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March 30, 2015: Speakers Agency Fights to Keep McConaughey’s Fee Private, an Inside Look at Presidential Travel, the Unexpectedly Emotional Moment at the Kids’ Choice Awards

1. SPEAKERS AGENCY FIGHTS TO KEEP MCCONAUGHEY’S FEE PRIVATE: The University of Houston should not have to disclose how much it’s paying actor Matthew McConaughey to speak at its commencement ceremony, according to a celebrity booking agency. Associated Press: “The university has declined to release the information because its contract with California-based Celebrity Talent International includes a confidentiality clause that gives the agency a chance to object. The school has asked the attorney general’s office to issue an opinion on whether such information can be kept private. … While [company president Glenn] Richardson has asked that the amount of McConaughey’s speaking fee not be released, his agency’s website states that the minimum fee to book McConaughey in the U.S. ranges from $150,000 to $499,000.”

2. AN INSIDE LOOK AT PRESIDENTIAL TRAVEL: What’s it like for a hotel to host the president? From the Holiday Inn to the Waldorf Astoria, properties must provide extensive security features—as well as ESPN—according to an in-depth look inside the booking and operations process at venues for presidential travel. Yahoo: “What the world doesn’t know is that Obama’s experience at hotels around the world isn’t all five-diamond presidential suites, and that the red carpet is usually metaphorical. Instead, the first thing the president of the United States often sees — and smells — when his bulletproof limousine rolls up is garbage. ‘No matter how nice the hotel is — five stars or whatever — we usually come in the service entrance, by the dumpster, next to the back kitchen,’ according to a White House aide who has traveled extensively with the president. ‘It doesn’t always smell great.’”

3. THE UNEXPECTEDLY EMOTIONAL MOMENT AT THE KIDS’ CHOICE AWARDS: The Kids’ Choice Awards are known more for sliming celebrities than for providing emotional moments, but Angelina Jolie made the biggest impact on the night with her acceptance speech for best villain. Vanity Fair: “After doling out big hugs to her kids and high-fiving her way to the stage, Jolie used her allotted time to inspire the audience full of children. In her acceptance speech, a beaming Jolie said that like her character Maleficent, when she was young, she was often told she was different. ‘Then one day I realized something, something I hope you all realize: Different is good,’ she told the crowd. ‘So don’t fit in, don’t sit still, never try to be less than what you are, and when someone tells you that you are different, smile and hold your head up high and be proud.’”


ASPEN:  The 33rd annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen takes place June 19-21. New this year is a sommelier conference.

BOSTON:  Loyal Nine is now open in East Cambridge. The restaurant serves New-England-inspired fare, including a signature casserole with potato, salt pork, and onion.

CHICAGO:  Reedmoon Theater’s “Spectacle Lunatique” fund-raiser is May 2 at the theater’s home base in Pilsen. This year, the event will feature a new seated dinner followed by dancing, dessert, and performances.

LAS VEGAS:  Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are among the performers at Junefest, an outdoor music festival from Sunset Station and 96.3 KKLZ; the event is June 6 at Sunset Amphitheater.

LOS ANGELES:  Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach will be held at Montage Laguna Beach on May 17.

DJ Michelle Pesce is launching Nona Entertainment, a talent entertainment company.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Achievement Centers for Children & Families will host its seventh annual Proper Affair April 16 at the Addison in Boca Raton. The evening includes a fashion show featuring models from co-host Boston Proper.

NEW YORK:  To promote the upcoming Expo Milano 2015, the National Italian American Foundation will host a forum featuring dignitaries from Italy’s Region of Lombardia who will give an overview of the expo and explore its theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” The event is scheduled for April 8 at the offices of Pepper Hamilton in the New York Times Building. The foundation’s gala will take place that evening.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  Grande Lakes Orlando has hired Thomas Pfordresher as director of travel industry sales.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The International Association of Culinary Professionals held its 37th annual conference this weekend at the Marriott Renaissance Downtown.

José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup has opened a new concept, Beefsteak, on the George Washington University campus. The vegetable-focused, fast-casual restaurant is planning a second location in Dupont Circle this summer.

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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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