June 27, 2018: Grammys Expand Biggest Category Nominees From Five to Eight, Restaurant Awards Consistently Fail at Recognizing Diversity, VidCon Alternative Turns Into a Disaster

By Ian Zelaya June 27, 2018, 8:37 AM EDT

1. GRAMMYS EXPAND BIGGEST CATEGORY NOMINEES FROM FIVE TO EIGHT: The Grammy Awards has expanded its nominees for top album, song, record, and new artist from five to eight. The change will go into effect at the 61st ceremony in 2019. Billboard: “Other than in cases of a tie, the nominations have been limited to five in each of the four General Field categories since the Grammys' inception (the best new artist award began with the 2nd Grammy Awards). The other 80 categories remain capped at five nominations each. The move further reflects the large number of entries in the General Field categories, which are voted on by all eligible Grammy members. The Recording Academy's decision echoes an expansion undertaken by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in 2009 when it doubled the number of best picture nominees from five to up to 10. The thinking behind that change was to possibly allow more blockbusters to be nominated in the top category and potentially broaden the Oscars' audience. It is unclear how the Recording Academy's decision will affect the February telecast in terms of performances, although in the past, the Grammys usually have tried to highlight all the nominees in the album of the year category in some way. The Grammy Awards return to Los Angeles' Staples Center in 2019 after switching to New York's Madison Square Garden in 2018. The change is one of the biggest under Neil Portnow's watch and likely will be one of his last, as he will depart the Recording Academy after his current contract expires in July 2019. Portnow also oversaw a tremendous reduction of Grammy categories in 2011 when the number of categories shrunk from 109 to 78 (they have edged back up to 84) and gender categories were eliminated. There had been speculation that following this year's kerfuffle when only one female won a Grammy during the televised portion of the awards that the gender categories may return, but a quick review of the other rule changes for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards show that is not the case.”

2. RESTAURANT AWARDS CONSISTENTLY FAIL AT RECOGNIZING DIVERSITY: Restaurant industry awards, including the World's 50 Best Restaurant list—now in its 16th year—have mainly recognized white male-run, Euro-centric restaurants. Eater: ‚ÄúThis year’s winners maintained the trend: The 2016 World’s Best Female Chef Dominique Crenn, who debuted on the awards’ long list at no. 83 last year, dropped off the list completely. This year’s World’s Best Female chef, Clare Smyth, was also left off, sending a clear message — according to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the 'world’s best female chefs' aren’t as good as nearly 100 other male chefs. In fact, there are just just five women on the list of top 50 restaurants this year, and three of them share their restaurants (and titles) with men. 'It’s all about girl power tonight,' the event’s announcer, Mark Durden-Smith, declared unironically. Restaurant awards largely mirror societal inequities—they advance white men, and consistently overlook women and people of color—and while it’s tempting to simply ignore them and what they celebrate, the material stakes are high: Winners receive outsized media attention, which leads to greater critical and financial success—opportunities denied to chefs and restaurants that are left out. An equitable awards system would be a crucial intervention into the wider landscape of elite restaurants, providing chefs from a wider range of backgrounds a fair shot at recognition, and the rewards that come with it. Some restaurant awards have already made modest efforts to correct some of the system’s historic inequalities. This year’s James Beard Awards, which honor 'outstanding' chefs, restaurants, and restaurateurs in a number of categories in the U.S., looked much different than in years past—11 out of 16 of the major awards went to women, people of color, or both. More recently, the events company IMG announced plans for the World Restaurant Awards, which explicitly aims to be more representative of the international restaurant scene. But aside from a few broad guidelines, co-creators Joe Warwick and Andrea Petrini are mostly tasking their 100-person judging panel—a mix of chefs, journalists and industry professionals—with creating the foundation for the awards. Given the creators’ history, this may be for the best: Warwick is one of the founders of World’s 50 Best (although he is no longer involved), and Petrini, co-founder of culinary collective Gelinaz!, once hosted an event that included just one female chef—and topless women as entertainment."

3. VIDCON ALTERNATIVE TURNS INTO A DISASTER: “TanaCon,” an alternative to VidCon organized by YouTube personality Tana Mongeau, proved to be a disaster for fans. BuzzFeed: “Over the weekend, Mongeau tweeted that fire marshals had to shut her convention down in Anaheim, California, after the large crowds became a safety concern. VIP tickets were sold for $65. Neither Good Times Live, the company that helped to organize the event, nor Mongeau immediately returned BuzzFeed News' requests for comment. In April, the YouTuber posted an hourlong video about why she would not be attending VidCon. For the last two years, Mongeau wasn’t made a ‘featured creator’ at VidCon. (Featured creators have access to a backstage area so that fans don’t mob them roaming the halls.) But Mongeau showed up to VidCon both years, drawing mobs of fans, and causing a safety issue. Both times, security kicked her out, and this year they told her she was banned for life. In response to the ban, Mongeau decided to organize her own event, TanaCon. People posted photos of long lines in the sun, disappointing goodie bags, and a venue with ‘no activities.’ Some said they were forced to wait hours just to get into the building of the event. … Amber Conino Pellegrin, 21, tweeted her frustrations out over the failed convention. ‘It was kind of a mess inside and there wasn’t really much we could do because there was so many people,’ she told BuzzFeed News. ‘The event was made to sound really big and exciting, yet once you got inside it was one hall [and] a booth that was selling T-shirts for $200 to teens,’ another attendee, 17-year-old Shelby Ferrier, described to BuzzFeed News. Ferrier said that she left the event before it was prematurely shut down. People were particularly disappointed by the gift bags they received. ‘There was supposed to be a goodie bag for VIP with lots of stuff when in reality it was just stickers and a condom,’ Ferrier told BuzzFeed News.”


CHICAGO:  The third annual Sangria Festival will take place August 18-19 at Humboldt Park. Vendors at the festival, which expands to two days, include Mija Snagra Red & White, Tapas Valencia, Flash Tacos, and Sweet Lady Flan. 

LOS ANGELES:  This year's CatCon cat convention will take place August 4-5 at the Pasadena Convention Center. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MEMPHIS:  The Peabody Memphis announced additions and promotions to the hotel’s sales and conference services teams: AprilDawn Flagg has been appointed national sales manager; Rachel Lackey has been appointed catering and outlet sales manager; Ashley Lewin has been appointed conference services manager; and Chelsea Mogle has been appointed catering and conference manager. 

NEW YORK:  The ninth annual World Maker Faire New York will take place September 22-23 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens. 

Thrillist is partnering with Club Getaway to launch “Camp Thrillist,” a weekend summer camping experience geared toward young professionals, in Kent, Connecticut, August 17-19. The agenda at the 310-acre camp includes a dinner with international cuisine, a mixology class, an ax-throwing challenge, and a silent disco morning workout.

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Red Roof Inn at International Drive hotel has rebranded as the Midpointe Hotel following the completion of a recent refurbishment. The hotel was acquired by Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2018. 

TORONTO:  The 159th edition of the Queen’s Plate horse race will take place June 30 at Woodbine Racetrack. 

CN Tower debuted a $16 million renovation on its 42nd anniversary Tuesday. The tower’s revamped 14,000-square-foot observation level includes a new glass floor above the original, floor-to-ceiling walls in three separate sections, three new food bistros, and an event space that can accommodate as many as 800 guests standing. 

Subaru Canada will be the title sponsor for Ironman events in Canada for the 2018-2019 season. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Meridian International Center’s 50th annual Meridian Ball will take place October 12 at Meridian House. The nonprofit’s seventh annual Global Leadership Summit will take place October 12 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. 

The National Association for Catering and Events has appointed Lawrence Leonard executive director. 

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

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