August 6, 2014: the Event Planning Challenges of the African Summit Dinner, Electric Zoo’s New Antidrug Effort, Can Hosting the Olympics Help the Economy?

1. THE EVENT PLANNING CHALLENGES OF THE AFRICAN SUMMIT DINNER: It wasn’t a state dinner, but the U.S.-African Leaders Summit Dinner had its own challenges for event planners. Washington Post: “Seating charts accounted for regional tensions in Africa. In advance, staffers identified the guests whose faith makes wine taboo. And which wife was the King of Swaziland bringing anyway? The fete bore many of the hallmarks of a state dinner. There was an elegant menu and a famous entertainer (pop icon Lionel Richie) and a white tent on the South Lawn. But small touches, nearly imperceptible to anyone but protocol wonks, distinguished the event from a traditional state function: Guests were greeted by Chief of Protocol Peter Selfridge, for example, rather than the president and the first lady. And most of the men wore sharp suits or traditional garb instead of tuxedoes.”

2. ELECTRIC ZOO’S NEW ANTIDRUG EFFORT: The Electric Zoo festival will require attendees to watch an antidrug video before entering the concert grounds, part of the electronic dance music festival’s efforts to rein in drug use following the death of two fans last year. The two-minute spot was directed by Dexter creator James Manos Jr. See a copy of the video on Gothamist:

3. CAN HOSTING THE OLYMPICS HELP THE ECONOMY?: Hosting mega sporting events such as the Olympics requires massive investments without the economic payoff that’s often promised before the event. The New York Times: “The Olympics and the World Cup are now routinely described as economic engines. Four American cities—Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington—recently announced that they were flirting with hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics, and in each case a justification was economic development. … But there is strikingly little evidence that such events increase tourism or draw new investment.”

4. TOUR BUSES CRASH IN TIMES SQUARE: Two tour buses crashed into each other Tuesday afternoon in Times Square, injuring 14 people. The driver of one of the buses has been charged with driving while impaired. Associated Press:


BOSTON:  The Catered Affair has been contracted to provide food and beverage services for the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge.

CHICAGO:  Chicago Ideas Week is October 13-19. The event will feature more than 150 speakers, including country music star Naomi Judd, actress Joan Cusack, and entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

LOS ANGELES:  BeautyCon Los Angeles will meet for its third annual summit August 16 at the L.A. Mart. More than 6,000 attendees are expected.

Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes is launching a new event, Celebration of Food and Wine, on August 10. There will be seminars, wine tastings with bites from Terranea chefs, a wine-paired luncheon, and an evening reception and dinner.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Two Miami Beach hotels—Gale South Beach and Bentley South Beach—are working on renovations and expansions slated to finish this winter. South Florida Business Journal:

Jo Colonna is the new hotel director of Fisher Island Club Hotel. His experience includes posts at Setai Miami Beach, W Hotel South Beach, Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, and the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in California.

NEW YORK:  “Life’s a Picnic in Grand Central,” in which the public is invited to visit a picnic-like space in Vanderbilt Hall, is August 18-22. The series will include daily live entertainment including performances from Broadway’s Cinderella, Pippin, Motown, and Chicago, as well as Music Under New York. The hall will have Astroturf flooring and picnic tables bedecked with classic gingham tablecloths.

The fourth annual Brooklyn Pour craft beer festival is September 27 at Skylight One Hanson.

Children's Aid and Family Services and the PGA Tour Wives Association will host a benefit called “Ragtime Rendezvous—A Murder Mystery Event” August 19 while the tour is in town for the Barclays tournament at Ridgewood Country Club. Author Harlan Coben will serve as the M.C., and authors Mary Higgins Clark and Michael Connelly will participate in the event, which will take place at a private home in Saddle River, New Jersey.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  The new event planning firm An Affair of Excellence is owned and managed by Annette Hemphill.

TORONTO:  The 2014 BuskerBall in support of Epilepsy Toronto is August 19 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  FloFest DC 2014, a music, wine, and literary festival, is scheduled for September 1 at the DC Gateway. C.E.O. and founder of Flo Brands Marcus Johnson created the festival, and radio and TV personality Cortney Hicks will serve as M.C.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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