March 15, 2016: New Video-on-Demand Service Allows Fans to Experience Comic-Con Without a Badge, Why Local Backlash Won't Stop SXSW, Tribeca Film Festival Adds TV to Lineup

By Ian Zelaya March 15, 2016, 8:39 AM EDT

1. NEW VIDEO-ON-DEMAND SERVICE ALLOWS FANS TO EXPERIENCE COMIC-CON WITHOUT A BADGE: Thanks to a new partnership between Comic-Con International and Lionsgate, fans of the pop culture event—which returns to San Diego in July—can experience programming through a subscription video-on-demand service slated to launch in May. The new service, Comic-Con HQ, will feature access to live and archival programming from Comic-Con events, original scripted and unscripted series, daily and weekly entertainment commentary, and more. Forbes: “The audience for this kind of pure geek culture programming has been left unserved since the G4 Network rebranded as Esquire in April, 2013. In addition to shows that catered to video gamers, comic fans and nerd media buffs, the network broadcast live remotes from Comic-Con and other big entertainment and trade shows. … The move is especially interesting from the perspective of Comic-Con International, the non-profit organization that puts on San Diego Comic-Con and this month’s WonderCon in Los Angeles. Until recently, CCI has been guarded about extending its brand beyond its core events. But as the fan conventions have grown to unprecedented size and scale, the landmark 'big daddy' of pop culture events may feel additional pressure to maintain its place at the center of the industry it helped to create.”

2. WHY LOCAL BACKLASH WON'T STOP SXSW: Protests from Austin, Texas, residents against South by Southwest happen each year, but the backlash isn't hindering the festival's massive growth: the event gives the city a major economic boost and has transformed it into an international music hub. And the festival, along with other major Austin events, might be making more of a cultural impact on the city than its local institutions. The Guardian: “Austin’s locals famously grumble over SXSW, as visitors bloat the sidewalks and strain its facilities. It’s not uncommon to see residents sporting T-shirts that say 'SXSUX' and 'Welcome to Austin, don’t move here.' Despite the backlash, however, the festival continues to grow; it has become a critical source of income for the city. Last year’s event, for example, pumped $317.2m into the economy, according to the organization’s impact report. Residents protest these changes: the cost of living in Austin has skyrocketed, exiling some artists and musicians from the city they helped create, and leaving critics concerned over the pressures felt by lower income residents. … And yet, in an age when cities across the country are tightening budgets and facing steep competition for tourist dollars, festivals like SXSW – and their consequences – may be taking the place of other cultural institutions like museums and performing arts facilities: they are a guaranteed source of income, requiring minimal public investment and maximum symbolic impact.”

3. TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL ADDS TV TO LINEUP: Along with its Snapchat program and virtual reality experiences, the Tribeca Film Festival will continue to expand this year with another new program focused on television. The program, called Tribeca Tune In, will feature premieres of new shows, special screenings, and panels with TV show runners and stars. Variety: “The festival, now in its 15th year, has in recent years made a point of growing its programming to include storytelling distributed across multiple kinds of screens. The new TV initiative stands alongside several new-media showcases that include Storyscapes, a subset of the festival’s main slate encompassing digital and multiplatform work … The festival will look to draw fans with conversations with TV creatives including the creators and stars of 'The Good Wife' (along with a screening of that night’s episode), as well as the names behind Amazon series 'Catastrophe' and Samantha Bee’s late night show 'Full Frontal.'"


ATLANTA:  The Atlanta Science Festival will take place March 19-26. The festival will offer more than 100 interactive events and end with the Exploration Expo, a family-friendly day of hands-on activities and stage shows at Centennial Olympic Park. 

BOSTON:  Fete Collection, a boutique specializing in custom stationery and paper goods, is now open in South Boston. Owners Julie Pike and Eileen Sherman both have experience planning events.

CHICAGO:  Sunda will host “Maki Mondays” the last Monday of every month. Group tickets are available for the post-work gatherings, where guests roll their own sushi and sample three types of sake.

LAS VEGAS:  The Pac-12 has reached an agreement with T-Mobile Arena and Las Vegas Events to keep the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas for the next three years.

Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas will host college basketball finals viewing parties throughout the tournament. Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, accompanied by showgirls, will be on hand Friday to celebrate the start of this year’s tournament at the venue.

LOS ANGELES:  The 2016 Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Gala Dinner will take place Saturday at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live.

Il Fornaio Woodland Hills has debuted its monthly Festa Regionale menu. Each month, one of Il Fornaio’s chefs crafts a menu using the authentic food, wine, and culture of a particular region in Italy. This month’s focus is Liguria.

Local event listings from the new Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Show Management has signed a 30-year contract with the Marine Industries Association of South Florida to continue running the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. South Florida Business Journal:

NEW YORK:  The third annual Full Bunny Contact, an adult easter egg hunt that pits guests against “evil bunnies,” will take place March 23-27 at La Tea Theater.

The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services will host its 2016 spring gala on April 7 at the Plaza Hotel.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association's 38th annual American Image Awards will take place May 24 at 583 Park Avenue. InStyle founding editor Hal Rubenstein will serve as M.C. at the event.

Local event listings from the new Masterplanner:

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  The Toothsome Chocolate Factory & Savory Feast Emporium will open later this year at Universal CityWalk. The full-service restaurant will have a 19th-century-inspired steampunk ambiance with towering smokestacks, tanks, and antique piping. Meeting and event attendees will be able to watch chocolate creations being prepared and purchase them from the restaurant’s retail shop.

SAN FRANCISCO:  The 2016 San Francisco Jazz Festival will take place June 7-19 at SFJAZZ Center. The event will feature more than 30 shows.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The second annual Anacostia River Festival, the official closing program of the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival, will take place April 17 at Anacostia Park. The event will feature family-friendly activities including hands-on art workshops, a community bicycle parade, and kayaking and canoeing. 

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

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