwe, has worked to produce in the area. After a successful first attempt at red carpet glamor this past summer, Soko had worked to assemble a star-studded affair once again with his promotional business, “Second Wind Entertainment.” MTV’s Dan Sky of Making the Band fame will be on hand to debut the music video for his single “Miracle.” The video was shot in downtown Manchester by Soko, a process that included shutting down Elm Street early Saturday morning. Soko has also enlisted the Manchester Millrats, the city’s new ABA basketball team, a Manchester and a New York dance team, and even is in the process of trying to land a presidential candidate or two as well.

“We’re at over 200 people already, and that is just with friends and before any advertising,” said the young entrepreneur.

Soko is modeling his red carpet events after the Academy Award ceremonies and after-parties in Los Angeles. Dress for the evening is black and white formal, and Soko has calls in to local media to have plenty of cameras lining the carpeted entryway to give the feel of a major event. He is hoping that the ball will be a safe, fun environment for the area’s young people to let their hair down. The event is for ages 18 and up. Tuxedos are the preferred look for the men and earn a discount at the door, but Soko said that if someone didn’t want to go all out, they would not be ostracized. Still, there is a $5 discount waiting at the door for anyone who shows up in a penguin suit. Ladies are asked to wear cocktail dresses or evening gowns.

“We want this to be something elegant, like a big prom almost. That is what we are going for,” said Soko. “I’m only 20 so I have all of the young people interests at heart,” he said. “They don’t have an age limit at the Academy Awards, I don’t think. Do they?”

They don’t have an age limit at the Oscars (see Osment, Haley Joel), but the award show after-parties aren’t exactly known for being the most accessible events. Not so for the Manchester party, which Soko said will have a VIP section but is open to the public.

Party promotion is only one part of the equation for Soko, who is interested in the business of film-making. Second Wind Entertainment produces movies, music videos and commercials. It is partly because of his love of Hollywood’s celebrity lifestyle that Soko is pushing for a high-profile party scene for young people in this area. Not bad for a kid who only made his first trip to Manhattan in the past year.

“It was such a small idea, you know, but it seems to be something that is really catching on. We are looking to get the Verizon next year,” he said.

The Encore
Where: The Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm St., Manchester
When: Friday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 at the door
More info: www.enterthesecondwind.com.