February 28, 2018: How #MeToo Is Changing Political Conventions, Melania Trump Drops Event-Planning Adviser After Inauguration Controversy, Oscars Host Jimmy Kimmel Wants Another Envelopegate-Level Shock

By Ian Zelaya February 28, 2018, 8:42 AM EST


1. HOW #METOO IS CHANGING POLITICAL CONVENTIONS: Late-night, alcohol-filled parties are normally a staple of political conventions. But the latest California Democrats convention has shown that the #MeToo movement is causing political conventions to evolve. Los Angeles Times: “This was the first time Democrats gathered for a convention since an open letter signed by more than 140 women in California politics was published last fall, pushing the issue of sexual harassment into the foreground and upending the careers of multiple legislators. The annual convention is the political party scene on steroids, a weekend with every flavor of fete—themed hospitality suites and glitzy bashes with high-profile performers, exclusive private dinners and college dorm-style hotel room hangouts. That can uncomfortably mesh with the current climate, particularly since a recent investigation found a legislator ‘likely’ had engaged in unwanted flirtatious behavior and had supplied alcohol to a 19-year-old intern at the party's 2008 convention. Among the tense moments over the weekend was hand-wringing over the endorsement of an assemblywoman who has been accused of harassment, forcing an awkward discussion on the convention floor. The men—and one woman—running for governor each paid homage to the movement during speeches seeking support from the state party. From the official podium to speeches before smaller caucus groups, the issue of harassment was a near-universal talking point. … The impact of the heightened harassment awareness on the weekend's socializing was ambiguous. There were fewer bashes with marquee names this time around. At the convention in 2017, dueling shindigs featured rapper Common and Cypress Hill. One party boasted a performance by celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson.” http://lat.ms/2BS8nbw

2. MELANIA TRUMP DROPS EVENT-PLANNING ADVISER AFTER INAUGURATION CONTROVERSY: Melania Trump has cut ties with senior adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff after a story published in The New York Times revealed Wolkoff's firm received $26 million to help plan Donald Trump's inauguration. The New York Times: “Stephanie Grisham, Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman, said the office had 'severed the gratuitous services contract with Ms. Wolkoff,' who Ms. Grisham said had been employed as 'a special government employee' to work on specific projects. 'We thank her for her hard work and wish her all the best.' The contract was terminated last week, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation. They said the move was prompted by displeasure from the Trumps over the news, first reported by The New York Times, that a firm created by Ms. Winston Wolkoff was paid nearly $26 million for event planning by a nonprofit group that oversaw Mr. Trump’s inauguration and surrounding events in January 2017. Mr. Trump, who is notoriously tight with money, was also enraged to learn that Ms. Winston Wolkoff brought on an associate, David Monn, to help plan inaugural events, according to people who spoke to him. Mr. Monn’s firm was paid $3.7 million, according to a tax filing by the nonprofit group, the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee. Ms. Winston Wolkoff, in an email, defended her work on the inauguration, denounced news coverage of it and challenged the characterization that her contract with Mrs. Trump’s office was terminated as a result of the news about payments from the inaugural committee. 'I was informed by the White House counsel’s office that all gratuitous volunteer contracts were ended,' she said. She asserted that the development would not affect her relationship with Mrs. Trump, who attended Ms. Winston Wolkoff’s 40th birthday party in 2010 and has traveled in the same circles for years." http://nyti.ms/2oBLn8z

3. OSCARS HOST JIMMY KIMMEL WANTS ANOTHER ENVELOPEGATE-LEVEL SHOCK: Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel is not so secretly hoping for a repeat of last year’s envelope mix up, in which Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced the incorrect winner for best picture. USA Today: “Despite painstaking efforts by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and its accountant to avoid another debacle, ‘I want it to happen again,’ Kimmel jokes in an interview. Especially because no one blamed him for it, ‘nor should they have.’ But Beatty appears in a playful new promo with Kimmel, raising the question of whether Oscar producers will have a little fun with the notorious gaffe on Sunday’s live broadcast.  Is Beatty booked to return? ‘I do not know,’ Kimmel claims, suspiciously. ‘It’s outside of my area of responsibility.’ Kimmel won’t say much about his emcee plans, but he volunteers which of the nine best-picture nominees is the ripest for joke material. Leading contender ‘The Shape of Water is about a woman who has sex with a sea monster. So probably that one, that’s got to be right at the top. That’s something we haven’t seen in the movies before, certainly not in an Oscar-nominated movie. I haven’t done the research, but I’m pretty sure that’s true.’ He says he’s watched all of the nominated films, ‘and I hope that the audience has also watched them.’ But last year, he felt he'd seen ‘a lot more of the movies than the crowd at the Oscars,’ and ‘it’s hard to do a joke if people don’t know what the reference is.’” https://usat.ly/2oAqD0F

* LOCAL NEWS *

COAST TO COAST:  The 2018 edition of BrunchCon, a traveling festival that offers brunch dishes from local restaurants, will take place March 4 at Port Pavilion in San Diego; March 25 at the Armory in San Francisco; April 22 at National Harbor in Washington; May 12 at Fair Market in Austin; May 20 at Brooklyn Expo Center in Brooklyn; August 5 at the Reef in Los Angeles; and August 19 at Windy City Fieldhouse in Chicago. 

CHICAGO:  The 13th annual Pitchfork Music Festival, taking place July 20-22 in Union Park, has announced its first set of performers, which include Tame Impala, Kelela, and D.R.A.M. The festival will announce the rest of its lineup in the next few weeks via a live stream on the festival’s website, which will reveal names of artists painted on a mural in Wicker Park. 

CLEVELAND:  Hartmut Ott has been appointed general manager of the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center. The 400-room hotel is in the midst of a renovation that includes its 17,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

COLUMBUS, OHIO:  The Arnold Sports Festival will take place March 1-4 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The multi-sport festival will include the 30th annual Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition. 

LOS ANGELES:  Lupita Nyong’o, Nicole Kidman, Jane Fonda, Sandra Bullock, Emily Blunt, and more have been announced as new presenters for the 90th Oscars telecast on Sunday. Entertainment Weekly: http://bit.ly/2ouMIPg

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Zoo Miami Foundation’s 23rd annual Feast With the Beasts will take place March 16 at Zoo Miami. The event, which supports the zoo’s wildlife education and conservation programs, will have tastes from more than 30 local restaurants and caterers.

NEW YORK:  Folio magazine’s Top Women in Media Awards will take place June 7 at the Edison Ballroom. Martha Stewart will receive the Lifetime Empowerment and Achievement Award. 

Kylie Minogue, Tove Lo, Lizzo, and Big Freedia will headline NYC Pride’s Pride Island June 23-24 at Pier 97.  

Fast Company has named a new editor in chief, Stephanie Mehta, who comes to the role with extensive experience in events. Folio: “Mehta arrives at Fast Company having spent the last two years at Vanity Fair, where she headed up the brand’s New Establishment Summit and Founders Fair conferences in addition to serving as one of the magazine’s deputy editors. Prior to Vanity Fair, Mehta spent about a year at Bloomberg Media running the Bloomberg Live event series.” http://bit.ly/2CM9BSB

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

PHILADELPHIA:  Garces Group’s third annual Women in Hospitality Panel will take place March 8 at the Olde Bar. 

TORONTO:  The inaugural Toronto Sandwich Fest will take place April 22 at Artscape Wychwood Barns. BlogTO: http://bit.ly/2CLI7wc

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from BizBash.com.

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