August 4, 2014: Ebola Alters Planning for African Summit, Sundance Expands to Hong Kong, San Francisco’s New Stadium Has Rocky Debut

1. EBOLA ALTERS PLANNING FOR AFRICAN SUMMIT: About 50 African leaders are arriving in Washington for a three-day summit that starts today, but planners at the State Department and White House have had to respond to the Ebola outbreak on the continent by providing extra screening to ensure the infectious disease doesn’t spread. Los Angeles Times: “Now the Ebola outbreak has necessarily taken a more prominent place in event planning. White House officials stress that they are taking all precautions to screen delegations to ensure the disease does not spread to the U.S. The timing was unfortunate because it brought unwanted attention to the very kinds of African stereotypes about poverty and disease that the high-profile summit was meant to break. But in organizing the first-of-its kind gathering, the administration is still betting the event will burnish its credentials on U.S.-Africa relations while also broadcasting a hopeful new message about the future of the continent.”

2. SUNDANCE EXPANDS TO HONG KONG: Continuing its international expansion, the Sundance Institute announced a screening of American independent films in Hong Kong to take place in September. The new event is called called Sundance Film Festival—Hong Kong Selects. The New York Times: “Sundance, which plans to announce a Hong Kong lineup in mid-August, has been in expansion mode lately, starting a four-day London spinoff in 2012 and—pushing its staff to the limits—a Los Angeles minifestival called Next Weekend in 2013. Sundance also has a new partnership with a Polish film festival.”

3. SAN FRANCISCO’S NEW STADIUM HAS ROCKY DEBUT: The just-opened Levi’s Stadium in Northern California—Home to Super Bowl L in 2016— hosted its first event Saturday, and the venue still has a lot of kinks to work out. San Francisco Chronicle: “The ‘most technologically advanced stadium in the world’ that we've been promised also had plenty of glitches. The wireless crashed in the press box, just as it used to regularly do at Candlestick, and the TVs went out for a long stretch. Some ticket buyers who had tried to use the Levi's Stadium phone app to buy parking passes before the game were unsuccessful. The sound system was muddied and roundly panned. The will-call windows and security lines were jammed before game time. … The women's bathrooms, in at least one location, ran out of toilet paper.”


CHARLOTTE, N.C.:  JHE Production Group has launched a corporate event production division following its acquisition of Total Event Production.

CHICAGO:  The Hamburger Hop, part of Bon Appetit Presents Chicago Gourmet, is September 26. The burger competition will offer fare from 15 local chefs and will have an after-party dubbed Late Night Gourmet.

LAS VEGAS:  Ford Motor Company will hold an app developer conference on September 8 as part of the Connected Car Expo at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. The conference will be followed by an overnight hackathon where developers will be provided data generated by Ford vehicles and from the City of Los Angeles to create innovative apps.

Bellagio announced the appointment of Meg Fasy as the resort’s new vice president of sales.

LOS ANGELES:  The Teen Choice Awards are relocating to the Shrine Auditorium after a water main break damaged Pauley Pavilion.

Heifer International will host its third annual Beyond Hunger: A Place at the Table gala on August 22 at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel. The event will honor chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio, screenwriter and director Lori Silverbush, photographer Annie Griffiths, and actors Diane Lane and Ian Somerhalder.

Shauna Aminzadeh has joined the West Coast office at RMO Wetherly.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Revolt, the music cable network from P. Diddy, is hosting the first Revolt Music Conference October 16-19 at the Fontainebleau hotel. Announced speakers include label executives Russell Simmons, L.A. Reid, and Julie Greenwald.

NEW YORK:  Hudson River Park will host the 15th annual Blues BBQ Festival August 23 at Pier 84 in Hudson River Park. Participating restaurants include Mighty Quinn's Barbeque, Delaney Barbecue, and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and performers are Big Sam’s Funk Nation, John Németh, Samantha Fish, Shemekia Copeland, and Slide Brothers.

The Escape Music Fest is October 11-12 at Container Terminal at Pier 9 in Red Hook.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

TAMPA:  The Epicurean hotel has hired Linda Zipkin as membership and community relations manager for the hotel’s spa, Evangeline. Zipkin will focus on increasing spa awareness in the community, new memberships, local group sales, spa events, and managing charitable involvement and contributions. 

TORONTO:  The inaugural Taste of Toronto event, held July 24-27, drew some 19,000 attendees.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Epicurience, a wine and food festival in partnership with Saveur magazine, is August 29-September 1 at Morven Park in Leesburg.

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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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