August 11, 2017: Amazon Looks to Partner with U.S. Venues to Sell Event Tickets, Why Two Authors Are Withdrawing Their Dragon Con Award Nominations, Reebok Wants to Add a Fitness Award to the Oscars

1. AMAZON LOOKS TO PARTNER WITH U.S. VENUES TO SELL EVENT TICKETS: Amazon wants in on the ticketing business and is reportedly looking to partner with U.S. venues to sell tickets for live events. Reuters: "If Amazon moves ahead, it would represent the latest attempt by the world's largest online retailer to use its massive customer base, tech savvy and bargaining power to shake up a big market. The Seattle-based company sees the U.S. ticketing market as ripe for attack. Consumers dislike ticket fees, and venue owners, sports leagues and teams want more distributors for their tickets as they seek to boost sales. Access to tickets could be another means to lure members to the Amazon Prime shopping club. For music acts and sports teams, selling tickets through Amazon could help sell their merchandise. Currently Ticketmaster, owned by Live Nation Entertainment Inc (LYV.N), is the exclusive seller of primary tickets for many top venues in the United States. Would-be challengers have struggled to compete in the face of Ticketmaster's strong relationships with the operators of major U.S. sports stadiums, arenas, concert halls and other venues. Amazon has had success with ticketing in Britain, where it has been selling seats to West End shows since 2015, even outselling Ticketmaster for some events, according to one of the sources, who owns venues in that country. It is less common for venues in Britain to have an exclusive ticket provider."

2. WHY TWO AUTHORS ARE WITHDRAWING THEIR DRAGON CON AWARD NOMINATIONS: Two science-fiction authors have withdrawn their award nominations from the Atlanta-based fan sci-fi and fantasy convention Dragon Con. The nominees, Alison Littlewood and John Scalzi, have withdrawn their Dragon Awards nominations amid concerns they’re being used as proxies in a larger fandom culture war. The Verge: “This year’s nominees have been widely split between enormously popular authors such as N.K. Jemisin, James S.A. Corey, Scalzi, and some lesser-known authors propelled onto the ballot by blocs of voters looking to score victories for their ‘side’ in the culture wars. Unlike the Hugos and Nebulas, the other major speculative fiction awards, the Dragon Awards are open to popular vote. Anyone on the internet can provide a nomination and then vote for finalists. That’s led to concerns that the results will be gamed by the political factions within science-fiction and fantasy fandom, because it’s happened before. Scalzi has been pointedly outspoken about progressive issues in science-fiction fandom and writing, and has been frequently been attacked and trolled by conservative and alt-right members of the community over his views. One particular faction of these fans calls itself the Rabid Puppies, and has worked to game another award, the Hugo Award, by stacking the nominees with their own set of works. … While Dragon Con claims to have taken steps to contend with ballot-stuffing, not allowing creators to remove themselves from consideration seems like a counterintuitive step. While the convention organizers say they’re trying to avoid the drama, this seems like a step designed to protect the reputation of the fledgling awards, rather than that of the authors it claims are the genre’s favorites. All of this speaks to a larger issue, which the Hugos, Nebulas, Dragons, and many other awards seem to be facing: rather than celebrations of the best the genre has to offer, they’re pushed into becoming battlegrounds for hostile factions that wish to plant a flag on a particular bit of popular culture.”

3. REEBOK WANTS TO ADD A FITNESS AWARD TO THE OSCARS: In its latest marketing initiative, Reebok is asking the Academy to form a new award for fitness trainers. Advertising Age: “Reebok President Matt O'Toole sent a letter to John Bailey, the new president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This was not congrats note from one pres to another. Rather, it was a plea to the Academy to recognize one hard-working community that remains under-appreciated in Hollywood -- fitness trainers. In the letter, O'Toole asks Bailey to award the craft of physical fitness. If makeup artists and costume designers get to take the stage, why not those responsible for making Henry Cavill the Man of Steel, Hugh Jackman the Wolverine, or Natalie Portman the Swan Queen? ‘These people often hail from outside the glitz of Hollywood,’ he wrote. ‘They've crafted their expertise on the playing field, in their garage gyms and even defending our country. Their diverse backgrounds mean they are not traditional movie heroes, but ask any motion picture star and they will tell you, these are the people who power the scenes and stories fans love so much … Let's call attention to this group and reward their hard work with the rigors of other motion picture crafts. No longer will these be the unsung heroes of summer blockbusters but instead role models for fans everywhere.’”


The International Live Events Association has named its 2017-2018 board of governors, which went into effect on Thursday at the first day of I.L.E.A. Live in Calgary. The new board includes president Ingrid Nagy, CSEP, owner and C.E.O. of By Design Collective in Denver; president-elect Sara Grauf, CSEP, vice president of Giants Enterprises in San Francisco; treasurer and secretary Jennifer Trethewey, CSEP, managing director of the JT Group in Port Melbourne, Australia; and immediate past president Judy Brillhart, CSEP, PBC, catering director for Sheraton Commander Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The full list can be found on I.L.E.A.'s website:


CHICAGO:  Ace Hotel Chicago officially opened on Thursday. The 159-room hotel, located in the West Loop, features event space, a restaurant named City Mouse, and a rooftop bar named Waydown. To mark the opening, Ace partnered with three local nonprofits, and raised over $25,000 by donating a portion of reservations and events. 

LOS ANGELES:  Wired magazine will host its second annual Wired Store pop-up at Santa Monica Place from August 23-September 4. The pop-up’s theme is “the connected life” and will offer smart products that combine style and tech. 

To celebrate the upcoming sixth and final season of Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project, the Paley Center for Media will host “’The Mindy Project’: Six Seasons of Style Curated by Costume Designer Salvador Perez” exhibit from August 26-October 1. Along with costumes from the show, the interactive exhibit will have life-size episodic photography, costume sketches, and behind-the-scenes video segments. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  The 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, will take place April 18-29, 2018.

American restaurant and wine bar Corkbuzz has partnered with meal kit service Plated to host a September menu preview and wine tasting on August 23. The event will be led by Corkbuzz’s master sommelier Laura Maniec and Plated’s head chef Elana Karp. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Hilton and Epelboim Development Group will build a new Tru by Hilton just south of the Orange County Convention Center. The eight-story 259-room hotel is expected to open in October 2019.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  This year’s Taste of DC festival is moving from the downtown area to the festival grounds by RFK Stadium. Slated for October 7-8, the two-day affair will have bites from more than five dozen restaurants, cooking demos, Oktoberfest-theme food and beverage options, and a chili cook-off.

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, Rayna Katz, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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