New York's Top Entertainment Industry Events 2009

February 16, 2009, 8:00 AM EST

Host Whoopi Goldberg crashed a Lion King number during last year's Tony Awards

Photo: Shevett Studios

1. Upfront Week
Every May, TV networks woo advertisers with over-the-top pitches for their new fall seasons. Due to the writers’ strike (and some skepticism about the week’s effectiveness), some nets pared down the presentations in 2008, but there were still plenty of big parties, like the CW’s Maroon 5 concert at Lincoln Center and the 2,000-person Fox bash at Wollman Rink. This year is likely to bring more hand-wringing, but the upfronts aren’t going to disappear just yet. 

2. Tribeca Film Festival
New York’s biggest film festival will include an emphasis on music at its eighth outing April 22 to May 3, including a Breaking the Band concert at Webster Hall. Total 2008 attendance, including the popular Tribeca Drive-In event, was just under 400,000.

3. New York Film Festival
Though it may lack the populist appeal of its cousin in TriBeCa, this fall festival consistently features highly anticipated premieres, like Clint Eastwood’s Changeling and Steven Soderbergh’s Che in 2008. Screenings are held at a variety of locations, including Avery Fisher Hall and the Ziegfeld theater.

4. CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival
College Music Journal’s annual indie-rock orgy brought in thousands of hot bands, as well as corporate sponsors and mainstream pop acts, in October 2008. Although the festival has become more of a place for industry execs to network than for bands to get signed, the shows attract fans to venues ranging from large clubs like Terminal 5 to Lower East Side dive Cake Shop. The 2009 festival will take place Oct. 20 to 24.

5. Tony Awards
Whoopi Goldberg hosted the theater world’s biggest party in 2008, held at Radio City Music Hall and followed by an after-party for 1,700 at Rockefeller Center’s Rink Bar. The ratings-deprived three-hour ceremony, presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, is set to return for a 63rd year on June 7.

6. American Museum of the Moving Image Salute
Ben Stiller was the honored guest at this black-tie gala held at Cipriani 42nd Street in November, joining past honorees such as Robert De Niro, Tom Cruise, and Julia Roberts. The salute, now in its 25th year, raises money for education programs at the museum, formerly known at the Museum of Television and Radio.

7. New York Television Festival
The influence of spring’s venerable Upfront Week may be waning a bit, but this fall fest is on the rise, bringing television execs and fans together for the fourth time in September 2008. Held at New World Stages, the festival, which drew nearly 19,000 attendees, features red-carpet premieres of upcoming fall shows and an array of panel discussions, networking events, and cocktail parties. The festival returns for a sixth year in September. 

8. Gotham Awards
Daily Show correspondent Asif Mandvi hosted the 18th outing of these independent film awards, held at new location Cipriani Wall Street in December 2008. The awards, presented by nonprofit foundation Independent Film Project, named Frozen River best feature.

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