December 10, 2014: Is Urban Outfitters’ Holiday Party Theme Racist?, How Meetings Will Impact Hotels in 2015, Promoters Try Halloween and Christmas Mash-Ups

By Beth Kormanik December 10, 2014, 8:02 AM EST

1. IS URBAN OUTFITTERS’ HOLIDAY PARTY THEME RACIST?: Retailer Urban Outfitters invited employees to “break out your juttis, kurtas, turbans, saris, lehenga cholis, and harem pants,” to wear to its holiday party tonight at its corporate headquarters in Philadelphia. Gawker: “As you can see, employees are being asked to dress up in some mish-mash of Orientalist signifiers so obviously offensive that two separate Urban employees forwarded the image to us this morning.” The site prints the invitation, which Gawker notes “charitably asks that Urban employees bring clothing donations along with their racist costumes.”

2. HOW MEETINGS WILL IMPACT HOTELS IN 2015: A new trend report from Social Tables and Meetings Mean Business presents predictions for how meetings will impact hotels. The report compiles insights from executives from Marriott, the Convention Industry Council, Accor North America, and others on areas such as measuring data, network security, and the effect of high occupancy rates. Download the paper here:

3. PROMOTERS TRY HALLOWEEN AND CHRISTMAS MASH-UPS: Every year people complain about Christmas advertising starting earlier and earlier. But how about the Halloween season extending into Christmastime? A popular trend is mashing up the holidays for spectacles such as Christmas-theme haunted houses, which have popped up in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago. Huffington Post: “A few chills on Christmas aren't completely outside of the spirit of the holiday. ‘A Christmas Carol,’ is, after all, a ghost story complete with rattling chains and a graveyard. And in recent years, operators of Halloween haunted houses have been adding Christmas shows to earn some extra money.”


BOSTON:  Study is now open in Kendall Square. Adjacent to Ames Street Deli, the restaurant serves four- or 13-course dinners with items such as squid-ink gnocchi and lamb tartare; it also has a cheese cart.

CHICAGO:  Hilton Chicago Oak Brook Hills Resort and Conference Center will begin a major renovation in January. The first phase of construction will include upgrades to all public areas including ballrooms and meeting rooms; the second phase will focus on renovating all 328 guest rooms. The renovation is scheduled for completion in March 2016.

LAS VEGAS:  Las Vegas Review-Journal: “A total of 66,258 people from Oklahoma, the western states and Canadian prairie towns attended opening weekend at the Cowboy Christmas and Fanfest at the Las Vegas Convention Center. There also may have been been a few urban cowboys. This obliterated the previous record of 57,155.”

LOS ANGELES:  People and the Entertainment Industry Foundation will once again co-host the official SAG awards gala, held immediately following the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild awards on January 25. Tony Schubert of Event Eleven will design and produce the gala for the seventh consecutive year.

The Windows Lounge team at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills has created cocktails nodding to the Golden Globes. The drinks, inspired by three films expecting multiple nominations, will be available in the bar the first two weeks in January.

Chef Ben Ford’s Ford’s Filling Station is slated to open today at L.A. Live.

After seven years with PMK-BNC, Ashley Demoff is leaving to pursue an in-house role with Pressed Juicery.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The first Serena Williams Ultimate Run South Beach—a quarter marathon, 5K run, and kids' dash—is Sunday. The course start and finish lines are on Ocean Drive, and the event benefits the Serena Williams Fund, which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes.

NEW YORK:  Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, will open the renovated Carnegie Mansion Friday. An event that morning will include dignitaries from the Smithsonian and city officials, and students and alumni of the Juilliard School will perform a ceremonial fanfare. The renovated building will have 60 percent more exhibition space as well as a café operated by Tarallucci e Vino.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship is this weekend at the Orange County Convention Center. The show is expected to have more than 30,000 attendees watching judging and competitions among more than 150 breeds of dogs from around the world.

SAN FRANCISCO:  Brewcade opens today at 2200 Market Sreett. The bar and entertainment venue offers arcade games and has a menu items such as a Sparkling Wine Slushie and chicken-lemon-garlic jerky.

TORONTO:  The Shop.CA Toronto Christmas Market has just entered its second week. Presented by American Express, the market has offerings such as a “warming lounge” with hot chocolate and a “Santa’s Elves’ Sing-Along.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  New flavors of tartare, Old World cooking techniques like smoking and rotisserie, and new-level creative cocktails are among the ascendant culinary trends noted by the consulting firm Linda Roth Associates.

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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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