1. RESTAURANT GROUPS GRAPPLE WITH CHANGE AFTER SEXUAL MISCONDUCT SCANDALS: With multiple high-profile U.S. chefs and restaurateurs recently accused of sexual misconduct, major restaurant groups are figuring out how to push on. The New York Times: “Backstage, the first four prominent restaurant groups caught in sexual harassment scandals are grappling with the thorny complications of just how to extricate themselves from a tarnished partner: John Besh in New Orleans; Charlie Hallowell in Oakland, Calif.; and Ken Friedman and Mario Batali in New York. The companies have begun to reach for some sort of equilibrium, working in very different ways to figure out how—and if—they can move forward. The most famous figure to fall has been Mr. Batali, the celebrity chef who was the subject of several published reports in December alleging behavior that ran the gamut from piggish to coercive. Aside from some initial public apologies, including one emailed newsletter that included a recipe for cinnamon rolls, Mr. Batali has been silent. By all accounts, he is not engaged in running the restaurant group that he started with his partner, Joe Bastianich, in 1998 when they opened Babbo in Greenwich Village. Yet the terms of his income stream from the company have not changed, Mr. Bastianch said. … The effort to stabilize the chef John Besh’s restaurant group in New Orleans has had more time to jell. News that 25 current and former employees had been sexually harassed at some of his dozen restaurants was reported by The Times-Picayune in October, two weeks after The New York Times broke the story about predatory sexual behavior by Harvey Weinstein. Mr. Besh, 49, remains an owner of the business, which includes eight restaurants and has renamed itself BRG Hospitality, and he has final approval on major business decisions. But he has permanently turned over everything else to Shannon White, 31, who started with the company as a server. She set up a hotline, revised training procedures and updated the employee handbook, adding a code of conduct and a morals-and-ethics clause. She started an assistance program open to all 1,200 employees, and is creating an employee advisory committee. She hired an independent investigator who unearthed another case of harassment; the bill for that alone may top $50,000, she said.” http://nyti.ms/2mRkMEi
2. GRAMMYS TO COMMEMORATE VICTIMS KILLED AT LIVE MUSIC EVENTS: The Grammys will feature a special performance by country stars paying tribute to victims who lost their lives at live music events this past year, including at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. Associated Press: “Eric Church, Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne, who performed at the three-day country festival prior to the mass shooting last October, will collaborate on a special performance at the 60th annual Grammy Awards, airing live on CBS from New York on Jan. 28. The shooting in Las Vegas was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. modern history. It came in a year when 22 people were killed in a bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, in May. Church headlined the first night of the festival, which was the last night of his tour. A gunman perched in a window of a hotel-casino overlooking the outdoor festival opened fire on the crowd during the final night of the festival as Jason Aldean was performing, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more. ... Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the Grammys, said the country artists will perform a classic Grammy-winning song, which hasn’t been announced. 'We considered a number of songs. We wanted something that is universal. We wanted something that spoke to the subject, which certainly this song does,' he said. 'When you listen to the lyric, this one certainly stood out.' Morris, a nominee for best country solo performance, performed the night before the shooting. She said she’s heard directly from fans that the attacks have left them scared to go to shows, and said that it has affected artists as well." http://bit.ly/2BdfRlD
3. FACEBOOK LAUNCHES STREAMING FEATURE FOR GROUPS: Facebook has launched Watch Party, a feature that lets groups of people watch live or pre-recorded event streams and simultaneously interact and comment. The Verge: “The goal is to make watching videos a fun, social experience rather than a passive one, the company said. To start a Watch Party, group moderators select one or more videos and post it inside the group. (For now, you can’t schedule it in advance.) When a party is taking place, members will see a Watch Party widget on the group page. As soon as you join, you’ll see the same video everyone else is watching. Members can look at the queue of videos to see what’s coming up next. If you’re watching the video on a mobile device, group members’ comments appear overlaid on the video. If you’re watching on the desktop, they appear in a rail on the right side of the video. Facebook says it built Watch Party because it found live videos encourage more social interactions than pre-recorded ones. Turning pre-recorded videos into live events could help people enjoy them more, it says. The news comes a week after Facebook announced it would make significant changes to the News Feed, in part to reduce the amount of low-quality video served to its users.” http://bit.ly/2DpIX6h
* LOCAL NEWS *
CHICAGO: The Long Grove Cocoa Crawl will take place February 3. The hot chocolate celebration will offer complimentary samples at 19 participating vendors including Covered Bridge Creamery, Long Grove Confectionary, Signature Popcorn, and How Impressive.
LOS ANGELES: This year’s Pasadena Comic and Toy Show will take place January 28 at the Pasadena Convention Center. The event will feature more than 75 comic book and toy vendors.
For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles
NEW YORK: Essence’s ninth annual Black Women in Music event will take place January 25 at the Highline Ballroom. The event will honor Missy Elliott. The official Grammy Week event is sponsored by Lincoln Motor Company and AT&T in partnership with the Recording Academy.
For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork
PHILADELPHIA: This year’s Garces Foundation Benefit will take place April 13 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. The event benefits chef Jose Garces’s foundation, a nonprofit committed to ensuring Philadelphia’s immigrant community has access to healthcare and education
TORONTO: Sugar Shack TO will take place March 10-11 at Sugar Beach. The festival, known for serving fresh maple taffy, is presented by Redpath Sugar.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C., has introduced Device-Free Date Night, a package that aims to help hotel guests manage their relationships with technology and each other. The package includes daily spa and dining credits, which will require guests to give up their phones before the experiences.
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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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