December 30, 2013: Sotomayor to Lead New Year's Countdown, Check Out a GPS-Powered Gift Box, Top Music Events of the Year

By Beth Kormanik December 30, 2013, 7:41 AM EST

The BizBash Daily and Call Sheet newsletter will take a break for the holiday, and will resume publishing January 6. We wish everyone a happy new year!

1. SOTOMAYOR TO LAUNCH TIMES SQUARE NEW YEAR’S EVE COUNTDOWN: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will ring in the New Year on national television when she activates the crystal ball drop from Times Square. New York Times: “The Rockettes and Lady Gaga led the countdown in Times Square the past two years. Before that, the duty fell to a wide range of people, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Colin L. Powell and a group of local high school students. Justice Sotomayor was selected because of her inspirational story of rising from a humble background to become the first Hispanic justice on the court, said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. She has encouraged others to dream big, a nice message for a new year, he said.”

2. GPS-POWERED GIFT BOX ONLY OPENS IN SPECIFIC PLACE: Merging the concepts of a gift bag and scavenger hunt, the new GPS AdventureBox stays locked until the recipient arrives at a specific location. TechCrunch: “You could have a scavenger hunt that leads your friend all across the city, eventually leading them to a concert hall—and inside the box? Bam! Tickets to the show! Giving your kid a car on their 16th birthday? Lead 'em all around until they eventually end up back at their own home, their new ride parked in the driveway. Box pops open—BAM, it’s the keys.”

3. 15 EVENTS THAT SHAPED THE MUSIC INDUSTRY THIS YEAR: Along with the usual suspects like Miley Cyrus, Jay Z, and Beyoncé making news with award show antics, sponsor tie-ins, and novel marketing strategies, other events had a profound effect on the music industry this year. An example from Forbes’s list: “The first YouTube Music Awards show proves that what seems like a good idea isn’t always so, as it draws shockingly few viewers. You can be the largest online music portal, but that apparently isn’t enough to get users to watch your event.”


Trade Show News Network reports that the audiovisual company PSAV has been acquired by affiliates of Goldman Sachs and will purchase Visual Aids Electronics.


BOSTON:  A new report by PFK Hospitality Research predicts that Boston's hotel market will see tremendous growth in 2014. Boston Business Journal:

CHICAGO:  The Museum of Science and Industry's Black Creativity Gala is scheduled for January 25.

HOUSTON:  Dallas-based event designer Todd Fiscus has opened a branch of his Todd Events in Houston. Houston Chronicle: “Fiscus made a splashy debut in Houston at the ‘Russian Rhapsody’-themed Symphony Ball, where he erected a 15,000-square-foot tent behind Rice University's Shepherd School of Music filled with czar-esque details such as Swarovski crystal chandeliers, gold-glided flatware, caviar and an unforgettable extra: a pearl-encrusted performer who danced as water sprouted from her fingertips.”

LAS VEGAS:  TripAdvisor has named Aria Resort & Casino the most-reviewed hotel in the United States, with thousands of comments submitted by its online community.

LOS ANGELES:  LAist has a roundup of New Year’s Eve events in town:

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Hugo & Victor, a Parisian pastry and chocolate shop, has opened its first U.S. location in the Webster Miami.  Hugo & Victor’s menu changes about every two months with seasonal offerings.

NEW YORK:  Miss Lily's, the Caribbean restaurant on West Houston Street, is now offering its Variety Store as a private event space. The Variety Store houses rotating gallery space of West Indian-inspired photography, art and graphics and a live, reggae radio station called Radio Lily where DJs can spin. The room can accommodate seated dinners for 24 guests.

Eater: “Hillside, the year-and-a-half-old next-door spinoff of Vinegar Hill House, is now closed for a revamp. Owners Sam Buffa and Jean Adamson are re-imagining the cafe and plan to reopen it in early 2014 as an event space.”

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

TORONTO:  The Toronto Star recently profiled Kevin Beaulieu, executive director of WorldPride Toronto. The 10-day event—scheduled to start on June 20— is expected to draw one million revelers, and includes the WorldPride Human Rights conference.

WASHINGTON:  Silo, a restaurant with Swiss-French influences, is opening at 919 5th St. NW. Washington City Paper: ”[Owner Reza] Akhavan says the building had long been abandoned before Silo moved in. And aside from the bar area and dining room, he hopes to eventually add a roof deck. The look is—surprise, surprise—industrial chic, with a long concrete bar and tables made with reclaimed wood and old pipes.”

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

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