March 10, 2014: Meet the Man Behind Every TED Talk, Why MTV Chose Conan for the Movie Awards, Scalpers Target 'Game of Thrones' Premiere Tickets

By Beth Kormanik March 10, 2014, 8:17 AM EDT

1. MEET THE MAN BEHIND EVERY TED TALK: As the TED Conference nears its 30th anniversary this month, Chris Anderson, the curator of the now-famous talks, is both promoting the event as well as defending it from critics ready to trash the 19-minute sessions that often go viral. But the event’s success has been carefully managed. The New York Times: “The process of preparing a speaker for a TED main-stage appearance is painstaking. Mr. Anderson and his team work for months with presenters to make even the most curious topics (gastric brooding frogs, anyone?) ‘human, relatable and often emotional, so it lights people up,’ said one TED exec.”

2. WHY DOES MTV WANT CONAN?: He has hosted the Emmys, but does Conan O’Brien have what it takes to host the MTV Movie Awards? The show, which airs April 13, typically has skewed younger and hipper with hosts such as Aziz Ansari, Jason Sudeikis, Russell Brand, and Rebel Wilson. Entertainment Weekly’s Samantha Highfill writes: “Conan is a bit of an odd choice for the MTV Movie Awards. It feels a little like MTV is either having an image crisis or trying to improve said image. And by picking someone who’s an experienced host as opposed to a popular actor, I have no idea what the result will be. My gut tells me that it will be a good show, but maybe not great. I think there will be some potential viral videos that come out of the night, but with a self-proclaimed awkward ginger will come some awkward moments (that might not cause laughter), especially when you consider that the MTV Movie Awards and Conan don’t exactly mix.”

3. SCALPERS SCORE 'GAME OF THRONES' PREMIERE TICKETS: HBO will air its Season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones with a fan event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn March 20, and if there was any doubt that people would pay money to watch a cable TV show, there shouldn’t be now: The 7,000 tickets sold out within a half hour, and the $15 seats are being offered on StubHub for as much as $5,500. The Wall Street Journal: “In an attempt to minimize leaked footage, HBO will require all electronic devices, including cell phones, to be checked in a holding area prior to entering the arena. As for containing post-show leaks, the person familiar with the matter said they are hoping viewers won’t spoil the first episode, which airs April 6 on HBO, for fellow fans.”


BOSTON:  Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's sixth annual gala is April 5 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. The event will have a theme inspired by New York's Avenue B in the 1980s.

CHICAGO:  On March 12, Michigan Avenue magazine will celebrate its spring issue with a bash at the Godfrey Hotel Chicago. Cover star Cecily Strong of Saturday Night Live will attend, and sponsors include 10 Cane Rum and Stella Artois.

LAS VEGAS:  The Venetian Las Vegas announced new dates for performances from David Spade and Tim Allen at the Sands Showroom in March, May, and June.

LOS ANGELES:  The James hotel brand is expanding to the L.A. area. The James Los Angeles, the first new ground-up hotel in West Hollywood in approximately 30 years, will comprise two 10-story towers with 286 rooms, two restaurants, rooftop and lobby bars, and approximately 10,000 square feet of meeting space with views.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The 23rd annual Florida Keys Island Fest is April 5-6 at Founders Park in Islamorada. Festival highlights include musical performances on the beach, an All-American vintage car show, a juried arts and crafts show, sand sculpting, kite flying, and Hula-Hoop-twirling contests for kids.

NEW YORK:  Thomas Keller speaks on Per Se's C-grade health inspection. Business Insider:

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  Txokos Basque Kitchen opened inside East End Market on Saturday. The menu focuses on food from the Basque region of Northern Spain.

SAN FRANCISCO:  Unity Care's third annual “YouthLive” gala is April 12 at the Fairmont Hotel. 

TORONTO:  Here's a look at the upscale restaurants at Pearson International Airport. The Globe and the Mail:

WASHINGTON:  The white-tie Gridiron Dinner marked its 129th year, drawing Secretary of State John Kerry as its headliner (President Obama skipped the event). Zingers at the joke-and-skit-filled event included his government surveillance barb, “so nice to put faces to the metadata.” Washington Post:

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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