November 20, 2017: American Music Awards Feature Female-Led Performances and Attempt to Tackle Sexual Assault, Pro-Trump Groups Replace Charities With Events at Mar-a-Lago, David Chang Named Food Correspondent For Winter Olympics

By Ian Zelaya November 20, 2017, 8:39 AM EST

1. AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS FEATURE FEMALE-LED PERFORMANCES AND ATTEMPT TO TACKLE SEXUAL ASSAULT: While the American Music Awards on Sunday weren't as politically charged as last year's edition, this year's ceremony did attempt to tackle sexual assault and toxic masculinity in the industry, with topical statements from host Tracee Ellis Ross and a slew of female-led performances from artists including Diana Ross, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, and Christina Aguilera. Los Angeles Times: “This year’s AMAs came amid unprecedented revelations of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry — a situation the show’s host, actor Tracee Ellis Ross, grappled with straightaway in her welcoming monologue by describing a movement started by 'brave women' to 'own our experiences, our bodies and our lives.' And with performances by Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and the evening’s lifetime-achievement honoree, Diana Ross, the 2017 AMAs promised an effective antidote to Hollywood’s toxic masculinity. 'There’s gonna be some men singing, too,' Ellis Ross warned slyly at the top of the three-hour event. 'Gotta get them in there, you know what I mean?' Unfortunately, the performances themselves were too weak for the show to hit its target. After a cold open that had Jamie Foxx musing on the “power of music to help us heal,” the AMAs launched with Pink and Clarkson teaming for the first time to sing R.E.M.’s folky 'Everybody Hurts.' It was an intriguing choice for these two pop-soul blasters, but one they handled way too respectfully; the result was more dreary than moving. ... Speaking of elaborate, Pink turned up for a second performance in which she sang her song 'Beautiful Trauma' while suspended by cables on the side of the nearby JW Marriott hotel. The idea was undeniably cool — a kind of doubling-down on the aerial choreography Pink regularly does in concert. But the focus required to pull off the stunt took away from her ability to emote in the song. And it didn’t actually photograph that well, which made you wonder if all the trouble was really worth it."

2. PRO-TRUMP GROUPS REPLACE CHARITIES WITH EVENTS AT MAR-A-LAGO: Donald Trump's private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, used to be a venue for numerous charity events throughout the year. But as organizations continue to drop the club as their event venue this year, pro-Trump groups are sweeping in to host their own events. Washington Post: “During the summer, 19 charities that had events scheduled this season at Mar-a-Lago abruptly quit after Trump defended participants in a violent rally in Charlottesville organized by white supremacists. In their place, the club is turning to a different kind of customer. Republican groups. Televangelist Pat Robertson, who started a gala in order to hold it at Mar-a-Lago. And a group called 'Trumpettes USA,' which is planning a dinner in January that costs $300 per person. They intend for Mar-a-Lago to keep most — or all — of the money they take in. Once a retreat from the divisive business of politics, the Palm Beach landmark is now a place defined by those divisions — a dynamic the club is monetizing by booking events with Trump’s political allies. Mar-a-Lago is still hosting weddings and members for meals on the dining terrace. But the center of Palm Beach’s traditional social scene has shifted to the Breakers, a club that Trump once mocked for getting his 'leftovers.' ... The Christian Broadcasting Network — whose chairman is Pat Robertson, a strong supporter of Trump — decided earlier this year to hold its first Palm Beach fundraiser gala for its charity Orphan’s Promise. And not just anywhere in Palm Beach. This event was meant for Trump’s club. 'Secure event date at private, exclusive Palm Beach ‘winter White House,’ ' the charity instructed its event planner, according to documents filed with the town of Palm Beach. This event will be one of the biggest of any season at Mar-a-Lago: The town was told to expect 700 people. The network said 'a group of major donors' chose Mar-a-Lago as a venue. Through a spokesman, Robertson declined to be interviewed. In two other cases, individual Trump supporters have come up with their own new events for Mar-a-Lago, with an aim of benefiting Trump." 

3. DAVID CHANG NAMED FOOD CORRESPONDENT FOR WINTER OLYMPICS: American restaurateur David Chang, founder of Momofuku restaurant group, has joined NBC's coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics as a food and culture correspondent. Variety: “Chang, the founder of Momofuku restaurants and a second generation Korean American, will contribute to NBC Sports’ coverage with segments looking at the food and culture of Korea. NBC Sports and Chang have already filmed two pieces shot in Korea and set to be broadcast during the games. The first begins on the streets of Seoul, where Eastern and Western cultures and foods are being reinvented in uniquely Korean ways, then explores the vegetarian temple cuisine of ancient Korea as well as Gaon, one of two South Korean restaurants to hold three Michelin stars. Chang’s second piece is about the ancient matriarchal communities of diving women on Jeju island, where women, some of them in their 80s, free dive 20-plus feet daily into 40 degree water. Chang will also be on the ground in Pyeongchang during the games, appearing in field pieces and studio segments. 'The food experience is paramount to understanding any culture, but it seems especially to be the case in Korea,' says Jim Bell, president, NBC Olympics production and programming. 'We wanted to have someone unpack that for us, and David is the right guy.'"


LOS ANGELES:  Lûmé, a Melbourne, Australia-based restaurant that offers multi-sensory dining experiences, will expand to Los Angeles in 2018. Eater:

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Waldorf Astoria Key West has appointed David Ferrier director of food and beverage for Casa Marina and the Reach resorts. 

NEW YORK:  The ninth annual Latke Festival will take place December 19 at the Brooklyn Museum. Participating restaurants will include Veselka, Shelsky’s of Brooklyn, Loreley Beer Garden, Orwashers, and more. The event benefits the Sylvia Center, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching healthy eating habits to children and their families. 

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

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  An eight-story resort with 20,000 square feet of meeting space and a 120,000-square-foot beach volleyball venue will be built in Lake Nona. The Lake Nona Resort is expected to open in 2020.

TORONTO:  The Canadian International AutoShow has partnered with Performance Auto & Sound magazine to sponsor an online competition for modified cars called Tuner Battlegrounds: AutoShow Edition. The winner of the competition will be crowned at the annual show, taking place February 16-25, 2018, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Kick Axe, a Canadian-style entertainment venue with axe throwing, is slated to open in Ivy City in early 2018. Washingtonian:

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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