October 16, 2014: Neil Patrick Harris to Host Oscars, the Tricky Puzzle of Gala Seating Charts, What It Costs to Disinvite a Speaker

By Beth Kormanik October 16, 2014, 8:18 AM EDT

1. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS TO HOST OSCARS: Actor Neil Patrick Harris will host the 87th Academy Awards next year. Time: “The actor, best known for his work on How I Met Your Mother, has become in recent years a semiprofessional host of sorts, hosting the Emmys twice and the Tonys four times, and exerting a great deal of energy in the process. His awards-show gigs are, in contrast to last year’s low-key, pizza-slinging Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres, characterized by a wild commitment to song and dance.”

2. THE TRICKY PUZZLE OF GALA SEATING CHARTS: Getting the seating chart perfect at galas and other important events is a challenge, and even more so at Washington events where strict protocol is necessary and a social-climbing guests can surreptitiously switch seats at the last moment. Washington Post: “Believe me, people pay attention to this,” says Lea Berman, who served as White House social secretary under George W. Bush. “I’ve known Washingtonians who’ve held grudges for years because they felt they were seated below their rank at a dinner. And if you don’t think an undersecretary of agriculture knows that he outranks an assistant secretary of state and won’t mind if he’s not seated accordingly, think again.”

3. WHAT IT COSTS TO DISINVITE A SPEAKER: Pasadena City College invited—then disinvited and finally reinvented—Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black to be its commencement speaker earlier this year and ended up paying a settlement to keep him from suing the school. Los Angeles Times: “In an open letter published in the student newspaper and elsewhere, Black hinted that he was considering legal action over the slight. Trustees later apologized for their actions and reinvited Black, who delivered the commencement address. The day before Black’s speech, then-college President Mark W. Rocha signed an agreement to pay Black $26,050 to not pursue future legal claims. The college and Black also agreed not to extensively discuss the deal in public, according to the agreement. Black also received a $3,000 honorarium for speaking.”


BOSTON:  Battery Park, a financial district bar and lounge, will host a Halloween party on October 31. The evening will include a live DJ, classic pub snacks like mozzarella sticks, and trick-or-treat theme goodie bags.

CHICAGO:  The inaugural “Business of Healthcare” breakfast, part of Crain’s Executive Healthcare Series, will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel on October 22. The topic is cost containment, and the panel has representatives from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, American Medical Association, and more.

LAS VEGAS:  The fourth annual “Cheers to Chocolate” fund-raiser for Easter Seals Nevada is November 15 at Tivoli Village.

LOS ANGELES:  Volvo Car Group president and C.E.O. Håkan Samuelsson will be the headline speaker at the Connected Car Expo November 18.

To complement an expansion to the Anaheim Convention Center, three hotels that are part of the Anaheim Convention Campus—Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim Marriott, and Sheraton Park Hotel—announced plans for their own renovations to improve meeting space, guest rooms, and other amenities.

Viceroy Santa Monica will launch House Sessions, a free music discovery series curated by BalconyTV Los Angeles and House Brewing Co., on October 23 with with headliner Maudlin Strangers performing on the pool deck.

Celebrity presenters will announce the nominees for next year's People's Choice Awards on November 4 at the Paley Center for Media.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The inaugural Casino Night & Reception hosted by Calder Casino and Race Course in Miami Gardens on September 28 raised $71,500 for the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and the Conine Clubhouse.

NEW YORK:  Filmmaker David O. Russell is the keynote speaker at the Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s eighth annual Hope Luncheon November 20 at event venue 583 Park Avenue.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

SAN DIEGO:  The sixth annual Art San Diego contemporary art show returns to Balboa Park November 6-9 and will feature the citywide “Open Walls” project that has transformed billboards into urban art installations.

Pacifica Host Hotels announced a mid-November opening for the 56-room Triada Palm Springs, which comes after the January opening of the Silver LEED-certified Pier South in Imperial Beach and the $10 million renovation of La Valencia in La Jolla.

TORONTO:  Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary will host its grand celebration on Sunday. The launch will feature performances by Jewel, Sam Roberts Band, and violist Nicola Bendetti. Caspar Haydar Design is the designer.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Sheila E. will perform at the after-party for the National Museum of African Art's 50th anniversary celebration on November 7. The event also will see the opening of the exhibit “Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue” that features works from the collections of the museum and Camille and Bill Cosby.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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