1. WHY DEPARTMENT STORE HOLIDAY WINDOWS ARE STILL RELEVANT: With the holiday shopping season in full swing, major department stores in New York have unveiled their holiday windows, which are proving to be as relevant as ever with eye catching installations that serve as Instagram fodder for tourists and locals. The New York Times: “There are the classicists (Macy’s, Lord & Taylor), the innovators (Barneys New York) and the razzle-dazzlers (Bergdorf, Saks Fifth Avenue), but whatever the style, the import is clear. November and December are the biggest months in retail, and the windows help suck customers in, not with product so much as theme. Even for those who can’t make it to the windows, those themes radiate outward, setting the tone for the season: in store, online, in mailers, and on all-important social media, a 360-degree wallop of shoppable holiday spirit. 'The competition is the most intense it is all year,' said Jamie Nordstrom, the president of stores for Nordstrom, which is already planning the windows for the seven-level, 320,000-square-foot women’s store the company will open on Broadway and 57th Street next fall. 'We’re pulling out all the stops.' The arrival of Nordstrom will be a changing of the guard among New York’s retail castles, buffeted by the same gale winds in the market (hello, Amazon) that have led Macy’s to close 130 stores since 2015—even as the 'Miracle on 34th Street' remains—and Sears to file for bankruptcy. ... On Monday, Saks shut down Fifth Avenue for a dancing spectacular of Broadway hoofers and a fireworks show, sponsored by Mastercard and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The theme of its holiday windows is 'Theater of Dreams,' its windows filled with preening starlets, usherettes, and a poodle in hair curlers. After the show, pedestrians flocked to take it all in. 'She looks like Elsa,' said a young Frozen fan about a silver-gowned mannequin. Marc Metrick, the store’s president, emphasized Saks’ commitment to what he called 'the new luxury,' which apparently means your favorite stores are also restaurants, lounges, and entertainment centers. Like all of the retailers surveyed, Mr. Metrick would not say how much the windows cost to produce. Holiday displays, though, are typically the single largest visuals expense of the year. 'This is where all the eyeballs are going to be,' he said." https://nyti.ms/2DYgc1o
2. PETITION CALLS ON MICHELLE WOLF TO HOST RIVAL WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' DINNER: More than 12,000 people have signed a Care2 petition calling on comedian Michelle Wolf to host an alternative White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2019. Comedian and talk show host Samantha Bee held a similar event in 2017. The Hill: "'Sorry haters, but Michelle Wolf was just speaking the truth—and she was hilarious,' says the petition, posted on Care2 this week. 'That's why after learning that the WHCD wouldn't even let a comedian host this year, I decided to ask Michelle Wolf to host a separate event.' The petition on Wednesday had more than 12,000 signatures. A Care2 spokesman says it was started by its senior director of engagement as part of the company’s advocacy arm. 'It's no secret that Trump has it out for the press—a fact that should really scare all of us—so why indulge him by attending the traditional dinner?' states the petition, referring to President Trump’s often toxic relationship with journalists. Trump has referred to the 'fake news media' as the 'enemy of the people.' In 2017, TBS Full Frontal host Bee held a mock correspondents’ dinner in Washington as part of a TV special, which she said at the time served as a way to 'ensure that we get to properly roast the president.' The alternative event wasn’t held again this year. Last Monday, the WHCA announced it was forgoing a traditional comedian at its 2019 dinner in April and opting instead to have presidential biographer Ron Chernow speak. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author said he’d been asked by the organization to defend the First Amendment." https://bit.ly/2DZRnlJ
3. U.K. SECURITY SERVICES MISSED OPPORTUNITIES TO PREVENT MANCHESTER ARENA ATTACK: A new British parliamentary report found that U.K. security services missed chances to prevent the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena, which happened in 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert. Billboard: “The Intelligence and Security Committee, which investigated five terror attacks that took place in 2017, said there were problems with the handling of the case of 22-year-old suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who killed 22 people attending an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017. Chairman Dominic Grieve said there were failures in the way Abedi’s case was managed after he first came to the attention of the MI5 domestic security services in 2010 and was briefly investigated in 2014. 'What we can say is that there were a number of failures in the handling of Salman Abedi’s case and while it is impossible to say whether these would have prevented the devastating attack, we have concluded that, as a result of the failings, potential opportunities to prevent it were missed,' he said. The committee criticized MI5 and the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism unit for failing to follow up after Abedi visited a contact with extremist links in prison. It also said MI5 decided not to monitor Abedi’s travel or place travel restrictions on him despite their concerns about his possible extremism. The committee said this allowed him to 'return undetected' from Libya to Britain days before his attack. The report states that MI5 admits this was a mistake in light of its information about Abedi. The parliamentary committee said MI5 'moved too slowly' in its plans to review Abedi as a possible threat. His attack on the pop concert was one of a series of deadly extremist attacks that plagued Britain last year." https://bit.ly/2QpMfx2
* LOCAL NEWS *
CHICAGO: First Bites Bash, the official kick-off event to Chicago Restaurant Week, takes place January 24 at the Field Museum. There will be savory and sweet food tastings from more than 65 chefs and restaurants.
LOS ANGELES: Winter Glow, Grand Park's inaugural nighttime light display, will run December 1-25. The event will have 19 interactive light installations from local artists and organizations, including H+ Creative and Two Bit Circus.
The One Love Malibu Festival, a benefit for the victims of the Woolsey fires, will take place December 2 at One Gun Ranch. Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Chris Martin, and Macy Grey are slated to perform.
For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles
NEW YORK: Winter's Eve at Lincoln Center takes place tonight. The event will have a tree lighting ceremony in Dante's Park and performances and entertainment along Broadway from Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle to 70th Street. Singer Judy Collins will be the festival's master of ceremonies.
For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork
SAN FRANCISCO: The Great Santa Run San Francisco, a 5K along the city's waterfront, will take place December 9.
TORONTO: Winterlicious, the city's culinary event series, will take pace January 25-February 7, 2019.
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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.
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