February 22, 2017: Getting Political Probably Won't Hurt Oscar Ratings, New Social Platform Provides a Digital Comic-Con, Event Planner Mindy Weiss Sues D.C. Couple

1. GETTING POLITICAL PROBABLY WON'T HURT OSCAR RATINGS: The 89th Oscars on Sunday is slated to be the most political telecast in recent memory—a factor that probably won't have much of an effect on ratings, which have declined in recent years. CNN: "At this point, the Academy of Motion Picture arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars, and ABC, which televises it, should have little to fear in terms of alienating potential viewers. That's because tune-out among those likely to be seriously put off by hearing actors weigh into the political fray has to be pretty well baked into the formula. Other awards that have aired in the run-up to the Oscars—the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and most recently the Grammys—haven't paid a price, despite on-stage denunciations of the Trump administration. In late night, Stephen Colbert's surge ahead of Jimmy Fallon's 'The Tonight Show' looks directly related to his status as a go-to source of Donald Trump putdowns. The Academy Awards, admittedly, provide a much bigger stage, second only to playoff football among annual televised events. But its viewership drop over the years—to about 34.4 million viewers in 2016, the lowest number since 2008—can be traced to numerous factors, including the sheer glut of awards ceremonies, a more fragmented content marketplace and a schism between the art-house movies that get nominated and the blockbusters more people see. Politics have doubtless played a role as well, and there's no question that a vast portion of the public is hostile toward Hollywood. It's just that after a steady diet of political acceptance speeches and conservative condemnation, it's hard to imagine many people being surprised to see references to reality intrude on this annual ode to make-believe and glamor." http://cnn.it/2lJEqD3

2. NEW SOCIAL PLATFORM PROVIDES A DIGITAL COMIC-CON: Cosmunity is a new social platform that aims to bring the comic convention experience to its users year-round. TechCrunch: "Co-founder and CEO Cole Egger recalled attending a Dallas Comic Con (now known as Fan Expo Dallas) and being 'blown away by the size.' However, he found fans who were 'frustrated' by the difficulty of staying connected after the event. And similarly, vendors were looking for a way to 'sell products directly to their target audience.' So commerce is a big piece of Cosmunity. It’s also the main way the company plans to make money, although it’s waiving transaction fees for the rest of the year. Retailers can create profiles on the service and sell props, costumes, comic books, artwork and more. Sure, you might be able to buy many of these products elsewhere on the Internet, but Egger said the difference is that Cosmunity will be 'exclusively geek.' While Egger emphasized that Cosmunity is a peer-to-peer marketplace—which means the company isn’t vetting all the retailers—he said the team will do its best to verify retailers who are selling licensed products and to remove fraudulent accounts. Co-founder and COO Zac Cooner said one of the other big goals is to make people comfortable with 'expressing their true selves'—maybe by sharing that costume photo you’re too embarrassed to post on Facebook. So there’s a newsfeed combining social updates, product listings, event info and other geek content." http://tcrn.ch/2m3RMKN

3. EVENT PLANNER MINDY WEISS SUES D.C. COUPLE: Event and wedding planner Mindy Weiss has sued a Washington socialite couple for $1.8 million after they failed to pay for their daughter's wedding ceremonies in New York and France. Daily Mail: "Event-planning company MWPC, owned by high-profile wedding planner Mindy Weiss, is suing the Carls for failing to pay the final bill for the elaborate wedding. Weiss, who counts Ellen DeGeneres, Jessica Simpson and Tori Spelling as clients, is seeking $1.8 million for breach of contract. A year and a half after the event, Weiss claims her company is still owed $340,500 for its professional services and the vendors it paid on behalf of the Carls alone. 'The wedding was attended by hundreds of guests, cost several million dollars to create, and, in the words of Defendant Joan Carl, was a 'magical' event at which 'everyone had a great time.' It was magical for everyone, that is, except MWPC,' court documents obtained by DailyMail.com stated. … MWPC said that it worked around the clock to plan the event and arranged everything from décor, meals, puppy watchers, piano deliveries and performers. Reality finally began to kick in, however, when the Carls were sent the bill. Though Weiss said the family never used the word 'budget' in conversations about the affair and asked for extravagance, only portions of their final owed payment were made." http://dailym.ai/2lk9JTM


ATLANTA:  Omni Hotel at the Battery Atlanta has appointed Ramon Reyes as general manager and Jennifer Mayo as director of sales and marketing. The hotel is slated to open in early 2018.

AUSTIN:  SXSW Comedy, a festival within South by Southwest, will mark its 10th edition this year. Its initial lineup, announced Tuedsay, includes Bob Odenkirk, Whitney Cummings, Dan Harmon, Wanda Sykes, Janeane Garofalo, Jason Mantzoukas, and more. The festival begins March 10.

BOSTON:  Freepoint Hotel has partnered with chef Matthew Gaudet to debut a hotel lobby concept called Freepoint Kitchen & Cocktails. The hotel and restaurant are slated to open in April.

DENVER:  Steakhouse concept STK Denver is now open at 16th and Market streets.

HONOLULU:  The 15th annual Spam Jam will take place April 29. The event will feature recipes incorporating Spam from a variety of Hawaii chefs and restaurants.

LOS ANGELES:  Branded content agency Pub Creative has partnered with the Staples Center and AEG to update the venue's mobile app. The update will allow users to quickly access and purchase tickets for events, discover food and beverage vendors, and order in-seat merchandise. Press release: http://prn.to/2lDIhRz

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The 16th annual Miami Beach Garden Tour will take place March 11. 

NEW YORK:  Careers through Culinary Arts Program's annual benefit will take place March 8 at Pier Sixty. The event, which will honor chef Michael Anthony, will feature tastings from more than 30 chefs including Marcus Samuelsson, Daniel Boloud, and Carla Hall.

The 39th edition of Artexpo New York will take place April 21-24 at Pier 94. The juried art show will host more than 400 exhibitors specializing in original prints, pairings, sculpture, photography, glassworks, and more.

Danny Boockvar has been named president of the NFL Experience Times Square. Slated to open in November, the sports-theme attraction will include a 4-D film with exclusive N.F.L. footage, interactive training regimen displays, and physical challenges.

Greenwich Steakhouse, the first restaurant from chef Victor Chavez, opens today in the West Village. 

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

TORONTO:  Iconink hospitality company will host its first-ever Industry Open House on February 28 at Storys. The event will showcase offerings from venues including Byblos, Figo, Batch, and Macho Radio Bar.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Restaurant Brain Trust's inaugural event will take place March 7 at Matchbox. The event will consist of a live panel of restauranteurs from Matchbox Food Group, Centrolina Mercato E Osteria, and Noble Chef Hospitality offering insights into running a business.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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

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