September 25, 2018: Michelle Obama’s Book Tour Might Be Fall’s Hottest Live Event, Lawyers Say Fyre Festival Creator's Mental Illness Led to Scam, Ticketmaster Faces Lawsuits Over Ticket Scalping Scheme

By Ian Zelaya September 25, 2018, 9:27 AM EDT

1. MICHELLE OBAMA€'S BOOK TOUR MIGHT BE FALL€'S HOTTEST LIVE EVENT: While most authors might do interviews at bookstores to promote a new book, Michelle Obama is going the way of Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The former First Lady is holding a 10-city tour at stadiums across the country for her memoir Becoming, which hits shelves November 13. The New York Times: “While other authors typically follow a circuit that may include podcast interviews and stops at the 92nd Street Y in New York and Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, Mrs. Obama is set to embark on a 10-city tour put together by Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, which manages about 500 artists, including Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, and U2. Tickets are available, while they last, from Ticketmaster. The tour is to begin in Chicago, Mrs. Obama’s hometown, at the United Center. The arena, the home of the Chicago Bulls, has a usual seating capacity of 23,500. After wending its way through venues of similar size in Inglewood, California; Washington, D.C.; Boston; Philadelphia; Detroit; Denver; San Jose, California; and Dallas, the monthlong run will end in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center (seating capacity: 19,000). On its website, Live Nation said that Mrs. Obama’s show would ‘feature intimate and honest conversations between Mrs. Obama and a selection of to-be-announced moderators, reflective of the extraordinary stories shared in the wide-ranging chapters of her deeply personal book.’ Because of high demand during the pre-sale period, which ended on Thursday, the promoter recently added second shows in Washington and Brooklyn. … Mrs. Obama’s rollout is also bigger than the promotional effort undertaken by Hillary Clinton for her 2017 book, ‘What Happened,’ during which the former presidential candidate appeared at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University in Chicago (seating capacity: 3,875) and the Warner Theater in Washington (1,875). Ticket prices ran upward of $2,000 for a V.I.P. package that included choice seats and selfie opportunities.”

2. LAWYERS SAY FYRE FESTIVAL CREATOR'S MENTAL ILLNESS LED TO SCAM: A lawyer says that an “untreated mental illness” led Billy McFarland, the promoter of last year's failed Fyre Festival, to rip off attendees and investors. McFarland's sentencing is slated to happen in October. Page Six: “McFarland, who pleaded guilty in two fraud cases after his 2017 music fest fell apart, is arguing that he deserves leniency when he’s sentenced on October 11 because he suffers from untreated bipolar disorder and 'severe alcohol abuse,' his lawyers told a Manhattan federal judge. 'The evidence suggests that Billy has a good heart that has been led astray by poor judgment and by untreated mental illness,' sentencing papers said. The reps stressed that he is not a sociopath, however, citing the findings of a psychologist hired to evaluate him. While McFarland faces as many as 14 years for two scams—including one he ran while out on bail for defrauding investors of Fyre Media—his Fyre Festival partner Ja Rule says he’s 'not ashamed' of the ill-fated festival."

3. TICKETMASTER FACES LAWSUITS OVER TICKET SCALPING SCHEME: Days after a Toronto Star and CBC News investigation found Ticketmaster was partnering with scalpers to rip live event attendees off, the ticketing company is already facing class action lawsuits in Canada and the U.S. Toronto Star: “Regina-based class action firm Merchant Law Group LLP, which already has a class action filed against Ticketmaster alleging inflated ticket prices, has confirmed it intends to expand that claim to include Star/CBC reporting, captured on hidden cameras, that Ticketmaster actively recruits scalpers to resell its tickets through its TradeDesk 'professional reseller program.' The web-based software, which was promoted by Ticketmaster employees at a Las Vegas scalper convention in July, empowers scalpers to manage large inventories of seats obtained from and resell them with commissions for both the scalpers and Ticketmaster. 'It’s a result of the Star/CBC investigation that got us looking at whether we can advance a claim successfully for breach of competition and consumer affairs legislation,' said firm principal Tony Merchant. 'We knew about the issues of scalpers. But we did not know there was evidence available of them working conjunctively with scalpers. Getting those things on camera are things a court will listen to … You’ve sent us back to the drawing board.' Total damages against the company could top $100 million, Merchant said in an interview Saturday. In the U.S., law firm Hagens Berman has posted on its website an open invitation—under the headline 'Ticketmaster’s TradeDesk Scalping Scheme'—to anyone who has purchased inflated Ticketmaster seats to sign up."


LAS VEGAS:  The Timothy S.Y. Lam Foundation, a nonprofit that awards grants and scholarships to people in the hospitality industry, will hold its annual Spirit of Hospitality Rockin’ Celebration Awards on October 11 at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. 

NEW YORK:  To celebrate the opening of its Upper West Side location, Oath Pizza kicked off a three-day pizza truck tour Monday. The Nantucket-based pizza restaurant will offer complimentary samples at four Upper West Side locations in Manhattan through Wednesday. The locations are 65th Street and Broadway, 72nd Street Broadway subway stop, West 77th Street and Central Park West, and 79th Street Broadway subway stop. 

Real estate developers Douglas and Susanne Durst and the Durst Foundation will host a benefit for the Everglades Foundation on Wednesday at 4 Times Square. 

News 12 Long Island: “The Carlyle at the Palace in Plainview abruptly shut its doors, leaving dozens of customers scrambling to find other catering halls. The building is owned by the Nassau OTB. Nassau Regional OTB head Joe Cairo says the catering company's owner, Steve Carl, had leased the hall for about 10 years but recently fell behind on rent.”

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

QUEBEC CITY:  Hilton Quebec has appointed Jean-Francois Lincourt general manager. Lincourt was previously hotel manager of the Fairmont Copley Plaza. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Emilio and Gloria Estefan will be the next recipients of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The Estefans will receive the prize at an all-star tribute concert in Washington, D.C., in March 2019. The concert will air on PBS stations nationwide in spring 2019 (a broadcast date will be confirmed at a later time).

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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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