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June 15, 2017: Grammy Awards to Transition to Online Voting, CMA Music Fest Considers Permanent Nashville Venue Opportunity, N.B.A. Finals Most Watched Since 1998

By Ian Zelaya June 15, 2017, 9:31 AM EDT


1. GRAMMY AWARDS TO TRANSITION TO ONLINE VOTING: In an effort to increase member participation, the Recording Academy will offer online voting for the Grammys. Los Angeles Times: “Academy executives on Wednesday unveiled the elimination of paper ballots in favor of an online voting system as part of the organization’s annual review of the awards process. The hope is that such a change will inspire a broader range of members to take part in the Grammys because it will present a more flexible voting option or appeal to artists who may be on the road during the period for voting. ‘It’s been something we’ve been talking about for many years, and looking forward to the day when this has arrived,’ said Bill Freimuth, the academy’s senior vice president of awards. The Grammys have long faced criticism for favoring traditionalism over more adventurous and diverse artists. R&B star Frank Ocean, for instance, chastised the Grammys for awarding album of the year to Taylor Swift rather than Kendrick Lamar in 2016 and accused the institution of a ‘cultural bias.’ … One other big benefit Freimuth cited was the prospect of a more accurate and representative vote tabulation. Grammy rules allow all members to cast votes in the four marquee award categories—record, album, song and new artist. Voters also are allowed to cast ballots in up to 15 other fields, but in the past a small percentage of voters has marked more than 15, resulting in those ballots, except for the top four categories, being discarded. The other major rule change will put songwriters alongside performers, producers, recording, mixing and mastering engineers in collecting statues for album of the year if they’ve contributed to at least 33% of the playing time on a winning album.” http://lat.ms/2rgWTGl

2. CMA MUSIC FEST CONSIDERS PERMANENT NASHVILLE VENUE OPPORTUNITY: The latest edition of the Country Music Association’s CMA Music Festival took over multiple downtown Nashville venues from June 8-11, including the Ascend Amphitheater for the first time. The venue, which was designed exclusively for concerts, has created a possible permanent venue opportunity for the festival. Billboard: “The CMA's experiment with Ascend Amphitheater, added for the first time to the evening options, created a new dynamic that could pay dividends in coming years. The amphitheater, which was specifically designed for concerts, brought in crowds ranging from 2,500 to more than 5,000 during its three nights, providing an obvious outlet for fans who were unable to attend the sold-out stadium shows. Big & Rich, Sara Evans and Dan + Shay headlined the Cracker Barrel-sponsored concerts, which some within the industry viewed as a risky move. The free events—which also featured Hunter Hayes, Kellie Pickler, High Valley, The Oak Ridge Boys and Billy Ray Cyrus, among others—went head-to-head against the CMA's established stadium offering. They were announced late enough in the buildup to the festival that there was little time left to promote them. … Ascend is, in essence, the new kid on the block, but of all the official stages, it's the only permanent venue that was created with music as its first order of business. With Cracker Barrel signed to sponsor the venue in 2018 and 2019, the first-year attendance figures provided a decent base to increase its impact in the coming years. And while fans seemed to appreciate its obvious amenities, the artists enjoyed their own benefits. The venue offers a green room, real bathrooms, a temperature-controlled backstage and the chance to do formal sound checks, a distinct contrast to many of the other stages.” http://bit.ly/2rsq5yg

3. N.B.A. FINALS MOST WATCHED SINCE 1998: The N.B.A. Finals games between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers garnered the largest nightly audience in 19 years. Advertising Age: “According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the short series averaged 20.4 million viewers on ABC, making it the most-watched NBA Finals since 1998, When Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls scared up an average audience of 29 million viewers during their six-game set against the Utah Jazz. In claiming its second NBA title in three seasons, Golden State somehow managed to out-deliver last year's thrilling seven-game Finals, which averaged 20.3 million viewers. That a five-game series put up bigger numbers than a full seven-game showdown is particularly remarkable given the size of the crowd that tuned in to ABC during last year's deciding broadcast. (Cleveland's thrilling 93-89 victory over the Warriors averaged a staggering 31 million viewers.) As much as ABC would have welcomed a sixth game, the network was fortunate that Cleveland managed to steal a Friday night home outing and thereby avoid a rare Finals sweep. The last time the championship series was decided in four games was back in 2007, when San Antonio made short work of LeBron James and the Cavs. With an average draw of just 9.29 million viewers and a 6.2 household rating, the truncated series still stands as the all-time least-watched, lowest-rated NBA Finals.” http://bit.ly/2rksAyL

* LOCAL NEWS *

BOSTON:  Greenlight Café in SoWa—the grab-n-go concept from French brasserie Gaslight—will undergo an extensive renovation and reopen in the fall. A collaboration with designer Peter Niemitz of Niemitz Design Group, the project will include an updated design to channel Gaslight’s French café atmosphere and offer mobile ordering. 

LOS ANGELES:  Michael Phelps will receive the Legend Award at the Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, which will take place July 13 at U.C.L.A.’s Pauley Pavilion. The event, hosted by Russell Wilson, will air July 16 on Nickelodeon. The Hollywood Reporter: http://bit.ly/2sohM5U

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  AmericanAirlines Arena will host its first 2017 Summer Movie Night on Friday with a screening on its 16-foot, ultra-high definition LED screen on the Xfinity East Plaza. Guests must bring their own seating, and people who arrive from 7:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. will receive one free popcorn with any food and beverage purchase. The Heat Experience will host a pre-show for the event.

NEW YORK:  Consulate General of India has partnered with the New York City Public Advocate’s Office and Parks Department to host the third annual International Yoga Day on June 19 at Castle Clinton in Battery Park. The event will offer free yoga and meditation sessions led by organizations including Hindu Temple of North America, Urban Yogis, and the Arts of Living Foundation. The event will also include a live performance by the band Butterthief. 

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver will host the Trevor Live New York gala on June 19 at Marriott Marquis Times Square. 

Cove Lounge in Harlem will celebrate its fifth anniversary on June 21. Produced by Musa Jackson Productions, the event will have a 1990s theme inspired by New Jack Swing music and the films New Jack City and Boomerang

Brooklyn craft beer venue Lantern Hall has partnered with digital media and event production company Our Name Is Farm to host a summer-long sustainable food series led by chefs who are immigrants or first-generation Americans. June events include chef Jason Alicea’s empanada-focused Empanology on June 21; chef Jo Anne Joseph’s Taste of the South: An Immigrant Food Experience on June 22; and chef Jasmine Sheth’s Indian-American food event the Amuse Bouche on June 26. 

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

TORONTO:  Taste of Lawrence will take place July 7-9 at Lawrence Avenue E in Scarborough. The food and cultural festival will have more than 130 street vendors and two stages with live entertainment. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  This year’s gala for the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, also known as Monkey Business: 2017 Gala, will take place September 28. The event will feature the handing down of the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal to actors Harrison Ford and Betty White for their commitment to animals, wildlife, and the environment.

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, Rayna Katz, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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