Call Sheet #237: Gov't Agency's Las Vegas Conference Scandal Grows, Yahoo Lays Off 2,000, HBO's 'Girls' Red Carpet

April 6, 2012, 9:42 AM EDT

BIZBASH CALL SHEET — #237 —Friday, 04.06.12

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Compiled today by Beth Kormanik and Chad Kaydo in New York.
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1. MORE G.S.A. TROUBLE: The Washington Post: “The man at the center of the scandal embroiling the General Services Administration—the one who insisted that the infamous Las Vegas planning conference had to be 'over the top'—was trying to supplant what previous hosts of the biennial conference had achieved. Jeffrey E. Neely initially approved a $300,000 budget for the October 2010 conference, but later authorized spending up to about $823,000. He also traveled to Las Vegas for five of the eight agency fact-finding or 'dry run' meetings held in advance of the conference in order to see whether the proposed venue would be an appropriate fit.”

Also in The Washington Post: “The General Services Administration’s regional agency that has come under fire for a lavish employee conference in Las Vegas gave away more than $200,000-worth of iPods, gift cards and other items to employees as part of a staff award program.”

Meanwhile a video circulating on Thursday afternoon “features a G.S.A. employee playing the ukulele and singing to the tune of pop song 'I Wanna Be a Billionaire,' belting out lyrics about the agency’s lavish spending. … The video was featured as a part of a talent contest at the G.S.A.’s four-day Las Vegas conference in the fall of 2010.” Politico:

2. YAHOO LAYOFFS: 2,000 people are leaving the Web company. AdAge: “One department getting a huge makeover is communications, with C.E.O. Scott Thompson cutting about half of the staff. Among those leaving is its chief, Eric Brown, and a key deputy, Nina Blackwell.”

Related: All Things D: “Big moves in the Internet PR biz, as Yahoo grabs Amanda Pires from eBay’s PayPal unit and Twitter snatches Google communications exec Gabriel Stricker.”

3. 'GIRLS' PHOTO OP: At the New York premiere of HBO's new show Girls on Wednesday, the network had celebrities on the red carpet pose with Mad Lib-style cards with phrases related to the show and posted photos to Instagram:,

The New York Times called the party “a must-attend event for culture, media and downtown circles in New York” but still “a smaller affair by HBO standards":

4. MASHABLE LAUNCHES EVENT BOARD: The social media business site announced it will list industry events relevant to its audience with tools for social sharing and filters and sorting options. The announcement: The board:

5. EVENT WI-FI REPORT: The International Association of Exhibitions and Events released a white paper about Wi-Fi and mobile challenges in the event industry. Among the key points:

* “Exhibitors have higher expectations about the quality of the Internet connectivity when purchasing services.”
* “Because attendees’ connectivity experiences outside the convention facility are frictionless, many do not understand the complex issues that exist when so many consumers are forced into a confined space, such as a convention facility, at one time.”
* “Show management is more aggressively utilizing Wi-Fi as a sponsorship and advertising tool.”

6. GOOGLE FLOOR PLANS: TechCrunch: “Google has come up with a plan to improve indoor location accuracy for venues in Google Maps: venue owners who have uploaded their floor plans to Google’s mapping service can now use a new Android app to provides Google with feedback about how accurate its predictions are for their locations.”

7. MARKETING WITH MUSIC: Stylelist blogger Joah Spearman looks at how brands can partner with musicians: “Tortoise & Blonde, with a budget a fraction of what a brand like Nike has, focuses on developing close ties with bands and fans alike through pop-up events and online music sharing. It turns out that while upstart brands have to hustle harder for attention, the big brands have to use their dollars effectively to resonate authentically.”

8. POWER OF FACE-TO-FACE: The Globe and Mail: “Nearly seven out of 10 Canadian employees say they prefer talking in person to their colleagues rather than using technology, according the latest Workmonitor survey from Randstad Canada, a staffing, recruitment and human resources services company.”

9. COLIN COWIE'S STOCKS: The Wall Street Journal spoke to him about invitations. So you know:

* “It's amazing how many times an invite goes out with no date or no time. … Proofread your invite.”
* “The thicker the stock, the bolder the statement.”


The Event Leadership Institute is proud to provide the most progressive training and education for event planners in the industry, through on-demand video classes, biweekly webinars, white papers as well as interviews with industry leaders.


Here’s a look at 10 highlights from our event coverage this week, including Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards, Boston's basketball ballerinas, and the debut of the N.F.L.’s draft pop-up shop.

* WHOA! *

Page Six: “Tracy Morgan surprised Jaguar execs by appearing at a party Wednesday to showcase the new F-Type. The Post’s Don Kaplan reports the cars parked in front of STK Steakhouse included a trio of Jags, among them a heritage C-Type and an XKR—which Morgan proceeded to mount like a stallion, spreading his stomach onto the hood. 'Look, the Jag put a baby in me!' he crowed.”


BOSTON: As part of the Nantucket Wine Festival May 16 to 20, American Seasons restaurant will host the High Elevations Wines lunch symposium on May 18.

CHICAGO: At Baconfest Chicago, some 100 restaurants and chefs will present snack-size versions of bacon-inspired dishes. The event is at U.I.C. Forum on April 14.

Maison will open in Lakeshore East this spring. The 140-seat brasserie will serve classic French fare such as croque madame and baguettes with ham and butter.

LAS VEGAS: The Destination Services Association members will have a breakfast meeting and then tour the new Smith Center for the Performing Arts April 10.

LOS ANGELES: Alice in Chains co-founder Jerry Cantrell and Sony/ATV Music Publishing senior consultant Neil Lasher will be honored at the eight annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit at Club Nokia May 31. TV personality Steve-O will host, and Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Billy Idol, and Moby will be among the many performers.

This month, Wolfgang Puck plans to launch a new iPhone app, which will include features for meeting and event planners like guest-list tracking and an event countdown.

LA Inc. the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau has officially changed its name to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.

MIAMI: Orchestra Miami will present its first annual fund-raiser performance to benefit the orchestra's Residency at Pinecrest Garden's Banyan Bowl at the Banyan Bowl April 12.

Womenade will present the third annual Take a Walk in Her Shoes Luncheon and Fashion Show, a vintage fashion showcase and fund-raiser held at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach April 13.

More than 500 participants will climb 54 flights of stairs in the annual Fight for Air Climb Miami at the Southeast Financial Center April 14.

NEW YORK: In 2013, the Alamo Draft House will open its first location in New York in the Upper West Side space formerly occupied by the Metro Theater. The dine-in movie house will offer five screens and provide food and drink service. Press release:

Mattell unveiled a new Barbie doll at last night's White House Project's 10th E.P.I.C. (Enhancing Perception in Culture) Awards. The ceremony held at the IAC Building and hosted by Geena Davis, debuted the “I Can Be President” doll with an interactive installation dubbed the “Glam-paign Digital Dashboard.”

The Municipal Art Society's second M.A.S. Urbanists After Dark party, which follows the organization's annual gala, will take place at the New York Public Library's Astor Hall April 19.

Page Six: “Neil Sedaka gave a surprise performance of his hits, including 'Calendar Girl' and 'Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,' at Clive Davis’ 80th-birthday bash Wednesday at the River Café.”

The Mets and Yankees will offer peanut-free sections of their ballparks for certain games, joining a movement that caters to people with allergies. The New York Post:

Comedian Patton Oswalt will host the Webby Awards May 21 at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The Hollywood Reporter:

ORLANDO: The new Cypress Springs Family Fun Water Park is now open at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The water attraction is the final addition in the hotel's $50 million renovation and includes a zero-entry design, four water slides, water basketball area, and warm water spas. There's also an outdoor movie screen that can be used for evening programs for private groups.

TORONTO: The Green Living Show takes over the Direct Energy Centre from Friday to Sunday. New this year, guests can get makeup touchups at the Green Beauty Bar and test drive the latest electric and hybrid vehicles.

WASHINGTON: The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery will honor John Max Rosenfield, Harvard Professor Emeritus of East Asian Art, April 12 in the Freer's Meyer Auditorium.

The Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association found a replacement host after comedian Louis C.K. dropped out because of complaints about his often-adult humor. Comedian Wayne Brady will now host the June 8 event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The D.C. Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative announced its Patriotic Arts Fete at Lincoln April 25. The event supports free arts and humanities events for 30,000 D.C. students at no cost to schools each year.

What are you doing? Tell us:

With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, Carla Warrilow in Toronto, and Anna Sekula, Beth Kormanik, and Rose Chevalier in New York.

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