November 6, 2018: ABC News to Cover U.S. Election in Augmented Reality, Why a Film Festival in Middleburg, Virginia, Has Become Home to Oscar Fodder, EA Sports to Hold Pre-Super Bowl Concert Featuring Atlanta Hip-Hop Stars

By Ian Zelaya November 6, 2018, 9:25 AM EST

1. ABC NEWS TO COVER U.S. ELECTION IN AUGMENTED REALITY: ABC News will cover the U.S. midterms today using custom 360-degree stage and augmented-reality technology. TechCrunch: “The media organization posted a behind-the-scenes look at its glitzy and over-the-top 'Election Headquarters' AR-powered stage on its Sunday political affairs program ‘This Week,’ and today published a 360-degree video of the stage to Facebook. The set itself took around six months to build and seven weeks to load into the studio, says ABC. That’s a lot of work considering that the set is temporary—it will be taken down around a week after the election. It’s pretty massive, too. The set’s parts were being manufactured in Wilmington, North Carolina, which was impacted by the hurricane. The supplies for the stage’s large, ring boundaries were on some of the last trucks out of the city, but the rest of it was created piecemeal—filling eight tractor-trailers with more than 25,000 square feet of scenery, notes ABC. Meanwhile, the augmented reality portion took a year of planning, designing, and programming, including 700 to 1,000 hours of data testing. The graphics required approximately 36,000 lines of computer code and more than 1,000 AR tracking markers to be placed within the set, according to ABC news director of graphics operations Tamar Gargle and creative director Hal Aronow-Theil. … Included in the augmented display is a 3-D image of the U.S. Capital and the seats within the House and Senate, showing real-time election result data. This is not the first time ABC has experimented with using AR for news coverage. The company tried AR when covering the British royal wedding earlier this year, and did an AR medical story on Good Morning America to show a 3-D view of a heart to help people understand heart disease.”

2. WHY A FILM FESTIVAL IN MIDDLEBURG, VIRGINIA, HAS BECOME HOME TO OSCAR FODDER: Major film festivals like Cannes, Venice, and Telluride naturally will screen potentially Oscar-nominated films and serve as an event for movie stars to walk the red carpet wearing the latest designer gowns and suits. Middleburg, VIrginia, doesn't seem like a location that would also cater to a high-profile festival, but the rural town has started to become an influential stop on the road to the Oscars, thanks to the Middleburg Film Festival. Town & Country: “In fact, this year’s festival—the sixth, which wrapped up October 20—featured screenings of awards-season favorites including Steve McQueen’s Widows, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, and Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum, and events with the likes of Boy Erased director Joel Edgerton, Maggie Gyllenhaal (who received the festival’s 2018 Leading Actress Award), and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter Diane Warren. If that kind of programming reminds you of some of the more established festivals around, well, there’s a reason for that. 'Before I ever put a shovel in the ground here, I was on the board of Sundance and I got to know Robert Redford very well,' says Sheila Johnson, the C.E.O. of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, co-founder of BET, and the driving force behind the Middleburg Film Festival. 'He came out to Middleburg to visit me and was trying to get advice on the management of Sundance. I drove him up to the property [where Salamander Resort & Spa is now], and he said to me, ‘this is such a beautiful town, why don’t you start a film festival?’' That’s just what Johnston did. The first Middleburg Film Festival took place only three months after Johnson’s resort opened and drew nearly 1,800 people from the surrounding area—a tony, rural area where the Kennedy’s once owned a weekend estate and the Foxcroft prep school has been in operation since 1914—and Washington, D.C, which is about an hour away. Its inaugural opening night film was Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, which went on to earn six Oscar nominations. In the years since, the festival has grown; this year it brought in nearly 5,000 guests to the four screening rooms—charmingly retrofitted into venues like a hotel ballroom, a school, and a local community center—across town and the events held at Middleburg destinations, including local wineries. The crowd comes in riding boots and carrying very expensive handbags and glasses of that regional wine are toted into screenings; there’s an overall feeling of being someplace far away from bright lights but where good taste is in high supply. And it’s not just movie fans; stars like Emma Stone and Meg Ryan have made the trek, and filmmakers including James Ivory and Dee Rees are often on hand as well."

3. EA SPORTS TO HOLD PRE-SUPER BOWL CONCERT FEATURING ATLANTA HIP-HOP STARS: Maroon 5 may be headlining Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, but EA Sports is deciding to showcase some of the city's most celebrated hip-hop stars. The video game developer will hold a pre-Super Bowl concert featuring Ludacris, Migos, and Lil Jon. Billboard: “Electronic Arts Inc. and OnLocation Experiences announced Monday that Lil Yachty, Metro Boomin, and Lil Baby will also hit the stage at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Jan. 31, 2018, for the concert celebrating rappers from Atlanta. Super Bowl 53 will take place February 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Ludacris, a Grammy winner and successful actor, will perform alongside special guests. More performers who are from Atlanta will be announced at a later date. The EA Sports Bowl is part of the three-day Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest, which runs from January 31 to February 2. Tickets go on sale Friday."


CHICAGO:  TheMart and the City of Chicago have announced the addition of wintery holiday imagery to the inaugural Art on TheMart program, which will be a permanent digital art projection. Obscura Digital created six seasonal images that will project across the TheMart’s façade during the two-hour program starting November 17. 

KEY WEST, FLORIDA:  The fourth edition of the International Sand Art Competition will take place November 21-25. 

LOS ANGELES:  The inaugural Los Angeles Coffee Festival will take place November 9-11 at Magic Box at the Reef downtown. The event will feature live music, art, and local food and cocktails, plus a coffee mixologist competition, an interactive zone dedicated to latte art, coffee-inspired film screenings, and more. 

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Auberge Beach Residences & Spa in Fort Lauderdale will open Dune, an indoor-outdoor restaurant and bar, on November 30. The first East Coast restaurant from Auberge Resorts Collection, Dune will serve American fare from executive chef Edgar Beas. The venue will have three private dining rooms, including a wine-tasting room that holds 16 guests. 

NEW YORK:  The second annual Anime NYC convention, presented by Crunchyroll, will take place November 16-18 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. 

Ta-Nehisi Coates will discuss the midterm elections and the state of American politics at an event at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn on November 18. Attendees will receive a copy of Coates' book We Were Eight Years In Power

The 32nd annual Surtex, a surface and textile designs trade show, will take place February 3-6, 2019, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. 

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

TORONTO:  This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend and Legends Classic will take place November 9-12. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The 2019 Washington Winter Show will take place January 10-13 at American University's Katzen Center. The antique show's theme is Elegant Entertaining, inspired by George and Martha Washington.

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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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