February 18, 2015: 16 Dead in Carnival Accident in Haiti, Mardi Gras Parade Makes History, Google's Eye-Catching Avatar Stunt

By Beth Kormanik February 18, 2015, 8:07 AM EST

1. 16 DEAD IN CARNIVAL ACCIDENT IN HAITI: High-voltage power lines shocked riders of a Carnival parade float, killing 16 people and injuring dozens others, including those who were trampled in a panic after the initial shock. The tragedy exposed the lax safety practices at many parades. Associated Press: “It is a common practice in Haiti and elsewhere to have someone positioned atop a parade float to move low-hanging power lines. In Brazil, officials said three people were killed early Tuesday when they were electrocuted while standing atop a Carnival float that hit a power line on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.”

2. MARDI GRAS PARADE MAKES HISTORY: New Orleans celebrated Mardi Gras on Tuesday with its iconic traditions—the green, purple, and yellow color scheme, beads, and the Rex parade, which dates back to 1872. This year the parade had an unusual theme, “Wars That Shaped Early America,” which commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. New Orleans Times-Picayune: “In a tour de force of custom-throw design, the riders of each of the krewe's two-dozen antique carriages will toss individual medallion beads and cups based on the float design, plus small pillows printed with an artist's rendering of the float. This is a first for Rex and possibly a first in all of Carnival. Has another parade ever devoted multiple custom throws to each of more than 20 floats?”

3. GOOGLE'S EYE-CATCHING AVATAR STUNT: To promote a new app, Google synchronized 300 Android devices, each with its own avatar, to create a digital chorus. Adweek: “The digital choir was installed in the Omotesando Hills shopping center in Tokyo, where the little creatures flail their arms in time to the preprogramed music for the amusement of shoppers. Anyone brave enough can actually step up and attempt to ‘conduct’ the tiny, tinny choir through a gesture-sensing program.”


ATLANTA:  The Center for Civil and Human Rights' inaugural Power to Inspire Tribute Dinner is May 6.

BOSTON:  The Independent, a Union Square restaurant, has reopened after a minor renovation. The restaurant also has an updated menu with offerings such as crab-and-pancetta chowder and a classic French cassoulet.

CHICAGO:  Seven Lions restaurant opens on Michigan Avenue on Thursday. Helmed by Alpana Singh, the contemporary American restaurant has three private dining rooms; it will roll out an off-site catering service later this year.

LAS VEGAS:  The Swarovski Pavilion and Starburst will open February 26. The new outdoor entertainment destination is also designed as the centerpiece of the Grand Bazaar Shops.

Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino has partnered with Hotel Internet Services for the installation of its BeyondTV Wireless Streaming Player, allowing guests to experience the Internet, live TV, video on demand, personal media sharing, Internet radio, and social media via their guest room television or personal mobile devices while staying at the resort.

LOS ANGELES:  Rick Rutherford is the new regional account manager for Aztec Tents in the Southwest region, including Southern California Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers will deliver the keynote address during the NACDS Annual Meeting April 28 at the Breakers Palm Beach. The association represents traditional drug stores and supermarkets and mass merchants with pharmacies.

NEW YORK:  In preparation for the Harlem Globetrotters' 90th anniversary, the team is working with five agencies to promote the milestone and its 2016 world tour. They are: LeadDog Marketing Group, Coyne PR, United Talent Agency, Whistle Sports, and Licensing Street.

The Jewish Museum's Purim Ball will take place February 25 at the Park Avenue Armory. The evening's honoree is artist Laurie Simmons in anticipation of her upcoming exhibition at the museum.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  The grand opening of three I-Drive 360 attractions—the Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and Sea Life Orlando Aquarium—will be May 4.

SAN FRANCISCO:  Mobile event app company DoubleDutch released a new analytics platform this morning called “Event Performance” to monitor engagement metrics and other areas in real time at an event.

TORONTO:  Bestival, a festival celebrating electronic dance music and alternative rock, will take place on the Toronto Islands on June 12-13. The festival has English roots and a Coachella-like aesthetic. The New York Times:

Niagara Integrated Film Festival will hold its second annual film, food, and wine festival June 18-21 in the Niagara Region, Ontario.

VANCOUVER:  Eat Vancouver Food & Cooking Festival, presented by Flavours magazine, is expanding from a weekend event into a weeklong culinary festival slated for April 26-May 3.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Mark Barnes, director of Northeast sales for the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, has been appointed to the board of the Kentucky Society of Washington, D.C., where he will serve as deputy vice president for events and entertainment.

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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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