October 11, 2018: Immersive Horror Experiences Are More Popular Than Ever, New York Times Drops Sponsorship of Saudi Investment Conference, Which Still Has U.S. Media Partners, Grammys Won’t Consider Cardi B and Post Malone for Best New Artist in 2019

By Ian Zelaya October 11, 2018, 9:13 AM EDT

1. IMMERSIVE HORROR EXPERIENCES ARE MORE POPULAR THAN EVER: Halloween theme park experiences and haunted houses will never go out of style this season, but immersive, under-the-radar horror experiences are becoming more popular for people who want to pay to be scared at an event. The New York Times: “Its leader might be Heretic, a Los Angeles-based experimental horror experience run by a man who goes by Adrian Marcato (a reference to the son-of-the-devil character in Rosemary’s Baby; his real name is Guy Michael) and his wife, Jessica Catherine, a.k.a. Jessica Murder. The company, which was in charge of Mr. Winters’s most recent experience, is part of a growing group of horror attractions known as extreme haunts. These shows put their participants, typically a single member at a time, in intense physical and psychological situations, placing them inside their own real life horror film. A safe word is issued (Mr. Winters’s was ‘parsons’) as their only means of opting out. Mr. Marcato, 41, an aspiring filmmaker, takes his audience through an original script, uniquely crafted for each show. Using ‘sometimes true stories with added elements to make it pop,’ his experimental content explores the dark side of human nature. … Extreme haunts first became popular as Halloween events, but companies have begun offering them year-round. Miasma, a company in Chicago, which has been staging them seasonally for the past four years, is adding more dates. Justin Brink, the founder, says he caters to the patron seeking something ‘much more aggressive and meaningful within a horror experience’ than a traditional haunted house. ‘Our audience actively seeks us out and prepares themselves for the experience,’ he said. Faceless Ventures, which runs six shows a year in the U.K., is known for its food challenges during which guests are asked to eat century eggs and bugs, among other things. The venture also has offered binding and gagging, claustrophobia, stress and physical tests, water, electric, coffin burials, sound and sight deprivation, for around $170 per pop.” https://nyti.ms/2yg9Ju1

2. NEW YORK TIMES DROPS SPONSORSHIP OF SAUDI INVESTMENT CONFERENCE, WHICH STILL HAS U.S. MEDIA PARTNERS: In the wake of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is thought to have been killed after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, a number of U.S. media outlets such as CNN and CNBC are still sponsoring a Saudi investment conference taking place this month. The New York Times was initially a sponsor, but a journalist for the news outlet announced on Twitter that they pulled their sponsorship. Washington Post: “The Future Investment Initiative (FII), which is in its second year, is slated to take place in Riyadh from October 23-25. Per its website, the Future Investment Initiative is 'powered' by the Public Investment Fund, established in 1971 by royal decree. It finances 'key projects' and provides support for 'projects of strategic importance to the national economy.' According to a release from the FII, the 2018 conference has booked speakers including JPMorgan Chase C.E.O. Jamie Dimon, IMF President Christine Lagarde and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Major names from the media world are showing as well, including Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, and CNBC anchor and New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin. Moguls tend to attend investment conferences. But should U.S. media outlets be partnering with Saudi Arabia? The kingdom long occupied a low rung on international surveys of press freedoms, owing to its unwillingness to allow independent media. 'The level of self-censorship is extremely high and the Internet is the only space where freely-reported information and views may be able to circulate, albeit at great risk to the citizen-journalists who post online,' notes an assessment from Reporters Without Borders. ... The Erik Wemple Blog has asked the U.S. media organizations partnering with the Saudi conference for their assessment of the situation. Do they want to be associated with this regime? New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha says the Times is no longer a media sponsor of the Future Investment Initiative. A spokesperson for Fox Business Network tells the Erik Wemple Blog that the organization is evaluating the matter. A CNBC spokesman says they are 'monitoring the situation.' A CNN rep says the network is evaluating the circumstances." https://wapo.st/2OQH08F

3. GRAMMYS WON€'T CONSIDER CARDI B AND POST MALONE FOR BEST NEW ARTIST IN 2019: Cardi B and Post Malone are arguably two of the most popular new artists in hip-hop, but neither will be eligible for the best new artist award at the Grammys in 2019. The Grammys continue to change the rules of best new artist to accommodate the changing musical landscape and stated that “any artist with a previous Grammy nomination as a performer” wouldn’t qualify. Billboard: “If Cardi B had not released an album around the time she earned her first pair of nominations for ‘Bodak Yellow,’ she could have qualified. But because she had enough music to be eligible for best new artist at the 2018 show and earned prior nominations, she was not qualified to enter the category. A person familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the topic, said Cardi B was submitted for best new artist at this year's show, though she didn't earn a nomination. The award went to Alessia Cara, while nominees included SZA, Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, and Julia Michaels. Post Malone was also submitted for best new artist at this year's show but didn't garner a nomination. Because he had never earned a Grammy nomination, he met the criteria to be a best new artist contender for the upcoming awards show, but at a Grammy nominations meeting held this month his inclusion in the category was met with debate, the person said. Malone lost in a vote by music industry players—ranging from executives to producers to publicists—and will not compete for the coveted honor. … The first round of voting for the 2019 Grammy nominations begins October 17. Nominees will be announced December 5 and best new artist will include eight contenders instead of five for the first time. The show airs live on February 10. The best new artist rules state that an artist can be submitted three times and is eligible so long as they have only released three albums or 30 tracks. Some artists, for example, earned nominations with second and third albums since those records marked their major breakthroughs as rising acts on the music scene.” https://bit.ly/2C7MhSt


CHICAGO:  Jackson Chance Foundation’s sixth annual Playing it Forward Ping Pong Ball will take place November 8 at the St. Jane Hotel. The event benefits families with critically ill infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. 

DENVER:  The Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s 10th annual Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show fund-raiser will take place October 20 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. The event will feature appearances by Jeremy Renner and Colin Farrell.  

LOS ANGELES:  Mac Miller: A Celebration of Life will take place October 31 at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park. The tribute show for the late rapper will be headlined by Chance the Rapper, SZA, John Mayer, and Travis Scott. The event will benefit the Mac Miller Circles Fund, an arts charity for underserved youth. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MADRID:  Hard Rock International will open Hard Rock Hotel Madrid in 2019. The 159-room property will be the first Hard Rock property in Spain. 

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The Miami Beach Convention Center has extended its contract with venue management partner Spectra. The extension announcement comes after the convention center completed a $620 million renovation. 

The Deering Estate will host the second annual Mistletoe & Martinis, a benefit for the Deering Estate Foundation, on November 30. 

NEW YORK:  The Global Lyme Alliance will hold its fourth annual New York City Gala tonight at Cipriani 42nd Street. The event, which aims to raise Lyme disease awareness and research funds, will honor Erin Walker and feature a performance by Sutton Foster. Larry Scott of Lawrence Scott Events will produce the gala. 

Trick-or-Treat for Unicef’s #ScaryGood Carnival will take place October 27 at the Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center. The family-friendly Halloween event will include a scavenger hunt and a life-size haunted Trick-or-Treat for Unicef box.

The fourth annual Girlboss Rally N.Y.C. will take place November 17-18 at the Knockdown Center in Queens. 

The American Museum of Natural History will unveil its 13-foot Origami Holiday Tree and 19-foot Holiday Barosaurs on November 19. The tree’s theme will be Oceans of Origami, inspired by the museum’s special exhibition Unseen Oceans. The displays will be up through January 13, 2019. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

TORONTO:  Baycrest Centre - Baycrest Health Sciences will hold its 100th anniversary gala on October 14. The event will take place in a 45,000-square-foot tent on the Baycrest campus and will feature a performance by Earth, Wind & Fire. 

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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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