January 10, 2019: Oscars Will Go Hostless For First Time in Three Decades, Virtual Reality Takes Back Seat at C.E.S., Shutdown Stalls Weddings in Washington

1. OSCARS WILL GO HOSTLESS FOR FIRST TIME IN THREE DECADES: For the first time in nearly three decades, the Oscars won't have a host. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the producers of the telecast will instead select a group of A-list stars to carry the ceremony along. The move comes after a weeks-long Kevin Hart controversy, in which the comedian initially refused to apologize for past homophobic jokes after he was first announced as the host. In a Good Morning America segment on Wednesday, Hart confirmed he wouldn't host the ceremony, which takes place February 24. Variety: "Barring an eleventh-hour pivot by the Academy—in the event that a superstar host materializes—the show producers are moving forward with a broadcast that will focus on starry skits and play up a high-profile year for music in film, thanks to likely nominees Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, and Kendrick Lamar, one individual involved with the show said. ... The Oscar telecast has gone without a single host precisely once, 30 years ago. That broadcast lives in infamy: Producer Allan Carr and director Jeff Margolis mounted an 11-minute musical number to open the show in lieu of a host monologue. The opening gave us Rob Lowe’s version of 'Proud Mary,' a duet with Snow White. Lowe is still trying to live it down." https://bit.ly/2VGfQC2

2. VIRTUAL REALITY TAKES BACK SEAT AT C.E.S.: Virtual reality was set to be the next big trend in technology a few years ago, with a number of major brands releasing their own consumer headsets. But at C.E.S. this year, V.R. has a minimal presence. Facebook’s Oculus brand is foregoing a flashy press event for private demos for its new Oculus Quest headset; Sony has just a few kiosks for its PlayStation V.R. set; and HTC announced two new headsets, but one with few details. Associated Press: “It’s a world away from the scene a few years ago, when V.R. products from Samsung, Oculus, HTC, and Sony seemed omnipresent and unstoppable at C.E.S. These days, V.R. is mostly a niche product for gaming and business training, held back by expensive, clunky headsets, a paucity of interesting software and other technological shortcomings. ‘V.R. hasn’t escaped the early adopter, gamer-oriented segment,’ said Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder—himself an early adopter who chafed in 2016 at delays in shipping Facebook’s then-groundbreaking Oculus Rift system. Gownder said many existing V.R. setups are still too hard to use; even simpler mobile systems like Samsung’s Gear V.R., he said, don’t offer ‘a clear reason for the average non-gamer to get involved.’” https://bit.ly/2Rh9VES

3. SHUTDOWN STALLS WEDDINGS IN WASHINGTON: The partial government shutdown has left couples hoping to have weddings in Washington in a state of uncertainty, as the Marriage Bureau was a nonessential service that closed. Some couples have postponed their nuptials, while others are holding last-minute legal ceremonies in Maryland or Virginia. However, the District of Columbia Council has approved emergency legislation that will allow Washington to grant marriage licenses during the shutdown. The New York Times: “Tabitha Roberts, owner of Roberts & Co. Events, a local event planning service that specializes in weddings and private events, said 20 percent of her clients have paused their planning or scaled back their budgets by $10,000 or more because of the shutdown. ‘Many of our clients are government employees who unfortunately have uncertainty about what the year will bring,’ Ms. Roberts said. ‘Couples are scaling back on more luxury-based items like florals or rentals, and waiting to see how the shutdown will affect their long-term pay.’” https://nyti.ms/2QBMktg


Meeting Professionals International (M.P.I.) has announced a partnership with International Association of Administrative Professionals (I.A.A.P.). In the new partnership, I.A.A.P. will offer a meeting- and event-planning certificate at the annual Capstone Conference beginning in 2019. The two associations also will share content on their channels. 


COAST TO COAST:  Pop-Up Magazine announced dates for its 2019 Winter Issue tour. The show kicks off January 30 in Los Angeles at Theatre at Ace Hotel then continues February 1 in Oakland, California, at the Paramount Theatre; February 7 in Brooklyn at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House; February 9 in Washington at the Warner Theatre; February 11 in Atlanta at Variety Playhouse; February 13 in Austin at the Hogg Auditorium. 

Connections, a global networking and event organizer, will partner with market research company Euromonitor International for its 2019 events. Euromonitor will provide industry insight and analysis at Connections Luxury February 17-20 at Gran Hotel Miramar in Málaga, Spain; Connections Bespoke March 9-12 in California; Connections Wellbeing May 1-4 in Slovenia; Connections Adventure October 26-29 in the Azores in Portugal; and Connections Meetings November 16-19 in Italy. 

DALLAS/FORT WORTH:  The third annual Fortress Festival will take place April 27-28 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Leon Bridges, Chvrches, Rae Sremmurd, and Tinashe will headline the event. 

HOUSTON:  C. Baldwin, an independent hotel inspired by Charlotte Baldwin Allen, will open at the Allen Center this summer. The 354-room hotel will have 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space, with interiors designed by Rottet Studio and Rohe Creative. 

LOS ANGELES:  The Indie Beauty Expo will take place January 23-24 at the California Market Center. The event will showcase 150 independent beauty brands. 

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The second annual Agent2021 Conference, created by Gary Vaynerchuk and his digital agency VaynerMedia, will take place January 17 at Hard Rock Stadium. The conference aims to educate real estate, auto, insurance, and mortgage agents and brokers about social media and digital marketing innovation. Entrepreneur John Henry will keynote the event, and additional speakers include Matt Higgins of ABC’s Shark Tank

NEW YORK:  The 65th edition of the Winter Show, formerly the Winter Antiques Show, will take place January 18-27 at the Park Avenue Armory. The arts, design, and antiques show, which raises funds for the East Side House Settlement, will feature 68 exhibiting dealers. Helen Allen was appointed as the event’s new executive director in April 2018.   

Coinciding with the event production company's 15th anniversary, BMF Media Group has rebranded as BMF. The company, which opened a new office in London in late 2018, has gained new clients including W Hotels, Calvin Klein, Samsung SmartThings, and Colgate. 

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Washingtonian: “After two years and five chefs, poultry-themed restaurant the Bird will close on January 21. The owners will reopen the Shaw space after a ten-day renovation as a French bistro called Frenchy’s Naturel: Steak, Eggs & Wine.” 

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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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