February 25, 2016: Vendors Still Unpaid for Work on U.S. Pavilion at World Expo, Prince Plans Surprise Concerts to Thwart Ticket Scalpers, Inside Google’s Android Lounge at Mobile World Congress

By Beth Kormanik February 25, 2016, 8:52 AM EST

1. VENDORS STILL UNPAID FOR WORK ON U.S. PAVILION AT WORLD EXPO: The organization behind the U.S. Pavilion at the World Expo last year in Milan still owes $26 million to nearly 40 companies and organizations, including $13.6 million to the construction company that built it. The U.S. State Department commissioned a nonprofit group, Friends of USA Pavilion, to oversee design, construction, and operation of the pavilion with the understanding that officials would help raise the money from private sponsors to cover the costs since a federal law bands the use of government money from paying for world’s fairs. But that effort fell short. Politico: “The huge shortfalls in funding for last year’s World Expo exhibit, which drew 6 million people, now loom as a big embarrassment for the State Department and its leader. Officials will hold a conference call on Thursday to try to appease dozens of creditors. … State Department officials insist the agency is looking for ways to pay the bills, even though it can’t use any of its own money. Nearly four months after the exhibition closed, [Secretary of State John] Kerry is still making fundraising calls, they say, while officials acknowledge that lining up new donors will be nearly impossible with no sponsorships and other perks to offer.”

2. PRINCE PLANS SURPRISE CONCERTS TO THWART TICKET SCALPERS: Prince gave fans less than a week’s notice for the first stop on the North American leg of his Piano and a Microphone tour in Oakland, California. Along with short notice, the tour comes with ticketing restrictions meant to hamper scalpers. Esquire: “In an effort to ward off scalpers, promoter Live Nation is using paperless tickets. Purchasers will only be able to redeem their tickets in person the night of the show using the ID and credit card used to purchase the tickets, and must enter the venue at the time they present their information.”

3. INSIDE GOOGLE’S ANDROID LOUNGE AT MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS: Taking over an outdoor area between two halls at Barcelona’s Fira Barcelona Gran Via convention center, Google built an interactive lounge called the Android Garden at this week’s Mobile World Congress. Android Central: “The Android Garden ran the entire width of the Fira as a continuous 25-foot wide pop-up park of sorts, complete with an astroturf flooring, live shrubs, sculptures, park benches and cafe tables (with warm blankets if you're sitting in the shade). Pop music was playing on the speakers, and everything was open for anyone to spend time in—no restrictions, qualifications or sales pitches. … One of the main attractions bringing folks into the Android Garden at first was the Androidify area. Here you could pull up to one of eight stations and create an Android character of yourself—the same as you can in the Androidify app—and have it printed off a couple minutes later. The prints were sized perfectly to fit in a replacement conference badge holder, available for pickup when you received your print, so you could proudly display your Androidify character along with your MWC badge for the duration of the show.”


ATLANTA:  ChooseATL will bring a two-day experience to Austin's South by Southwest March 13-14. The event will feature performances by Atlanta musicians, panels with notable Atlantans including Yik Yak founders Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll, and a conversation with The Walking Dead executive producer Tom Luse and photography director Michael Satrazemis. Atlanta Business Chronicle:

BOSTON:  MassArt’s 27th Auction will take place on April 9 at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The auction will showcase 36 pieces from artists such as Takashi Murakami and Shepard Fairey.

CHICAGO:  Gene Siskel Film Center will host Hollywood on State, its annual Oscar viewing party, on Sunday. The event, which will also recognize local filmmakers, will feature a red carpet hosted by Project Runway contestant Kate Pankoke and MasterChef star Tommy Walton.

Martha Stewart’s Wedding Party will take place on March 6 at the Ritz-Carlton. The event will feature a panel discussion and a vendor showcase highlighting floral trends, interactive demonstrations, and more.

LAS VEGAS:  The 2016 Pahrump Hot Air Balloon Festival will take place Friday-Sunday at Petrack Park.

LOS ANGELES:  The Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park in Willowbrook is slated to undergo a $135 million renovation over 18 years. New additions will include an equestrian center, community event center, aquatic center, sculpture garden, skate park, and dog park. Los Angeles Times:

Local event listings from the new Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  III Points Music, Art & Technology Festival will take place in Wynwood October 7-9. It will be the fourth edition of the event, and its lineup will be announced later.

NEW YORK:  Impact Garden, a yoga session on the court of Madison Square Garden led by supermodel and yoga instructor Angela Lindvall, will take place March 7.

The 36th edition of the Photography Show will take place April 14-17 at the Park Avenue Armory. Next year's show, which is slated for March 30-April 2, will move to Pier 94.

Local event listings from the new Masterplanner:

PHILADELPHIA:  Hyatt at the Bellevue has appointed Pina Purpero as general manager. The hotel is finishing a multimillion-dollar renovation set to wrap up this spring.

SAN DIEGO:  Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina's $107 million event and meeting expansion will be complete in June. The 280,000 square feet of space will include a two-level ballroom, the Marina Terrace, and a public walkway called Marina Walk. Standout design features of the expansion include a 16-screen video wall and a Swarovski crystal ceiling installation.

TORONTO:  Local gyms such as Hard Candy Fitness are cashing in on the “sweatworking” trend, which mixes workouts with business networking. The Star:

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The architectural firms Marshall Moya Design and Rossetti will develop designs for the planned 5,000-seat entertainment and sports arena. Brailsford & Dunlavey in collaboration with ADC Solutions and Kumi Construction Management will be the program management lead. Events DC, which will operate the arena, made the announcement Wednesday.

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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, Anna Sekula, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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